Pietra Cardosa vs. Soapstone? Or Jet mist granite?

yma73January 17, 2012

I'm hoping someone has been through this decision and can offer advice. Our kitchen will have white shaker cabinets, light wood floors, and now I'm searching for the right counter material. I want a dark gray stone. I love the blue/gray of Pietra Cardosa but I have not seen it used much and am wondering why. The stone person I spoke to said it's harder than soapstone but not as hard as granite. Can anyone speak to the truth of that? I would love to see pictures or hear stories of how it's wearing in real life. I have young children and have been advised against both ss and pc. I will go with a jet mist granite if it's really the only durable option, but it's not my first choice. Any advice?

Thank you!

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I went through the exact same decision. But I ended up with Soapstone. PdC (I think it's called Pietra di Cardosa) is usually classified with granite, not because it is granite, but because its maintenance is the same as granite. You have to seal it periodically. It is a beautifully quiet stone, if there is such a thing. There was some info from a well respected person in the stone biz who I believe thought that PdC was a terrible material for countertops. In Italy, they use it for flooring and walkways, like slate. I forget his name, but I think he passed away tragically a few years ago.

I have a small child, but I decided the the benefits of soapstone was worth the risk. I figure she's not going to stay young forever and I can "train" her. Besided, even is soapstone gets scratched, you can easily repair it yourself with some light sanding. Frankly, I've done more damage to it than anyone else in the house. But a light waxing usually takes care of the surface scrapes.

I ruled out granite early, simply because everyone has granite. But that's just me.

Only you know how your own children will behave, so you'll have to factor that in. But if you can do it, I recommend soapstone. Just choose a harder variety. But I'm biased.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Thank you so much for your thoughts, jscout. I have samples I of each type in my kitchen right now. The PdC scratches just like the soapstone (I have several samples of ss, some softer than others) but I don't think I'd be able to oil the scratches out as I could w soapstone. Is that right? The granite is definitely the toughest of the stones, but looks-wise, it's my least favorite. I have 4 young kids and they are rough on everything. That's why I hesitate to use anything delicate. Maybe I will keep looking and try to figure out which ss is the most durable. Do you know the type that you have? Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Oh yma73. I feel for you, because this is a hard decision. I don't love the misty look of Jet Mist but that's just my opinion. I also felt like I'd just be trying to get the look of soapstone. So, I just going to bite the bullet and get the soapstone. Let us know, what you decide. You really can't go wrong with any of the above.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Pietra is a beautiful stone and is sold in many different finishes. I have worked on alot of it so I can tell you that it is very porous,contains calcites so it can etch like marble and yes it will scratch as well.
I have heard it called sandstone,shist,granite but
Geologically it is a calcareous phyllite. It is a unique type of stone that comes from the town of Cordoso in italy.
I have seen countertops that were trashed and needed a total refinishing and countertops in homes where they were in relativly good condition with only minor staining and etching but still needed to be refinished. I think someones who owns a countertop like this needs to have a certain lifestyle. Kids,mojito parties and lots of cooking can be challenging for this stone.(am being kind)
If you want to challenge your samples try the lemon juice test which will tell you if the stone is sensitive to acids and how porous it is.
As far as oiling the scratches out of pietra-well it may work but only temporary-make sure your stone is well sealed because if you try to oil it and it isnt sealed it will absorb into the stone.
As far as soapstone goes it is soft but dense and totally acid resistant.Try the lemon test on this and compare to the pietra. This way you can base your decison on facts.
Yes I agree that pietra is pretty and may fit your design plan. How detail oriented are you? If you get a stain will it drive you crazy. Include that in your decision makng process.
Most important make sure you have a good fabricator.
And that Italian gentlemen was maurizio bertoli who passed away in 2008.
Stu Rosen

Yes that person was maurizio bertoli

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 9:40PM
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I have the Barroca from M. Teixeira. It's the more traditional kind which is fairly soft. I wanted the harder variety, but my wife liked the looks of the softer one. One of the things about soapstone is that you have to accept that it's a "living" stone. It will get scratched no matter how careful you are. But the good news is that it's somewhat repairable by you. Very minor scratches can be oiled out. Slightly deeper ones can be lightly sanded out.

But the good news is that it will never stain, never etch and is virtually fireproof. You'll never have to seal it. If you decide to darken it, use the wax/oil blends. After the first few months of periodic treatments, it gets easier as the patina sets in. I've had mine in for about four months and it's already got a nice patina. Whenever I get a little nick, I just take out the old rag with the wax already on and rub it in. Then I buff it with my bare hands and it looks fine again.

I've placed pans right out of the oven onto the counter without a trivet. You really can't/shouldn't with other stones. But on the soapstone, the wax/oil doesn't even burn. It's almost like seasoned cast iron.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Soapstone owner here, with three small kids. Have the Brazilian Duro from Dorado. I can only echo what jscout has already written - I love the soapstone because it is virtually indestructible. I do everything from put hot pots on it, to kneading all kinds of bread (stays cool so good for that), have spilled wine, soy sauce, lemon juice, you name it. They say the stone is non-porous yet it seems so much softer than granite. Have had only one scratch (DH, not the kids, dragged a pot and the bottom must have been rough) and within two weeks you couldn't even find it anymore.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 10:33PM
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I have soapstone and love it. It is the softer variety as I put it in myself with my DH's help.

I had trouble getting others on board to help me with my self installation plan:) When DH realized that he needed to help me because no one else would, we got it done. I had a fabricator lose my business because he was hesatant to install for me, saying it is too soft and I should use granite.

The installation was fun and we did a nice job if I do say so myself!

My DH likes the ease of not being concerned with hot pans. He feels it is less worrisome than laminate.

I didn't even consider granite because I saw soapstone in a local restaurant 10 years ago and loved it. I always knew that I would use soapstone. Just before I bought my stone from Durado Soapstone last summer, I asked the restaurant if they liked the counters and sinks they had for 10 years. They told me they would do it again in a heart beat, except for the bathroom sinks, because of the look with heavy use. They oil their stone all the time and I think the sinks get the oil washed off and the gray look is not what they want. But the sinks themselves look great.

When I go into the restaurant I always run my hands over the coffee counter and think it is lovely. Likewise in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 7:07AM
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Thanks so much, everyone. I'm very grateful for all your replies. srosen, you gave me more info on pietra than I had read anywhere else. And I googled the gentleman's name you gave and found this very helpful string that he wrote on soapstone vs. pietra:
So, now I am definitely leaning toward soapstone again. I can live with scratches and dents. I'm more worried about the unevenness of the oil/dry parts. Worried the whole thing will look dirty. I am in NY so I will drive to NJ to see Teixiera's soapstone in person and hopefully get advice on their various types available. Thanks again.

Here is a link that might be useful: soapston vs pietra

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:11PM
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It's natural that soapstone can become a little uneven with use. For example, if you have a soap dispenser at the sink, expect the stone where the soap drips on to always be a little lighter. But that's common sense. So, as long as you keep the oiling rag around, you just take it out wipe it to restore the shine and move on. I use Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish on the soapstone and my butcher block. I really like the results.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I have several soapstone samples from M. Teixeira right now. DH has bashed at them fiercely and the Belvedere was much tougher than the Barroca or Santa Rita. Get some samples and have some fun!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 6:45PM
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