Water rings on soapstone.....not anymore!

cheri127March 24, 2010

I posted on another thread earlier that Florida Joshua refinished my soapstone counters today and they look and feel wonderful...really, totally different. But I had to wait till the tile guy left to do the ultimate test; does it still get those dreaded white water rings/spots? The answer is, NO IT DOESN'T!!!! So, to all those who have this problem with their soapstone, it really seems to be the way it was finished, not the stone itself. I'm so, so, so happy. Thank you Joshua and thank you Pluckymama for posting your experience with Joshua's work and making us aware that a solution was possible.

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Pluckymama is my favorite GW girl because she put Joshua in contact with me!! Can't wait till Friday when it's my turn!!Goodbye big divot and weird etching...

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 7:42PM
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as you may have seen on my posting of yesterday, FL Joshua also rescued my counter tops this week...

here is what i consider an invaluable piece of advice that he gave me while he was here, having to do with water rings and the like (which in my case was the least of the probs with my stone)- perhaps many of you are aware of this, but i was not, and so i pass it on...i always oiled on top of the rings and spots in an attempt to have them blend in..with no success...Joshua explained that before oiling i have to scrub the ring or spot with dish soap and water to remove it...and then re-oil...otherwise, you are just sealing the mark under the oil...last night i saw two very small little spots (don't know from what) - followed Joshua's advice and two minutes later they were completely gone...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 11:43AM
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I am so happy that you are having Josh refinish your soapstone countertops. I know it has been 6 mos since Josh refinished ours and I love them. I can't wait for you to post pics so that people can see the before and afters.

When I oil or use the beeswax/oil blend, my countertops look amazing! But the great news is that when I don't they still look good. Before Josh refinished mine, if you moved a cup or plate across the soapstone it would leave a big scratch. It drove me crazy. I was always worried and nagging my family to be so careful. Now, I just live with them and use them without any worry. I know that if a scratch appears and they sometimes do, I just oil it and it is gone. They feel so smooth to touch, just like I imagined soapstone would.

So glad your experience with Josh refinishing your soapstone has been similar to mine. He really is a true craftsman and understands soapstone like no one else. It's too bad we can't clone him! Can't wait to see those pics.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:06PM
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Well, Joshua spent Friday refinishing my counters. They are really beautiful. They came out stunning!!

Originally my counters were finished very uneven, with the edges being polished to a high sheen like granite and some pieces, really shiny others more matte. I had lots of scratching issues and had taken to putting placemats down before anyone put anything on the counters. Yes, a crazy way to live!

Now they are smooth and feel like a old worn stone, and they have a sheen, but not actually shiny. The finish makes the veining look better, but more talc-y. Very hard to explain but overall better, very beautiful and rich looking.

Last night we had people over and I had no scratching on my counters as I normally do - weird - great though!! I had been babying my counters and now I can really use them!

Joshua is doing my sister's counters this morning so I am off to her house. I will post pictures soon, and will do a post on Willow Decor, with more detailed explanations, but for now I just wanted to give you all an update!

Joshua really is a craftsman who loves soapstone and wants it to be done right. I am so grateful to Pluckymama for hooking us all up with the North East tour. I finally have the soapstone I dreamed about. I will let you know how it goes at my sister's house!!

So happy!! :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 7:29AM
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Willow, isn't it such a relief! So glad you're as happy as the rest of us now. I wish Bayareafrancy would check in so she could see that her counters could be fixed. I almost didn't get soapstone after seeing her pictures, but then thought, what are the odds of that happening...HA! I couldn't have been more wrong!

I wish I had before and after pictures. Maybe Joshua, if he's not too humble, could post the before and after shots of all the counters he brought back to life on this trip. We're going out of town for a few days but when we get back, I'll ask DD to get out her good camera and take some decent pics of our stone. The cell phone just don't do it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Glad to hear...

Also, don't forget about the Jet Dry contribution to water marks. Whenever I think to fill my dispenser, the white rings from glasses start appearing again from the condensation and residue left on the glasses.

It has me not want to even use it when I think about drinking the residue too. I'm going to finish out what I have left and then not use it anymore.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:38AM
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Well my sister's house was also a great success. She had a big fissure, which after Joshua's fine hand, was nearly invisible to the eye!! I took some after photos, but I just can't get a good shot that really captures how wonderful and so much better and richer they look.

Soapstone IS for everyone - you just need the right fabricator. If only Joshua could be everywhere!! My sister and I are both so thrilled. Thank you to Joshua and thank you GW'ers - with out this forum I would never have been this thrilled with soapstone!!

xx- Willow :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 6:25PM
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I just posted pictures on my blog about my kitchen stools, but the counter shots are of the RE- Finished counters. The pictures really don't do it justice, but if your dying to see them I have included the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: After Joshua Counters

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 6:29PM
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One word about the Jet Dry. I got white spots and rings from any king of water, not just from glasses. Splashes from the sink and water from pot lids all left white marks. I still use Jet Dry but my glasses no longer leave white rings.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Willow- I know this is off topic, but go with the Tolix style stools. They look great. Just make a little slicover for the top in linen to soften and warm up the seat.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Willow, 4 kids really won,t fit with those stools. It will be a constant struggle getting on and off beacuse of the closed ends of the island and your beautiful painted cabinets will take a beating. We have 2 20" stools in a 49" inch space and it's a pain when 2 people sit there. I'm hoping that narrower stools will make this better. I think it would be better if you could find 4 stools with a smaller footprint (the base of the gray ones is quite wide).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:15AM
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I am very curious to know what he does to the counters? I think I need Joshua. My soapstone counters around my sink have water marks, they are scratched and the only way they look good is if they are freshly oiled, but then water or soap removes the oil and they look bad again... I am in Bucks County PA.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 12:28PM
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Hey Kitty. You may be able to catch Joshua on his way back. You can email him at creative soapstone or shout out to him here. He has a special sanding method he uses. There's no avoiding fade marks around the sink from soapy water though. Most folks keep a well oiled cloth under the sink for quick touch ups.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 3:27PM
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Kitty- Email Joshua - He knows a lot of people in your area and if he can't help you, he may have a contact nearby who can.

I used to scratch my soapstone and get a mark with my fingernails - Now I can't get it to happen. Same stone, same hardness - different finish method and its a dream come true.

Amberley and Cheri - It's so funny how many comments I have gotten on the stool topic. I think neither is the "BEST" alternative, but for now, with no extra $$, I will just live with one. I am worried about my cabinets getting beat up - so maybe three stools - but my hubby prefers a back - Oh the drama.... :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 3:39PM
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This may be a silly question, but my soapstone counters have the original finish from the quarry (top-honed). My GC cut the slabs for my countertops himself since he didn't need special stone equipment for it, but he didn't touch the top surface. I don't get water stains, but I do get scratches. The guy I dealt with at the quarry didn't say anything about the soapstone needing a special finishing/sanding for that top surface-- is this the reason why all (or some) of the scratches?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:21PM
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Jengb- I can't say for sure, but for me that was the case. Its been almost a week and I am getting no scratches - It's really a bit unbelievable that Joshua's finish technique could make the difference, but in my particular case it does.

Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:05PM
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Willow, it really is amazing isn't it? I was ready to pull my soapstone out and get granite, now I love my soapstone. The finish technique makes a dramatic difference in how people enjoy their stone. I get little scratches, but I am using my countertop vigorously now and the scratches are nothing compared to before when I "walked on eggshells" while trying to cook and prepare food. A little oil and they are gone! I'm so glad you have had a similar experience. I was thrilled with mine and so hopeful that others would be as thrilled after Josh refinished their soapstone. He and his wife Mimi are such wonderful people on top of being extremely talented!

I love the picture you posted on your blog with your new stools and I could see the difference in your soapstone right away. It has the same look as mine:) Joshua is the one to call when it comes to soapstone!!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:10PM
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Help! I have had my soapstone countertops for about a year, and love them except for the water stains. I have no scratches. What can I do to make my counters look really clean?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:01AM
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I too have the soapstone water stain/anything stain problem with no scratches. Is this something that is dealt with by Joshua that you talk about? If so how does one contact him. Thanks

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 10:10PM
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After reading so many good things about Joshua I contacted him in the hopes he might be coming out to PA in the near future. As luck would have it he was coming out in September and agreed to stop by and take a look at my soapstone counters. We just had these installed and were a bit disillusioned with the feel and the constant dealing with water marks. When we were in the showroom the sopastone felt silky. Ours had somewhat of a mat finish and just was not what we were expecting. We had some issues with the company that we purchsed the stone through and who also did the installtion. After reading all of the wonderful things about Joshua I contacted him and he came out last week. He did a fabulous job! Our countertops are now EXACTLY what we were hoping for. He is not cheap, especially considering we just had these installed, but it was worth the cost to get what we wanted. Thanks Joshua!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 3:46PM
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paddingtonpatty, not sure if you got the contact infor for Joshua. In case you didn't you can contact him via email at "joshuaschaefer@gmail.com". We could not be more pleased with what he did for us! Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:36PM
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We installed soapstone countertops and I need to find out what people are doing to keep waterspots off my countertops. As of yet we don't oil because it seemed like they would turn too dark.what does joshua do to your countertops that everybody loves so much. We live in California so joshua probably wouldnt be available to do his magic.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:46PM
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I have two soapstone slabs reserved for kitchen countertops, and while I really like them, the surface is dark and feels very glossy to touch. The description at the store is simply "Brazilian Soapstone, Green". The top does not have the soft feel or blue-gray color of some other samples I have. However, the unfinished bottom does. Can the shiny surface be successfully re-honed to yield a softer-feeling and looking stone?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Sure, if the bottom surface has the look or feel that you want, the top can certainly be made to feel similarly. You are basically looking at just sanding it to remove the gloss. You can experiment on a scrap to find the right grit -- probably something like 220 may be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Does Joshua have email. I'm very interested in finding out what technique he uses. My soapstone was just installed, and would like to do anything else necessary before they get too scratched. Or can anyone explain his technique.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Yes, it was posted above: joshuaschaefer@gmail.com

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:00PM
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My Green Mountain soapstone is finished with 75 grit sandpaper. It is what Green Mountain recommends and what my fabricator feels is best. I think soapstone is less likely to show scratches done up this way and it feels real nice.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:49PM
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I read all the post about Joshua so I decided to send him an emailâ¦.certain he would never respond. Joshua responded that day and and was so very helpful. He is probably 15plus hours from me so he could not refinish my counters. However, he told me what to do to correct the problem. I just cannot say enough good things about him. He had nothing to gain by helping me, other than the fact that he is just a good soul. I hope that he will come to NC at some point. I know how to remove the water spots but they do come back. They need the "Joshua touch". If you live in FLorida, Joshua is the man to get!!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:54PM
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If you read the OP's more recent post in the thread below, she states that the refinishing did not completely solve the issues. As I suggested to her, if you are having any issues that involve water on your soapstone, the easiest fix is to use an enhancing sealant. Sealants are not needed for soapstone but an enhancing sealant will darken the stone and allow water to bead up. All wax or oil would need to be removed first.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scroll about half way down for the post mentioned

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:15AM
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