Slate Backsplashes

Gather ideas for slate kitchen counter backsplashes, and get ready to install an attractive and durable backsplash in your home.
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Photo by: Jupiterimages

Jupiterimages

By: Sean McEvoy

Slate backsplashes offer an elegant, attractive and durable choice for homeowners looking to install a new kitchen or refurbish an existing one.

Kitchen Backsplash Beauties

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Slate is a natural stone material made from clay or volcanic ash that's compacted to form a solid, sturdy and often aesthetically beautiful surface.

One of the chief benefits of featuring slate in your kitchen design is that it can be paired with many different styles. Whether your kitchen is rustic, contemporary or even hyper-modern, there's likely to be a style of slate that will fit seamlessly into the design, either by offering a soothing, simple finish or by providing color, visual interest and diversity to the space.

Your first task after deciding on a slate backsplash will be to determine how much material you'll need to cover the wall areas in your kitchen. While some homeowners choose to install a backsplash that covers only a portion of the walls between the countertops and cabinets in their kitchen, others opt for a grander approach that covers the entire wall surface. Whichever scope of backsplash you choose, you'll need to determine the amount of slate you'll need for your backsplash by measuring the surface area of the wall, then calculating the square footage.

Once you've measured the surface area to be covered, it's time to find the type of slate that's right for your kitchen design. Color-wise, slate can run the gamut from a full range of grays and blacks all the way to browns, blues and, since it can also be dyed to your specifications, just about any other color you can imagine.

Slate textures vary, from glass-smooth surfaces to ones that feature extensive natural imperfections like bumps, grooves and striations. In general, you'll likely want your backsplash to be easily wiped clean, so it's probably best to steer clear of styles that would hinder this ease of maintenance. Various sizes, shapes and patterns of slate tile are available as well, so you'll likely have no trouble finding the perfect slate tile for your kitchen design.

When you've got the style of slate picked out, it's time to source the materials you'll need for your backsplash. Most home improvement or tile specialty stores will offer many slate tile options, and you'll also be able to browse an endless variety of slate styles online. You can also investigate tile specialty stores in your area for an even deeper catalogue, as well as high-level expertise and customizability.

Once you've sourced the slate and materials for your backsplash, it's time to actually get it onto the walls of your kitchen. If you're a home improvement pro, installing a slate backsplash may not seem too daunting—especially if the slate has been delivered pre-cut to your sizing specs. On the other hand, you may want to hire a professional for your slate backsplash installation if you've never installed a backsplash before, if you need to manipulate, cut or size the slate, or if you're not entirely comfortable wielding a tape measure or swinging a hammer in the first place. You'll pay more for the service, but you'll save yourself time and the potential headache of a botched installation.

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