Soap stone counter tops
reggie4138
May 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Does anyone have soap stone counter tops? And are there any benefits to soap stone vs granite?
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
I've installed soapstone on projects. I love it. Adds incredible warmth to a kitchen. You don't have to seal it, but you do have to rub mineral oil on it a few times a month if you like it dark (otherwise it turns a grayish blue or green, which is also nice). It is not porous...nothing sinks into it, so no stains. It is same material that was on your table top in chemistry class...it will withstand plenty of wear and tear, and you can sit hot things right on it. It can get dings, because it is a little softer than granite, but you can sand those out. Scratches will disappear over time. if you need everything to always to look "shiny and new"...then soapstone is not for you. It's also more expensive than most granites.

I like it basically because it is spectacularly beautiful, and most granites are boring and everyone has them. I attached a pic of soapstone just after I installed and oiled it...you wipe off the oil after a little while. Look for slabs with veining...those are the most highly prized.
May 2, 2013 at 8:56am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
Hi reggie,
We've had soapstone counters in our kitchen for the last four years and love them. MJ Hampton has covered most of the bases, but if you have any questions I'm happy to answer them. They only need to be oiled that frequently, however, when they are first installed.
May 2, 2013 at 9:08am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Brenda
My friend has soapstone in her beach house. It's pretty, but she has to oil it more like once every week or two. This is probably the wrong word, but it "scratches" very easily. Not deep scratches, and they go away when you oil it, but something as simple as dragging a plate across it or setting a glass down wrong will leave a white scratch (until you "oil" it away). WAY too much maintenance for me.

I personally dislike granite. There is just way too much pattern and movement in it for me. I'm a quartz fan.
May 2, 2013 at 9:09am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
You only have to oil soapstone every week or two in the first few months after it is installed. And if you use soapstone wax the finish lasts a bit longer than with mineral oil. After the first year we needed to wax our soapstone counters approximately every three months, and now after three years we have to wax only once every 4-6 months. In our small kitchen, waxing all the counters takes about 10 minutes. It isn't at all onerous, but it is more maintenance than some people like. Granite needs to be resealed periodically, but otherwise doesn't need maintenance.
May 2, 2013 at 9:11am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
oops...Brenda you are right I meant to say oil them a couple times a month...not couple times a year :) Edited orig post. Keep that bottle of mineral oil handy.
May 2, 2013 at 9:12am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
No, you were right the first time, MJ, at least for maintenance after the first six months.
May 2, 2013 at 9:14am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
I think it depends on the soapstone...i like them very black, as does the client...so he oils them like every other weekend.
May 2, 2013 at 9:17am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
If you check with soapstone fabricators, you'll see that the maintenance decreases steadily after the first 6-8 months as the soapstone stays dark longer: http://www.soapstones.com/soapstone_care.html
May 2, 2013 at 9:24am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
that makes sense. the ones in high school were dark all year and had to be at least 50 years old...and I KNOW Sister Margaret Theresa was not in there oiling those things!
May 2, 2013 at 9:31am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stoneshop
Just to clarify, granite doesn't need to be sealed by a professional--it is something that a homeowner can do themselves. Simply buy a small bottle of sealer, wipe it on with a rag, let it sit for a few hours, then clean it off with your granite cleaner. It should only take about 15 minutes depending on the size of your kitchen. This sealing process should be done about once a year depending on the stone (some stones you can get away with doing it every two years). You can places hot pots, etc. on granite, too.

Personally, I love the look of soapstone. If it fits into the style of your home, I would say go for it. It is a little bit more unique, in my opinion. Possibly a little bit more maintenance than granite, but worth it.
May 2, 2013 at 1:00pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
Thanks for the clarification on the granite sealing, Stoneshop. Some homeowners have mentioned bringing in professionals to seal their granite, so I just assumed it had to be done that way.
May 2, 2013 at 1:10pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stoneshop
Not a problem, feeny! One certainly can bring in a professional to do the job, but, for those who want to save a couple bucks, they have the option of doing it themselves.
May 2, 2013 at 1:21pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
Stoneshop...I just recommend plain old mineral oil to people...do you use something else?
May 2, 2013 at 1:41pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stoneshop
For soapstone? Yes, we use the mineral oil as well.

For granite sealing, we recommended using an impregnating sealer. We use Miracle Sealants' 511 Porous Plus.
May 2, 2013 at 1:45pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Braitman Design Studio
I wrote a blog post on choosing the right countertop for your kitchen which I think might be useful to you as you weigh your options. You can read it here: http://www.braitmandesign.com/kitchens-baths/kitchen-remodeling/countertop-kitchen/

Overall, several factors can influence your decision. Namely, you should consider the look, feel, and maintenance factor of each material. If you're interested in a more natural look, soapstone would be preferable over granite. However, if you want to achieve a dramatic look, granite could be the right choice. You should also consider the feel of the material – soapstone and honed granite are warmer to the touch, while polished granite has a colder feel to it. Both types of counters require periodic maintenance. My post explores the pros and cons of both soapstone and granite in much more detail, in addition to profiling several other types of countertop materials, but I hope this preview has been helpful. Good luck!
May 3, 2013 at 5:57am   
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Looking for unique small vanity cabinet ideas
I am looking for unique ideas people have used for...
Wall is down...now how do I arrange and decorate area with only one wa
I just completed a kitchen remodel and removed a wall...
Wall colour and fireplace tile ?
I want to change the colour of my walls as well I need...
cupped hardwood floors
We remodeled our house 3 years ago. We had 3" white...
Study Update Suggestions
Hi. I am going through my home room by room and updating...
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™