I recently saw one of Norm’s shows where they focussed on soapstone as a material to use in countertops in the kitchen. Has anyone had any experience with Soapstone? I would love to know what sort of feedback there might be out there. Thanks.
Big, Years ago I found a couple chuncks at a beautiful cove in Big Sur Calif. It was a beautiful soft blue and white color, was easy to carve, the dust was like talcum ( ? ) Powder. So it was real soft. I have heard of it used as counter top material, maybe they use a herder type. I'm sure it would be awesome looking but maybe high maintenance.. Petey
Soapstone was used for counter material on a couple of my recent jobs, it is definetly getting more popular. It is soft, I think more so than marble, and can be cut and shaped with carbide tipped ww cutters. I can only imagine the dust would be the same as cutting bluestone, so it's gonna be bad on you and bad on your tools. I don't think you can get a gloss polish with it. The soapstone supplier fabricated the sink on the job site using silicone caulk/adhesive and stainless wood screws, other joints were bisquited, glued with epoxy, then ground. Like marble, it will need to be well sealed, and re-freshened periodicly.
This black stone looked *really* great over oiled fir cabinets also.
the dust was like talc because that's what it really is.
Great input. Thanks. We have been partial to granite, and this appears to be softer, and maybe more susceptible to stains. I like the look to be sure. Pics look terrific.
Soapstone is making a bit of a resurgance. It is Talc in a condensed form and is machined easily. The recommended treatment is simply mineral oil, removing any excess after allowing it a few minutes on the stone. If treated properly it is very resistant to stain and relatively easy to care for. I buy it from a firm in New England and used it in about twenty homes last year. Upper end homes that five years ago would have asked for granite. By the way, the cost is considerably less as well. Hope this helps.
Great input! Exactly what I was looking for!
I, too, am interested in soapstone for our new counter top. I'm a little leary about how well it will hold up against scratching being so soft as everyone suggests. Are there different 'grades' of the material, some harder than others?
Dennis in Bellevue WA
As far as I know it won't hold up to scratching at all. You may have to learn a new set of habits as far as dragging pots across the counter, etc. On the other hand, the typical mineral oil finish will hide small scratches quite effectively, and the advantage of the material being soft is that larger scratches can easily be sanded out.
If you use your kitchen counters very roughly, it's probably not a good choice for you. But if you're willing to be gentle with it, and you like the look, go for it. I don't think it looks that good as a countertop. I like it better as a wood stove. YMMV :)
I can't tell you about different grades of Soapstone. I do know that my source quarries the stone and cuts it to shape. By them doing the entire operation they invoke a certain amount of quality control on the product.
I don't know of your age but when I was in school the table tops in the science classrooms were soapstone and they received alot of abuse. Go to your local kitchen supplier and have them supply you with a sample. Take is home and see if it will suite your needs. Granite and marble, as expensive as they are will be damaged by kitchen utensils and knives. I don't find either to be very user friendly though we use alot of granite counters. I do know that when I have had a scratch or slight abuse to a soapstone top we have simply sanded it out with as fine a grit paper as possible, poor on some mineral oil to blend it in and it has always looked as good as new.
Have used soapstone for countertops in laboratories and similar work areas in many hospitals as well as science labs in schools. Yes it does scratch, but simply sand it out with fine sandpaper and then apply light coat of boiled lindseed oil.
I know of many such labs which are 50 to 60 yrs old and still look fine,
you might want to post this inquiry on the Fine Homebuilding- Breaktime sit next door. i'm sure you'll really get a lot of info out of that gang.
DENNIS: WE have soap stone counter tops in the Lab at work that are older than me and have held up quite well,yes they get scratched but you can lightly sand them and give a recoat of mineral oil.. the Lab is going to get a remodel in the up coming year and yours truly has first dibs on them there counter tops.ha...
Tooldoc, you're probably working on Alberene stone benches. Alberene is a town in the soapstone area of Virginia. The stone is resistant to acid, alkali and heat. The bench tops that are used to replace it are the pits when compared with the soapstone. At the old National Bureau of Standards, I worked on benches that had been installed prior to WWI. By the mid '60s a few of the sinks were just begining to deteriorate. Substitutes I worked on later were either asbestos fiber filled or easily damaged in laboratory use.
Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland
Bee Jay: You may be right , the director of the Lab told me they were installed in 1947 and they sure have really held up too bad there replacing them with some other junk type of counter..
there is a lot of web sites on soapstone if you care to look it up.
I will do so. thanks.
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