Everything You Need to Know About Slate Countertops for Your Kitchen
Published: July 15, 2021
Modified: October 7, 2021
Written by: Jason Panuelos
Elevate your kitchen to the luxurious space of your dreams with a perfect slate countertop to match your taste and personality. Learn tips and tricks here!
In the landscape of interior design, the use of natural materials is now more prevalent than ever. People are now turning towards organic touches and design concepts because they want to establish a closer relationship with nature. A lot of professionals attribute this shift in consciousness to the deteriorating state of the environment.
It is, of course, no secret that the earth has been suffering for quite some time now, and nature is in big trouble. In turn, people have started to crave a closer relationship with this precious resource – which has led to it translating more into the hot trend for designing interiors.
There have been so many trends coming and going but there’s definitely one thing that hasn’t changed in kitchen interiors and it’s the use of stone for the countertops. There are so many choices for stones, but we’re going to be talking about a unique option today: slate countertops.
What are Slate Countertops?
Slate countertops are made with a metamorphic stone, slate. There’s a very scientific process behind this, but put simply, the different movements and pressures that happen deep within the earth result in slate, and they’re the stones used in creating a slate kitchen countertop that looks much more textured and natural than a classic granite countertop.
The Pros and Cons of Slate Countertops
Like other types of furniture, slate countertops have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Although it’s a gorgeous piece of stone to have in your kitchen, there are still some things you need to consider before taking the plunge:
- Slate kitchen countertops have a gorgeous, natural look.
- The coloring is more subtle compared to marble or granite.
- Slate countertops clean up very easily and don’t harbor bacteria.
- Slate countertops have great hardness and durability.
- Slate does not do well when used outdoors.
- Slate countertops can tend to chip away after prolonged use.
- Slate countertops can tend to grab more attention than intended.
- When cut, slate can be too sharp along the edges in terms of counter design.
Slate looks absolutely stunning, and then you will be surprised that it actually costs much less than your standard granite or marble countertop. The majority of its cons can be handled with clever design and treatment. Getting a slate countertop is an absolute win in the world of kitchen design. What you essentially end up with is a highly functional slate countertop that works for you rather than against you.
Common Cost of Slate Countertops
One of the biggest concerns, of course, is how much are slate countertops in the market? You would actually be surprised at the answer to this. Slate countertops cost only about $50 – $65 per square foot. This is marginally more affordable than the ever-popular granite and marble countertops that dominate the market.
Not only are slate countertops so gorgeous and add plenty of depth and dimension to your kitchen details, but they’re also economical options. This is a big plus considering the natural properties that are present in slate but not in its more expensive counterparts, which is its absence of porosity. Despite its roughness around the edges, slate countertops aren’t absorbent which makes them resistant to chemicals and incredibly easy to clean and manage. And lest we forget, they would make fantastic backgrounds for that perfect Instagram shot of the food you prepare in your beautiful kitchen interiors.
Slate Vs. Granite Countertops
Granite is probably the leading material when it comes to choosing countertops. It’s incredibly durable and easy to clean. Granite also has a sparkling natural pattern that can’t be replicated. Slate on the other hands tend to be more textured. Its non-porous nature makes it easy to clean and resistant to bacteria. It tends to have a more solid look with minimal graining.
The slate vs. granite conversation is a common thing among people who are delving into counter design, but in the end, they’re both really solid choices where you can’t really go wrong. In terms of design, another thing you can consider is that slate tile for kitchen countertops can tend to come in smaller cuts as opposed to marble or granite that are ordered in relatively large slabs. This results in much more connections and joints on your kitchen counter. However, this isn’t really a big issue if the person who installs the slate countertops is knowledgeable and skilled.
Best Colors of Slate Countertops
Another primary concern of designers when considering slate countertops for their kitchen details is definitely the colors available. After all, this can totally make or break your kitchen interiors. The wrong tone can just set the wrong mood which is why it’s important to be aware of the different slate countertops colors that are available in the market.
Of course, like most natural stones, slate comes most commonly in neutral tones such as black, white, brown, gray, and blue. Even in other types of stones, these are the most commonly occurring colors that are brought on by nature. It could be caused by heat, pressure, or a mix of both elements. However, since slate is considered a metamorphic rock, it also has the potential to take on more interesting and unique colors depending on where it’s actually mined.
You can also get slate countertops colors in shades like green, purple, red, or even gold if the land where it comes from has the minerals that can affect the pigmentation of the slate stones. There are also types of slate countertops that can tend to fade over time, but this can easily be specified by the supplier and you can also choose variants that are “unfading” so they keep their original vibrance from the day you get them.
It is also very important to note that the color of your slate countertops can also directly affect the cost of your counter design. As with all types of stones, the origin of the material is a great consideration that affects price. Does it come from an exotic location which is why it’s a unique red color? These considerations come into play which can make it more expensive than you may have initially thought. Even the sizes it comes in can be a financial issue as slate countertops can come as a slate tile countertop which can cost about $45 to $70 per square foot, or a slate slab countertop which is larger, but more expensive at $65 to $115 per square foot.
How to Clean Slate Countertops
Different materials require different methods of cleaning. As much as we’d like to think that cleaning is a universal thing, there’s actually a correct way of approaching different types of materials to make sure that they get the tender love and care that they deserve. We all know by now that slate countertops are pretty good at holding their own; they’re super durable and hard and even easy to clean. But just how easy is it? And the question is: how to clean slate countertops as best as you can?
Slate countertops are unique for being non-porous so you never have to worry about things eventually seeping inside the stone or absorbing any bad chemicals that could be transported to the food that you prepare. There’s a very specific way of cleaning slate countertops, but it’s a method that’s surely familiar to most people and that’s with using a microfiber cloth and wiping the surfaces clean to remove any dust or surface grit.
You also have to remember to avoid cleaning materials that could contain acid or any harsh chemicals because you don’t really need all that extra power and it could just ultimately damage the quality of the stone. It’s also very important to avoid cleaners that have a wax content because these can just melt when it comes to contact with hot objects like pans or even freshly cooked dishes. The best way to clean your slate countertops is with a microfiber cloth and a pH-neutral stone cleaner to help keep water spots and rings away. Lastly, make sure to wipe it dry to avoid any mineral deposits in the creases and texture of the stone.
How to Protect Slate Countertops
Cleaning and protecting are two very different things, but they go hand in hand. Doing both properly can truly bolster the life and longevity of your slate countertops. The cleaning method is simple enough to maintain this wonderful material, and the maintenance process isn’t something too complicated either. Maintenance is a more general things for stones as they all require, more or less, the same kind of protection. You can help keep the quality and strength of your slate countertops by applying countertop sealants from time to time. This makes sure that your slate countertop is fully coated with a layer of protection that keeps unwanted elements away. Although slate is famously non-porous and resistant to absorbing liquids and chemicals, it can’t hurt to give it a little bit of help just to ensure a long and happy life span for the stone.
It’s important to note that there are different types of sealers available in the market. One is a topical one that just coats the surface of the stone. This is very easy to apply as it’s only on the outside, but it can tend to wear away faster compared to its other alternative. The other method is a sealer that penetrates the slate countertop and offers protection that covers not only the exterior but also its insides. This is a more sustainable solution but will probably require the help of a professional. Learning how to protect slate countertops will definitely have your kitchen interiors thanking you.
Best Countertop Care Products
Thankfully today, it isn’t hard at all to find great cleaning products to clean and maintain your slate countertops. A lot of them even come in convenient sets that you can use and enjoy for a very long time. Below are some of our best picks:
Just like its name suggests, Easy Oxy makes cleaning very easy. It’s a very straightforward surface cleaner that you just have to spray and then wipe down a surface with. This has been proven to be safe for all natural stone and can even be used on almost any surface of your home. Hydrogen Peroxide-based, it’s non-toxic, doesn’t leave any streaks and can take care of grease without risking any chemical damage to the stone surface. It even comes with two microfiber towels to make sure that the cloth you use is ideal for maintaining the quality of the slate countertop of your modern counter.
Wear and tear is something that can be considered inevitable with any stone countertop so it would never be out of the ordinary for your slate countertop to experience some sort of chipping or etching the longer you’ve been using it. Whenever something like this happens, you can make use of the MB Stone Care Marble Repair Kit acts as a bridge to remove etches from the surface of the slate countertop. This product pretty much addresses all the needs that the stone countertop may need as it also comes with a Shine Spray Polish and a Spray Cleaner.
One look at this multipurpose stone sealer will have you convinced that this means business and you can be assured a great maintenance experience for your kitchen interiors. It’s a great reminder of what good packaging design can do for your confidence in a product. However, delving into the specifics of what this multipurpose sealer can do, it also proves to be just as functional as it is well-designed. This sealer can be used on all solid stone surfaces such as granite, quartz, marble, limestone, and of course, slate. It’s also free of ammonia and phosphate to make sure it gives your slate countertop protection without risking poisoning the food you serve on top of it.
Here’s another great example of stunning packaging that just has anyone gripped at first glance. Now that it’s got your attention with its beautiful and minimalistic packaging, it will then proceed to impress with its awesome protection factor. Trinova Granite Sealer and Protectant is considered a premium sealant and caring solution for your slate countertops. The formula of this sealer makes use of a powerful blend of polymers to penetrate the stone’s surface to block out stains from seeping in and staying there forever. You can be assured of a long and solid layer of protection once you use this on your kitchen counter.
Leaving stains and marks is also another inevitable thing that can happen to your slate countertops because it’s impossible to be on top of your cleaning schedules at all times. After all, you do have a life outside of your kitchen. So when things like this happen, you don’t need to fret as deep cleaning products are there to save you and your slate countertop. It also comes with its own set of scrubbing pad and microfiber towel to make sure you’re pairing their Easy Scrub Deep Cleaning Cream with the right tools and you get the job done as perfectly as possible.
Slate Countertops Design Ideas
If you’re still unsure of how to style or incorporate a nice slate countertop into your kitchen design, here are some awesome ideas that can totally take your doubt away and take that plunge into using a gorgeous and unique slate countertop. You will probably be surprised to learn that it’s actually a very unique and cool material to use in the stead of more popular stone choices such as granite, marble, or even quartz. View some of our recommendations below.
1. Slate Countertops Are Easy To Pair With Pops of Color
We’re all pretty much living in a world dominated by neutral colors and minimalist touches right now, but colors and accents are slowly making a giant comeback in the trends of interior design. But even if some professional tells you it’s not the season for it, you shouldn’t stop yourself from adding your favorite colors into your kitchen details. It’s how you can inject your personality and individuality into a space. Thankfully, the neutral tones of slate makes it absolutely perfect for pairing with vibrant and punchy colors. It sort of takes a step back and lets the color accent pop all on its own.
2. Integrate Special Functions into your Countertop
If you have a little bit more of the budget to spare, you can also integrate special functions into your countertop such as in the photo above. Adding a few well-placed crevices can result in a nice little drying area for your plates beside the sink without needing to add an extended stainless steel area which usually extends from the kitchen sink. This way, you can keep your kitchen counters looking immaculate and cohesive with just the gorgeous natural slate dominating your eyeline.
3. Slate Countertops Can Be Balanced With Warm Tones
More often than not, your slate countertop will probably be in a cool shade like gray or black which can seem very cold and impersonal. What you can do to combat this and balance out your kitchen is to contrast it with a lot of warm tones. Wood elements are the most suited for this role so you can combine it with warm wood cabinets and details to make your space feel so much cozier and homey. However, you can also take the opposite direction and play up the cool tones by pairing with finishes like polished concrete for that sleek dark look.
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4. Your Slate Countertop Can Look Great Against Any Design Style
Slate can be really intimidating, mostly because it isn’t as highly used as granite or marble. However, down to its roots, it’s just a stone that’s as functional and good as all the others. So don’t be afraid to experiment with such a beautiful building material. Slate is so beautiful and it has such an understated level of natural detail that it’s actually more versatile to pair with different design styles. It will look absolutely fabulous on modern kitchens, but it can look just as pretty if the concept you’re going for is a more barnyard or old-century style.
5. Slate Countertops Play Best With A Modern Concept
Today, the design world reveres a sleek look and a lot of clean lines. The most popular design styles include modernism and minimalism which will reject the idea of having way too much details or ornamentation. They want the lines and colors to speak for themselves, with as minimal patterns as possible. The one leg up that slate countertops have above other stones is its very minimal grain. It has that uniquely subtle look to makes it look almost like a solid color without going all the way. This makes it the perfect choice for your modern counter design to be part of the chic kitchen of your dreams.
Slate countertops deserve love for their ability to create fabulous interiors minus the big budget that is usually required. Where else can you find an affordable alternative to a classic material that performs just as well and looks just as good? All in all, you can be confident with selecting a slate countertop because it won’t let you down. Chances are, you’ll instantly fall head over heels in love with your kitchen after seeing it fully installed and ready to join you on your daily adventures at home.