Any downsides to having 2 cm thick soapstone counters?

storyofmylifeMarch 17, 2013

Hi everyone

We were set to go with brushed absolute black granite countertops, when our builder got a quote from the fabricator for soapstone that was unbelievable... (so unbelievable that even the salesperson at the stone place didn't believe it and we had the fabricator confirmed his pricing again).

At the stone warehouse, we saw two different types of soapstone - a grey Barroca soapstone and a dark green soapstone. The dark green soapstone is the one we like (as well as being harder than the grey), and comes in two thicknesses - 2 cm and 3 cm but we only saw 2 cm at the warehouse though).

What are the downsides for using 2 cm soapstone for the kitchen counters? We really have no overhangs in the kitchen so the thinner slab isn't an issue there.

One potential downside is that with a 2 cm slab, we'll have to laminate the edge, which adds some cost (whether that total cost is higher than a 3 cm slab without the need to laminate, I don't know).

I have always seen 3 cm soapstone and this is the first time I've even seen 2 cm soapstone (the other soapstone, the grey Barroca soapstone, was only available in 3 cm size, probably because it was a less hard stone).

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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I was told that soapstone needs to be at least 3cm to prevent cracking. Will you have plywood tops on cabinets? My cabinet maker inset the plywood tops and my soapstone fabricator mentioned that it adds some strength to the countertops. I would suggest calling m.tex or dorado and asking them. Is the 3cm a big price difference?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Thank you. I heard the same about soapstone and that would explain why I always see 3 cm soapstone (until yesterday).

Our contractor was planning on putting a plywood base underneath in the same way your cabinetmaker did. He will also have the fabricator put on a laminate edge.

I did ask him today whether the cost of the 2 cm slab + adding in laminate edge is equivalent to the 3 cm and he said it was close. He also said that if I went with the grey 3 cm soapstone, the cost would be cheaper than the 2 cm green soapstone. The only negative is that the grey soapstone is softer than the green soapstone.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Yes, research the structural integrity issue as GWlolo said.

As far as the looks are concerned, thin coutertops are very popular in Europe right now (as well as very thick ones) and are predicted to be one of the new trends in the US as well (see link).

Here is a link that might be useful: Hottest European kitchen trends to follow

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:43PM
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No thoughts on thickness as ours is 3cm, but we have Barroca and I would never do that again. It is a very, very soft stone--on ours, we have pitting all over the surface after only two years and you cannot, for instance, set anything with a ridged bottom (olive oil, beer, wine, etc.) down without a coaster or you will get a permanent imprint. The softness may vary somewhat based on the quarry and distributor (ours is two years old and purchased on the West Coast) but test it extensively before committing to it. I really wish we had paid more for a harder stone.

(I did find that soapstone was cheaper than most darker granites where we are when we were looking, though, which was a surprise!)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:46PM
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M Tex told us there would be no guarantee with a 2 cm. Though we liked that slab better, we went with the 3 cm.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 1:28AM
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