Soapstone folks: can I live with a seam in my island?

nomorebluekitchenJuly 24, 2008

I am in love with Cobra soapstone. I'm told (by M. Tex) that it doesn't come in slabs any wider than 30". Works great for the perimeter, but my island will be 5' x 38" at the widest.

So to have Cobra on my island, I'd need to seam down the center.

Can I live with that?


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I have some seams in my counters and you almost have to know where they are and search for them in order to find them. Are soapstone people installing the stone? I have heard that sometimes granite specialists aren't as good at soapstone seams as they should be. If the installers know what they're doing I'll bet you will not even see the seam.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 12:47PM
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From what I remember, Cobra is very hard, and has very little veining, and is black (not much green). Does that sound right? If so, your seam, should you choose to put it in, would be a much easier project than ours. I wanted soapstone that was very veiny (active), with lot's of green as well. Due to the size of our island we also needed a seam to go down the middle.

We do not have occupancy in our home yet, so I haven't lived with the seam, but I thought you might want to take a look anyway. One important issue that came up was whether or not you plan to oil the soapstone. That will determine the seam color. We plan on letting it go dark, so they used a black seam for ours.

Our slab is butterflied. The two polished sides faced each other and opened like a book. That is why the pattern repeats on each side... as close as we could get. This was a fix due to a different issue.

This is what we ended up with. These photos were taken right after installation and with fresh oil on them. They are not that dark today, however, we haven't oiled them in several months.

Here is a more recent photo without being oiled for a long time.

I am sure others will chime in about soapstone seams, but I have to tell you, the seams that folks have posted here are almost undetectable. It is an amazing material. I think I have one of the worst case scenarios with so many veins and color variations. I am not concerned with it at all, but that is me. What really is important is if it will bother you. THAT is what matters!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:14PM
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I had my soapstone installed by M. Texeira and may be able to offer some advice.

The seams are virtually invisible where they were able to match the veining. I have one seam near a corner where you can see veining abruptly stop, and also have a different veining pattern on the other side of the seam.

I forgot how veiny cobra is. The best thing to do is to choose two slabs where you can get an appearance of continuity at the seam lines.

The seams in my home were done on-site and the workers were very professional. They noticed an error in the way a corner was rounded and immediately took that piece back to the shop to be reworked. The next day, I noticed that there was no 6 inch jog (0nly 1 1/2 inches deep) where my pull-out sticks out, and they brought that back as well. (the error was in the pattern-they forgot to mark the jog).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:25PM
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Shudda, the guy I'm using for fabrication and install is experienced with soapstone. He did granite for my sister and was so professional and so committed to making her job wonderful, and was very personable, too.

tsdiver, thanks for posting that picture. I studied the picture before I read what you wrote and couldn't find the seam. Once I read what you wrote about it being butterflied I saw the seam. That is my island format exactly with the seam down the middle of the island so it was very helpful to see. I can tell from yours that I would be very happy with that kind of seam and mine would likely be even more invisible.

Nuccia, thanks for your comments. With cobra not being very veiny, I think it will be pretty easy to hide the seams. I am ordering slabs through M. Tex but they don't have a shop locally so I can't have them install.

Thanks again everyone. I am so excited that I'll be able to get my cobra!


    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:09PM
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Another alternative is to do some kind of separation that becomes part of the design. For instance, a strip of wood down the middle or a different stone -- maybe something that ties in with the backsplash -- or stainless steel if that matches your appliances. When done well, that can tie all the parts of your kitchen together.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:11PM
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If you cant match the grain, the best feature in a seamed design is to use bookmatched slabs. Looks gorgeous! You see this done in hotels - floors, walls, counters where the dimensions are too large to be done in one slab.
Also done with wood tables. We bought three slabs of book matched marble for our counters...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:35PM
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