Salvaged slate to become our new countertop

As it turns out, one of my summer pipe-dream DIY ideas may become a reality.

Rob and I were talking countertops Saturday morning when we decided to swing by PACA and see what they had.

We discussed budget before we left and decided not to spend more than a certain amount. I was prepared to just look around and figure out how to stretch that budget. We also measured first, and drew a diagram of our counter's layout.

We went with old blackboards in mind, but I never expected them to be right there, stacked and waiting for us, as we entered PACA's salvage yard.

And at $2 a square foot (we bought about 25 square feet – small kitchen, remember), it was firmly inside our budget. Probably cheaper than trying to DIY concrete countertops, which we'd discussed but could never really get our minds around.

I never imagined slate would be easy to find and so affordable.

Rob hauled the slate home, and we have a date tonight (a slate date?), scraping and scrubbing it down, as it still has some cork and elementary-school alphabet papers attached. We plan to borrow a tile saw from a friend, and have already figured out what adhesive and sealer we need for it.

I am going to have slate countertops. I feel giddy just thinking about it.

So, on a roll, Rob and I decided to just hit the local home improvement stores – and the Restore – to see if we couldn't find an undermount sink.

And, uh, holy cow, retail sinks are expensive. We could only find the size we needed at one store, and I'm not even kidding that it was five times what we paid for the slate. Guess we're sticking with our reliable old drop-in sink for now.

I can't wait to get started on this project, but I know that it probably won't be as easy as I'm expecting. I'm going to suggest we do a dry run, testing our cuts, measurements and seams, with plywood before we start with the slate.

Wish us luck!

Photo from this Flickr page. My countertops may end up looking like this!

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htucker wrote on June 06, 2011 at 8:06 am

This sounds so cool! I can't wait to see the final pictures. The dry run with plywood is a VERY good idea.

Sinks are crazy expensive, and I know Foreman won't like this suggestion, but do a little searching online for pricing. We ended up buying ours through Home Depot and got a style and price not found in the store. It was a special order, but we saved a ton.

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 06, 2011 at 9:06 am
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Thanks! And good idea. Rob and I were drooling over the copper undermount sink in the store ... and I'm not even joking, it cost more than our monthly mortgage payment.

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 06, 2011 at 9:06 am
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Or ... maybe we could reinstall our existing sink as an undermount? It's a little far-fetched, but so is most of what we do around our house.
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/undermount-a-dropin-sink-3-tips

htucker wrote on June 06, 2011 at 10:06 am

It will also depend on the edges of the slate after cutting it. They will show with the undermount.

The more I think about the slate, the more I think it would also make a great backsplash - not in an entire kitchen as it would be dark, but just a bit for writing notes and such. Very fun idea.

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 06, 2011 at 12:06 pm
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That's a good idea! We'll have to see if we have any left by the time we're done... And good point about the edge - the drop in sink might be necessary. I hadn't thought of that.

Julie Wurth wrote on June 06, 2011 at 10:06 am
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Love this idea! It was obviously meant to be!

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 06, 2011 at 10:06 am
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Hah, I will consider it meant to be when we finish installing them ... too many things could go wrong in the meantime! It might be cynical, but I've learned to have flexible expectations when it comes to large DIY projects like this.