A clean slate....countertop?

ptamomJune 30, 2011

I am cosidering using honed slate for my kitchen countertop. I have medium cherry cabinets and a rustic, dark, oak floor. I have read that slate is chemically inert and that etching is not an issue, but it can flake, which I think I may actually like. I am including a link to show my cabinets. (not PC savy, but will try). So, does anyone have experience with slate?..

Here is a link that might be useful: my cabinets but not my kitchen

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mtnrdredux_gw

Would oil spots show?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:04AM
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ptamom

Possibly? It doesn't get sealed. You can oil it but do not need to. I like the texture and finish. It's much harder than soapstone. I have a lodge style home and thought it just made sense esteticly. It's the 'livability' I am concerned about. Hoping someone out there has it in their kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: pic

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:26AM
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liriodendron

I work a lot with slate (for roofs) and it has a nice rugged feel to it. What might happen is that, in certain circumstances, blows to the edges might cause it do shear off in layers. Note my lack of certainty about whether this would happen because I think it largely depends on how the slab was cut. Your fabricator can reassure you on that point, or ought to be able to. When I cut or split slates it never ceases too amaze me how easily (with very modest blows) I can cause a hard rock to separate into layers. What makes for easy fabrication of roof slates might be a nightmare if it kept separating along the edge of your sink cut out every time you accidentally whacked it with a pot lid, for instance.

While it's quite touchable, it doesn't have quite the "pat me" warmth of soapstone because it always feels cooler due to its different thermal properties. That could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you use it and your typical room temps. In a cool to cold climate having that much slate mass (absent counter heating) might seem like too much of a good thing. OTOH, if your mountain-y house is in AZ, or AL, it might be just the ticket.

It's also pretty pricey, even here in northern NY next door to still active quarries in both NY and VT. It's even pricier than some granites and soapstones brought from far overseas. Go figure. However, at least with US-mined slate you csn have a reasonable hope that mine safety and environmental issues have been addressed. Not so, I fear, with stuff hauled out of Brazil and Asia.

Slate is a really nice rock and I have seen gorgeous counters made with it (in showrooms, not in private houses). I would have it in my kitchen in a heartbeat except that I think it is too cold to work well in my wood-heated, but still very chilly (by most people's standards) house.

HTH,

L

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:04AM
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blfenton

We don't have it on our counters but do have it on our front entrance floor. When looking for slate one thing I did learn was that not all slate is created equally when it comes to its flakiness. Some flakes more easily than others.
Ours is sealed. It is rugged looking and withstands a lot of abuse no doubt about that.
One thing I would wonder about is how easy it would be to keep clean with food stuffs in the layers of flakes.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:31AM
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boxerpups

Slate is a wonderful option for countertops.

This is a quote from Kitchen Designers the web link below.

"......One of the best properties of slate is its extremely low absorption rate, lower than granite. Designers can consider most slates as being stain-free. I have performed testing on the turquoise/green colors and have found these slate colors to be stain-free. Slate in the gray/black family may need a sealer. As a result of slate's low absorption, the material can be considered anti bacterial in nature and totally eco friendly........"

http://www.thekitchendesigner.org/journal/2007/6/28/kitchen-countertops-slate-yes-slate.html

And here is a recommended company. LOVE THEM!!!
Vermont Slate Co.
http://www.vermontstructuralslate.com/applications/counter-tops

And here are a few kitchens with slate. I have more if
you want to see them.
~boxer

Plum slate

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 7:23AM
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thatgirl2478

slate is beautiful, and if you can keep a smooth finish on top, would be great for a counter. However, I too worry about food getting caught in the flaked areas if you can't keep it smooth. I know that's one of our main requirements in flooring (which is why we're not going with a stone tile) because of pet accidents ...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Circus Peanut

Forum member Edlakin had slate counters and just loved them; I can recall some good threads on that topic from about 3-4 years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ed's gorgeous counters & more info on slate tops

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:34AM
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ptamom

Thank you all so much for very helpful information. I never even considered stone temp. I live in PA and my house does get quite chilly. Liriodendron hit the nail on the head for me. Knowing I am getting a local slab means the peace of mind that it has less enviromental impact. My other major concern is that many underdeveloped countries use child labor in quarries. I definately won't be getting stone from Africa.
Boxerpups, thank you for the pics. It really is a stunning material. The sample at the stone center I was to was so smooth and dense. Solid black. Funny, there was nothing seemingly flakey about it. Nothing like autumn slate which is beautiful in the right application, like a backsplash. I will compare to Virginia mist again.... Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:47AM
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