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second thoughts about soapstone choice

Posted by aricomamma (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 30, 12 at 11:53

My husband and I chose our barroca soapstone with utter emotion: it is absolutely beautiful BUT as I educate myself further on s.s. (through this website as well as other resources) I am beginning to question whether or not I will be able to handle the patina of our gorgeous barroca soapstone. I am not particularly hard on things but I have parties with family and friends (as well as my own kids, ages 12 and 10) and would not want to constantly be on patrol over my countertops! I also like the anastacia but it has a lot of green which my dh abhors. He thinks that I wont be happy with it. our cabinets are going to be a creamy distressed painted maple. what would YOU do????


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

Did you test and abuse your sample yourself?


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

You say you're getting DISTRESSED cabinets, so evidently you like at least the APPEARANCE of time-used things, so can you grit your teeth to get through the first months of uh, patinanization to the counters that will go well with your cab finish?

As perhaps you've found, there have been many patina discussions for SS here. Many liken it to wearing linen: do you avoid wearing linen since it instantly wrinkles? Do you take many of your clothes to the dry cleaner or iron them zealously yourself? These types of self-questions can help you decide if you can handle patina. Lots of people have gone with honed Jet Mist granite as a patina-less alternative and love it, but it of course doesn't have the silky feeling of SS.

Make sure you test samples in your own kitchen with everything you can think of, especially dragging cans, that will happen in your kitchen by your family and party friends.

Here's one thread talking specifically about barocca.

good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: a GW thread on barroca SS


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

Our barroca soapstone countertops will be installed in 11 days (yes, I am crossing the days off the calendar in anticipation).

Soapstone is a so-called "soft" stone composed primarily of the mineral talc (as in the powder). It WILL chip, scratch, wear away (i.e. form a patina) with age and use. It is the nature of the stone. For us it was the fact that it would get a patina with age that attracted us to it and made it a concious decision for the style of kitchen we chose (plain cabinets, aged stone floor, AGA range, soapstone, marble, weathered brass). We chose the slab marble backsplash having seen Eurpoean kitchens in old Georgian estates, French farm houses and Tuscan villas with beautifully worn marble everywhere and wanted the same thing in our kitchen.

If you are the kind of person who does not like a patina that comes with use and age it may not be the best idea to get a stone that has the properties to do so.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

Thank you all for your thoughts; I really appreciate a fresh point of view rather than just my own playing over and over again in my head like a broken record...

Marcolo, yes I did get several types of samples... i am not crazy about the way the barroca looks after all the abuse; the ony thought i have to contradict myself with is that i would NEVER abuse my counters the way i have the sample.

MTNfever: i have always loved the look of old, worn things: books, home decor, homes etc... clothes however are quite another story: I NEVER wear linen due to the wrinkling issue (LOL). I love the feel of soapstone and how organic it is: granite does not compare. I also do not like the look of pristine countertops.. i just dont want it to look abused.. thank you for the useful link: i have been reading EVERYTHING about soapstone on this website for weeks now and will continue to do so until the moment my kitchen is complete!

holden sk: i too appreciate the old homes of europe, i DO love that look: i hope that that is how the countertops will look: worn with love and use, NOT beaten and abused looking as I FEAR...


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

Did you see my thread on Barocca?

It did not hold up to what I consider normal daily countertop use. A fork practically destroyed it, and a quarter-cup measuring cup took nice big chips out of it.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

aricomamma-for what it's worth:
The ss variety that we have ("smoke") is relatively on the soft side. No children here routinely; just the every once in awhile grandchild. Yes, having friends over has "patinad" our countertops perhaps faster than not, but I still think they look good, not abused. They've been in for 2 years now.And we don't oil them-is that something you have considered and tried-that is, abusing your sample and then seeing what it looks like with oil? Marcolo is right-his thread is very informative and may have scared me off, but maybe not.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

ancomamma, I just received my samples from MTexera yesterday and immediately started dropping things on the samples. A butter knife, dropped same knife across the edge, it all chipped. DH was not impressed.
BUT, I LOVE the look so much. It's a difficult decision, and I think I'm going to research and see if there are any harder varieties that what was sent.
It is the first time I have seen soapstone. It is unheard of here in Texas, and I'm really stressing as well.

Holden.sk!! Do you have pictures of your kitchen? Just the description is making me drool.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

If you read marcolo's thread, you'll see my posting of my Piracema slab. It was horribly damaged in shipping, was very easily "destroyed" with these somewhat over the top "tests" and yet it made a beautiful and hardworking countertop. Yes, I had a few chips around the sink, but oiled, they blended in. Honestly, I doubt anyone but me would notice them unless I pointed them out.

I think it's the sheen of soapstone that makes the dings not so awful. I can imagine that a chip in quartz or granite would be far more devastating. To most folks, something that isn't shiny isn't "perfect" anyway if you know what I mean.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

susied3: I know EXACTLY how you feel! I have been in a very similar dilemma for at least two weeks! My DH doesn't even want me to discuss it with him anymore! I've become so desperate that I've solicited my children's opinions and have picked their brains over their decision-making skills! I know, pathetic! Well, after reading over the above-written comments, for which I am so grateful, I've FINALLY decided to let it go and stick with the barroca choice we've made. I must admit that after my second trip to the soapstone yard I felt a bit better. I know they say that barroca is barroca but I felt that my particular stone is harder than the other stone that I was considering... I even see a tiny bit of green, which it seems all the harder stones have green in them. Hope this helps..


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

I haven't checked in here in a very long time and logged on today and saw this! I have had my Barroca in for almost 2 years now (wow how time flies!). I actually responded in the first link that was given in this thread.

I can say that, after 2 years, I love my Barroca soapstone probably even more than when I first got it installed. It is a softer soapstone, but honestly that's kind of what we wanted. We got ours from Buck's and still couldn't be happier.

I have noticed that it seems to have toughened up a bit, seems to withstand wear and tear more. I used to be able to scratch it with my fingernail and get a slight white line. Now, not at all.

We don't baby our counters at all -- we have a now 11 year old son and they're not exactly known for delicacy. I think I may be more mindful of scraping pots across the surface, but I don't know that I ever dragged things across my counters?

My experience has been great. They seem to toughen as they age, don't scratch hardly ever, and if they do, I oil them out, no problem.

I don't have experience with any other soapstone, but Barroca has been a dream for us.

I don't know if this changed anything, but about 1 year ago, I stopped oiling it and now use a beeswax on them. I hardly ever have to do it now (maybe 1x every 6 months or so if I feel like it). Maybe this helped harden them up? I have no idea.

Anyway, just wanted to chime in to let you know that I don't think you'll regret Barroca -- it's beautiful and isn't troublesome at all... at least to me. But there are clearly harder varieties out there that are also beautiful.

Hope this helps.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

I think I remember that what soapstone develops is an oxidized layer on top of it. Perhaps the problem with samples is that they don't have an oxidized layer on them. Scratching scratches the talc layer off which causes the chalky white line. But as it develops it's black oxidized layer, scratching shows less since it's the oxidized layer you are scratching. I've had my barroca over a year now and rarely oil it. It is slowly getting blacker on it's own. The scratches do not show like the sample pictures people have posted and oil out nicely.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

itsallabouthtefood - that makes a lot of sense. From what I remember, when you oil/wax, it just speeds up the oxidation process (which means you don't have to do it as often over time). I guess that oxidation hardens it up a bit since the talc layer is now being oxidized over (can you tell how scientifically inclined I am)? Thanks for such a helpful explanation of what I have seen from experience, but couldn't put words to. My experience with Barroca is the same as yours -- going on 2 years now.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

I would love to see photos of these counters that everyone loves after several years of acquiring a patina. Initially the chips and scratches sound terrible. How does it look after it's stabilized and looks wonderful?


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We don't have Barrocca...and didn't choose it for all the reasons stated. We have Belvedere. We don't oil it. It's been over a year and we couldn't be happier. We originally had a very soft Santa Rita Venata. It was a very soft stone. We had to change it out due to some defects from the quarry and decided since we were able to get a harder stone, to pick the Belvedere. No hints of green at all. We leave it naked. Have not oiled since about the first month. Have not waxed at all.

To give you an idea of the hardness, I dropped a can of soup from our corner cabinet on to the stone. The can got a ding, the counter got nothing.

There are other options in soapstone. Don't be afraid to ask for and experiment with samples.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

itsallaboutthefood and julieh 1926 thank you both for your responses: i do so appreciate an experienced view point! i am happy to hear that you are STILL happy with your barroca after years of usage!

fivefootzero: i've seen your belvedere before on this forum and must say that it is so beautiful! I love many of the hard soapstones especially naked! Unfortunately it is not the look we are going for (or so we think at this moment). Plus, I LOVE the warm veining in the Barroca�

I'm all about emotion and this has been a very emotional decision! I tried to be logical and that is what got me in trouble to begin with (LOL). Thanks again for all the responses. I too would LOVE to see pics of patina'd barroca countertops!


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

ariocomamma - I hope you thoroughly enjoy your soapstone countertops. Also, I can completely sympathize with hubbies who no longer want to discuss kitchen reno decisions - mine would just roll his eyes whilst I was going through the "should I get the really expensive marble slab backsplash or should I get the much more reasonable marble subway tiles" discussion (obsession) I went through......for six weeks straight.

susied3 - no pictures of my kitchen as of yet. You may recall a recent thread from a woman whose delivery date was imminent and had major issues with the GC doing her kitchen/renovations to the point of lawyering-up? Erm, yeah.....ditto.....times 3. I have total sympathy for her. We have not had a kitchen (or a living room or a dining room) for 10 months and counting. Soon though (fingers crossed) and then I will post a picture of my barroca in this thread.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

I don't have any recent pictures of my counters, but honestly, it looks pretty much exactly the same as it did when installed.

There are a few dings, or really scratches around the rim of the sink, but they're not visible unless you're looking for them and go away when I wax it. If you run your hand around the sink, you can feel them, but you can't see anything other than the dark Barroca. Plus, if they bothered me, I could just sand them down slightly. But I've never even thought to do that because you can't see any difference.

So, sorry that I don't have any recent pictures, but if you look at the pictures in that first link of my kitchen, that's pretty much what you see today.

Hope this helps.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

I suggest calling Green Mountain Soapstone and finding a dealer that carries Original P.A. It is a harder variety with some veins. Look at some of the harder varieties you might find one you like as much as Barocca. Any black-gray soapstone(not too green I guess) will look great with the distressed painted maple cabinets.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

Here are some pictures of our soapstone that I took today. I concentrated on the island, because that gets the most use (with the exception of the sink). Here is a closeup of some scratches:
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From a little farther away, same view:
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Edge with dings, same view:
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Island from a distance:
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And this was maybe the hardest to see happen (after the fact)-it was only about 8 months or so after installation, and a good friend opened a bottle of wine here (not on the island):
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But even though I see the marks, they really don't bother me. It all just blends in.
HTH


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

fivefoot, where did you get your Belvedere? I don't think it was one of the options at MTexeria. At least I can't remember it right off. Your soapstone is beautiful.

aricomama! I've been asking the kids as well, and even started resorting the little grandkids! I let them bang around on them, oil them and let them vote on which one they like! I feel desperate.
It is very reassuring to see so many with barocca who have a great experience with it, I do think it is the prettiest out of the small samples I received.
leela, what kind is yours? It's beautiful.

holden.sk, sorry about your troubles. Nothing worse than having a bad gc in an already stressful remodeling event. Hope everything has turned around for you and things are going forward! (And this is supposed to be fun.....)


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leela4: omg! how beautiful are your counter tops! thx so much for sharing those pics! The "wine bottle being uncorked on my countertops" scenario was just what I was imagining when I though of standing guard over my ss: your scratches and chips seem so unremarkable... so NOT worth all the anxiety I've brought upon myself :-P

I appreciate the peace of mind each post brings me that we've made the right decision. Thank you :-) again!


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

ariocomamma - The sharp edges of the samples chip much more readily than the rounded edges of a finished slab.

Even if you just get the basic rounded edge, it's already got the most vulnerable edge bits smoothed off for you.


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

thanks for that point Lazygardens! I was planning on getting the t-edge 1/4 radius.. i don't know if that is just m. teix's term but its pretty rounded w/o losing that old-fashioned look..


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

We just had our SS installed last week. We have a very hard green stone with lots of movement. Love it! Anyway, someone in another thread did some testing on the best oil/wax to use on your SS. What he came up with, and everyone tends to agree, is a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil works the best. 1 lb. of beeswax and 1 bottles of mineral oil (you need to heat it up to mix it).

We picked the SS over granite because it is so forgiving and will not be ruined with a little red wine or olive oil.


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LovesPurple: thank you for the soapstone combo info! I must write all of this down for safe-keeping!


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

We're searching for soapstone for kitchen counters. Want hard-ish stone, no huge veins, minimal small veining, no green. Black to dark grey. What type do you recommend?


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RE: second thoughts about soapstone choice

bump.
Just started looking at soapstone and am interested in the same as interess.


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