Slate not for bathroom

SLATES - Slate used to be used mainly for chalkboard, billiard tables, science lab areas and roof tiles. However, in recent years it has become more popular for residential use in most applications, with the exception of fabricated bathroom counter tops. Slate tiles are generally rough in surface texture, with the exception of the tumbled version. Most slates are available in a wide variety of sizes in dimensional tiles; a few in slab form and most can be gotten in crates of random pieces like flagstone. It is a perfect stone for water areas such as showers & spas, patio/driveway areas, pool surrounds and roofing applications. Most slates contain a huge variation of color, even within the same lot and some will even look to have been stained from spills of red wine, which is not the case. This is caused from earth minerals such as iron and only adds to the beauty of the stone. Slate holds onto heat well, which is another reason besides being fire proof; it is widely used as roofing material. (Use light colors in outdoor areas where you may be walking barefoot!) Since slates have a softer property, be aware that it can shale off the surface more easily. This will not harm it per se, but may cause you concern if you are not aware that it happens. One of the difficulties of slate is that it is varied in thickness. Because of the shale properties, it is very difficult to cut evenly. Generally, manufacturers will cut them with a "gauged" thickness or "sawn back" treatment, leaving one side smoother. Because of the varied thickness between each piece of tile, specific sized installations may be more of a challenge, so expect your installer costs to be a bit higher. Slate itself is generally a less costlier stone. Expect anywhere from $4.00 - $8.00 per square foot, dependent upon the grade and country of origin. Again, beware of any extremely inexpensive prices and be sure to check the quality of the slate to be sure that it has not been filled with dyes. Test by holding a piece under running water for a few minutes and also by putting a few tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice on it and wiping off. If any color comes off, return it immediately! Just a note: I only recommend using any acidic solution on stone in this instance for testing purposes only.

More resources:
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There are many new options in countertops today (from affordable to "that costs more than my entire house!" expensive). Here it is an easy guide to help you find the right options for your kitchen.
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