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Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Posted by raee (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 11:26

The prices that the local stoneyards are asking for both are too much for me, but it seems that I could get good value by ordering directly from a few suppliers (Texeira, for example) even with the cost of shipping.

Has anyone done this? Any words of wisdom for me?
I would especially like to hear experiences with slate as a countertop.

OH, and what is the practical difference between the slates of Vermont, Virginia, and Brazil? The Brazilian product is so much less expensive!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Yes, we are in the midwest and purchased our ss from M Tex in Denver. We did pick out the slab by chance as we were vacationing out there at the time.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

bcafe, did you have them do all the fabrication, or did you have someone locally to shape it and put it in? do tell the details!


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

The cabinet shop we used did the laser templating and sent the cad file to M Tex. M Tex did the fabricating, packaging, and shipping. Then the cabinet/counters shop installed (for a fee of course). Everything worked out very well.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

By the time you add in shipping and handling, you'd have to have a much much cheaper price than M.Texiera charges in order to save any real money over someone local doing the fabricating and install. Have I mentioned that those slabs, even the cut down fabricated ones, weight hundreds of pounds!


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I disagree about that broad statement. There was no black soapstone around here and certainly very few knowledgeable fabricators. Shipping was not horrible at all. Yes, the slabs are heavy, I had to help the trucker get them off the delivery truck and up our driveway!


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Texeira has quoted me a bit under $300 for liftgate delivery to my home; for an overall price of about $66 sf

The local fabricators that I have spoken with so far don't seem to have had much experience with either material, don't seem anxious to deal with it, and quoted me at least $15 sf more. The only difference in the quote is actually putting it in place on the cabinets and seaming, not covered in the Texeira quote.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I would worry about how much leverage you have if there is a mistake made. Did you ask about this?

We had a fabricator who has a stellar reputation do our counters and they installed a match that was awful. The seams were great and the install over all was top notch but a dark piece of granite butted up to a lighter area of the slab stuck out like a sore thumb. Thankfully they were local and our KD had a lot of pull with them so they replaced that piece.

When you deal long distance, if there is an error will they do the job over? What kind of recourse do you have with a company that is in a different state? One of the biggest problems that we see on the kitchen forum seems to be fabrication issues so it would really make me nervous to make this happen long distance even with a company that has an excellent reputation.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Good point, Holly-kay, I need to think about that.

I am a little bedazzled by the loveliness of the stone and looking for a way to swing it, but it might just not be the wisest choice.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I was sent pictures of the slabs pre-fabrication and where they would cut them. I also saw the pieces after they were cut. We had discussed the fact that I wanted as many veins as possible on the pieces. I only had one small bridge piece behind my farm sink that had a seam, everything else was seamless. They have a great return policy and I would have had no qualms about returning it had there been a problem. I believe you can return/re-send once on their dime unless there would be damage.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I live in Florida and had my slabs shipped from Texiera in Jersey to a fabricator on the opposite coast from me in Florida. Then, since I wanted him specifically to,do the fabrication, I also paid transportation costs from him to bring his mobile fabrication truck down and do the install.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Has anyone tried Pennsylvania slate? Vermont does not mine American soapstone, it is imported. I just received my order of PA slate for my entry and it is great. I wanted counters, but was afraid of fabricating in PA and shipping to OH, besides my husband didn't want slate, just like he didn't want marble. The company does do fabrication for the customer, then ship.

Karen


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Karen, from where did you order?


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

You'll pay a sight more than $15 a foot to have a stone professional who actually knows what he is doing do your install. It's not "just" putting the slabs on the cabinets and epoxying the seams. That's not a "just". That's everything. (Secondary to a good template and a level cabinet install.) With as many conniption fits as have been posted on here about bad seams, you want to hire some unknown person do that for you? :) No reputable shop will do it without increasing their regular fee to account for the fact that they have no idea if the stone is sound and level, and if the cabinets are sound and level. That's two very important checks that a local fabricator does for you when he templates and fabricates stone.

I'm not saying it's not DIYable. In fact, that's the only situation where you will save enough money to make the risk worth taking. If you have enough experience with woodworking tools to order the slabs and fabricate them yourself, you can save a good amount of money. Plus have the satisfaction of the DIY job.

Ordering them fabricated can even save a small amount of money if you don't have a good local source for soap. But, ordering them fabricated and then trying to pay someone to take the risk of installing them themselves? That's going to be more expensive than going local would be, that's for sure.

Talk to your local wholesale stoneyard about importing from MT themselves. If they buy a bundle of slabs, their pricing will already factor in the shipping, and you can use a local stone professional whose feet you can hold to the fire if he messes it up. The biggest thing they have to know is to not over polish it and have both black and white epoxy on hand to deal with the vein flow in the seams. Other than that, it's pretty easy to deal with to work. The big thing for you as a buyer to know is that you won't get "perfect" flow seams like is possible with granite unless you buy a whole lot of bookmatched slabs and have overage. Most of the slabs are too small for that.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Honestly with stones, I would prefer a "single throat to choke" approach because if anything goes wrong, I will bet that it will always be the other guy's fault. If you are in a area that is serviced by M.tex, then you should consider having them do the install as well. Soapstone fabrication is not something that any granite guy can do. You experience of the stone will depend on what grit it was finished on etc. So unless the fabricator has actual experience working with soapstone or if you have seen his soapstone work, I would not trust the slab to them.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I wouldn't buy soapstone long distance. I just put in a soapstone countertop. The fabricators, who have a great reputation, made a mistake and miscut the stone. It's very soft, and they may just have had trouble with it. Because they are a great company, they took it back, and replaced the entire countertop. That could not have happened long distance. I'd be less wary with granite, but mistakes happen, and with a purchase this expensive (and heavy!) I wouldn't take the risk of buying long-distance for a custom product, just in case there's something wrong with it.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Apparently I am the exception. I would do it all over again. Since the selection around here is dismal at best I would have had to go with a different stone. My installers weren't hacks, they install stone counters for a living and did the templating. Everything fits perfectly. To each his own.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

I can't believe no one has brought up Enduring, Angie DIY, or the others who have actually done this.

My husband and I bought two Silestone quartz slabs for counters. He cut a sink hole and placed them for our L shaped counters. He does woodworking in his spare time and is very handy so we're looking forward to soapstone because its suppose to be easier to cut. He was able to finish the quartz edges too-just took some time.

I think if you're confident with tools (and have the right ones), research, patience, and some strong bodies this is very doable. I trust my DH with this more especially after reading so many horror stories on here.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY bought on line soapstone slabs


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Raee,

Two companies in Pennsylvania are: Penn Big Bed Slate, http://www.pennbigbedslate.com and The Structural Slate Co., http://www.structuralslate.com. There is another, but I did not communicate with them.

I bought from Penn Big Bed, but both of these companies seem qualified, especially Structural Slate.

Karen
Since I had lived in PA and my father's family was from the area, I wanted something of the area in my house and if I could not have the stone farmhouse or the walk in fireplace, I am doing native stone in the entryway.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Raee,

Two companies in Pennsylvania are: Penn Big Bed Slate, http://www.pennbigbedslate.com and The Structural Slate Co., http://www.structuralslate.com. There is another, but I did not communicate with them.

I bought from Penn Big Bed, but both of these companies seem qualified, especially Structural Slate.

Karen
Since I had lived in PA and my father's family was from the area, I wanted something of the area in my house and if I could not have the stone farmhouse or the walk in fireplace, I am doing native stone in the entryway.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Thanks, Karen, I will look at them. I have contacted a few more suppliers too.

I am still contacting local fabricators. It is odd how few seem to have experience with soapstone or slate.

I received a sample from Sheldon Slate -- very pretty, but unfortunately their quote was beyond my budget.

I am willing to DIY, I have many things, like installing the dishwasher, laying the patio, changing outlets and installing light, and maintenance around the house -- but I have never worked with a power saw and just fear that I would be unsteady -- so I wouldn't want to be doing much if any cutting. I am confident in my ability to measure and take photos.


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

Keep us posted.

Structural slate has a great website, much better than Penn Big Bed. Structural slate has installation guides for just about everything using slate.

Karen


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RE: Has anyone bought slate or soapstone counter long-distance?

If you are handy, you might try doing it yourself. Get some soapstone samples and try. Like Iowacommute posted above, AngieDIY and Enduring who post here have done it and it looks awesome.

Enduring - soapstone sink

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Soapstone People Show Your Counters !


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