Stone countertops have overtaken the other varieties in terms of popularity. Homeowners have realised that it is better to shell out some money in the beginning and invest in a high-quality worktop that will last for a long time rather than to install a cheap countertop that requires regular maintenance and gets damaged easily.
When you hear stone, granite and marble are the first ones that pop into your head. However, there is another kind that is just as good as marble or granite. We are talking about slate. Slate worktops add character to your kitchen and give it a unique look. Haven’t heard much about slate? Need some more information before you make up your mind? Here is everything you need to know.
What Is Slate?
Slate is a natural countertop material. Sedimentary clay and volcanic ash undergo low-grade regional metamorphosis in layers and turn into slate. The layers become visible when you turn it into slabs. They give it the characteristic cleft texture. The main supply of slate comes from Brazil, Italy, and Spain.
Colours of Slate
It is a common misconception that slate kitchen worktops are only available in blacks or greys. Slate is also available in a range of colours from burgundy to green. The darker shades are sourced from Brazil, Spain, or Italy. The colourful varieties come from countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, Africa, and even China. Africa is home to some of the most vibrant varieties of slate.
Finishes and Textures of Slate Worktops
Unlike other natural stone countertops, slate offers options for the textures. Marble or granite is always polished and should be kept that way to make them non-absorbent. Slate is not as porous as these materials and therefore, you can leave it unpolished. There are three popular finishes of slate.
Honed: If you want a completely smooth finish and polished look, then this is the finish you should opt for. It results in a flat surface with a soft lustre. Since the material itself doesn’t have a lot going on in terms of texture, you are free to add texture in other components of the kitchen without making it look busy.
Cascade: The surface may have slight ripples. It is not quite as flat as the honed finish, but it isn’t very busy either.
Cleft: Cleft the natural texture of slate. It displays the layers of slate in all its glory. The rough texture is perfect for a rustic kitchen. It adds character to space. However, it is also the most difficult to maintain. You need to clean it regularly as dust and grime may settle in the edges.
How to Care for Slate Kitchen Worktops?
Slate is one of the most low-maintenance worktop materials. It is non-porous, non-absorbent, stain-resistant, hard, and durable. However, all this only applies to high-quality slates. If you opt for cheaper slates that are of low quality, then you get what you pay for. The material may chip over time, and there is an increased chance of staining.
Caring for your slate kitchen worktop is easy. Use a cleaner with a neutral pH to wipe the surface every day. High-quality slate does not require a sealant. It is still advisable to do the water-bead test. Place a few drops of water on the slate worktop. If it forms a bead, then there is no need for a sealant. However, if it gets absorbed after a while without forming a bead, then you may need to apply a sealant.
Slate is very hard. But if you accidentally drop something heavy on it, it may chip. You can repair slate worktops, but the repair may be visible. A talented repair person can do their best to make the surface seamless and hide the repair as much as possible.
The edges of a slate countertop are more prone to such chips. Every slate seller will recommend that you round the edges to minimise the chipping.
Revamp Your Kitchen With Slate Worktops
Slate is a unique material that adds depth and character to your kitchen. The mild striations are not as distracting as the veins on marble, granite, and quartz. Still, they manage to add life into the countertops. Slate is also a very subdued material. It will not overpower the other elements in your kitchen. If you have wooden floors and cabinets or textured cabinets that need to be the focus of the kitchen, then you should definitely opt for slate kitchen worktops.
As mentioned above, all the benefits of slate worktops only hold if you get the high-quality material. How do you ensure this? You only purchase from the most trustworthy seller, and you can sleep like a baby knowing that you have the best quality materials in your kitchen.