ok, so here's the deal. Our new kitchen island is about 5'6" by 9'. Initially my wife were thinking about Silestone (we saw a color we liked and the material appeared to have easy maintenance), but apparently the biggest slabs it comes in are 10' x 4'6" (give or take) which means there would have to be a seam in the island (absolute no no). We are not sold on the granite look, but we did find a beatufil dark gray slate which apparently comes in the size we are looking for. Anybody has first hand experience with slate for countertops? I read it could be soft and high maintenance but also people swearing it's hard and does not required maintenance at all.