Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock that is derived from sediments of clay and fine silt. The action of intense heat and pressure changes the original clay into new minerals such as mica, chlorite, and quartz. These natural processes transform the clay into slate. Slates can usually vary in composition, structure, and durability due to the alteration of the minerals being rather inconsistent. This natural process of slate formation has provided this material with certain properties that help to make slate an excellent choice as a kitchen countertop material. It is a natural material that is known for strength and durability, like that found in granite or marble.
Slate can provide an elegance and sophistication to kitchen countertops. Slate is one natural material that has both the strength and durability of granite and marble but without the constant maintenance and care these other surfaces require.
Many people might associate slate as just a material for roofing and outdoor walkways, however slate can be an excellent material for use in kitchen countertops, primarily because slate has a low absorption rate. What this means is that slate kitchen countertops are more stain resistant and less likely to provide a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria.
Many kitchen design professionals regard slate as an even better natural stone surface that marble or granite, since slate kitchen countertops have a low porosity so that this surface requires no sealing. Most slate countertops are considered to be stain-free. Slate countertops look great. So you can see that by selecting slate for kitchen countertops, you are getting a material that has the feel and natural beauty of a natural stone.
While most slate can be darker stone, it is also available in shades of red, green, blue, and purple.
Slate is a dense, sedimentary rock formed over thousands of years that consists of clay and volcanic ash, becoming dense sheets of crystalline mica. A fine-grained natural stone, slate provides a smooth, sleek appearance. Slate is usually available in earthy tones such as greys, reds, and greens. Slate is considered to be a softer stone than granite. Design and application considerations need to be taken into consideration when it comes to providing surfaces with proper application.
Slate countertops are low maintenance and can be kept clean with any household cleaner. To keep slate kitchen countertops protected the use of mineral oil is usually recommended.
Among the characteristics of slate kitchen countertops are that they are impervious to stains, heat, water etc. Slate kitchen countertops are elegant and can be cleaned very easily. They should polished regularly to maintain the shine of the natural stone. Slate kitchen countertops are great for cutting vegetables, preparing, and serving the food.
Slate kitchen countertops can be honed to a smooth, matte (that is, not shiny) finish. This honing process produces a warm, durable surface that is long lasting, strong, simplistic, and natural. Slate kitchen countertops can also be oiled to create a glossier look.
Slate kitchen countertops are available in different shapes, colors and sizes that can go well with some many kitchen design styles.
James Mahoney is the author of many kitchen design articles and has a site about kitchen design ideas at Kitchen Designers Ideas.com. He also publishes a newsletter on kitchen design.
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James Mahoney is the owner of Kitchen Designers Idea.com. Learn about today's kitchen design ideas by visiting his site at http://www.kitchendesignersideas.com. If you liked this article and would want to subscribe to his information packed newletter visit: http://www.kitchendesignersideas.com
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• Ideas & Tips
The Natural Look of Slate Kitchen Countertops
by James Mahoney