bonnie_riley

Soapstone VS granite and help with decisions

Bonnie Riley
el último mes

I live miles and miles from any place that sells soapstone, but the thought of my chemistry class counters has always made me want to have it in my kitchen. What do I look for when I travel to a place with it? What do I ask about the different soapstones? Any advice would be so appreciated. I'll be looking in the Austin, TX area


I love that soft, smooth, matte appearance of soapstone. Someone suggested (cabinet guy) that you can get the same look with granite with some particular finish. I want it smooth, not textured at all, and matte. Is there such a thing?

Comentarios (42)

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
    el último mes

    I have been researching soapstone for a future kitchen remodel as well, and I frequently see honed black or dark grey granites suggested as an alternative. The honed finish is smooth but matte, giving you the soapstone look.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • mxk3
    el último mes
    Última modificación: hace 26 días

    You're looking for a honed finish in granite. I, too, considered soapstone but decided against it, main reason being I've read too many accounts of scratching and chipping due to the very soft nature of the stone, and that is something I would not tolerate -- doesn't bother some, but after all these years living with myself I know how I am. We cook a lot, and DH, being a chef, is a banger and a clanger, what with being used to professional kitchens in all their indestructible stainless steel glory.


    An alternative that was suggested on this board was honed Virginia Mist. Other nice soapstone alternatives I considered are Steel Grey (I've only seen that in leathered finish but imagine it comes honed), Ocean Black honed, and Incognito honed.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mxk3
  • julieste
    el último mes

    I don't get the complaints people have about soapstone. We've had ours for seven years and have had zero problems. It is absolutely carefree other than wiping up. I have never oiled mine, and it has patinaed and darkened naturally. I love the fact I can just put hot pots right on it without worrying.


    Do a search for older threads about soapstone on this forum. Before I installed mine, there were lots of discussions about the different qualities for soapstone and what to search out. Some varieties are extremely soft, and that is what you want to avoid.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a julieste
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    el último mes

    My 2 cents is honing a stone makes it less of all the things you want the stone for. A polished granite is close to bullet proof the minute you hone it it now is not since it will stain easier and oil will leave a mark. Soapstone is awesome but requires oiling from time to time if you want it to look nice like new. BTW I run a catering biz from home and would never consider honed anything.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    Thank you for your thoughts. I had shiny granite in my last home, and I found it hard to keep clean unless I used window cleaner all the time on it. I drove myself a bit crazy with constantly doing that, and I really wasn't fond of the shiny look. If I get soapstone, I really hadn't planned to oil it, but would let it age and mellow however it wanted to age.

  • athomeeileen
    el último mes

    I have 10 year old inherited soapstone counters. I know they get a lot of love on here but for me they are a disaster. Every edge is heavily chipped and it all scratched up. I don’t understand the appeal of beat up countertops. Every bit of oil leaves marks, they never look totally clean. I’m counting down the days until I can replace them. It bothers me to get rid of a beautiful natural stone but I know I’ll never be happy with them. What is the appeal in counters that chip and scratch so easily? Perhaps it’s the type of soap stone I have. Granite or quartzite in this condition would never be acceptable. Look at the dark honed granites!

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a athomeeileen
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    julieste - you're reading my mind - I don't plan to oil mine if I get soapstone.. If I get nicks, so be it - it's the way of soapstone. I seriously want the kind I had in chem labs in college. It was dark in color with very little veining, so I think what I'd be looking at is pretty hard, 4-5 on the MOH. My understanding is that if I get a more serpentine soapstone, it's harder. Do you know what hardness yours is? Thank you!

  • mxk3
    el último mes
    Última modificación: hace 26 días

    "My 2 cents is honing a stone makes it less of all the things you want the stone for."


    This statement doesn't make sense -- in what way does honing make a stone "less of a stone"? Stone is still stone -- and granite is hard, durable, and heat-proof. Honing doesn't make it any less so. My understanding is honed stone may need to be sealed more often, but accounts on this vary -- some people have never sealed their honed stone after the installer's sealing, others do it regularly. Not everyone wants a shiny surface in their kitchen

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mxk3
  • tozmo1
    el último mes

    Good articles here from geologists about countertop selections. Many are written by Karin Kirk, geologist and a frequent poster here on Houzz. Search for Soapstone. Lots of good info.

    https://usenaturalstone.org/

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    el último mes

    There's also something called a "leather" finish for granite and other natural stone. It's a bit more textured than honed, but it has similar matte properties and makes it feel a bit more like soapstone without the maintenance.



    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Sabrina Alfin Interiors
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    Sabrina Alfin Interiors - One of the things I am trying to avoid is texture, so if I go with granite, I'll try to get a smooth, matte finish, like soapstone. I'm putting new wood flooring in the main parts of the rest of the house, and even though it's in Texas, where it's pretty much the norm, I'm going to avoid the "hand-scraped" and rounded board edges type flooring like the plague.

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
    el último mes

    It sounds as though you are aware of how soapstone wears and the type of patina it acquires. Honed black granites may also acquire a patina, though different from that of soapstone, and largely due to sealing and/or they type of sealant used. Here are a couple of useful threads:


    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2684514/to-all-owners-of-jet-mist-virginia-mist-counter-tops


    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2671647/1-5-years-later-antiqued-honed-black-pearl-is-staining

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    Thank you, biodanonima - great threads. Sounds like honed granite is not in my future. Soapstone!!!

  • jad2design
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    I really wanted soapstone and it was the most important element in the kitchen remodel as far as I was concerned. There are two places in the SF Bay Area that specialize in soapstone and I ended up going with a medium soft variety (Black Venata) from M. Teixeira. It does scratch and can chip, but two years later it still looks beautiful, soft and lustrous. I love, love, love my counters. If you don’t want any sign of wear ask for the hardest varieties. I _strongly_ recommend that you go with an outfit that specializes in soapstone, Fabricators that mostly work with granite can finish soapstone incorrectly and they also may not have a wide enough selection. If you are shopping in the Austin area I believe Dorado has a good rep.

    Virginia Mist and Jet mist honed granites are a nice alternative, but start with what you actually love first.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a jad2design
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    there is a quartz that is very similar looking. if you don't mind quartz. Silestone Eternal Charcoal. (I have the one in the light gray, in the matte finish, and it's great)


    the slab looks like this


    here' is a slab of real soapstone at another stone yard I went to


    difference in oiled and non-oiled: (or you can wet it and see how it will look)


    it does come in diff colors


    Honed Negresco is a similar look to soapstone



    Did you know there is a white soapstone?? I saw this one at my other stone place. so cool looking.


    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Beth H. :
  • ksc36
    el último mes

    WHITE SOAPSTONE – DOES IT EXIST?

    After an Italian quarry recently marketed their white marble as soapstone, we have been receiving a lot of requests for the now-famed product. While their stone is beautiful, Steatite (soapstone) is only white when composed of pure talc (which is unsuitable for architectural applications).

    https://www.soapstones.com/2016/04/26/white-soapstone-exist/

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a ksc36
  • PRO
    Morningstar Stone & Tile
    el último mes

    We sell and fabricate a ton of soapstone. It's a wonderful material that is often misunderstood. Without question, it is a softer material that provides a great deal of warmth. Of the hundreds of soapstone counter tops we've installed

    do know a couple of things. You do not need to oil it regularly unless you want to and like that look. We've had clients never oil theirs and are in love with the patina it takes on. We sell is with a honed finish as leathered (or antiqued) tends to leave brush marks and polished is not an option.


    The color range is fairly extensive running from black to green to the white mentioned in an early comment. US-based quarries are in Virginia (Churchhill Soapstone), but that material has been spotty as of late. The rest that we get comes from Brazil. When you do decide to go look at material be sure to look at full slabs and not sample size. You want to see all of the movement only a full slab can show.


    There are a couple of quartz materials out there that mimic the look of soapstone.



    No matter what material you decide, enjoy the process. Best of luck

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Morningstar Stone & Tile
  • mxk3
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    "Granite is hard and durable, but not heat-proof, at least according to this repairperson and the 70-year-old trade association of the industry, the Natural Stone Institute. They recommend trivet use, no soapstone exemption, thereby making natural stone equal to engineered stone and solid surface in the heat resistance department."


    Oh c'mon really? You're splitting hairs over my choice of words. It's a hunk of ROCK. Sure there is a remote possibility it can crack, but what are the odds of that?


    From Usenaturalstone.org:

    • Heat Resistance. Granite countertops will not melt or blister when exposed to heat. They are one of the most heat-resistant countertops on the market. If you take a hot pan out of the oven, you can place it directly on your countertop surface without any harm. Experts do recommend the use of a trivet when using appliances that emit heat for long periods of time, such as crockpots. Since the material is so dense, there is a small possibility heating one area of the top and not the entire thing, could cause the countertop to crack.


    Short of the kitchen catching on fire, I'm not worried about heat damage to granite in the least -- and if the kitchen does go up in flames, I've got bigger problems to worry about than the hunk of rock that is the counter.


    What about all the anecdotal reports on this board about quartz discoloring when exposed to high heat? That was a big factor in my choice of countertops.


    Solid surface NOT on par with natural stone in terms of heat resistance. From Use Natural Stone https://usenaturalstone.org/countertop-comparison-chart/


    ETA: I am not saying other choices, including solid surface, aren't perfectly fine choices -- so don't read that into my above comments. It all comes down to what works best for the person purchasing/living with it.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mxk3
  • M Miller
    el último mes

    "What about all the anecdotal reports on this board about quartz discoloring when exposed to high heat?"

    Just to be clear, those are not anecdotal reports. They are factual reports, with plenty of pics to prove it. Furthermore, the manufacturers of Quartz themselves warn that Quartz cannot be exposed to heat.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a M Miller
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    ksc36,,,,I never said it was suitable for a kitchen. I merely posted a picture of it.

    and obviously the one I posted isn't pure talc, since it's mostly black.


    this is the talc one.


    But thanks for the report.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Beth H. :
  • ksc36
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    The picture you originally posted isn't soapstone.


    Soapstone Look-alikes are Flooding the Market

    We are particularly concerned with a wave of slate from India that is being sold throughout the country as soapstone. Due to the abundance of supply, Indian slate is fairly inexpensive, and some companies have been deceiving their customers by selling it as a soapstone. Though this slate may look like soapstone, customers may be horrified to find that it does not have the same properties. They may wonder why their soapstone is staining, or damaged by high temperatures. They took time to research and learn that soapstone is impervious to acids and heat, so what happened?

    In addition to selling slate as soapstone, marble has also been sold as a soapstone. Some companies have misled customers to believe that there is such a thing as white soapstone. White soapstone only exists in the form of pure talc, which is definitely not a suitable building material (it’s usually crushed and sold as baby powder).

    See picture below of this marble currently being sold as a “White Soapstone”

    https://www.soapstones.com/2019/05/06/buyer-beware-of-fakes-what-you-need-to-know-when-buying-real-soapstone/

  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    Beth H. - thank you for the pictures and your input. I'm probably going to go with a dark soapstone, since I want very little patterning or veining. I have Silestone in my 2nd home (two houses by necessity, not luxury), and I stupidly took a cast iron frying pan from the electric range straight to the counter - big mistake. I got a repair kit from Amazon, and it looks "ok", but I highly recommend never having this sort of unhappy accident. Your Silestone counter does look absolutely beautiful.

  • PRO
    Ashleigh Rader Homes
    el último mes

    I've used a black granite, honed, before and it looked similar to soapstone! Nice and smooth and really pretty.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Ashleigh Rader Homes
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    Bonnie, I love the real soapstone. (btw, that pic of the dark one isn't mine. I have the Silestone Serena, which is identical to that one except it's light gray. And yes, you can't just throw a hot pan on the surface!!)

    ksc36,,,i understand what you're saying. The stone place I went to and took that picture is a very reputable business. I'm sure their marking of that slab as 'soapstone' wasn't under false advertising or an attempt to pass off a different material as soapstone. Pretty sure they have experts on hand that know how to identify the materials they sell. They deal directly with Italian exporters and high end companies. Perhaps the slab they had was soapstone, w/the white talc marbling in a lower concentration. It most definitely was not slate. could it have been marble? I suppose it's possible, but since a high proportion of their inventory is marble, I'm sure they'd recognize the difference. The black portion of that slab was indeed soapstone. Curious as to why you are so quick to write it off as 'fake' ?

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Beth H. :
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    mxk3:


    What you're missing here are the trade association and manufacturer's instructions. Trivet use is mandatory. You could have a cardboard countertop. With trivet heat protection, it would have the same heat resistance as the others.


    A stoner friend of mine, Mark Lauzon, made a YouTube video of himself frying a steak on a piece of granite. It was visually convincing, but nonsense. The heat it took to heat the granite hot enough to fry a steak has destroyed any and all sealer applied to the top. Many stones aren't acceptable for use as countertops without sealing. He fried on a corner, so the heated stone could expand without cracking. I've got pictures of heat lamps in pizza parlors destroying stone.


    There is a world of deceit and misinformation out there and everyone, myself excluded, does it. The estone manufacturers peddle the totally useless statistic that their products are 93% quartz and 7% resin. What they don't say is that is by weight, not by volume, the measure that counts. The stuff is 66% quartz and 33% resin. The marketing guys pick and choose what statistics will make their jobs easier.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Joseph Corlett, LLC
  • mxk3
    el último mes

    I never said granite didn't need sealing or was indestructible or was entirely care-free. What I said was granite is hard, durable, and heat-proof --> you got me on technicality.

    So, let me re-phrase my original comment in response to a comment up-post: Granite is hard, it is very durable, and it is highly heat-resistant.

    Anything else? Because I'm really not getting the point of what we're arguing about.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mxk3
  • ksc36
    el último mes

    Curious as to why you are so quick to write it off as 'fake' ?


    I had a conversation with the owner of the largest soapstone importer (M Texiera) in the US about this particular marble being marketed as soapstone. He even had a few slabs on hand to look at. It's pretty nice, but is still marble and carries all the negatives of marble with it.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a ksc36
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    el último mes

    Here's proof positive that the chart above was written by salespeople, not by technicians. The Granite/Durability box is a lie. This granite island was destroyed by toilet bowl cleaner which is clearly a common household harsh chemical. Corian laughs at toilet bowl cleaner; porcelain would be the only other top in that column to make that claim.

    The chart conveniently leaves off repairability because Corian would again lead the way followed by butcher block, granite, marble, quartzite, soapstone, engineered stone (quartz), laminate, and porcelain respectively.

    You can believe the guys who sell this stuff or the guys who fix it.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Joseph Corlett, LLC
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    I can't imagine having to seal something regularly, or oil it for that matter. But that's just lazy me, so un-oiled soapstone is probably going to be my choice. If it gets scratches or dings, I'll be mentally prepared, at least I hope so. I've so appreciated every bit of input in this thread. Every comment has helped me with my decision. Thank goodness we can all make our own choices, because I don't think everyone would be happy if we all had to have the exact same countertop material. Soapstone, here I come!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    el último mes

    mxk3:


    The stoners and manufacturers have been peddling so much crap for so long I have an instinctive reaction to correct. Sorry if I struggle with my tone.

  • ksc36
    el último mes

    I have PA soapstone. It has the hardness rating of 4-5, one of the hardest soapstones. Pick a dark slab and you won't have to oil it (it's fun oiling in the beginning).

    Here's a link to another soapstone importer, they also sell "white soapstone" marble...

    https://doradosoapstone.com/aboutsoapstone/

    PA

    Characterized by a deep navy blue base typically with tan veining, but vein colors can range from white, green, and even a rose color. Oiled this stone is a black base with soft, thin, spidery veining. Green is a characteristic of PA but it is typically localized to the vein. Stones can vary from heavily veined to lightly veined. Like the Noire, PA is one of the harder stones on the market.

    White Soapstone***

    Characterized by a white base and dramatic dark grey veining this stone can confuse some consumers. This stone is a total show-stopper. Known in the industry as ‘White Soapstone’ this material is truly a marble, and does not maintain the properties of soapstone.

    ***White Soapstone is a Marble

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a ksc36
  • Tara
    el último mes

    With all the different textures available these days, I want stainless steel for my counters in my dream home.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Tara
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    ok ksc36 hopefully if I go back there (to my stone place) i'll be able to school the sellers on real soapstone! good info

    (but i'm telling you, the surface of that slab was soapstone. identical to the pure black one. I know marble, and it wasn't marble. It's possible to have soapstone w/more white veining and not have it be marble. whether or not it's suitable is another issue. I'm just saying that if soapstone can have white veining, it could have larger talc deposits concentrated in one part of the slab. it's not out of the question. Not saying that other places don't present fake products, I'm just saying that it's totally within the realm of nature to have some slabs w/higher talc veining, producing more of a black/white, rather than mostly black, soapstone.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Beth H. :
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes
    Última modificación: hace 28 días

    Tara - Ooohhhh, yes! Having done restaurant work in my youth, I love stainless steel counters. If they'd fit with the style of my house, that's probably what I'd get. They're gorgeous in a completely different way than stone. I love to cook, so they're my kind of counter. May your dreams come true.

  • ksc36
    el último mes

    This looks like PA soapstone. It's in stock at the MSI Austin location.

    https://www.msisurfaces.com/slabinventory/search/sgo240-02/msi/

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a ksc36
  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes
    Última modificación: el último mes

    Joseph Corlett, LLC - that is so sad! I hope soapstone doesn't react like that. Up until 10 years ago, I had a 1920s house that had original, perfect bathrooms. We lived there for 20 years. and we had bought it from the original owner who was over 90 years old. I was going on vacation, so I asked my cleaning lady to do a top-to-bottom cleaning on the house while we were gone. She cleaned my beautiful, green bathtub with toilet bowl cleaner, and destroyed it. I was beyond upset. It etched the gloss right off the tub (yes, even after all these years it had a gloss), and you could see the drip marks where she'd apparently squirted it on and let it soak in, just like you'd do in a toilet.

  • Bonnie Riley
    Autor original
    el último mes

    ksc36 - that's just what I'm looking for - not a ton of veining, just dark and smooth. I'm installing a fairly busy porcelain tile floor that's really going to be the "wow" factor visually. My soapstone will be the tactile "wow". This is what I plan for the floor. I have it in a bathroom (there was carpet in that bathroom, and I ripped it out the day we closed on the house - LOL!) and my husband and I actually agree on something, so there's no going back on this choice!


  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    el último mes

    bonnie, that's going to look great.

    I actually have a similar tile (cement) in my bathroom and my kitchen !

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Beth H. :
  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    el último mes

    Not what you asked, but I thought I'd chime in to say that if you're looking for a dark matte surface, I'm putting Dekton Sirius counters in my current mancave and bathroom project. Per @Joseph Corlett, LLC 's comment on granite durability, Dekton is what they call an ultra-compact surface that is engineered from porcelain and resin. It's non-porous. You could literally draw on it with a Sharpie and still clean it off.


    Some fabricators don't like this material because it can be brittle. But I've never had a problem with my fabricators or installations. Just another option.


    https://www.cosentino.com/usa/colors/dekton/sirius/


    Bonnie Riley agradeció a Sabrina Alfin Interiors
  • mainenell
    hace 29 días

    Honed Steel Gray has a really smooth, warm feel to it. It is lighter in color than a polished Steel Gray.

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mainenell
  • mxk3
    hace 29 días

    "Soapstone, here I come!"

    Please post pics when you're done with the project. It really is a beautiful stone, and it sounds like you'll be quite happy with your choice!

    Bonnie Riley agradeció a mxk3
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