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Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

Posted by primah (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 17, 11 at 11:03

Hi Everyone,

Okay, I know this has been rehashed a hundred times, but I would love to get your opinions as to the countertop material for our kitchen. We have a relatively small kitchen (11'x11'), and are in the process of remodeling. I'm attaching some of our inspiration photos below.

kitchen inspiration: fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com

kitchen inspiration:  southern accents magazine

kitchen inspiration:  martha's vineyard

The layout (open to the breakfast room) makes it possible to add a small island. We've designed an island to look like a furniture piece, with freestanding legs and a stretcher bar, so it doesn't take up too much visual space in the kitchen. See below:

kitchen island

As we are in desperate need of additional counter space, we are building the island first, and will work it into the design of the major kitchen remodel next year. Sounds a little backwards, I know, but we don't always do things apropos. Our island is in production, and we are in the process of picking a countertop. I am completely torn between a calacatta marble or soapstone. I love and hate things about both of them. I've gone to countless stone yards, and everytime I fall in love with a slab of each.

I should mention that the island will be the workhorse of our kitchen. We have young children, are messy cooks, and will care for, but not "baby" the stone. I also am not a fan of oiled soapstone (I don't want black, but do love the natural gray). I've attached some images below of some beautiful countertops in both materials (hence my dilemma):

Photobucket

Photobucket

Can anyone provide their input as to your experience with these materials? Durability? Maintenance? I know this is personal, but perhaps some words of wisdom can help me make my choice.

Thanks, everyone, for voicing your opinions.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

I like the soapstone perimeter with the carrara marble island top, at least 2" thick, preferably 2 1/2 with a very sculpted edge. Looks like money because it is.
I have soapstone and a very small butcherblock work table (2x4) that's pushed against the wall because my kitchen is 17x11, with six doors and two windows; on any case too narrow for a fixed island.
My soapstone is hard and very plain (tiny veins). Haven't had any issues with scratching or chipping. I did let some soda spilled on it sit, and it has appeared to etch it. Soapstone is user-riendly, and I have no doubt that I could resurface it myself (I DIY-ed my tops). Etching and staining are the chief antagonists to marble remaining pristine. But aged marble has a payina it's own; whomever says stuff has to be showroom fresh forever isn't living in the real world.
Casey


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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

I recommend you head over to the Kitchens forum. You will find lots of advice there. Kitchens

From your description of your family & lifestyle, I doubt the carrara marble would be a good choice. It wouldn't for me. But, there are some granites & quartzites that look much like carrara marble, with less maintenance & care, and also many that look a lot like soapstone. Also look at Silestone & Cambria -- there are said to be some with a marble look to them, and virtually no maintenance. Corian supposedly has some good looks, now, too.

Look at Bianco Romano, White Pearl, White Princess, Moon Night, Bianco Antico, Andromeda, among others for the white granites.

Here is a link that might be useful: granite instead of marble


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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

I recommend you head over to the Kitchens forum. You will find lots of advice there. Kitchens

From your description of your family & lifestyle, I doubt the carrara marble would be a good choice. It wouldn't for me. But, there are some granites & quartzites that look much like carrara marble, with less maintenance & care, and also many that look a lot like soapstone. Also look at Silestone & Cambria -- there are said to be some with a marble look to them, and virtually no maintenance. Corian supposedly has some good looks, now, too.

Look at Bianco Romano, White Pearl, White Princess, Moon Night, Bianco Antico, Andromeda, among others for the white granites.

Here is a link that might be useful: granite instead of marble


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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

I have had a Corian island for 20+ years, and it has survived two children, red wine, grape juice and more. Now that we're doing an extensive remodel, we're getting soapstone countertops for the perimeter and Corian for the new (larger) island. There are even more neat colors and looks in Corian than there were in the 1980s, when we were the only people we knew who had Corian.
by the way, you don't have to "treat" soapstone; you can oil it occasinally, if you wish, but it's not mandatory to maintain that beautiful matte look.


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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

I have soapstone, and I use it as a working countertop. The big difference to me is staining. Just a few days ago I had slops of blueberry, strawberry and Raspberry jam, along with lemon juice. And it all wiped up as if it wasn't there. Then the next day I rolled out sugar cookies on the same spot.

I don't oil my soapstone (too much work and I put food direclty on it all the time).

I have a feeling if I had marble, I'd have lots of stains on it already. I love the look of marble and think I'd be OK with the patina. But I know it wouldn't look as nice as the soapstone does after two days of jam making!


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RE: Kitchen Island Countertops . . . Marble or Soapstone?

If kathryn606 is still around, would you post a pic of your soapstone and corian together?


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