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soapstone counters

Posted by cmonasev (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 10, 10 at 10:32

I am researching soapstone for my kitchen counters. It sounds like the perfect material except for the 'softness' factor. I have 3 boys who tend to be "active", I also live in the kitchen, cooking, ETC... Will it scratch as much as I have read? How about chipping...


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RE: soapstone counters

You'll get a lot more responses if you post over in On-Topic Discussions (link at the top of the list of threads).

The soapstone that's easiest to scratch shouldn't be sold as slabs. It takes very little effort, and is better used for carving. Reputedly, the same quarry can yield both harder and softer so the name of the stone, and origin, aren't a good guide. Instead, use something sharp, like a nail to scratch a corner or sample of the actual slab you're looking to buy.

I have very hard (for soapstone) green soapstone. It's hard to scratch, but pretty rare. The name is Finland Green. It is naturally pretty dark and doesn't need oil or wax. Soapstone is composed of talc and steatite with quartz, and sometimes other minerals, running through in seams. A soapstone expert was saying to us that the green in hard green soapstone is serpentine. I don't know if that is true of mine or not. The talc, itself, has a green tinge. There are other, "normal" looking soapstones that are also pretty hard to scratch.

Any stone can chip. Some more than others. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that more veining would lead to a greater possibility of chipping.

Since soapstone can be worked with woodworking tools, there are things you can do to keep it looking good, including sanding out scratches, and smoothing minor chips.

One of the nice things about soapstone is that it's nonporous and repels water. You can just use your hand to slick water right off of it and back into the sink. Oil sticks to the surface, and most people use oil or wax (i.e., congealed oil) to darken the surface of their soapstone. The oil forms a stable, hard surface, like varnish does, but can be removed pretty easily with a good scrub, as can incidental oil spots.

There have been reports of water rings from glasses and other discolorations, that have been traced back to interference with these surface oilings. One member said that hers were from rinse aid residue. Rinse aid is a surfactant (i.e., like soap).

Do a search in the on-topic discussions and you'll find a lot more info about soapstone.

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