"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Slate kitchen countertops
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Another option is to use slate tiles that can be glued with adhesive to a flat kitchen countertop. The slate tiles are set right onto a sheet of 3/4 inch (19 mm) thick plywood. The tiles are glued into place and grouted with slate mortar. Installation methods for slate countertop tiles and floor tiles are identical. One of two drawbacks is that the grout between the slate will be porous and less sanitary than a one-piece slate kitchen countertop. The other drawback is that slate is extremely hard and requires special diamond tipped saw blades to cut.

Slate Kitchen Countertops
Slate Bathroom Vanity Tops

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Slate kitchen countertops. Slate bathroom vanity tops
We all know about that old building in our community, the one with the slate roofing tiles. It seems that the slate roof lasts forever which is a tribute to the quality of this natural product (actually a slate roof lasts 'only' from 80-100 years). Slate is also known for its use as floor tiles and fireplace surrounds and gravestones. Lesser known is the fact that slate vanity tops and slate kitchen countertops are of equal or better quality than most other natural or engineered stone counters.
Slate is an extremely dense stone with a very low absorption rate. Designers consider most slates as virtually non-porous. Slate kitchen countertops stand up well to heavy use. Slate is unaffected by hot pots and is naturally stain resistant to acidic liquids.

Slate is actually fossilized mud and sometimes fossils (mainly plants) can be seen on the cut surface. When choosing the raw material for your slate kitchen countertop or slate vanity top, discuss with the stone supplier the best way to utilize this feature.

Slate comes in a variety of subtle colours of green, red, gray, purple, and black. Slate is native to many parts of the world including locations in Canada (Newfoundland) and the United States (New York, Virginia and Vermont). Some of the more striking and spectacular colors of slate are quarried in India, Africa, China and South America.

Soap and water, or even a tough cleaning product such as Fantastic can be used.
Slate has a soft, matte sheen, but you can create a wet look by rubbing the slate with lemon oil.

Slate is relatively soft, but light scratches are easily removed with a damp sponge when cleaning the countertop. Deeper scratches can be rubbed out with a wet steel wool pad.
Slate is very low maintenance and requires only periodic application of mineral oil as a sealer but some high quality varieties (slate mined in Vermont) do not require sealing.
As a rule, most slate vanity tops and slate kitchen countertops will benefit from sealing to protect them from staining and minor scratches. After sealing, mild soap is all that is required to keep the slate countertop looking good and performing well for years.
Topcoat finishes are available in matte, low sheen and high gloss. If you wish to maintain the stone's natural appearance, you should choose the matte finish.
Solvent or water based sealers
Solvent based sealers slightly outperform the water based ones. However, water based sealers are more environmentally safe (greener!) and create less odor.

Slate is relatively soft, but scratches can be buffed out with wet steel wool.

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