Slate is one of the most traditional natural-stone materials you can choose for your counters, particularly in the kitchen. Centuries before dark granite slabs became popular in North American kitchens, slate was predominant in residential interiors, mostly in the New England colonies. Slate is highly metamorphic, which means it will go through changes as time goes by, and it will look better with age as long as you take good care of it. Slate countertops require careful maintenance, and this is something you should be able to handle by following the recommendations below.
1. Protect Your Slate Surfaces
Slate is a foliated stone composed of several compressed layers. Since this layered structure can separate under extreme heat conditions, you should prevent hot objects from coming into contact with your countertops. In the kitchen, use hot pads or trivets to isolate the surface from hot objects. In the bathroom, curling irons shouldn’t be allowed to rest directly on slate. Another protective measure is to frequently apply sealer, one of the most important steps in natural-stone care.
Here’s a video explaining how to use Granite Gold Sealer®, which is safe to use on slate, granite, and all other types of natural stone:
2. Don’t Use Common Household Cleaners
The cleaning products you typically use to clean ceramic, laminate, and steel surfaces are never recommended for slate. The pH levels of these products can make them too caustic or corrosive not only for the slate itself but also for the seal. For this reason, you should only use a slate and granite countertop cleaner. Abrasive cleaners such as scouring powder should be kept away from slate counters.
3. Keep Your Slate Countertops Dry
Hard water deposits are more likely to occur in certain regions of Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico. In Canada, water with high calcium carbonate content flows in the Manitoba and Saskatchewan provinces. The problem with hard water and dark textured slate is that limescale stains can be very difficult to remove, but they can also be prevented if you maintain a strong seal on the slate and make sure to wipe your countertops dry immediately after a spill. If your slate slabs have a honed and polished finish, you can get into the habit of buffing them until they shine, thereby ensuring no water remains on the surface.
4. Take Care of Stains Immediately
In the kitchen, substances such as fruit juice, wine, tea, and coffee may stain your slate surfaces. In the bathroom, staining can be caused by powdered makeup, lipstick, nail polish, and creams. If oil stains don’t come off after wiping them down with natural-stone cleaner, mix acetone and baking soda to make a paste the consistency of pancake batter you can spread on the stain and leave for 24 hours, then rinse with water. The stone should be resealed after this step. For organic stains, soak cotton balls or a white terry cloth towel in bleach and place on the stain for 24 hours, then rinse with water and reseal the stone.
For additional tips on caring for slate and other types of natural stone such as granite, travertine, and marble, reach out to the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold®. Call us today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866), and make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter, which features even more great tips on caring for natural stone and quartz.
Lenny Sciarrino (aka Lenny S) and Lenny Pellegrino (aka Lenny P) grew up in the family business and are co-founders of Granite Gold®.