Q: I am thinking of installing slate kitchen countertops, but I've heard they may stain or scratch. How well do they hold up over time?
A: When used for kitchen counters, slate requires lots of maintenance. It is very porous and needs to be "filled" or sealed often, depending on use. That could mean weekly treatments in a high-use kitchen.
There are a number of other options for a slate look with much less fuss. Soapstone has a similar look but is denser and makes an excellent sink. Be aware that it will scratch, though. Honed granite is a much more durable material. The honed finish removes any shine, so dark gray or black granite would look similar to slate. It also needs to be sealed, approximately once a year, depending on use.