The Home Ownership Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. anginaprinzmetal

    anginaprinzmetal Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  2. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    Have slate counters in our master bath that were put in before we bought it. Have had issues with staining and water spots. Would replace them had we not sold the place. Take this as my n=1 view as I am sure there are good and bad views on the material and it depends on the brand sometimes.
     
  3. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    I have no direct experience with slate countertops, but having chosen another material (marble) that has its lovers and its detractors, I would simply state that this is a completely aesthetic decision as long as you go into it with your eyes open.

    I've read that slate is non-porous but others will attest to water spots. My parents had slate floors in their old kitchen and I do remember once every 2 years or so we'd have to clear out so they could re-seal them. Not sure why that would be necessary or recommended if they were so non-porous. It could have to do with acid etching (more on that later) but I don't think sealing protects against etching. It's not as hard as granite and is likely to get chips, dents, and/or scratches. (Remember, even granite can get chips - my parents have granite and one corner of a peninsula is missing a little pea-sized chunk.) I'm also not sure what finishes it's available in - if you can polish it like you can granite and others.

    IMO, from a utilitarian standpoint, it is hard to beat granite or stainless steel as a countertop. They are durable, essentially totally non-porous (I know granite is technically porous but when polished, as a practical matter, it's not going to absorb anything), and easy, with a simple wipe, to get to a perfect mirror clean. Ditto for most of the quartz materials.

    But I think marble, slate, soapstone, and others are a far superior aesthetic choice in many (I would say nearly all) home environments. They will get scratches. Honed surfaces don't shine up quite like polished can - from an angle, in the light, I can often see the lines of where I've wiped the counter down unless I go to great care. I believe slate will etch with acid - which means lemon juice and spilled wine, evey tiny droplets, will leave little imperfections that you will similarly see in certain lights. This may cause the water spots some talk about. These warnings drive granite aficionados nuts. If you're the kind of person who wants a perfect, brand-new-looking space forever, granite or quartz is your best choice.

    However, if you are willing to simply accept some of these imperfections as patina and the trade-off you simply have to accept for the aesthetically superior material, then it is a fine choice. For me, having accepted these trade-offs, I'd say slate is a wonderful choice.
     
  4. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Douglas makes an excellent point. I think aging has to be considered for all materials, it seems like people get into these things with idealized views on the outcome.
     
  5. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    I don't love my marble Saarinen table. High maintenance, shows every water drop as a spot, etches from 'contact with air', requires wash and seal. Looks good but for working eating area there must be something else. As an option consider wood as counter-top mtrl, I have butcher-block countertops in my current apartment and it is maint. free , seal with oil and you good to go.

    BTW, granite is radioactive:) true story.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  6. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I prefer wood surfaces, especially after living with a glass dining table and granite counters. Wood is more forgiving. I don't hate stone, it's just not my first choice for work surfaces.
     
  7. Connemara

    Connemara [URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']

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    My current apartment has butcher block counters, I've really warmed up to them. Easy to clean.
     
  8. RedLantern

    RedLantern Senior member

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    When we eventually redo our kitchen, I'd like butcher block, I think. In the event that they get overly stained after several years it seems that it would be relatively inexpensive to sand them down and start anew.
     
  9. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    Unless you r going to install curly-birch or some light tiger-maple (which would be awesome) I don't think there is any danger of staining, at least not the instant staining like with some stones. Once the wood absorbed oil it is impervious to water or coffee stains.
     
  10. brokencycle

    brokencycle Senior member

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    I'm surprised to hear that about Silestone. We were looking at different quartz and man-made countertops like Corian, and there was no mention of sizing restrictions on any of the ones we looked at.

    Granite would probably be the last surface I would ever do. They are almost always super busy, and to me quartz to me is an improvement in most aspects (less maintenance, etc).
     
  11. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    Are there thin ( 10mm) thermo-glass packets on the market? I am in a predicament ; need to retrofit thermo-glass into 7 old window frames, but my frames apparently cannot accommodate 23mm thermo-glass. Replacing frames is not an option as they are too large and would cost a lot.
    Has anyone dealt with such issue?
    Anyone know of manufacturer?
     
  12. E TF

    E TF Senior member

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    I looked into it for our house, though we didn't do it in the end. But here in the UK there are a few suppliers of ultra thin double-glazed units, less than 10mm. Pilkington did one, and I believe they have a presence in the US.
     
  13. cross22

    cross22 Senior member

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    So a house we put an offer on went for $100k over the asking price. It's fucking 2006 all over again...
     
  14. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    I wish it were... we have lowered the price on our old house like 10 times. I can't get my wife to just bite the bullet and eat a loss. IN the meantime we've been paying the loss in mortgage payments for 2 years.
     
  15. JohnGalt

    JohnGalt Senior member

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    why not rent it out?
     

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