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Soapstone sinks

We are beginning an entire kitchen renovation and the only bit undecided is the sink. We are either going with a fireclay (Shaw) farmhouse but because having soapstone as the countertop material, have considered a farmhouse apron front made from the same slab. I can find very little online from folks having soapstone as an actual SINK material and am worried about waterspotting, hardwater buildup, etc even beyond the first year of seasoning. Does anyone have experience with this? Thank you!

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  1. We did the same thing 7 years ago. I have to say I LOVE my sink! I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I'll tell you the downside:

    • No waterspotting, hard water build up or chipping in hard constant use. My counter has had its share of dings, but not my sink. BUT
    • when you have a soapstone sink they have tight 90˚ corners at the bottom and sides. You will have to periodically take a brush to the soft debris that collects there.
    • Your sink will, likely, be canted to the drain but it is a much shallower angle than conventional sinks. So you'll be chasing small debris to the drain on a regular basis.
    • It's a very HARD material so you will probably want to protect your dishes with a silicone or other sort of mat to absorb shocks when wet things slip.

    Now, here's the upside:

    • They're BEAUTIFUL and they age even more beautifully. I got mine because I remember my great grandmother's which was god-only-knows how old when I came along. It was and always had been a thing of utility. But it was also a thing of unsurpassing patinaed beauty such that I recognized it as a mere 8 or 9yo and held it in my memory for some 50 years before I could have my own.
    • You didn't ask but since these things are basically cemented together, I worried about leaks. Mine hasn't but I got a lifetime guarantee from the VT craftsperson who made it. I haven't been concerned about a leak since I got it installed.
    • For not a lot more than the cost of standard soapstone sinks I got mine customized so that Ii have one humongous side that will fit the largest roasting pan I've got and a second side narrow enough to fit a 10" dish drainer that hangs inside it.

    I thought I'd have a better picture but this is all I can find that shows my counter and sink at all: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7566763...

    Ask yourself if you're buying it for now or for your forever. If you want something for forever and you're going to use it all the time it's soooo worth the expense, in my personal opinion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      Great information, thank you. Just the affirmation I believe I was seeking. Thanks for the picture, is your faucet mounted within the sink?

      1. re: daintaly

        No, my faucet is counter mounted.

    2. I am getting soapstone counter and apron-front soapstone sink for my remodel. I visited Bucks County Soapstone Company in PA, and saw all the different types of soapstone sinks in real life.

      For the main kitchen sink, they offer two different types of construction:

      a) five soapstone slabs pieced together, using tongue and groove technique.
      b) one piece sink carved out of a single soapstone block.

      The second type has rounded corners inside, so you won't have to "periodically take a brush to the soft debris that collects there", like rainey mentioned above, as it doesn't have the "tight 90˚ corners".

      However, the one piece sink costs about twice as much as the 5-piece sink. While my husband likes the one-piece sink, I think we will have to go with the 5-piece for budget reason.

      11 Replies
      1. re: CookieCookies

        Forgot about the carved option but it's not that big a deal for me to use a brush (I use a denture brush) once a week. I just wanted to let daintaly know exactly what to expect.

        CookieCookies, I hope and trust you will love your sink as I love mine. They really are for the ages. And for something that you're going to use about every day for the rest of your life (or at least your time in that particular kitchen) you might as well have something that's going to be a joy.

        1. re: rainey

          Yes, the pros and cons you listed are very comprehensive. I am sure it will help a lot of people who are considering soapstone sink.

          I surely hope my soapstone sink and counter will outlast me. I feel almost guilty to get one installed, knowing that I will only live there for like 30 years (till retirement). I guess I can only hope that the next owner will appreciate soapstone as much as we do, and hope they won't throw it out during their remodel... (husband says I worry too much.)

          1. re: CookieCookies

            Haha! You sound like me. we just moved into this (Savannah, GA) home a few months ago and I already fear leaving the kitchen I have designed to my exact specifications only to have a future buyer not appreciate it. I am confident choosing soapstone now even if difficult to find down in this neck of the woods on account of the age of the home and the overall fit.

            You do not have to answer, but can someone ballpark for me the cost and dimensions - seeking about 18"x30" - of a carved soapstone sink? I know I can get a 'prefab' (their words) for around $2200 and for double the cost have one built from the same slab as my countertops (I would choose this option on account of differences in aging, color change, etc.) Thanks for your previous replies, I am meeting my contractor with this decision this week.

            1. re: daintaly

              I don't have a quote for the carved version. Based on the conversation I had with the soapstone company, I "think" it will be around $3000-$3200 new in that size. With 30" exterior dimension, the interior will be about 27" or 28" wide, if I remember correctly.

              1. re: daintaly

                For what it's worth, I'm in Los Angeles and bought my Brazilian soapstone counter locally. I had to order the sink from VT. It was made from stone I selected from a picture.

                It seemed close enough to the counter to work for me. I was aware even then that I was only working from colors that were going to begin to change. Nevertheless, what I wanted was natural materials and I got comfortable with the idea that there is a lot of variation in nature and there might as well be in my kitchen.

                As it turned out, the stone on my counters had a good bit of dark green in it. The sink was purely black with a single highly visible white vein that my counters don't have (wish they did!). Even so, they look great together. I think I'm the only person who can see that they're not matched. In strong light I can still see the green in my counters but soapstone seems to default to black over time whatever you do so this is probably less of an issue than you're anticipating.

                PS I don't oil my counters anymore. Haven't in years. I oiled my brand new sink exactly once.

                If you're going to be oiling yours Black & Decker makes a neat little rotary polishing/sanding tool for about $30 that speeds up the process. It makes a big difference if you have lots of counter or deep ones like my 4' deep peninsula. Pressing out and down at the same time is a b*tch!

              2. re: CookieCookies

                It is amusing to me to see the expense of these things. We had huge ones in boarding school, each with six taps. They were at least 80 years old when I used them. I wonder who re-sold them when the dorms were renovated? Probably made a killing.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Bet that was something like my great grandmother's, hazelhurst. Hers couldn't' have been as long as one with 6 taps, but it was easily 4' long and my mother used to bathe me in it when I was a toddler.

              3. re: rainey

                IIRC you are in Canada now? do you think the prices there are lower for the soapstone than in the States?
                I know I would regret if I didn't get the one piece. But only after I got over the extravagance guilt.

              4. re: CookieCookies

                Update- I have asked for a quote from Bucks County soapstone. Since I am so far away, I will have to have anything purchased shipped here, and then have a separate installer put in the cabinets. Anyone ever tried this? Did you end up with BCSoapstone, CookieCookies?

                Thanks

                1. re: daintaly

                  Yup. My sink came from VT to SoCal. I had to have it installed by stonemasons who had never done soapstone before.

                  I was nervous but I trusted my GC who said he wouldn't let them rush anything or make any mistakes. I couldn't be there when it was being installed because I was a wreck but it all worked out just fine.

                  I suspect you're in my now and enjoying your sink. MAZEL TOV!

                  1. re: daintaly

                    Sorry I didn't see your question until just now.

                    I haven't purchased the soapstone countertop and sink yet. I am about to order the cabinets though, so the sink decision will be coming up very soon, and I do have a recent quote.

                    While the soapstone sink is very very nice in real life, my husband thinks a white Shaw fireclay sink will look better in our kitchen -- soapstone countertop, natural hard maple cabinets finished with linseed oid & wax, white fridge, stainless steel range, golden oak flooring. I think we will most likely get the Shaw sink (either the butler 36" or the waterside 30").

                    Are you getting the soapstone countertop from the same place as the soapstone sink? I was told by BCSoapstone that once the cabinets are installed, they would come to do very precise measurements (digital scan or something?), so the fabricated countertop and sink will fit perfectly.

                2. I have soapstone counters, but went with a fireclay farmhouse sink.

                  One thought I had is that (whatever sink material you choose) you may want to consider using a simple plastic dishpan (!). Old-fashioned, I know. But I have really come to love this style of doing dishes (my main sink basin is ~huge~ ) the simple plastic dishpan is small and light and easy to disinfect. I also don't feel about about recycling/disposing of it. It's softer than either soapstone or fireclay and easier on dishes (chipping-wise).

                  Good luck with the remodel!

                  1. okay, rec'd the quote tonight for the sink and it costs $4500, nearly the total cost for the soapstone countertops! I did ask to have it made from the slab as my countertops. Is this what I should expect or do they have me over a barrel since there aren't many others providing them in my area? Uggh!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: daintaly

                      The sink alone is $4500? That cannot be right...

                      The quote I got from BCSoapstone (through our kitchen designer) for a 5-piece slant-front 30" soapstone sink was less than $1000.