Belvedere soapstone question

jerzeegirlMay 15, 2012

I am about to remodel my kitchen and need some soapstone advice. I have a sample of Belvedere soapstone which is naturally dark and I like that it is a harder variety. I oiled half of the sample and after a few hours the oil had dissipated. I oiled it again and the same thing happened - it reverted to it's natural color. I have been oiling for several days and it always goes back to its natural color. Is this unusual? Do you Belvedere owners oil? If so, do you have to oil a lot?

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AboutToGetDusty

Interesting. I have a sample of PA that I put a deposit down on and it stays dark after oiling. Not sure about Belvedere.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:58PM
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jerzeegirl

I also have samples of Barroca and Venata which I oiled. The Barroca needed only one oiling and it's still dark; the Venata has lightened quite a bit, but it's still somewhat dark. It's the Belvedere that doesn't seem to want to stay oiled.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:16PM
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garyvp

Recent experience with hard Brazilian Black - very similar to Belvedere - just installed today. We oil tonight. However, we had a large sample which we oiled several times over a month and then the color stabilized; no oil in the past month. Seems fine. Very dark.

Will post later once we oil the stone a few times.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:58PM
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oldhousegal

I have Belvedere. I've oiled it maybe 3 times since I put it in back in September. It has gone back to it's original color every time I've oiled it. But, it does have such beautiful movement, that I don't mind it at all. Perhaps I need to oil it frequently to keep the color?

I really don't think it has darkened at all since I put it in, and I wouldn't have thought anything of it, if I hadn't seen this thread. I can only say it's such a beautiful stone, that unless you only want black, I would suggest it! Everyone who comes into my kitchen comments on what a lovely stone it is.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 12:08AM
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jerzeegirl

I oiled it again last night and this morning woke up to find that the oil was dissipating already. When it dissipates it gets kind of blotchy, since it doesn't dry out at the same rate all over the stone.

ohg, you are right that Belvedere is a beautiful stone. I think if I decided to go with this stone I would forgo oiling it. It's natural color is medium gray so the drawback is if you expected that silky black soapstone look, you might not get it. Now maybe after it gets oiled 20 times it will stay black - I don't know - but right now it doesn't look that way.

For me the good news is that Belvedere appears to be quite hard for soapstone. I lightly bumped my two samples of Venata and Barroca together when I was shuffling them around on my countertop and a chunk came out of the Barroca (which is the "classic" soapstone). That made me realize that the concept of wanting "a patina" is something to think carefully about.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 7:13AM
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laxsupermom

Have you tried a beeswax / mineral oil combo? That's what I use on my soapstone. It's easy to make. I bought a block of unscented beeswax from the craft store with one of the ubiquitous 40% off coupons, melted it down with 2 bottles of mineral oil in a heavy saucepan, poured it into a lidded container that I keep under my sink. I wax my counters maybe once every 6 months or so. I keep a rag in the container. I rub the wax all over the counters then buff it off after 10 minutes. I use the same stuff on my butcher block counters.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 7:57AM
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remodelfla

supermom beat me to it. I was going to suggest the beeswax. I have Monsoon Wave which is also harder but my oil/wax does not dissipate immediately. The wax lasts longer and I may easily go 2 - 3months without oiling. I happen to love the look at all stages. It's a bit like having a variety of countertops in one!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:37AM
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fivefootzero

The wax combos will last longer. We do not oil our Belvedere...we like it the gray color. We did have the same experience though, oil, evaporate, repeat. We found we like the lighter color better so we stopped.

And you are correct about the hardness. We originally had Santa Rita Venata installed, which was a beautiful stone with greenish sea glass-like inclusions. Unfortunately it was extremely soft (a fork pushed across left marks)...and the particular slabs we had were defective...so we replaced with the Belvedere and haven't looked back. It still has that silky feel, it's just not as black as it would be if oiled.

Here it is naked and natural:

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:48AM
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CEFreeman

Guys,
When you wax these things, doesn't a wet cut leave rings? Are they easily buffed out?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:49AM
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laxsupermom

I don't get rings. I think the rings can happen when you have detergent residue on your glasses. The surfactant cuts through the oil and leaves a lighter ring. My dw does a really good job with rinsing.

Here's a ring/stain/etch test I did on my soapstone counters a couple years ago when the ring question kept coming up.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:01AM
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ILoveRed

Five footer--what is your backsplash tile? Very pretty and neutral.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:44AM
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fivefootzero

Red Lover...It's carrera marble subway from Home Depot...of all places.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:55AM
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ILoveRed

Love it. Thanks. Does it have a little tan in it?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:27AM
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fivefootzero

Red...the tiles were about $4.97/sq ft. My tile place couldn't touch anything similar for less than $19.99/sq. ft. These came 8 to a box. What I did was buy twice as many boxes as I needed and went through each box, picking out the ones I wanted, separating the damaged ones, etc. I then returned the unused portions (letting them know that what was inside was damaged). It was totally worth the effort to sort through...we're very happy with the result. There is some tan, some gray, some mica looking areas. You just have to sift through.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 1:30PM
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ayerg73

Sorry to OP if I'm hijacking. I just want to clarify...

"I bought a block of unscented beeswax from the craft store with one of the ubiquitous 40% off coupons, melted it down with 2 bottles of mineral oil in a heavy saucepan"

For those of you that use this wax, can you tell me a couple of things? I bought a block and it came in 1 lb bricks. Is that the size you had?

Also - for mineral oil... I bought a bottle of mineral oil from Walgreens when I first got my sample not knowing where to get any other kind. My fabricators gave me 'food grade' oil that is much thinner.

Which oil do you all use for this?

Looking forward to cooking up a batch on my Berta tomorrow because she's getting hooked up in the AM. YAY!!! :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 9:00PM
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laxsupermom

I used the 1 lb brick and the regular mineral oil from CVS(a pharmacy like Walgreens.) It's sold as a laxative, so it must be food safe. That original batch is still sitting under my sink, because I only use a little bit each time, and I don't do it very often.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 9:15PM
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lalithar

I am panicking a bit as I read this. We have belvedere slabs set aside at M.Tex in San Francisco but I was thinking black silky countertops. I like gray but just not in our kitchen. Yikes! Any one who has been able to get a dark finish on belvedere?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:41AM
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jerzeegirl

I put another coat of oil on two days ago in the evening. I can see that the oil has dissipated but not as much as before. It is now a uniformly darker gray (charcoal color)but still not black by any stretch of the imagination. I want to let it sit for awhile to see if it lightens up again. Maybe it needs lots of coats of oil to make it stay black. Who knows. From my observation it appears that the hardness of the stone is preventing it from reacting with the oil and forming a patina. Regarding the other two samples - the Barroca is still deep rich black after just a few oilings. The Venata after several oilings has faded quite a bit and the oiled section is now medium gray. I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:31AM
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ayerg73

Thanks supermom! I'll go pick some oil up today.

Good luck, jerzeegirl. I hope it starts darkening up for you nicely.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:40AM
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garyvp

48 hrs after install.

We have oiled our Brazilian Black (very similar to belvedere) three times and overnight it fades, but to a darker gray each time. I think this will take time to achieve the desired blackness. No matter, it looks and feels great and resists scratches. This weekend we start everyday use.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:23AM
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jerzeegirl

garyvp: Would you please post a photo of your counters? I would love to see how they look.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:10PM
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jerzeegirl

Well, I think I am going to end the experiment.

I was very hopeful. The oil stayed on the Belvedere for two days but it has started to dissipate again - the color has return from a gorgeous pitch black to charcoal gray with lighter blotches. I love the charcoal color but the only drawback I can see is that it most likely won't stay that color. I assume it will keep getting lighter until it's reoiled.

The Barroca is still black hasn't changed from the first day I coated it. This is the softer stone with lots of talc. The color is gorgeous but I managed to chip it the first day I had it but slightly bumping in against one of the other stone samples!

The Venata also has returned to gray - more of a medium gray. The Venata never got black at all.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 4:29PM
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garyvp

Brazilian Black day 5

Our kitchen is 98% complete - Ikea beech and stainless cabinets, basket weave backsplash wall, porcelain floor, and new appliances.

Like the sample we had for six weeks, we shall oil the counters regularly to achieve the desired blackness - although we tend to let the island return grayish. I have been stain testing the stone all week - dirty dishwater, vinegar, salt water, all kinds of grease - clean it, let it dry, oil it - and its beautiful.

Today we field tested the kitchen counters and it has been interesting. A full lobster dinner with overflowing pots, spilled butter, salad oil, a dropped knife, spilled coffee. It was pretty good after a normal cleanup but oiling really brings it back.

After 25 yrs with Swanstone - a synthetic that was just bullet proof, soapstone is more of an adventure but very organic. It is training us. Mind you, this really suits us, especially my wife who will not go to bed unless the kitchen is spotless - she is quite happy with light oiling a counter and cleaning a white porcelain floor!

Will add pix if I can

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:48PM
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garyvp

Brazilian Black day 5
From then top of the stairs -

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:52PM
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jerzeegirl

Gary, Thanks for posting the pictures. What a gorgeous kitchen - I just love it!

Your counters are simply beautiful. I just love that rich black color of a freshly oiled piece of soapstone.

Would you please tell me what kind of floor that it?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:57AM
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zackin

Garyvp, I adore your kitchen and would love to copy it.
Can you please tell me which Ikea cabinets you have and whether it was difficult to order and work with an installer?
Also, if you're in the northeast, would you mind saying where you got the gorgeous soapstone?
Many thanks from a newbie.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:19AM
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garyvp

We live in a rooftop apartment in an old warehouse on the Brooklyn waterfront which enters into the kitchen.

Jerzeegirl - Thank you for the kind words. The floor is 12x24 Panaria Magnific Marmara porcelain tile - very affordable, I might add. Its veining is close to the carrara marble basket weave on the wall. Most people think the floor is marble.

Find them here:
http://panaria.webhat.it/english/indoor/marbles-and-stones/magnifica/25/

fredanj - Thank you, too. This kitchen replaced another IKEA kitchen that was 20+ years old and was still in fine shape - tastes change. This particular line is the Adel medium brown cabinets with some pieces (the island) in Rubrik stainless (limited choices). IKEA has online design tools and a good staff to help you put together a kitchen - it's a process. They also can recommend installers. I normally would do this myself but my contractor had a team (two guys) who mounted them in 2 days - much better.

The soapstone is from M. Tiexiera in Hackensack NJ (they are national) who - a) had a great selection of soapstone (this is important - we chose harder, less busier stone - b) had the most informed staff - you need to get educated on soapstone (GW is a good place, actually), and c) they under bid all other fabricators. Very pleased with them start to finish.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 5:25PM
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jerzeegirl

Thanks gary. I am definitely going to look into that tile.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:46PM
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garyvp

Hate that gray????

Well, we don't. After 2 weeks we just let the stone take its course and love the dark gray stone with black 'valleys', white flecks, mini quartz streaks and some iron spots. Very alive.

Maintenance has not been an issue either.

I will post again in a few months.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:46AM
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sjerin

When you oil your ss, do you find it annoying that everything you put on it will have an oily bottom? I'm thinking of dishes and cutting boards set on the counters during prep, and dirty dishes after the meal, until they're put in the dw, that is. I would think the slipperiness would make for broken dishes. And every time you touch the counter your hand comes back with the oil/wax on it? Perhaps I'm not understanding the process properly?

Gosh, in rereading this, it sounds so negative! But I do plan on ss, regardless. I guess there's a learning curve when it comes to oiling the counters.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:02AM
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dseng

When we oil our soapstone, we wipe up all of the excess right after oiling. One more quick wipedown with a rag the next morning and there's no oily residue. It's easier than you think.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:22PM
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sjerin

Great. I should have realized that, as no one has complained about such a problem. Thank you, dseng.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:23PM
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garyvp

Agree with sjerin - Nothing greasy about it - oil it, wipe it and it looks and feels great. Especially after it drys for a while.

Was just at a house that ten years ago installed barroca SS and it looks worn but still interesting, and they oil it twice a year and it becomes very black. They cook a lot. I asked them about their choice, especially ten years ago before its current popularity. Their home is a restored Victorian era brownstone and they said that soaps stone was the most common counter material then, hence its place in their kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Lake_Girl

When we first got our ss, the installer put something on it to darken it (not mineral oil, and not wax). It looked great, but left circles and oil rings, and I was disappointed. So for a few weeks, I would clean it with a kitchen cleaner, trying to get whatever it was off, and it lightened some in the process. Finally, I was in the mood to see it dark, so I bought mineral oil. It's been great! I just put it on the rag and wipe a thin layer on. It doesn't feel oily and it doesn't leave any rings. Huh, go figure?! Mine is a softer variety, so I'm getting some scratches. But the oil pretty much covers them up, and they're not real evident, since it has veins, etc.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:41PM
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garyvp

After three months - we stopped oiling after the first two weeks and have settled in on the veiny gray look. We find that soap and water clean it quite well and real deep oil stains take acetone (small dab) to pull it out; had to do that twice. Almost no scratches but we try not to - the few items on the counter have felt feet. Had one deep scratch which came out with the pad the installer left us.

We really love the way it looks and feels natural and the maintenance is no bother.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:54PM
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