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Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Posted by swan01 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 7, 13 at 17:38

Our kitchen remodel is almost done. I have oiled (2x) and waxed (3x) our soapstone (Alberene from Virginia) over the last 2 weeks and they don't seem to be holding the finish/patina like I had expected. Should I be more patient? Or maybe I need to just embrace the lighter gray finish? I love the matte finish and the feel of them, but not the color or blotchiness it takes on the day after waxing or oiling.

More importantly (since it is too late to do anything about the countertops), we can't decide on a backsplash concept. Floors are brazilian cherry so they have a few months until they will darken to their true color. The cabinets are almost an antique white (Brighton Cabinetry color called "Dover"). Any/all suggestions very welcome and appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I think your kitchen is beautiful! I don't have soapstone, so can't comment on the patina. However, we just got back from vacation, and we stayed at a friend's house for a couple of days--the kitchen has soapstone counters and it's beautiful.

Can you post a close up picture of the soapstone? You could go a lot of different directions with the backsplash. Do you have a style or color in your mind that you are drawn to? Do yo want to stay more traditional or transitional?


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Both your kitchen and soapstone are beautiful! I can't imagine what you don't love about it. I have the same combination as you and have creamy crackle subway tile from Sonoma. I also like some green subway tiles I've seen with your combination of walls, cabinets, and countertops. I would let your soapstone be the star, and go very simple on your backsplash.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I was going to suggest crazed subway tile from Sonoma and saw sis beat me to the punch. I think your soapstone is just lovely!


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Thanks for the speedy replies! We were leaning away from subway tiles because they seem everywhere these days. Maybe glass? Or glass subway tile? Something unusual, but pretty tame if that makes sense. (Can you tell how hard this seems to be for me?)

Here is a close up of the peninsula. There is less movement in the rest of the countertop. Thanks again!


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

We used a cobblestone glass tile in the 3x6 size. The manufacturer makes several different sizes though. It is Bellavita in the Turenne color.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I can totally understand your disappointment with the countertop appearance.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Beautiful kitchen! What kind of wax are you using on your soapstone?

Your kitchen made me think of Lucretzia's kitchen. I really like her backsplash.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lucretzia's finished kitchen


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Here is the backsplash that I used in my kitchen with my soapstone. The space is small and I think the scale of the 2x4 tile is perfect. I really like the link for Lucretzia's kitchen too. It is very warm.

My kitchen marble tile:
 photo IMG_1591.jpg

This post was edited by enduring on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 7:22


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Let the soapstone settle down. I learned to avoid wax and use mineral oil. Now, after 3 years, I seldom oil and love the dark stone with jade marbling. The first 6-8 months I fussed over it too much--especially trying the mineral oil+beeswax finish. Mistake. Once I washed away the wax with detergent and started applying oil when the counters looks too grey, all was good.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I'm usually pretty adventurous with bs suggestions, and I'm always trying to get people to incorporate color into their schemes, but I think a classic marble bs would be lovely in your very traditional space. Instead of a mosaic or a subway tile, I would recommend long narrow planks. To give you an idea of what I'm thinking, this bs is from awindram's kitchen from the Ikeafans website, link below. It would be stunning with your stone. The second image is from the M. Tex website showing a slab marble bs with their soapstone. I don't love the installation, but it'll give you an idea of how the stones look together.


Here is a link that might be useful: awindram


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

What about a thin brick like this one from Fireclay?

Or green, as others have already suggested? It is very striking.

Your soapstone is very pretty. I do not have soapstone, but have worked in many labs with it, and have read of so many on this board who just waited for the natural evening out process to occur. Perhaps you just need to be patient.

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 8:07


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RE: re{ Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please

The other photo didn't show up.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I have soapstone from Alberene and have sealed mine with color enhancing sealant, it keeps them dark. I tried to leave the small slab that is in our laundry room unoiled or waxed after the initial waxing wore off but I did not like the uneven darkened areas so I sealed it too, same with our kids bath. I was reluctant to use a sealant at first but after my installer applied it to a couple of my stone samples I decided to try it on the counters and now, 4 years later, I am still glad that I sealed them. The picture that I included is what they look like now, it has probably been 3 years since the last time that I sealed them so they have probably lightened a little.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

athomeinva--

Can you tell me more about this sealant you used? I've had my counters in for a couple months and have not waxed or oiled them because I prefer the lighter look of the soap-stone to the darker that comes after oiling, and I really like the totally matte appearance without wax or oil. But, I also then need to clean up grease spots while waiting for the natural patina to appear. This can be a PIA.

So, if you could provide more details about this sealant and how it affects the appearance and functionality of the soapstone, I'd appreciate it. I believe you said that initially it made them dark, but now they are lighter. Does the color enhancer make them as dark at oiling or waxing? And, what is the name of this product?


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I'm thinking your counters are polished too much, with too high of a grit. They are too shiny. Soapstone shouldn't be shiny, even when oiled or waxed. I'm thinking that's the problem with the "splotchiness" that is resulting from waxing or oiling. The cure is to have them honed with a rougher grit. The oil or wax won't splotch like that then.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Swan I think your soapstone is beautiful but a bit splotchy.
Where did you buy the soapstone? I just went to M.Teixeira last wed and looked at the alberene from Virginia, didn't look like yours. It was a bit green and not as striking veining. Does yours have a green tint?
I have nothing to add but am shopping for soapstone. Maybe strip the wax and just use oil?


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I have used Miracle 511 and Tile Lab sealer and enhancer, both work about the same. The feel of the stone does not change nor does its matte appearance *any more than wax or oil* but it does make them dark and causes water to bead up. You will need to apply it twice but not in the same day as it needs to dry really well between applications. I believe that my counters were darker when it was first applied but not by much, my counters were never as black as Swan's. Sealants do not change the stone to make it more perfect or less like soapstone, I still have marks and scratches that come and go, I only ever sharpie out really big band marks as the rest just fade on their own.

*I would suggest trying sealant on a sample piece before you do your entire counter to make sure that you like it.*

My counters are finished to a very smooth finish, they are dead matte when unoiled/ sealed, and have a small bit of shine when finished. I have used oil, wax, sealant, and left my counters natural for a while to try out all of the possibilities and had no problems even with the smooth finish.

This post was edited by athomeinva on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 11:53


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Thanks for all the replies so far! The good news is that the last dry wax application seems to have done the trick and the countertops have really held the dark color for about the last week.

We are still pondering the backsplash. Here is a picture of a few choices. Prices range from $13 to $29/sf. Any other ideas or suggestions? Opinions? We are really leaning towards glass. Thanks again


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Here is a closer picture in case it helps. The one on the right is our favorite right now. Thanks again!


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Although they are not glass, I've always been partial to Heath, especially in a space that reads pretty traditional.

Things are turning out lovely. Of the two you show, I like the one on the right better. It combines EAM44's suggestion with the glass you seem to be seeking. The wall color reads green on my monitor, so a color with a green undertone will likely coordinate best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heath Web Site

This post was edited by gooster on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 3:02


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

Of the ones you have posted I agree with your choice... the one on the right.

Lovely kitchen!


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

I am going to agree with the posters that suggested a creamy white crackle subway. I then would add my pop of color or personalization with a beautiful window treatment and colorful accessories. Good Luck.


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

One word--gorgeous!!!


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RE: Not loving my soapstone (yet?) and backsplash help please!

You might try a ming green marble backsplash with the soapstone. You can get it in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This is a mosaic I used:

Close-up of tile photo P1010841.jpg


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