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Soapstone countertops

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L.A.Hound Feb 8, 2007 11:45 AM

Does anyone have any experience using soapstone as a kitchen countertop material? I have heard that it is very durable but may dent since it is softer than other stones. I am considering it for me kitchen, but I don't know anyone who has ever had soapstone countertops. Thanks!

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  1. jfood RE: L.A.Hound Feb 8, 2007 02:50 PM

    there was a thread a few weeks ago

    1. l
      L.A.Hound RE: L.A.Hound Feb 8, 2007 03:28 PM

      I can't seem to find that thread...has anyone else been having trouble with the "search" function since chowhound starting using this new website?

      1. l
        L.A.Hound RE: L.A.Hound Feb 9, 2007 12:19 PM

        Oh, and I had another question...is it necessary to treat soapstone with mineral oil? Is there any advantage to doing this in terms of wear? Or is it purely for aesthetics, to deepen the gray coloring? Thanks!

        1. m
          MakingSense RE: L.A.Hound Feb 9, 2007 04:54 PM

          I'm looking at soapstone for a kitchen re-do just as you are. All that "denting, less durable, softer-than-granite" stuff is really relative and, in fact, not relative to the way I live. My 20-year-old Formica is still in perfect condition.
          Soapstone is what the chem lab counters were made of in my high school. They've seen more abuse in 75+ years than they'll ever see in my kitchen.
          How many marble floors have people been walking on for centuries in public buildings all over Europe?
          I'd like it if the color of soapstone could stay a little lighter and I'm looking at some limestone and marble as well for that reason.
          If I choose the soapstone, I plan to oil it so that it will darken evenly. I'm afraid that without the oil, spills will soak in randomly and it will darken in a splotchy pattern.

          7 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense
            spigot RE: MakingSense Feb 9, 2007 06:08 PM

            Ooh, just saw this. No limestone! As I posted in the other thread, it gets etched by acid, which makes it useless in a kitchen.

            I type this while staring sadly at a 2-inches-in-diameter etched spot that showed up yesterday on my limestone floor......

            1. re: spigot
              m
              MakingSense RE: spigot Feb 9, 2007 08:48 PM

              That's the point of natural materials. They come with the small imperfections of their creation. They acquire patina. Like antique furniture. And historic houses. Not to mention the flaws of the people who live in them. They're not sad. They're reminders of things used and well-loved.

            2. re: MakingSense
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              Barnalla RE: MakingSense Aug 11, 2007 08:38 PM

              We are also looking at soapstone. We like the nonglossy look and are sick of everyone having granite. We also have an old home in which we feel it would better complement.

              Does anyone have soapstone in their home? We would love feedback.

              1. re: MakingSense
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                anniemax RE: MakingSense Aug 13, 2007 11:54 AM

                LOL- about the chem labs...I've picked up several very nice pieces of soapstone counter tops from the local universities surplus store. I mean, when they have a 4'x4' pieces with one corner diagonally cut off, like it was a corner section, for $2, who can turn it down? I'm just kicking myself for not getting one of the lab cabinets with a small bar sink sized lab sink when they had them for $10 for a 6 ft to 8 ft counter with built in backspash (and they don't mind if you only take the top & not the cabinet). It would have been perfect in my dinette where I have a counter I want to put a bar sink into, but I didn't think about it at the time because I already had a Kohler bar sink waiting to be installed.

                Someday when I get around to redoing my current kitchen, I'm going to have some great counter tops- I may end up with an extra seam, but I can put up with that for the price I paid. Now just to find something I like for the flooring, as the ceramic tile have to go.

                1. re: anniemax
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                  andreasimpson RE: anniemax Oct 15, 2007 01:53 PM

                  Anniemax - Where on earth did you find a school looking to get rid of old Soapstone counters? Local University surplus stores? I loved my soapstone laundry sink (we had it installed in our kitchen) when I lived in NJ. I am now trying to find something cost-effective for my small vanity in the half bath. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

                  1. re: andreasimpson
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                    anniemax RE: andreasimpson Oct 15, 2007 06:49 PM

                    It's a university surplus- you have to laugh at the things that show up there. I'm keeping my eyes out, because at the time I didn't realize it could be cut so easily.

                    I used the immersion circulator I bought for $5 to try Sous Vide sometime last week when the city decided to flush the fire hydrants & got rust in the water main. Why is it that you never notice it until after you put something in your hair you have to rinse out? I certainly didn't want any rust going in the water heater, so I filled up a 5 gallon bucket, stuck the immersion circulator in and had hot water in just a few minutes-lol.

                2. re: MakingSense
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                  Dorado Soapstone RE: MakingSense Mar 31, 2009 04:24 PM

                  Making sense,
                  Hi, just saw your comment and wanted to let you know that without the oil, soapstone will not darken differently unless you get oil in one spot and never clean the counter. The material is Inert, which means it is totally solid and does not allow substances to seep in like granite and other stones.(that is the reason Soapstone does not need sealed.) The oil is purely aesthetic. Also wax can be better(than oil) as it does not need to be applied as often.

                3. k
                  Kelli2006 RE: L.A.Hound Aug 12, 2007 10:59 AM

                  I have soapstone counter tops in 90% of my kitchen, and I can't imagine loving anything else more. Its a historic Greek revival farmhouse, so the soapstone is correct for the period but they are also abuse proof. They might get scratched more if I cut on them, but I would never cut on any counter top.

                  They are impervious to any kitchen chemical and heat, and they work quite well for pastry work. I have a small(24x24) section of inlaid marble in my island but I might reconsider that if I was going to do it again.

                  I treat them once a month with mineral oil, but it only take a few minutes and yes, it is mostly for aesthetics.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: Kelli2006
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                    Barnalla RE: Kelli2006 Aug 12, 2007 10:34 PM

                    Thank you for your reply. I have been waiting for positive feedback. I plan on going ahead with my choice of soapstone. I also have an old house and want to retain the look. Does it age nicely? Do you also have a soapstone sink? We are also considering having one.

                    1. re: Barnalla
                      k
                      Kelli2006 RE: Barnalla Aug 14, 2007 10:34 AM

                      Barnalla. I have a large farmers sink that is fabricated from soapstone. We had considered having grooves for a drain board cut into the counter by the sink, but we decided against it.

                      I'm not sure what you mean by aging, but the counters have developed a bit of patina over time and they look like they have always been part of the home. Most people are shocked to learn that the counters aren't original.

                      1. re: Kelli2006
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                        Barnalla RE: Kelli2006 Aug 14, 2007 02:55 PM

                        Hi Kelli, I am fine with a bit of Patina. I believe it adds character. I just heard that the sink chips because of pots and that the counter also chips and it is white and sticks out. I don't mind chips and marks as it adds character and it is real stone. I just don't want white spots that draws your attention the minute you walk into the kitchen. I guess what I am saying is that it looks natural and blends with the soapstone.
                        Thank you for all your help. no one around here ( long island, ny) has soapstone and I value your opnion.

                        1. re: Barnalla
                          k
                          Kelli2006 RE: Barnalla Aug 14, 2007 07:09 PM

                          Barnalla, I have never seen any chips in the sink. I use a grey Rubbermaid mat in my sink to protect any glassware.

                          Soapstone does chip but it isn't easy to do and the chips are a medium grey color. You can camouflage the chipped region with a bit of mineral oil, or they will weather to the natural grey of soapstone in a few weeks.

                          1. re: Kelli2006
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                            Barnalla RE: Kelli2006 Aug 14, 2007 07:58 PM

                            Thank you Kelli, My fears are gone and I feel comfortable having a soapstone counter and sink installed. I am so excited as Soapstone was my first choice.

                            what kind of Soapstone do you have? Is one kind stronger than another?

                            1. re: Barnalla
                              k
                              Kelli2006 RE: Barnalla Aug 14, 2007 08:40 PM

                              Barnalla, We had a local dealer sub-contract from Vermont soapstone do our kitchen. We have the original (green tinted) stone , but I don't think there is any strength difference. The cabinets are maple, so the color works quite well and isn't too dark.

                              http://www.vermontsoapstone.com/soaps...

                              1. re: Kelli2006
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                                Barnalla RE: Kelli2006 Aug 14, 2007 09:25 PM

                                Thank you for the recommendation. We will ask them for an estimate. We have received 2 estimates which were very diiferent..

                                One from Green Mountain Fabricators of Soapstone ( it is on the ny/vt border) which was reasonable and another one from another Vermont fabricator, which wanted $2000 just for installation and delivery ( I have a small kitchen). We will check out Vermontsoapstone. You are obviously happy with their work. Did they deliver from Vermont to Ohio for you?

                                1. re: Barnalla
                                  k
                                  Kelliq81 RE: Barnalla Jan 11, 2008 07:06 AM

                                  Did you get your soapstone countertops? We are getting ready to build and I'm really leaning toward soapstone. We just moved to Florida and are very remote. Everyone that I mention soapstone to gives me negative feedback, but I don't think they're familar it. So then I saw black honed granite in a magazine, but there's so much negative feedback about that so I'm back to soapstone,but I'm not sure if there is anyone around here that would know how to install it.

                                  I would really appreciate any and all feedback.

                                  1. re: Kelliq81
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                                    cheetobrain RE: Kelliq81 Jan 11, 2008 11:17 AM

                                    we have had soapstone for about a year and love it! yes, it scratches if you cut on it or scrape something across it (like, say, a 1950 kitchenaid mixer), but eventually the scratches just disappear. I don't understand what KaimukiMan is saying below because #1, they are dark grey so it's very hard to see any dirt on them and 2. they are impervious to staining. One time we put a wet bottomed cast iron pot on them, and it left a rust mark, but that easily came off. They simply do not stain.

                                    We also have a country sink fabricated from Soapstone, and I love it. My only issue is that I've dropped a few heavy class lids in it and it has dinged the bottom...but you can't see the dings, and frankly I was being clumsy and if it had been an enamel sink I probably would have taken a much more obvious divet out of it.

                                    1. re: cheetobrain
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                                      RBCal RE: cheetobrain Jan 11, 2008 01:14 PM

                                      A frequent source of stains on soapstone countertops are thin, dark liquids, such as wines and sauces. Red wine and barbecue sauce are common culprits. Vinegar and other acidic materials can also stain your countertop, especially since the mineral oil regularly applied over the countertop can react with these acids.

                                      Even water can stain your soapstone countertop. Prolonged exposure to moist environments or surfaces can cause large, dark spots to appear on the countertop. These cannot be scrubber away, since they are below the surface, but they usually disappear in a few weeks.

                                      http://www.kitchen-counter-tops.net/s...

                                    2. re: Kelliq81
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                                      babysis RE: Kelliq81 Dec 22, 2009 05:12 AM

                                      I'm in Florida, too, and I also got a lot of negative feedback when inquiring about soapstone--of course, all this feedback was from people trying to sell me granite! It's still difficult to find people in the southeast who are knowledgeable about soapstone.

                                      After much searching, I found an extremely reputable soapstone fabricator in Punta Gorda, which is about 3 hours from me. He charged a little extra for the mileage, but I am so glad to have found him. He was a true craftsman (his seams are invisible), and I LOVE my soapstone counters. We had the counters installed two years ago and have been thrilled with them. It fits perfectly in our 1942 home.

                                      Yes, they scratch, but not with a fingernail--and I have one of the softer varieties (Black Venata). And, unlike granite counters that, when damaged, usually require professional repair, I can sand out scratches in my counter myself (my fabricator even left me a piece of sandpaper of the proper grit), although in two years, this has not been necessary.

                                      Despite what granite folks will try to tell you, soapstone does NOT stain. It is perhaps the most non-porous countertop material available, so it can't stain. Improper finishing can lead to problems with water marks, but this can be remedied by someone who understands how to finish the stone properly. Some people are confused about the staining issue because of the oiling process that many people use to darken the stone. The oil doesn't soak into the stone. Instead, it oxidizes and changes the color of the stone's surface.

                                      I prefer the very dark, oiled look, but it is only an aesthetic preference. I know someone who does not oil her soapstone at all, and she has very little trouble maintaining the lighter color she prefers. My stone has a lot of white veins, and the veins show up much better when the stone is oiled. I oiled them weekly for the first six months or so, and monthly for the rest of the first year. This established a dark color that can now be maintained with very infrequent oilings.

                                      Soapstone is not for everyone, and it's extremely important to get someone who is experienced with soapstone to install it or to at least advise if you plan to DIY. Using the proper methods for finishing can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with soapstone counters.

                                      1. re: babysis
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                                        margaritak RE: babysis Feb 28, 2010 05:23 AM

                                        I too used the Punta Gorda fabricator and felt he did a great job. However, my soapstone is VERY blotchy. I had hoped not to oil it all and keep the flat, grey original look but the more I used the counters the more noticeable it became that heavy use produced darker stone, while other areas were lighter so I gave in and started oiling. I have frequent water marks. I'm wondering what your friend has done to keep her original lighter color. Thanks.

                    2. KaimukiMan RE: L.A.Hound Aug 13, 2007 03:50 PM

                      here are a few of the recent postings that dealt with countertops,
                      sorry can't seem to make them into hyperlinks.

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325796

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/354381

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368080

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/419695

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369572

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                        audyfox RE: L.A.Hound Aug 14, 2007 03:37 PM

                        I wanted soapstone look for my kitchen remodel last summer and decided on a new granite finish that's not polished and not honed. I believe it's called "brushed". It reminded me of soapstone and after a year it still looks wonderful. I couldn't be happier. It has a soft, almost leather-like look but is very durable. Good luck

                        1. r
                          RBCal RE: L.A.Hound Jan 11, 2008 08:37 AM

                          A friend's house has soapstone and it never looks clean. It stains very easily.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: RBCal
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                            renov8r RE: RBCal Jan 11, 2008 01:50 PM

                            I doubt they have soapstone -- true soapstone is inert and nonabsorbant. If something were spilled on it there is nearly no absorption. Any dried surface discolorations can be scrubbed/buffed out.

                            http://www.soapstone-co.com/whatis101...

                            Some unscrupulous dealers have been known to sell other materials as soapstone, never buy any stone from someone who has NOT been in business A LONG time -- stone lasts decades & decades, good dealers should too!

                            1. re: renov8r
                              r
                              RBCal RE: renov8r Jan 11, 2008 02:37 PM

                              Using a soapstone manufacturer as a reference will not give unbiased info. Yes, it is real soapstone in my friends house and yes it is stained.

                              A frequent source of stains on soapstone countertops are thin, dark liquids, such as wines and sauces. Red wine and barbecue sauce are common culprits. Vinegar and other acidic materials can also stain your countertop, especially since the mineral oil regularly applied over the countertop can react with these acids.

                              Even water can stain your soapstone countertop. Prolonged exposure to moist environments or surfaces can cause large, dark spots to appear on the countertop. These cannot be scrubber away, since they are below the surface, but they usually disappear in a few weeks.

                              http://www.kitchen-counter-tops.net/s...

                              1. re: RBCal
                                k
                                Kelli2006 RE: RBCal Jan 11, 2008 07:58 PM

                                Soapstone is commonly used in schools and commercial labs as it is inert and it doesn't not stain or react. Do you know who their counter top supplier was?

                                I don't think your friends got soapstone, or they were sold a inferior grade. IMVHO

                                1. re: Kelli2006
                                  r
                                  RBCal RE: Kelli2006 Jan 12, 2008 05:22 AM

                                  Have you ever seen a laboratory? I would not want to prepare food on the lab benches I have seen.

                                  I'm sorry you made a mistake in purchasing soapstone. In several years it will look like a lab bench. Full of stains and pockmarks.

                                  Other references
                                  Soapstone and sandstone will be more subject to staining than granite, but not quite as easily stained as marble.
                                  http://www.majestymarble.com/faq.htm

                                  Regarding Soapstone, if Martha Stuart didn’t like it, I don’t know who would. This is a very dense, non-porous stone but extremely soft. Your fingernail can scratch it. Basic Soapstone maintenance involves sanding down scratches and using mineral oil to even out the variations after sanding. If you THINK you might like Soapstone, then you don’t. If you want a divorce, then this is a good choice. I rarely find two people in the same room that like Soapstone.
                                  http://tomcordova.com/category/answer...

                                  1. re: RBCal
                                    r
                                    renov8r RE: RBCal Jan 14, 2008 06:50 AM

                                    While I don't hope to convince you, the fact is that true soapstone is inert -- it does not react to any common acids or alkali. It is dense and non-absorbent. While it is true that is "scratchable with a fingernail" it is far more dense than wood, which can also be scratched the same way. Because soapstone has an amorphous structure scratches are not a big deal, minors ones literally fade to invisibility with wipe downs of mineral oil. If somehow the surface gets gouged (which I believe would take deliberate misuse). surface buffing/sanding will blend the area back to match. You need not slather on mineral oil, though doing so will speed the oxidation that results in the dark patina.

                                    I don't know much about Martha Stewart, but it seems like her TV show kitchen is very "sunny & bright" with pastel colors. I can see how she would not welcome soapstone. She seems very concerned with "visible cleanliness" too and I do think folks wanting an "operating room" kind of look will not be happen with soapstone. Some people have buyers remorse over dark shiny granites too -- they can make even normal amounts of household dust look like a Hollywood set for "Frankenstein's Ancient Castle".. Further there are a multitude of ligh colored granites that look good in the showroom but end up driving people batty chasing tiny dots that they percieve to be crumbs, but are in fact part of the stone...

                                    I have personally been involved with several kitchens that are equipped with soapstone counters -- if every case they have cleaned up very easily. I fact I know of commercial restaurants and wine /liquor bars that have topped their front bars with soapstone and it looks very nice. Maintenance involves fair less than any surface other than SS.

                                    There is no perfect material that will serve each persons tastes, but soapstone is well suited to kitchen counters and to chemistry labs. I'm sure that all the inorganic reactants and organic solvents that get used in labs would make it a very unsafe area for food prep, but I'm fairly certain that if the lab stuff is re-surfaced with a common sander it will look pretty good and be ready for a new life.

                                    To each his own!

                                    1. re: renov8r
                                      ttriche RE: renov8r Jan 14, 2008 11:25 AM

                                      Methinks you have hit it on the head. I love being able to put a 500 degree dutch oven right onto the countertop, wipe up spills, and not worry about acid etching. My wife thinks life would be easier if we had got granite. (As a chemist, I doubt this, having seen what staining can do to granite, and what it can't do to maintained soapstone)

                                      If you do not want to perform maintenance you should not even consider soapstone. It is as simple as that. We got dark silver-black soapstone and applied mineral oil daily for the first month, weekly for the first year, and monthly since then, and it seems to have polymerized into a stain-resistant finish. But the surface DOES scratch, it WILL discolor if you don't treat it (so will granite, BTW), and you MUST maintain it if you want it to look nice.

                                      TANSTAAFL, and I think you (renov8r) excellently described why.

                                      Stone resale and fabrication is a very poorly regulated industry where the buyer really must do their homework or they will get burned.

                                    2. re: RBCal
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                                      greenhikerchick RE: RBCal Sep 9, 2008 10:15 AM

                                      Wow, your responses seems a bit hostile. I have to add that we have installed soapstone countertops and love them. We drink red wine and have had no issue with staining (which was part of our decision to purchase this material). Using mineral oil is as easy as wiping down the countertop after use. Unless you clutter your countertop with useless stuff, this is a no brainer. Takes 2 minutes. We have friends who have had soapstone counters (and a kitchen sink) for about 3 years now. Looks as good as the day it was installed and they wouldn't choose anything else. Perhaps your friend's soapstone looks bad because he/she cleans it with 409 or some other harsh cleaner. You are not supposed to do that. So, lighten up and have a nice day.

                                      1. re: RBCal
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                                        heidikay RE: RBCal Oct 21, 2012 11:51 AM

                                        I have soapstone and I love it. It does not stain. It has chipped in a few places along the top edge. Very small chips. The actual surface has never scratched. I do not cut directly on it. Soapstone is softer material. I would use it again in a heartbeat. There are different soapstones just like granites. I am sure some are softer and some are harder. My soapstone is green with white veins. I think it was called Rainforest green soapstone.

                              2. k
                                katcraig RE: L.A.Hound Apr 2, 2009 04:20 AM

                                I moved into a house with soapstone countertops, and if I'd done it myself, I'd have chosen Corian or Formica. Here's why: when properly oiled, it is very dark in color. This seems to suck up all the light and make it harder to see what I'm chopping or whatever. The edges do dent from moderate impact, like bumping it with a stainless steel utensil, especially around the sink edge. It looks crummy if it has been a while since oiling, and since it is so porous, it seems to me it is not very sanitary. I did live in a house with Corian and loved its maintenance-free durability and clean look/feel.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: katcraig
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                                  Susan Daniel RE: katcraig Jul 5, 2009 05:53 AM

                                  I don't think anyone who really loves the look of formica and Corian is going to love soapstone. Soapstone is a totally different look from formica and Corian. I have both formica (in our city house) and soapstone (in our farmhouse) right now.

                                  I really like our soapstone countertops. They do take some maintenance to stay looking great. Anytime you see soapstone counters in a magazine photo, they have just been rubbed down with mineral oil. It's important to know that this is an easy thing to do--just takes a couple of minutes.

                                  I have not found that my soapstone counters are easy to chip. I've had them for four years now---and don't know of any chips.

                                  The countertops have a nice warm look that is perfect for older homes and homes built to look like older homes. You CAN set very hot pans on them without worrying.

                                  I don't care for granite, and soapstone was a very good alternative for us.

                                  1. re: Susan Daniel
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                                    rainey RE: Susan Daniel Jul 5, 2009 01:02 PM

                                    I really LOVE my soapstone counters. I think the surface is gorgeous and much less Las Vegas than other stone. It also, tho utterly non-porous, has a softer, more organic feel than things like granite, et al.

                                    It does need to be oiled -- I use a mixture of 50% mineral oil/50% beeswax that lasts much longer than mineral oil alone. I can apply it easily and quickly with a small buffing sander that I got for about $30. It makes doing my deep (into a bay window over the sink and across a peninsula deeper than my reach) and long counters go quickly but wouldn't be necessary for conventional counters where a cloth is all that's necessary.

                                    At first I guess I oiled it every 2 weeks. In time once a month was enough. Currently, about 18 mo after installation, I don't remember the last time I did it. Altho the deep dark gloss of a freshly oiled soupstone counter is something to behold, the normal natural patina is lovely too in its own way.

                                    It is, of course, more subject to wear but the edges can be ground to a soft rounded edge that is more impervious to knicks and more durable varieties can be selected.

                                    I love mine so much I went for a soapstone sink to complete it. And, if I were redoing my kitchen, I'd find things to skimp on, if necessary, to get soapstone all over again.

                                    1. re: Susan Daniel
                                      jen kalb RE: Susan Daniel Jul 6, 2009 01:38 PM

                                      Friends of ours have a historic home and installed soapstone counters in it. they are always fussing over it, wiping off water spills etc. I simply could not STAND that, even if it has a great feel., which it does. We have had marble counters for 20+ years so I am not allergic to natural stone and its issues, but these soapstone counters just seemed too high maintenance for me.

                                      1. re: jen kalb
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                                        chizmarj RE: jen kalb Oct 23, 2009 08:01 AM

                                        I have heard of a lot of people having issues with soapstone in the ways your are describing....I would recommend them sanding the surface with a random orbitle sander to an 80 grit finish. This will hold the oil longer. If they use a mixture of mineral oil and bees wax it will also provide a longer last finish that repells water. The issue there having is with the oil not the stone. Oil and water do not mix well together. The bees wax will provide beading up of the water on the surface and it can then be wiped off. I can provide a premade mix of the 2 if they can't find it anywhere.

                                        chizmarj@gmail.com

                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                          jen kalb RE: jen kalb Dec 22, 2009 01:27 PM

                                          correction - countertops referred to by me above are slate not soapstone so my comment is irrelevant

                                        2. re: Susan Daniel
                                          k
                                          katcraig RE: Susan Daniel Jul 24, 2009 06:37 AM

                                          Actually I have a deep love for natural stone used in the home - just not soapstone countertops. I am reminded of this every time I have to bring the countertop back to looking nice -- and no matter how hard I work at it, I'll never get the blotchiness out of the accompanying soapstone sink.

                                      2. k
                                        klectik1 RE: L.A.Hound Jan 2, 2010 09:35 AM

                                        I've been living with my soapstone countertops for 7 years, and wouldn't have it any other way! I used to oil them when I first got them. Now I do it only once in a while, if I want a particularly black, shiny finish.(not as shiny as granite). They are so much more comfortable looking and less formal than granite. Can put anything from oven or stove on them. Scratching is possible, but not likely, and it can be sanded out, if necessary. Many compliments on them, too. Hope this helps. My picture file was too big to include, unfortunately. Check out www.vermontsoapstone.com. Hope this helps.

                                        1. j
                                          jum8uck RE: L.A.Hound Dec 4, 2010 01:58 PM

                                          I have soapstone counter tops -- they are really, really easy to care for. Don't believe anyone who says they stain --- real soapstone cannot stain --- it's impossible --- the stone is so dense and inert that it just doesn't react to household chemicals including wine, food colorings, vinegar, lemon juice.
                                          You can choose to oil the surface or not --- it doesn’t matter. I oil my counter tops about once /month because I love the serene dark color that it makes and I love how the white veins in the stone stand out in contrast. I also find that oiling around the faucet and soap dispenser prevents hard water build up on the counter and faucet.
                                          I have twin under counter sinks installed and if I could do any thing differently it would be to install a much larger, farmhouse style sink to accommodate oversized heavy objects such as my stove griddle and large cast iron skillets when they need scrubbing. Because I have to prop these oversized objects half in and half out of my small sinks, I am finding that the soapstone edges on my sinks are developing little dings. I know that I could easily sand them out and they certainly don’t look all that bad but now I take care to protect the edges with a folded dish towel before I put those large objects in the sinks to be cleaned. That is the only thing I have to do to “baby” my counter tops. I have already made one large scratch in the surface of the counter which was made when I slid a wooden chopping board across the counter. It was caused by a broken off knife tip embedded in the chopping board. My heart sank when it happened, but when I oiled the scratch, it disappeared. I don’t think I would have been so calm if it had happened with a polished granite countertop.
                                          So for those of you who are thinking of soapstone – go for it --- it has an ageless simple look that in my opinion is matchless in its beauty --- much nicer than shiny, speckled granite. I got my soapstone from M. Teixiera Soapstone in San Francisco. They were very professional and did a beautiful job of installation. There is a joining seam right at the middle of my sink but you would never notice it unless it was pointed out to you. They also drilled holes for my soap dispenser, my faucet, my air switch, and my filtered water spout.
                                          My slab is a Santa Rita stone from Brazil and in its natural color it is light grey with many little dark grey spots and some large white veins. The background color darkens when oiled to match the dark grey spots and the dark grey spots take on a very pleasing crystalline appearance. It wasn’t the most expensive slab there but I am very pleased with my choice. All told, with installation my counter tops cost about $3212.00 and that was for two small 10” slabs on either side of my stove and a 34” slab on top of a cabinet and a long 11 foot slab on my sink counter. The depth on all the slabs were 25.5”.

                                           
                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jum8uck
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                                            heidikay RE: jum8uck Oct 21, 2012 11:55 AM

                                            I got my soapstone from M. Teixiera as well but out of New Jersey. They shipped to us and my husband installed it with some help from a local fabricator. My husband was nervous about cutting the sink opening.

                                          2. p
                                            Poyma RE: L.A.Hound Jan 16, 2013 12:19 PM

                                            A friend of mine has soapstone countertops, she loves it. She is pretty careful though and uses a cutting board for slicing etc. And now I'm getting my kitchen done, and the soapstone installer has already come to measure. I'm really excited. I do have one question though, for the soapstone counter subpopulation, : has anyone with soapstone countertops used a clamp-on grinder or pasta maker? Will the soapstone be in danger of breaking if I clamp on an implement?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Poyma
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                                              zhenya00 RE: Poyma Jan 17, 2013 08:37 AM

                                              We have had soapstone in our kitchen for several years and while we still love it, it does require care as outlined here.

                                              I would not clamp an implement to the soapstone unless it had very good rubber pads on both sides. Even then, you might be concerned that it would chip the edge. Soapstone is very soft, so it scratches easily - ie. opening a bottle of wine is enough to scratch the surface - yes it buffs out easily, but something you should be aware of.

                                              One of the best things we did was to install a butcher block in one area of the countertop. Having the contrasting surfaces to work with is something I would definitely do again.

                                              1. re: zhenya00
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                                                hazelhurst RE: zhenya00 Jan 17, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                We had soapstone trough sinks in my school dorms that lasted untl the dorm was redone about 80 years later. they survived generations of adolescent boys. The stuff is indestructable.

                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                  wekick RE: hazelhurst Jan 17, 2013 09:04 AM

                                                  I wouldn't call it indestructible. The pattern hides chips or scratches though. Someone dropped a wine bottle on the edge of our sink and put a good chip in it and there are scratches. I had a pull out cutting board above one of my drawers just for the clamp on grinder. Soapstone is soft and may have areas where the elements change which might be subject to cracks. I've had mine 5 years and love it but it requires being careful. Our island is Silestone because I knew it would get a lot rougher use. Also be aware that there are different types of soapstone with varying hardness. I always use a cutting board no matter what the countertop. If it is hard enough not to show cut marks, then it is ruining my knife's edge.

                                                  1. re: wekick
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                                                    hazelhurst RE: wekick Jan 17, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                    I suppose ours had chips and nicks but it seems in memory to have been damn near coal black and no one took care of it at all. It would have been installed in the late 19th century or early 20th so whatever soapstone was avilable then (cheap I guess) would be the one. personally, I'd love to have had some of those pieces for a countertop when they re-did the dorms.

                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                      wekick RE: hazelhurst Jan 17, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                      Because soapstones have different characteristics, some being softer, I would guess soapstone used for lab tables and sinks, especially a long time ago might be chosen more on strength and might be more homogenous in appearance. Mine has all kinds of beautiful green and white veining but it might not be as durable due to that veining.

                                            2. g
                                              GH1618 RE: L.A.Hound Jan 17, 2013 09:38 AM

                                              My daughter chose soapstone after extensive research. She takes after me in wanting to consider every possible option, only more so. She seems happy with it, but I'll ask her for an update and report.

                                              Edit: just noticed this is an old thread.

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