When thinking of natural stone surfaces, granite and marble are often the first stones that come to mind. One of the most overlooked natural stones, however, is slate.
Slate has a beautiful and unique appearance – as well as surprising durability – that make it a great choice throughout the home. Whether it is in bathrooms, kitchens, or even as a roofing material, here are five things you may not know about slate.
- Slate comes in colors other than grey
Dark and dreary grey is the most commonly used color of slate, but this natural stone has a surprisingly wide variety of color choices. From neutral tones such as light grey or sleek black to more distinctive varieties marbled with gold, green, copper, white, blue, and even shades of lilac, there is a range of colors for every home and project. Slate slabs in Rustic Gold, African Gold, or Gold Green are particularly striking when paired with copper accents or fixtures.
- Slate has a unique, cleft surface
It doesn’t take a stone expert to recognize slate. Its unique surface and texture are created by natural clefting; this occurs when the slate is being quarried and split into sheets. Want a smoother surface? Opt for a honed finish. Honed slate has a finish similar to polished stones such as granite; because slate does not have a crystalline structure, however, it is always honed and never polished.
- Slate is ideal for flooring
Slate is an extremely popular choice for natural stone flooring. One of the best areas of the home to use slate flooring is in the bathroom; because slate has a clefted surface, it is naturally non-slip, making it ideal for wet areas surrounding tubs and showers. Likewise, despite its rough surface, slate is still comfortable on bare feet.
Outside of flooring, slate can be used in a variety of other ways around the home. Slate can be used to create shower surrounds, tile backsplashes, and countertops; slate roofs are extremely durable and can last up to 50 years with correct care.
- Slate is stain resistant
One of slate’s most impressive features is its low absorption capacity. This means a spilled glass of red wine or coffee cup left on the counter are far less likely to stain a slate surface than a similar natural stone. To keep slate even more stain resistant, regularly seal slate surfaces.
- Slate is easy to maintain
With a slight learning curve, slate is extremely easy to maintain. Like granite, slate must be regularly sealed. This helps prevent staining and protects the surface of the stone. When cleaning slate surfaces, choose a stone-specific or granite safe cleaner; never use acidic chemicals, vinegar, or citric acid on slate surfaces, which can cause permanent damage to the stone. With the right maintenance, slate surfaces can last a lifetime.