Soapstone countertop in the bathroom?

arch123January 24, 2012

I love soapstone and am wondering if I can use it in my master bath? If so should it be sealed or not? If it works well in the kitchen what is the difference in a bathroom?

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mongoct

Soapstone is perfectly appropriate in the bathroom, and no, there's no need to seal it. Soapstone is non-porous. It's probably the least porous natural stone out there.

The surface of soapstone will oxidize and turn dark over time, it happens naturally. If left to do so naturally the rate of oxidation can vary, so it can look mottled as it slowly darkens. It's usually accelerated by applications of mineral oil, an application like that will darken the stone faster and more evenly.

Over the years I've used a lot of SS in bathrooms. Years ago I built an entire bathroom out of soapstone. And when I say entire, I mean entire; floor, walls, ceiling, tub, tub deck and apron, sink, toilet (yes, the toilet!), shower. The cabinets were even soapstone veneer. All plumbing was polished nickel. It looked ridiculously cool. Very masculine, but very cool.

I revisited it about 4 or 5 years after it was done, it still looked outstanding.

I have another soapstone bathroom on the books for 2013. Not as much soapstone in it as the one previously described, but enough.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:51AM
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arch123

mongoct
Thanks for the information. Sounds like SS will work for us. Our house is rather masculine (very Mission, craftsman) and this will work for us. I would like our master bath to look like the rest of the house. - thanks you - would love to see pictures of either one of your bathrooms.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:45PM
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sej1234

mongoct, I am interested to know what type of veneer was used on the cabinets. I like soapstone and would like veneer some items in my kitchen. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:44PM
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mongoct

Soapstone can be tooled like wood. Though the dust can be a bear, it's very fine.

I probably don't have the exact measurements correct, but I ripped about 5" wide pieces of soapstone as long as needed from a slab. I kept them marked so I knew which came from where so I could later match grain (actually "veining") if needed. Just like woodworking.

I then took the roughly 5" wide pieces and ran them through the tablesaw on edge to "slice" the slab thickness into thinner pieces that I used as veneer. It would take several passes to eventually raise the blade about 2-1/2" high. then I'd flip the piece and start over, taking another several passes to do a 2-1/2" cut from the other edge.

Cutting 2-1/2" deep from one edge and 2-1/2" from the other edge allowed my to "slice" through the 5" width of the soapstone "board".

They were about 1/4" thick when finished. That thickness was workable.

Adhesive as needed to mount, as well as a few other tricks to prevent any vertical creep. Seams done with epoxy with soapstone dust as filler resulted in invisible seams.

A once-in-a-lifetime project. I hope!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:34PM
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enduring

OMG Mongoct! that was some crazy project. Makes my head spin. Every thing must have been so heavy once veneered.

Regarding soapstone in the bathroom. A local restaurant has soapstone counter and beautiful soapstone under counter mounted round sink in their restrooms. It all sits on a large cherry table like vanity. It has been in place for over 10 years and looks great. The owner loves his soapstone throughout his restaurant but doesn't like the sink. I think the water and hand soap strip the mineral oil off and takes more oiling than the rest of the counters. I am only guessing though. Whenever I'm there it always looks fabulous. I have some remnant soapstone that I will be using as counters in my BR remodel this spring. I plan on making a small farmhouse type sink too. I have soapstone in my kitchen that I put in myself with some heavy lifting help and I love it. It is nice to work with.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:20PM
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sej1234

Thank you for your response. I had see where they are making the veneered slate and I was hoping to find soapstone like that. I am needing a lesser cost countertop at this time. Hope to do the full soapstone in few years. I don't mind hard work just looking for less expensive fix and hoping to not have to go with traditional laminate. I cook alot so my counters are used often. If you have any ideas please through them out.
Thanks again and have a great week.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:53PM
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monicakm_gw

Good grief! I guess if I'm in need of a bathroom remodel in the near future, you're not the man to call (lol) Looks like work is plentiful. Good for you! :)
Now, can you explain the soapstone toilet??? Did you (or someone) carve a toilet out of soapstone?
DH's bathroom is the only room in the house that hasn't been remodeled yet (and he's in no hurry to do it!) Soapstone is on my list of countertop material :)
Monica

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:54AM
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mongoct

No, I certainly did not carve the toilet! lol

It was actually the toilet that started it all. They had bought it a few years before and were holding on to it for the eventual build.

The toilet was imported from somewhere. I want to say India, but it might have been China. Not sure.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 6:25PM
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sej1234

Thank you for your response. I had see where they are making the veneered slate and I was hoping to find soapstone like that. I am needing a lesser cost countertop at this time. Hope to do the full soapstone in few years. I don't mind hard work just looking for less expensive fix and hoping to not have to go with traditional laminate. I cook alot so my counters are used often. If you have any ideas please through them out.
Thanks again and have a great week.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:15PM
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