Slate Countertops - A Superior Stone
Qualities and Care
You may think of slate more as a roofing material than a high quality kitchen and bathroom countertop surface. However, some people in the building industry consider slate a superior natural stone product for countertops than both marble and granite. The main reason for this opinion is that slate has an extremely low absorption rate, which means it is more stain resistant and less likely to harbor dangerous bacteria. This naturally low porosity also means the best slate needs no sealing, like marble and granite do.
Slate’s structural strength is well known. It is formed over millennia from ancient beds of clay and silt that are subjected to extreme geological forces until they become dense sheets of crystalline mica. You probably think all slate is a dark gray, or black color, but this is not true. While most slate is a darker stone, there is significant variation in terms of color, with red, green, blue and purple varieties available.
Slate is quarried all around the world. Some imported slates are of an inferior quality and will fade or delaminate over time. However, American slate quarried in locations such as Vermont has a high silica content, which is a crucial ingredient in dense, durable slate which is best used on countertops. This density also means slate can withstand the direct heat of hot pots and pans placed on it - a handy advantage in busy kitchens.
Caring for your Slate Countertops
Caring for your slate countertops is simple – just clean them with a gentle detergent, as you would for any other household surface. However, it is recommended that a light coating of food grade mineral oil be applied to your slate countertop directly after installation to keep them in top condition.