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kbuescher

Soapstone Look Countertops

kbuescher
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I was wanting soapstone countertops, but after bringing a sample home, I decided it was too soft and would drive me nuts. Simply writing on a piece of paper left marks.

I think honed Nero Mist granite gives me the look I am going after. Am I going down the right path? A slab of Black Mist was in front of it. I assume Nero and Black are 2 different things. ? They look very similar.

I’ve heard honed will show fingerprints more than polished, and I have heard just the opposite. Which is correct? I prefer the look of non shiny.


Comments (33)

  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago






    Inspiration pics

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  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    That makes me excited about soapstone again. :)


    Can you see all the scratches in this? And I just oiled it a couple of hours ago. Is that normal? Do your counters look like that? And I only have a small piece. Like you mentioned, I am envisioning cast iron being slammed down and heavy mixers being scooted across the counter.


    A scrubby? Like a brillo pad? You are basically lightly sanding it?


    Granite has to be sealed, but stonesoap has to be oiled if you want it to stay dark and hide scratches. :) I have been oiling half of this sample obsessively, and come morning, it is hard to tell the 2 sides apart and the scratches are very noticeable again. With time and a buildup of oil, does it stay dark? I want it to look like an old black chalkboard. Not an old green chalkboard. Maybe I do need to try a sample from a different slab.


  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Is the talc content on each slab something that is disclosed or just wishful thinking?

  • missb_remodeling
    2 months ago

    You can wax too, instead of oil.


    Some soapstones are more green than black. Some are more more gray.


    Check a different slab!


    (I’m going with soapstone in my kitchen. I looked at slabs for quite awhile before deciding. Supply has been an issue in places.)

    kbuescher thanked missb_remodeling
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I’ve looked several places for soapstone. Seems to be a rare find. Debating if I want to drive a distance to find some or just go with granite.


    I have read about waxing and using grape oil. Do either of those maintain the dark color longer? I’m thinking the dark pristine color I see in pics are from being freshly oiled. For those of you that have had ss for long time and keep them oiled, for how long of a period, do they stay dark?

  • Buehl
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    There are different types of soapstone -- some are harder than others.

    See the following for more information on soapstone from M Teixeira Soapstone: https://www.soapstones.com/what-is-soapstone/

    Note that you can order samples from them to "test", but they're only in limited markets (NJ/NY; San Francisco; Boynton Beach, FL). although they do have "partner" locations (Anaheim, CA; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Sterling, VA; Ontario, Canada).

    Some examples:

    Soft varieties:

    • Minas, Santa Rita, Barroca, and Venata


    Harder varieties:

    • P.A. original, Belvedere, Cobra, and Beleza


    Regarding oiling and keeping it dark, I think you'll find this thread useful (yes, it's 14 years old, but it's still valid today).

    What keeps soapstone darker longer. . .The answer! ! !

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2695199/what-keeps-soapstone-darker-longer-the-answer

    [From Florida_Joshua of the now-closed Creative Soapstone LLC]

    kbuescher thanked Buehl
  • Buehl
    2 months ago

    Another option for the soapstone look: Virginia Mist

    kbuescher thanked Buehl
  • artemis78
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Echoing that soapstone varies widely in how hard it is. We have Barroca in our kitchen, and while I wouldn't put a stone that soft in again, it has grown on me over the years--it has its idiosyncrasies, but seems no more or less than the many issues I read about with quartzite, quartz, granite, solid surface, etc.--each has pros and cons. We had hoped to do soapstone in our new bathroom too and talked with M. Teixeira (who installed our kitchen counters) about which would be harder. They recommended Stormy Black or Belvedere for something considerably tougher than Barroca. Sadly, by the time we were finally under construction, they no longer had any remnants of either, so we went with quartz instead.

    As to keeping it black--it all depends on how much you put into it. We don't care that much so oil it a few times a year (if that), so it is gray much of the time. (Stays black a few weeks post-oiling, maybe?) But my in-laws have black granite counters that they prefer fingerprint-free, so every evening they polish them up with microfiber and they always look pristine. If you did the same with soapstone, you could certainly keep it beautifully black all the time. (And if you didn't do that with a black granite, you would indeed see fingerprints all the time--one issue soapstone doesn't have!)

    kbuescher thanked artemis78
  • theotherjaye
    2 months ago

    I believe we had Belvedere in our last house. Our cleaners oiled it every week at first, but after a year or so, every month was more than enough. Make sure you are usiing a ”drying” oil i.e. not mineral oil. You can also use Feed and Wax. I wouldn’t recommend just wax - it can get sort of patchy, IMO. By the time we moved, six years post-remodel, I was oiling it maybe every couple of months. And it was black.

    kbuescher thanked theotherjaye
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Everything says to use mineral oil. Why not mineral oil? I believe you. Just trying to learn the tricks. I will have to google drying oil.


    My concerns for ss are starting to dissipate. I like that i can repair scratches myself . I like that it is timeless. and of course, it is sooo pretty.

  • G W
    2 months ago

    We got the sample pack from M. Tex and are enjoying trying out the different types....trying oiling it vs.not, fingerprints, water marks,  etc. We find stormy black to be hardest, keeps the oil look for a good long time, but water marks are a little hard to clean up.

  • artemis78
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    We have always used mineral oil, but that's just because it's what M. Tex told us to use. Also curious to know about the reasons to use something else, since it's almost time to buy more.

  • chinacatpeekin
    2 months ago

    I have soapstone countertops, installed about 9 months ago, and just love them. Sorry, I don’t know the name of my stone, but it’s dark gray with blue and white veining. It seems pretty hard, so far so good (knocking wood).
    Before it was installed, I had assumed I’d oil or wax it- I even got the “salad bowl” wax Florida Joshua suggested in the above thread and experimented- but I have just loved it as is, and what could be easier? I wipe it down with a wet cloth once in a while, maybe with a little Dawn added. It’s so great! Although I didn’t buy my slab at M Texiera (long irrelevant story) I went there several times, and they are the consummate experts.

    kbuescher thanked chinacatpeekin
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    The harder the stone the more $$ it costs?

  • chinacatpeekin
    2 months ago

    kbuescher, I don’t think that’s the case, although I’m no expert. You could call or email M Tex to ask them; they’d know.

    kbuescher thanked chinacatpeekin
  • Barrheadlass
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Darbuka, who often posts here, has Belvedere from M Tex and it is stunning. i would get it in a heart beat.

    kbuescher thanked Barrheadlass
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Would anyone care to post pics of their soapstone?


    I read that it has asbestos in it. 😳 is this true? After sanding it to remove scratches, you prep food on it? yikes.

  • wiscokid
    2 months ago

    We have soapstone, and we love it. The costs vary depending on what "look" is sought after at the time. For a while, the less veining the better, and then that cost more, now the look has shifted to more "interesting", and in our area, more green, which costs more.

    kbuescher thanked wiscokid
  • cwcf185
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I wanted soapstone for my kitchen but it wasn't in the budget. My stone supplier suggested honed Negresco (also sold as Nero Mist) instead and I love that choice (new construction and I'm waiting for install so no photos to share yet).

    kbuescher thanked cwcf185
  • artemis78
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Soapstone has talc in it, and some talc contains asbestos. (This is true of other natural stone materials, too.) This isn't a concern for day-to-day use, but if you're planning to do the fabrication and installation yourself (which is an option for soapstone), you would definitely want to wear a mask while grinding it down, since breathing in small particles is a concern even when they don't contain asbestos. That's equally true of working with wood, granite, or other counter materials--you don't want to be breathing dust from any of that in for any prolonged period of time. We are mid-tier DIYers and did do our wood counters ourselves, but let the pros do the soapstone (though not because of dust concerns, but because it was too expensive to risk messing it up!)

    kbuescher thanked artemis78
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    We will not be doing the install ourselves.

  • acm
    2 months ago

    Not to further confuse your search, but there are now some beautiful quartzes that mimic the look of medium gray soapstone with some white veins. No idea if there are black variants too, but I'm sure they'll try! :)

    kbuescher thanked acm
  • artemis78
    2 months ago

    @acm we found a couple in our search recently for a bathroom project , including Caesarstone Empira Black, which I really liked (though it had some mixed reviews).

    kbuescher thanked artemis78
  • L C
    2 months ago

    We had our soapstone installed a couple weeks ago so I can’t comment on any issues with it long term, but so far we are very happy with it. Very easy to clean, I just use a spray mix of dawn dish soap and water and after I wipe it lightly with mineral oil. Ours is Stormy Black, not the hardest but not the softest either. I’m in Canada, we purchased ours back in December from a soapstone company that supplies from Brazil and at that time they mentioned they weren’t getting as much slabs in due to shipping issues and an issue from one of the quarries. I’m not sure if stock is better now. Here’s a photo:

    kbuescher thanked L C
  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    It is beautiful, L C.

  • julieste
    2 months ago

    If you like the thought of soapstone, go for it! I've had it in one kitchen for about eight years and just installed it in another about six months ago. I am happy with the look it gets on its own just from daily use without ever oiling it. I have never oiled or waxed. It's super easy to maintain, and I can set things straight on the oven on it without giving it a second's thought.


    And, you know what? I never have at all worried about minor scratching or the few teeny teeny nicks I have on my counters. In fact, I never even thought about the issue or noticed until I began reading all the postings here by people who, IMO, are overly concerned about the issue. Another thing: Do you live in a pristine kitchen that is ready for a photos shoot, or do you live in the real world where there is some stuff on your counter? In other words, how often will you be obsessively staring at counters with nothing at all on them, trying to observe minor scratches?

    kbuescher thanked julieste
  • chinacatpeekin
    2 months ago

    Well stated, Julieste! I love my soapstone; it is carefree. I also have marble, and I LOVE it, but It is not carefree (although well worth it, for me). FWIW a close friend got Caesarstone countertops during the same month as I got my soapstone. She hit the sink edge with a pan within days and a pretty significant chunk broke off . Thankfully it was reparable. Just sayin’…

  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    last month

    I have talked to multiple countertop providers and installers. They all agree I will need a seam in the countertop. One stated they would place the seam at the sink. I agree that would look best. Another stated they would not place the seam at the sink since we are doing an undermount sink and no seam at the sink would provide more support for the sink. I’m guessing the latter is the smart way to go unless there is tricks to provide good support even with the seam at the sink. I want to be prepared to tell them how I want it done regardless of who I use.


    I plan on getting soapstone. How visible are soapstone seams?

  • kbuescher
    Original Author
    last month

    The one provider said they seal their ss. Ss shouldnt be sealed, should it? But come to find out they have only sold ss once and that was recently. They haven’t even installed it yet.

  • darbuka
    last month

    If any supplier/fabricator tells you they’re going to seal your soapstone, run…as fast as you can. That supplier is ignorant about soapstone. Soapstone is impervious to EVERYTHING. It can’t stain, and won’t etch. So, there is no reason to seal it. In fact, sealing will affect the special properties of soapstone, and affect it’s performance.

    Soapstone needs to be sanded to a particular grit, in order to achieve the silky, matte finish the stone is known for, and to prevent water rings from appearing.

    @Barrheadlass was kind enough to mention my soapstone, Belvedere. It is an exremely hard variety, and has held up beautifully after 6 1/2 years of heavy use. Purchased from M. Teixeira, the largest soapstone dealer in the US., the staff is knowledgable, friendly, and will answer any questions you have. Templating, fabrication and installation smooth, carefree.

    If you’re set on keeping the stone dark, don’t worry. Yes, initially, the applied oiled dissipates quickly. It’s not an instantaneous process. You have to keep at for the first month, then, less so in the next few months. Eventually, the stone will have enough oxidized oil, that you may only need to spot oil. Teixeira advised us to keep an oiled rag in a plastic bag, in a drawer. This way, if we wanted touch up the stone, all i had to do was take out the rag.

    FWIW, after about a year, we decided not to oil anymore. We stripped all the oil off (Bon Ami or Comet, water, and the scrubby side of a blue Scotch sponge), which brought the color back to nearly the original.


    You can see the stone is darker to the left of the rangetop. That’s where most of the cooking oil splatters land, and oxidize. Easily removed, if one wants, with the process stated above.

  • darbuka
    last month

    A closeup, where you can see the gorgeous green and white veining:


  • darbuka
    last month
    last modified: last month

    About the seam…Teixeira put ours in the middle of the sink. It’s discreet, and there’s absolutely no problems with stability with our undermount sink. Your fabricators do not know what they’re doing!

    I don’t know where you are located, but before you proceed, I really suggest you give M. Teixeira a call. They have locations in several cities across the US, and also have companies they partner with, elsewhere. Pick their brains, educate yourself. They will be only too happy to help.


    kbuescher thanked darbuka