Slate Vs Sandstone Coasters – A Rocky Showdown

Natural stone coasters are quickly becoming some of the most popular tabletop accessories around. This is for a variety of reasons. The stones used are often functionally absorbent, they have a wide variety of beautiful colors and patterns, as well as the ability to be printed on, and because they are made from natural stone, they retain some of that strength and dignity that they inherited from their mountainous birthplaces.

There are a lot of different stones that can be used to make coasters, marble, onyx, gemstone, etc. however the most popular ones right now are the ones made from the two most absorbent materials, sandstone and slate.

Both sandstone and slate have positive and negative qualities, which are often subtle, and hard to understand, and which have to do mainly with the natural chemical properties of the stone itself.

First of all, the reason for the popularity of these stone coasters is that they can absorb moisture from a glass. However, the sandstone coasters are much better at doing this than the slate ones. Even though they are both microscopic, the pores in sandstone are larger, and will often actually drink the water from a sweaty glass up right before your eyes.

This should be qualified with the fact that not all sandstone absorbs at the same rate. Imported sandstones tend to be more absorbent than their domestic counterparts, and printed sandstone coasters tend to be less absorbent than unprinted ones.

However, being the most absorbent material isn’t necessarily a good thing. Even though the coaster will be able to soak up the dangerous sweat from a glass on a warm day, it will also soak up anything liquid, including colored juices, and sodas, which can cause stains in the stone itself. This is one reason why the less absorbent properties of slate are sometimes preferable.

Another factor to consider is the flatness or texture of the surface. In this property, sandstone tends to be flatter more often, while slate tends to be bumpier. However this is not always true, and depends on how the stone itself was finished at the factory. If a stone is honed or polished, it will be perfectly smooth, if it is low cleft, it will be smooth with texture, and if it is high cleft it will have a lot of dimensional personality. Check with your coaster retailer before purchasing.

In general slate tends to be more colorful than sandstone. While there are solid colored slates, in general it is the multicolored pieces, with the crazy variety of hues, which are made into coasters. The great thing about such pieces is that they hide stains, and damage inside of the multicolored pattern of the stone. In fact a stain, once disinfected, can sometimes actually contribute to the beauty of the piece.

It is difficult to really say whether slate or sandstone coasters are better. They each have their own unique properties. Slate is lower maintenance and tends to have more character. Sandstone is more functional, and less intense. The final decision will have to rely on what kind of coaster will work best for you and your family.

Source by Joey Pebble