HELP -my soapstone "etched"

muskokascpSeptember 4, 2013

I say "etched" because that is what it looks like, even though I know soapstone does not etch. I am not sure what happened and not sure exactly how to fix it.

About 5 weeks ago a funny blotch showed up on the stone that was dull and easily seen especially when the light hit it just the right way - looks just like an etch on marble. The blotch was irregular and suggestive of a liquid of some sort. I tried cleaning it with soap and water - no luck.

Last weekend more of these areas showed up on the island. I can only narrow it down to I think either Mr Clean or Mr Clean Magic Eraser. I have not really used these products much but I did use the Magic eraser last Sat while I was washing walls. I used the Magic eraser on one of the areas thinking maybe it would remove whatever the product was that was marring my beautiful island. Instead I have a circular area that is now dull and looks similar, although not exactly the same as the other areas.

I did not oil my soapstone with mineral oil when it was installed because the supplier uses the wax provided by The Greenmountain soapstone company. So I thought maybe the cleaner just removed the wax and it needed to be reapplied. Tried that - no luck. Then I got out the mineral oil and used that -waited 36 hours before removing the excess. The marks are still visible.

Short of resanding the island , I don't quite know what to do and how to prevent it from happening again. I wish I knew for certain what caused the problem to begin with. I am quite surprised that something actually changed the soapstone to make it look etched.

Here are the pictures I took this morning - this after both the waxing and mineral oil. Does anyone have any ideas?

This is the same area further away - you can see another smaller one below it to the right and up towards the top edge of the island there are more that the light is just sort of catching.
The whole highlighted area below is not the spot I am referring too - this is a reflection from the patio door, but you can clearly see the two spots in the center of this area that are dull.

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Just guessing here ... perhaps it has something to do with the wax that was used by the supplier? Maybe something is affecting it in the same way that a glass of water will leave a dull white ring on waxed furniture? Have you looked at the label on the wax that was used to see if it has any useful information?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:05PM
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Following up on jellytoast's idea about the white ring in wax, I wonder if you tried a medium-hot iron (with a very thin cloth under it). That's what I have the very best success with when I need to get a white ring out of wood. I don't think the heat of the iron presents any danger to the soapstone, your piece of which is very lovely by the way.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I'd call Green Mountain and ask them.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:05PM
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The stone looks as if it has a coating on it.
The surface appears very waxy looking or if it has been coated.
Call up the folks who applied it and find out what they did.
See if they can correct it.
It is either the wax or a sealer that is etching.
I don't think you will need to refinish the top.
Looks like you will have to remove whatever is on the surface. If your curious try using a single edged razor blade. The straight ones . At an inconspicuous area hold the razor blade at a 45 degree angle and slide it across the surface. Just do a small area and see what comes off the surface. You can cover the bare spot with wax.
Let us know.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:45PM
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The wax was applied at my house by the fabricator and I applied the second coat. The stone was not sealed or coated. I thought it looked like a film of some sort too which is why I tried the Magic eraser but it just left a visible spot where I cleaned with it. Then I thought that whatever caused it just took the wax off the stone but that is not the case.

I will try Green Mountain and see what they say. I may test sand one of the spots but I'm nervous even though I know you can sand soapstone.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Until you talk with them I wouldn't sand it.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Have you tried alcohol on it to see if it dissolves the layer of wax? I'd try that to see what happens. It wont hurt the stone.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Circus Peanut

I wouldn't sand it -- try some acetone or alcohol and see if it dissolves into a larger 'etched' patch, in which case you can be sure it's the wax coating that is being affected by water or heat or whatever. Then you'd just use the same substance to clean all the wax off.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:14PM
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I think it is just too much wax-you can try acetone or denatured alcohol but not sure it will work.
Works better with wax residues.
I think you will need to strip off wax and reapply a more friendly coating
There is no need to sand your stone-.
Was there an issue that made you apply a second coat of wax?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:05PM
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I sent an email to Green Mountain Soapstone but have not heard from them.

I don't have alcohol in the house but tried acetone just before I left for work this morning. I will check out the spot when I get home.

srosen - how can it be too much wax? The stone has only had 2 applications as per Green Mountains instructions and the last application was January 2012. My thought was something removed the wax which is why I tried a small bit on the spot.

So the thought is that perhaps something reacted with the wax and left this residue? This is the enhancer -

So what would I use on the stone to fully remove the wax ?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 9:19AM
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I think the acetone would work. I've used acetone on my counters before. Heck it takes off nail polish :)

I don't use anything on my stone because I was unhappy with the water marks that would be left after putting wet things on the counter. I really prefer the naked look anyway.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Hello there.... Did you ever resolve this issue? I think I'm having the same problem :(

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:22AM
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having the same issues too. was told to acetone the counters & re-oil. it was better but still there. I have asked teixeira to take a look next time they are in my area. Have you resolved this?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Wax is lifted by moisture. It's a poor choice for almost any type of coating, from furniture to soapstone. It's an especially poor choice for an often used countertop.

In addition, many granite fabricators don't understand soapstone. They finish it to too high of a sheen, and that exacerbates the water ring and moisture "damage" issue. The cure is to finish to a much lower sheen, with a coarser grit of sandpaper.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:51AM
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You can always have all oil and/or wax removed and apply a color enhancing sealant to get the darker look. While soapstone does not need to be sealed, enhancing sealants are a great option for getting the dark look without the maintenance and sealed soapstone does not get water marks or light spots.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I never use those Magic Erasers. Bought them once and they marred my wall paint and also my laminate counters when trying to removed marks. '
They are magic, as they remove things, but too harsh and they do it by removed part of whatever finish it is you use them on.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:12PM
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