baltimorons

soapstone or honed black granite

Henry Sun
last month

For our kitchen renovation, we are considering doing periphery white cabinets and 2 islands with dark cabinets and white quartz counters. I would like to use darker counter material for the white cabinets on the side. We have granite now with very busy caledonia type pattern but easy to maintain.

Since the new counter will be next to range and sink, I was drawn to low maintenance, heat resistant materials and trying to figure out soapstone vs hones black granite. I am not a neat freak (we have cleaners) but I cannot figure out the true pros/cons with wide range of opinions regarding both materials.

so...is soapstone really durable and I can put whatever on it, and is honed black granite easy to stain with fingerprints and cups?

thanks much

Comments (29)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I would do the soapstone or polished granite I find the honed shows every greasy finger print both are really impervious to most everything

  • Henry Sun

    So if the idea is the matte look, honed granite is not good? I see some people apply oils to soapstone. What’s that for?
    I can see us doing that once or twice and giving up over time...

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  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    The oil, or beeswax/oil combo, darkens the soapstone, as would any grease or oil from the range spatter. If you stop oiling the soapstone and it returns to a more natural hue, you might still have darker areas around the range.

    Soapstone was very popular in GW kitchens 10-15 years ago--you should be able to find a lot of older threads discussing properties, good and bad. I love the look of soapstone, especially with white Shaker cabinets.

  • ram123

    I have a honed black granite with white veins, I think it’s called jet mist and looks kind of like soapstone. I wanted soap stone but right before we bought it they showed me you could make a scratch or mark with your fingernail! Loved the look but we wouldn’t have been happy with that part and the oiling, etc. Love the honed granite, I have a friend that had shiny black granite with a little pattern and it was very hard to keep watermarks, etc. from showing.
    If you love the soapstone just make sure to research it.

  • Henry Sun

    Do you find the honed granite easy to upkeep or does it have patchy greasy spots over time? Thanks

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO soapstone is very tough they use it in labs and the oiling is really not that often I would not let that make the decision

  • ILoveRed

    Two different cabinet finishes and two different countertops.....I was strongly advised by the design experts on here not to do that and I followed their advice.


    I love dark granite. My oldest daughter had honed absolute black and it was awful with stains and fingerprints. I have leathered absolute black in a bathroom and I love it. No problems and it is beautiful. Younger dd has leathered via lactea. Gorgeous and no stains.


    i have no experience with soapstone but I think I would love it.

  • julieste

    We have had soapstone counters for about 7 or 8 years. I have zero complaints about it as a counter surface and want to use it again in a different space. We've become accustomed to how easy it is to maintain and how it is impervious to everything. We put hot pans from the oven directly on it. The only thing we don't do is cut on it. And, I am not someone who pampers her kitchen. In fact, I have never even treated my soapstone; it has just developed a natural patina. Get it; you won't be sorry.

  • Henry Sun

    I know what you mean about 2 cabinets and counters...the cabinets are the same shaker style just dark island so hopefully not so design foolish to get darker counters on the white cabinets....
    I didn’t know there was leathered so yet another twist!

  • Danette

    I've only had my soapstone for 5 months but I love it. Heat resistant. Non porous so less chance of germs impregnating. Nothing will stain or etch it. Zero maintenance. Oiling is optional and for looks only. I don't oil mine (it's already dark) and don't intend to. Some people complain about temporary water rings left on the oiled/waxed surface so that's something to consider. I had a couple of small scratches left by workmen but they rubbed right out. No chips yet....
    mine is "leathered"

  • ram123

    My honed granite does not show anything that bothers me but the soapstone picture from Danette is beautiful!

  • Danette

    ram123. I was originally looking for honed jet mist, or Virginia mist, granite because I thought soapstone would be too costly. But the only mist slabs I came across were too light/gray. I love yours! Then I came across the soapstone slab and it was about the same price as the mists.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    Danette and ram123, very pretty counter tops! I'd be happy with either one.

  • Henry Sun

    I was just at the appliance store and they had some soapstone mock counter on the side. It was all scratched up with frayed and dented edges. I can’t imagine that’s the rugged look anyone is going for...did they just have soft soapstone or something?

  • beckyinrichmond

    I am getting honed Virginia Mist in a few weeks Did not want a shiny or textured finish.

  • ram123

    Henry Sun, this is why I would want to research the soapstone. Maybe there are different types. You hear about the lab counters and years old basement sinks that are perfect but then what I looked at could be easily scratched or etched. I even found someone on this site or somewhere whose little girl carved a heart in her soapstone counter. Good luck and keep posting.

  • Design Girl

    I LOVE soapstone. It really is pretty bullet proof. Oiling is not necessary so I wouldn't bother.

  • Kristin S

    Our leathered black mist granite is being fabricated now for install soon. We it found it most helpful to go through this time yards and touch the stones quite a bit. Some showed finger prints immediately, others didn’t. We chose a leathered black mist over honed because we found that fingerprints didn’t smudge it. I think you have to just test out the specific slab to really know how it will be, smudge-wise.

  • Mom

    I have had the leathered Virginia Mist for about 8 months now. I would describe my slab as a dark charcoal color. No issues with fingerprints or staining and maintenance has been very easy. I have heard wonderful things about soapstone (and that not all are created equal) but it was virtually impossible to obtain in my area when I was making my decision. So I went with the leathered Virginia Mist granite and it’s been great, no regrets at all on that choice.

  • missenigma

    Oiling or waxing is for appearance only. However, depending upon the soapstone, the difference in appearance can be dramatic. Here's a picture of soapstone slab I'm considering. The right side was wiped with water to simulate oiling, the left is in it's natural state.




  • missenigma

    @ram123 What honed granite is your countertop?

  • ram123

    Mine is honed jet mist

  • bbnny

    I have honed absolute black granite counters that I love. Like you, we originally considered capstone but were turned off by the higher cost and maintenance. They're about 10 years old and still look great. No need to seal since the absolute black is such a dense stone. Occasionally I'll get a water ring if something is left on the counter top long but it goes away quickly. Very heat resistant. I highly recommend them.

  • darbuka

    My soapstone counters are 4 years old, and get heavy use. We have one of the harder varieties, Belvedere. After all this time, and a DH who is the chief cook...and far from gentle, there is not one scratch or chip. We love that there are no worries about staining or etching, or putting hot pots directly on the stone. And, even during the cold NY winters, the soapstone counters never get cold, like granite.


    We‘ve never had water marks on our counters. The key is to purchase your soapstone from dealer/fabricators, who specialize in soapstone...not stone yards that primarily sell granite, quartzite and marble. Soapstone is a different animal...it needs to be sanded to a particular grit, or it will be either too rough, or too shiny, and water marks from drink glasses will result.


    I don’t know where you’re located, but I highly recommend M. Teixeira. They’re the largest supplier of soapstone in the country. The have several locations across the U.S., and partners in places where they don’t. The fabrication of our stone was perfect, and the guys left our kitchen spic and span. The staff at the NY/NJ location, was friendly, answered all questions, and moved many, many slabs for us to look at. At the end of our first visit, we were given samples of several varieties to take home, and test. Later on, we picked out our slab, and laid out the templating with them.


    Btw, I’ve seen honed Jet Mist granite up close. It’s nice, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. Soapstone is unique. No granite can compare. Oh, and I say this as someone who has granite in all four bathrooms, and the laundry/mud room.





  • julieste

    missenigma--That soapstone slab is really light in its natural state. If you want the lighter color, just an FYI. Ours came as a charcoaly grey slab that I actually preferred to the nearly black color it has changed to. I have never oiled or treated my counters. Apparently the usage and the exposure to light after the slab is mined and cut cause it to eventually urn much darker.


    OP--When I bought my soapstone I did a ton of research on this site and there were quite a few threads that discussed the different hardness strengths for soapstone.

  • Sara

    We have had soapstone for six months now-we are hard on things and have kids and it looks like the day it was installed (only darker, since I wax it occasionally). We scratched and tested everything before we bought it-ours is pretty dark and you definitely can’t scratch with a fingernail.

  • Sara

    Closer pic.

  • jad2design

    Henry Sun,There are soapstone dealers such as M. Teixeira that specialize in mostly that material. They may carry 10 different types of soapstone and they can tell you which are the harder varieties. My counters are Black Venata, which is a softer stone. I have gotten scratches and chips, though they tend to darken and disappear over time. A type like...Stormy Black, I think it’s called, is super hard in contrast and you can’t readily mar it. Black Venata works beautifully in my hundred year old kitchen where patina is welcome. I suspect it would not be your style, but Stormy Black might be gorgeous. Don’t buy from a general stone yard that happens to have one or two random slabs of soapstone. They will not know enough about what they have to give you accurate advice. If you can find an actual soapstone dealer near you then I heartily recommend you investigate. Anti microbial, stain proof, highly heat resistant and classic as a look. I totally love mine.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    Soap stone is not actually a stone. It is a rock.It's soft look/feel is a result of talc content. It is impervious to heat in a kitchen, go right ahead and set a pot on it direct from the cook or oven. It is naturally anti microbial too.. Basically, it is indestructible. If you need 24/7 perfection, it is not for you. It's beauty is that is PERFECTLY functional, and it isn't quartz.: ) Or granite. Dings, minor scratches et can be sanded right out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soapstone

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