If you’re a progressive-minded homeowner who would like to buck the interior design trend of quartz and granite countertops, you may want to take a look at what slate has to offer. The use of slate as a construction material dates back to the Roman Empire. Stone masons found this metamorphic rock easy to work with because it could be broken into thin slabs and placed on road surfaces. In the late 19th century, German architects found slate tiles to be excellent roofing materials. Later, this natural stone became a standard of commercial and residential development.
In the United States, slate is mostly used for flooring applications, but there are five good reasons to choose this stone for your kitchen and bathroom countertops.
1. Slate Is Virtually Waterproof
If you travel to German towns located near slate quarries, you’ll notice Catholic and Lutheran churches built with magnificent dark roofs made with elaborate slate tiles, including towns in the region of Thuringia, which is known to get high levels of rainfall. With a water absorption rate lower than 0.5 percent, slate is almost waterproof, and thus ideal for counter surfaces bound to get wet. However, you still need to seal slate countertops regularly with a high-quality granite sealer to protect the stone against damage.
2. Slate Is Very Durable
Even though slate is not as heavy as granite, it’s still a very durable construction material. The roofs of the aforementioned German churches have been around for nearly two-hundred years. Slate will not be damaged by fire, and it can reasonably withstand being struck with heavy objects. As long as you do not use a chisel and hammer to damage slate countertops, they will last for a very long time, which is ideal if you’re building a poolside summer kitchen.
3. Slate Is Easy to Maintain
When slate countertops are professionally installed, the final step of the process involves applying sealant. Once this is completed, you can take care of cleaning and sealing on your own. By using a granite cleaner and sealer formulated specifically for natural-stone surfaces, you can ensure your slate will always look nice and shiny.
4. Slate Has a Distinctive Look
The dark and veiny textures of slate make this stone ideal for modern interior décor, particularly if you’re going for a rustic look or if you’ve already installed slate flooring. In spaces where the walls are painted white, dark slate counters provide a sharp contrast.
5. Slate Is Affordable
If you’re looking for natural stone that is less expensive than marble or granite, consider the following: numerous slate quarries in Canada, Mexico, and the United States operate under NAFTA, which means they are very competitive in terms of pricing. Even exotic tiles and slabs from southern Mexico, where the Mayans used slate exclusively to decorate their sacred mortuary spaces, are reasonably priced these days.
To care for your natural-stone countertops, consider purchasing a granite polishing kit, which features many of the products you need to care for slate, granite, marble, and other types of natural stone. If you’d like to learn more about caring for natural stone, call Granite Gold® today at 1-800-475-STONE.