Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

primahJune 17, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Okay, I know this has been rehashed a hundred times, but I would love to get your opinions as to the countertop material for our kitchen. We have a relatively small kitchen (11'x11'), and are in the process of remodeling. I'm attaching some of our inspiration photos below.

The layout (open to the breakfast room) makes it possible to add a small island. We've designed an island to look like a furniture piece, with freestanding legs and a stretcher bar, so it doesn't take up too much visual space in the kitchen. See below:

As we are in desperate need of additional counter space, we are building the island first, and will work it into the design of the major kitchen remodel next year. Sounds a little backwards, I know, but we don't always do things apropos. Our island is in production, and we are in the process of picking a countertop. I am completely torn between a calacatta marble or soapstone. I love and hate things about both of them. I've gone to countless stone yards, and everytime I fall in love with a slab of each.

I should mention that the island will be the workhorse of our kitchen. We have young children, are messy cooks, and will care for, but not "baby" the stone. I also am not a fan of oiled soapstone (I don't want black, but do love the natural gray). I've attached some images below of some beautiful countertops in both materials (hence my dilemma):

Can anyone provide their input as to your experience with these materials? Durability? Maintenance? I know this is personal, but perhaps some words of wisdom can help me make my choice.

Thanks, everyone, for voicing your opinions.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sombreuil_mongrel

I like the soapstone perimeter with the carrara marble island top, at least 2" thick, preferably 2 1/2 with a very sculpted edge. Looks like money because it is.
I have soapstone and a very small butcherblock work table (2x4) that's pushed against the wall because my kitchen is 17x11, with six doors and two windows; on any case too narrow for a fixed island.
My soapstone is hard and very plain (tiny veins). Haven't had any issues with scratching or chipping. I did let some soda spilled on it sit, and it has appeared to etch it. Soapstone is user-riendly, and I have no doubt that I could resurface it myself (I DIY-ed my tops). Etching and staining are the chief antagonists to marble remaining pristine. But aged marble has a payina it's own; whomever says stuff has to be showroom fresh forever isn't living in the real world.
Casey

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Redhead47

I recommend you head over to the Kitchens forum. You will find lots of advice there. Kitchens

From your description of your family & lifestyle, I doubt the carrara marble would be a good choice. It wouldn't for me. But, there are some granites & quartzites that look much like carrara marble, with less maintenance & care, and also many that look a lot like soapstone. Also look at Silestone & Cambria -- there are said to be some with a marble look to them, and virtually no maintenance. Corian supposedly has some good looks, now, too.

Look at Bianco Romano, White Pearl, White Princess, Moon Night, Bianco Antico, Andromeda, among others for the white granites.

Here is a link that might be useful: granite instead of marble

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Redhead47

I recommend you head over to the Kitchens forum. You will find lots of advice there. Kitchens

From your description of your family & lifestyle, I doubt the carrara marble would be a good choice. It wouldn't for me. But, there are some granites & quartzites that look much like carrara marble, with less maintenance & care, and also many that look a lot like soapstone. Also look at Silestone & Cambria -- there are said to be some with a marble look to them, and virtually no maintenance. Corian supposedly has some good looks, now, too.

Look at Bianco Romano, White Pearl, White Princess, Moon Night, Bianco Antico, Andromeda, among others for the white granites.

Here is a link that might be useful: granite instead of marble

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 7:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kathryn606

I have had a Corian island for 20+ years, and it has survived two children, red wine, grape juice and more. Now that we're doing an extensive remodel, we're getting soapstone countertops for the perimeter and Corian for the new (larger) island. There are even more neat colors and looks in Corian than there were in the 1980s, when we were the only people we knew who had Corian.
by the way, you don't have to "treat" soapstone; you can oil it occasinally, if you wish, but it's not mandatory to maintain that beautiful matte look.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
macybaby

I have soapstone, and I use it as a working countertop. The big difference to me is staining. Just a few days ago I had slops of blueberry, strawberry and Raspberry jam, along with lemon juice. And it all wiped up as if it wasn't there. Then the next day I rolled out sugar cookies on the same spot.

I don't oil my soapstone (too much work and I put food direclty on it all the time).

I have a feeling if I had marble, I'd have lots of stains on it already. I love the look of marble and think I'd be OK with the patina. But I know it wouldn't look as nice as the soapstone does after two days of jam making!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MIssyV

If kathryn606 is still around, would you post a pic of your soapstone and corian together?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Remodel for your taste vs possible sale
We plan to be in our house for 4-5 more years. It's...
thbennet
Laying tile without cement board?
We pulled some tile up in several spaces. The tile...
nostalgicfarm
when and how to cut contractor loose?
We have been living a bathroom nightmare! All started...
BathroomBlues
Replacing shower recessed light with vent/light
Our house has a 6" can light over the bath/shower....
postalgbv
Design and Planning a Remodel/Addition on a Budget
I bought my first home three years ago and had grand...
gzehnder
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™