Slate countertops have a lot going for them including stellar good looks, great durability and a non-porous surface that makes them easy to clean and requires less maintenance than granite, marble or concrete. This is a versatile countertop product that works well in kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars and can also be used for backsplashes and sinks.
This guide looks at the strengths and weaknesses of slate countertops so that you can make an informed decision about them for your home. For similar evaluations of granite, concrete and other upscale materials, see additional Pros and Cons articles on this site.
Reasons to Consider Slate Countertops
Slate is very handsome. The subtle shifting in coloration is less bold than in marble or granite, but this also makes it much easier to produce countertops for your home that have a more uniform appearance. Lovely shades of black, charcoal, gray, pewter, brown and even those with highlights of green, blue or red can be found. While the differences in slate slabs is not as distinct as you find in granite or marble, each countertop is still unique.
Unlike granite, marble and concrete, slate is non-porous. This means that it cleans up very easily and does not have a tendency to harbor bacteria. It won’t absorb liquids, so you won’t get any staining from juice, tomato products, oil, cleaners, etc., since they can’t penetrate the surface.
The hardness and durability of slate is also very appealing in the kitchen or bathroom. It won’t easily chip or scratch, and it stands up very well to heat. Hot pans or hair tools won’t mar the surface.
Finally, slate countertops are quite a bit more affordable than their pricier cousins like granite and marble. They cost less than most concrete, quartz or crushed glass countertops too. Slate countertop prices are $50-$65 per square foot.
Reasons to Be Cautious about Slate Countertops
Of all the countertops we review, slate has the least downside. Corners can be slightly brittle and they are sharp. Many professional installers recommend having the corners rounded off to avoid cracks or injuries. Stylistically, slate is more subdued than many other options, but if you’re using a lot of color at other points in your design scheme, you might prefer countertops that complement rather than grab the spotlight.
The pros win this one. Slate is attractive, durable, easy to clean and very affordable. If you haven’t considered slate yet, take some time to get to know it. View slate countertops at a home show or local showroom and its many good qualities will become very apparent.