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Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Posted by billy_g (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 9, 12 at 0:40

In searching the forums I didn't find anyone who has a soapstone floor in their kitchen. We do.

Soapstone looks absolutely beautiful on floors but we would NEVER use it on a kitchen floor again. While it's true that soapstone doesn't *permanently* stain, it does change color with spills of oil, grease, coffee, dog chewing a bone, dropped food on the floor, and sometimes even with water. I can tell you those grease stains don't come out even when using Dawn or 409. The stains may lighten but you can still clearly see them for a few weeks to a month or more.

It makes the floor look dirty and raggedy even when it's clean. Sigh... We explain to guests that soapstone doesn't stain and they look at the floor and ask about the stains. We say, oh those aren't stains; they're not permanent, they'll come out in a month. LOL.

But it feels great with the floor heat underneath.

I would use soapstone on the floor in a heartbeat in a bathroom (there is no better stone for wet areas), entry hall, or den, but there is no way in the world I would ever recommend it for a kitchen floor. My hope is that the entire floor will develop a darker patina in a couple of years.

We love our soapstone countertops and sinks but for some reason they are much easier to clean than the floor. Perhaps it's because the counters have become darker because of the mineral oil. We've never oiled the floors, of course!

In a future thread I may ask about steam cleaners.

Billy

In the photos below the darker stains are new (uncleaned) and the lighter stains have been there a while after scrubbing and several cleanings. The soapstone is Barocca, just like the counters.

Photobucket

Photobucket


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

I do not even have my soapstone (countertop) installed yet so I am no expert by any stretch. But in researching I have found people who use acetone to remove oil/grease marks from their unsoiled soapstone. Maybe that could help when you want to spruce things up a bit?


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

I'm curious...why not oil the floor? Or better use the wax that some soapstone companies sell? I have actually started using a wax/oil combination that is sold for butcherblock and other kitchen woodware on my soapstone counters and like it much better than the oil. It goes on drier, with less potential for excess and seems to last longer. I don't THINK it makes it slippery, but perhaps that would be a concern on the floor.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

mmhmmgood, acetone probably would remove the spots. But I would have to wipe most of the floor down with acetone and that's not going to be healthy or safe, and it would be very time consuming every time we have someone over. But I may try it on a few spots.

melissastar, the companies that sell soapstone floor tiles warned me not to oil the floor. I find our counters are more slippery after I oil them. In addition it would mean putting oil on the grout (slab counters don't have grout lines) and the oil would quickly wear near the doorways and places with activity. But I hear you -- a number of times I've thought about oiling them!

I am thinking about steam. With our soapstone sinks I've noticed the oil stays on them for a while, even when we are using dish soap. But if I run really hot water in the sink almost all the oil comes off quickly.

It is a real maintenance headache which is the last thing you want on a floor. It's a long story but we had a different sealable stone picked out for the floor and got in a jam when we learned it was not in stock (contractor waited too long to order it) and would not be for months. So we took a risk and went with soapstone. It sure was gorgeous before we started cooking and living in the house!

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

I don't know if this helps at all, but we had a beautiful slate foyer and hallway that ran thru out the house where I grew up.

My mom waxed it. Ever couple of months. It would look at bit shiny at first, but then soften into the regular slate look. It was beautiful.

Just an idea...

Christine


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Hi, Christine. The stone we originally selected was a slate that looks almost exactly like bluestone/flagstone and it would have tied together the inside with an exterior bluestone porch and stairs off the kitchen. We saw it at a friend's house and it was nicely sealed.

A wax finish is nice but slate can be pretty porous so sealers and waxes bond nicely to it. I had thought of using the wax that some folks use on their soapstone countertops and maybe I'll revisit that. One concern is the slipperiness of the wax. Slate has clefts that helps prevent slipping but this soapstone floor is dead flat and could be slippery. The second problem is the wax would stay on the surface and it does not bond deeply into the stone. This means that scratches and such would be highlighted, and the floor does receive lots of dings and scratches from everyday living. It also could be that the wax (since it does not bond deeply) may come off when the floor receives a good cleaning. A third problem is I wonder if the wax in the grout would collect dirt. But maybe I'll try some wax on a piece of spare soapstone and try walking on it.

By the way, I've been admiring your butcher block counter project! You put a lot of work into them and they are looking good.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Have you tried sealing a spare floor tile with a color enhancing sealer to see if it works? We have soapstone counters from Alberene in VA and they are sealed with a Miracle color enhancing sealer, no problems and they look great. I did have to seal them a couple of times back to back as it was blotchy and uneven at first. The sealer does not make the stone slippery.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

One thing I have used on our (unoiled) soapstone countertops is a product called "Greased Lightning". It is billed as an all purpose cleaner and degreaser. Since we have never oiled our countertops, and we of course get the various oil spots from time to time, I just spray a little on the spot and wait a few minutes, then wipe it down. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 times to really make the spot "disappear". I then just clean the counter as usual. Again, this may be more maintenance than is practical on a floor, as you mentioned above with the acetone. But it has removed spots that acetone doesn't. Good luck and let us know if the steam cleaning works, if you end up trying that.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

In picking out the elements for the kitchen in our new build, I
contemplated putting in a soapstone floor, over what will be,
Warm Board radiant heat. But, I was concerned about exactly
what you have experienced.

For the master bath, on the otherhand, I have no concerns. In
fact, the vanity top, floor, tub surround and the entire shower
will probably be soapstone. M. Teixeira offers a shower floor
carved out of one piece of soapstone. No grout!

As to your situation, perhaps a shout-out to Florida Joshua would
help?


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

I agree with athomeinva. There is a very nice restaurant here that put in the alberene soapstone and had it sealed. The countertops look great and it seems to me that would alleviate your issues. Hope this helps.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

athomeinva, this is the first time I have ever heard about someone successfully sealing soapstone. Wow! Alberene is pretty soft, isn't it (and therefore has lots of talc)? Barroca is soft as well.

I have several Miracle sealing products at home but I don't have the color-enhancing sealer. their products are excellent. I would like to hear from others who have first-hand experience with sealers on Barroca soapstone.

How does the sealer do with hot grease? Do you get any spots with grease and oil?

I have come to realize that it is much more challenmging to keep a floor clean compared to countertops. Spills and splatters sit on the floor for a longer time and floors cover a lot more square footage as well.

leela4, we'll try the Greased Lighting -- thanks for the tip!

darbuka, our floor tiles are from M. Texeira and the counters are from Bucks County Soapstone. The Barocca is from the same quarry; it's the same stone. I like those soapstone shower bases. In Korea I've seen saunas where all of the floors are covered in soapstone, including in the shower areas. I agree it is the greatest for wet spaces. I wanted to use it in our master bath but DW wanted something different (carerra marble which looks great but is much higher maintentance).

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems - Miracle Sealer

sis2two, is the restaurant in Virgina? I would love to see the counters.

athomeinva, how do your countertops look when they are scratched? Can you see the scratch? I imagine it would contrast with the sealed stone. If you can see the scratch do you repair it by applying more sealer to the scratched area?

Did you use the Miracle 511 Sealer/Enhancer?

Thanks,
Billy

Here is a link that might be useful: Miracle 511 Sealer/Enhancer


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sealing the floor

I have the Old Dominion variety and it is a medium softness. Yes, the 511 one step sealer and enhancer is what I have used. I have no problems with anything marking the counters including hot grease. Scratches do show and can be sealed over but they blend in well with the veining and tend to fade on their own, any large dings get covered up with sharpie. Do you have any scrap pieces of the floor tile available? If so definitely test the sealer on one and drag a dirty shoe or fork or whatever across it a few times. You may also want to recreate the current condition of your floor on a tile and see what happens if you seal over it.
Here is the best pic I can get of a scratch, it is not really noticeable irl.
Photobucket


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

athomeinva, thanks so much for posting a picture of your sealed soapstone. It is beautiful stone and I really appreciate being able to see its appearance.

I do have some spare tiles I can practice with. That's a good idea.

I assume the enhancer darkens the stone similar to mineral oil. For our floors I like the gray color (which doesn't show scratches as much as the oiled stone) so I could practice with some 511 Impregnator that I have at home. I may also get the Enhancer/Impregnator and try it on a sample.

BTW, I'm almost next door to you, in Maryland.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

billy-g,

Glad you posted this. This is reality, and while you
have a good attitude, I am so happy you shared your
experience.

~boxer


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Thanks, boxer. You can add this to your photo library!

The floor does look amazing without stains but talk about high maintenance - yikes!

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems-Steam

leela4, I tried the Greased Lightning cleaner and it does work, but sometimes the spot is still there (but lighter) and I need to do it a second time. This is good for individual spots but too difficult to do on an entire floor.

I bought a Haan steam mop (the Multi) and it has a detachable handheld steam unit. I used it with a brush attachment and it worked very well. After 30 minutes on my hands and knees the floor looks much better but there are still scattered spots. I cannot see doing this twice a week! It's a nice unit and great to have the hand unit that can be detached from the mop.

Next up is my test of the sealers.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems-Sealers

I tested a couple of sealers on a spare Barroca soapstone tile and then subjected the sealed portions to water, mineral oil, a scratch, and meat fat. Photos and results are below.

On the left side of the tile I used Miracle 511 Impregnator, which is a penetrating sealer that results in little color change. On the right side of the tile I used an Aquamix penetrating sealer/enhancer ($40 for 24 ounces). Because it is an enhancing sealer it darkens the stone (like mineral oil) and brings out the colors. I think the Miracle 511 enhancer/sealer would give similar results.

See below after sealing -- the center portion was covered by tape and is unsealed.

Photobucket

The photo below shows water beading on both sides of the sealed tile.

Photobucket

The photo below shows the water on the left side (511 sealer).

Photobucket

The photo below shows water on the right side (enhancer/sealer).

Photobucket

This photo shows mineral oil on both sides of the tile.

Photobucket

This photo shows mineral oil on the left side (511 sealer).

Photobucket

This photo shows mineral oil on the right side (enhancer/sealer).

Photobucket

The photo below shows the mineral oil wiped off. Note that it penetrated through the sealer and stained the tile on the left side (sealer only) while on the right side there is no color change, probably because the sealer/enhancer has already made the stone the same color as oiled stone.

Photobucket

The below photo shows a scratch on the tile with the 511 sealer, across the oil spot and on the unoiled stone. It kind of blends in with the gray.

Photobucket

The photo below shows a scratch on the tile with the enhancer/sealer. The white scratch is more prominent on the enhanced stone.

Photobucket

The photo below shows heated meat fat on the stone (I had to try something other than mineral oil).

Photobucket

The photo below shows the meat fat before wiping. You can see it stains the sealed stone but not the enhanced stone.

Photobucket

The photo below shows meat fat after wiping.

Photobucket

================================================

To sum it up, the sealer preserves the color of the stone (love that light gray) and the enhancer makes the soapstone look oiled. Both cause water to bead up but grease stains are hidden or don't appear with the darker enhancer/sealer. Scratches are more apparent with the enhancer sealer, and although you get a lot of scratches and dings on a soapstone kitchen floor, I can probably touch them up periodically.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Wow! Thanks for posting all of this Billy.

I wonder only one thing ... is it difficult to remove either product (the sealer or the enhancer/sealer)? In case it had been applied and after some time living with it one had a change of heart. Or is it something that would wear away and require reapplication after a time? Clearly the wear would be different between a floor and a countertop. Just curious.


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thanks

I was just thinking about your floors yesterday, thank you for sharing your results. It is too bad that the unenhancing sealer does not prevent the oil from sticking. Just curious, did you contact Bucks Co. to see if they have a product to recommend?


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strange stone

I keep thinking about your results with the unenhanced sealer and I really wish I still had some of my samples left to test out as this has made more questions for me and I do not want to just bug you with them but... do the oil marks scrub off any easier with soap? It is so strange that water beads up so well, even on my stone that hasn't been resealed in at least a year the water still beads, but the oil adheres. I wonder if the oil spots will lighten up any quicker then on an unsealed stone.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Several years ago, Scott from Bucks County Soapstone, was selling a product to coat the stone to keep it gray. He gave me a large stone sample on which he applied this coating to half. It stayed gray no matter what I put on it. The other side darkened naturally but not the coated side. We still have the sample (DD uses it for her flat iron) and it's still light gray on the side that was coated. I have no idea what this stuff was, but I'm sure you could call him and find out. I can imagine your floor feels glorious underfoot but those "stains" would drive me mad!


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

mmhmgood, these sealers cannot be removed after they are applied. Instead the soapstone would need to be sanded.

athomeinva, I haven't contacted Bucks Co or M. Texeira yet but I will do it soon. The chemistry of the sealers is such that the water beads but the oil has low surface tension and a better ability to be absorbed into the sealed stone. The cleanup of oil doesn't seem any easier on the sealed stone.

cheril27, I will call Scott and ask him about this sealer. Do you know if it resists oil stains?

At this point it looks like we'll need to go with the darker floor color.

Soapstone is the worst material ever for a kitchen floor -- because it stains so easily and it is so difficult to clean. It is a real nightmare. For anyone who says soapstone doesn't stain, it just ain't so. Whether it stains permanently is another question, and whether oiling it helps reduce the appearance of stains is yet another question.

It would be so nice to be able to sweep and mop the floor and have it clean and sparkling...

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

To go back to your initial post-- why is soapstone so good for bathroom floors? (We have a future bathroom reno in mind.)


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

soapstone does not stain - however any bit of oil will bond to the surface and create dark spot that does not go away until the oil is removed, either from time(evaporation) or cleaning. But it is only on the surface, nothing has penetrated - IE what staining does.

That probably causes a lot of problems because people do not understand the differenece, and assume by not staining, it means it won't change color due to surface application of a substance.

That is why soapstone works in bathrooms, the water will never penetrate the stone. It does not mean the stone won't look wet until the water dries off, just that the water stays on the surface only.

BTW - stain vs surface bonding is a big issue for woodworkers. But for most people, if it changes the look of the surface, they call it a "stain".


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

billy g, what great documentation of this, for future members with similar questions.

I've used Aquamix sealer products for Saltillo tile. If you have a Daltile distriubutor close to you, call them for pricing. Our Daltile isn't allowed to sell tile to non-contractors, but they do sell tile supplies and tools at contractor prices (to the general public.) I was able to buy the expensive Aquamix products for over 1/3 less than through other local sources.


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

waterdamage, soapstone is great for bathroom floors because it is non-slip -- it actually gets "stickier" when it is wet. Plus it is soft and holds heat very well if you will have underfloor heat. In Korea I've seen entire spas made from soapstone as it is a super material for wet areas. It will get grease spots if you think you may spill lotions, baby oil, etc on the floor...

macybaby, the word "stain" with respect to soapstone is a matter of semantics. That's exactly the trap I fell into with the soapstone floor -- everyone saying and my own knowledge that it does not stain PERMANENTLY. The fact is it stains very easily with grease and such. I don't really care if the grease will evaporate after a month or two or three -- because I will have to live with spots on my floor for months -- or if I can get the spot off by scrubbing it with a powerful cleaner (the main ingredient in Greased Lightning is lye - for real) 3 times until the spot is gone -- or crawl around on my hands and knees with a scrubber and a steamer attacking each spot when there hundreds on the floor after a lively dinner party with kids involved. Each crumb becomes a grease spot, each piece of cheese, each condiment, each grain of rice in jambalaya.

No one wants to spend time scrubbing their kitchen floor with high-power cleaners just to get out a "temporary stain." You can imagine how it went over when I tried to tell my DW those weren't really stains on the floor... LOL!

Whether the stains are only BONDED to the surface or whether they penetrate down deep, they look like stains and are difficult to remove.

Check out the first photos in this thread.

Billy


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floors?

At this point what do you plan to do with your floors?


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

mudhouse, thanks for the tip on pricing.

athomeinva, I am probably going to use an enhancing sealer on the floors and live with the darker color. At this point it's all about reducing the maintenance hassles.

I spoke with Scott at Bucks County Soapstone and he didn't have any new suggestions. He said he experimented with Dupont Bulletproof sealer but it won't prevent discoloration from oil. Scott said that a Scotchbrite pad is one of the quickest ways to remove an oil "stain." I may try this before I use an enhancing sealer on the floor. I could rig Scotchbrite pads on a sponge mop and see how it works... but it seems like a lot of work to do for keeping a floor clean.

I have to say the soapstone countertops and two soapstone sinks we got from Bucks County Soapstone are fabulous. We really like them (and our guests admire them) and they have no problems at all. Scott and his crew are real craftsmen and very nice folks.

Billy

Here is a link that might be useful: Bucks County Soapstone


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

mmhmgood, these sealers cannot be removed after they are applied. Instead the soapstone would need to be sanded.

athomeinva, I haven't contacted Bucks Co or M. Texeira yet but I will do it soon. The chemistry of the sealers is such that the water beads but the oil has low surface tension and a better ability to be absorbed into the sealed stone. The cleanup of oil doesn't seem any easier on the sealed stone.

cheril27, I will call Scott and ask him about this sealer. Do you know if it resists oil stains?

At this point it looks like we'll need to go with the darker floor color.

Soapstone is the worst material ever for a kitchen floor -- because it stains so easily and it is so difficult to clean. It is a real nightmare. For anyone who says soapstone doesn't stain, it just ain't so. Whether it stains permanently is another question, and whether oiling it helps reduce the appearance of stains is yet another question.

It would be so nice to be able to sweep and mop the floor and have it clean and sparkling...

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems-Scotchbrite

The Scotchbrite pads work pretty fast... if you don't mind sanding the soapstone to remove spots. It lightens the area that you rub with the pad so you get a light area where the spot used to be, but it works. It won't work to crawl around the floor and scrub each spot after a meal.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

If it were me, I have no doubt I'd go with the darker floor color. It would be so frustrating to live in terror of dropping anything on the kitchen floor (life is too short for that kind of stress, in my house.) I'm thinking there is a good chance the dark color will be just as lovely but different, once you get used to the change. I hope so!


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floors

I think the darker floor will look nice, hope all goes well!


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

mudhouse and athomeinva,

I'll definitely go with the darker floor color. I'll wait until a weekend when I have time to scrub everything down and let it dry, and then put down a couple of coats of the enhancer/sealer. The big vent hood will help exhaust the sealer fumes but I'll need to get the family and pets out of the house while I'm doing this on a large area.

Hopefully this will do the trick. It will be interesting to see how quickly it wears off in the high traffic areas.

Billy


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

My recommendation is to clean your floor with lacquer thinner in preparation for a soapstone oil. What you are seeing is any material, food, etc. with oils in them will patina the sopastone floor tile. It is my recommendation for the floor to become more unifrom is to apply the soapstone oil over the entire floor. This should resolve what appears to be staining which it is not, the floor is just aging and patina-ing in spots versus uniformly. I hope this helps. If you need any further assistance don't hesitate to contact me in the future, jay@gardenstatesoapstone.com

-Jay


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RE: Soapstone Kitchen Floor Problems

Hi Jay,

I really appreciate you taking the time to weigh in on this.

Have you done this on a kitchen floor?

Lacquer thinner would do the trick for cleanup! I'll have to be careful not to bump into my stove ignitors during the cleanup or I'll have a nice patina on everything!

I've thought about oiling the floor, but I've been concerned about two problems. The first is putting mineral oil on the floor will make it slippery. The second is that I'll have to keep re-applying the oil on the floor (and grout) and that's a never-ending job, especially in the main traffic areas. It's no problem on the counters but a big job on the floor.

Am I reading this wrong?

Thanks again.

Billy


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