interiors & styling

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen… Again

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comIf you’ve been following along since our very first renovation, you probably know- we don’t ever do the same thing twice. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve never duplicated a material, a piece of furniture, etc. Therefore, it might have come as shock that we used soapstone for the second time in a year! That’s right… we renovated two kitchens (our previous and our current) within a one year timespan. I know, I know- we like to torture ourselves. Ha! Regardless, that’s how much we love this natural material… enough to want it as our countertop AGAIN. Click through to read why we made the decision, lots of info on the material itself, and a little followup FAQ. I’ve been getting a TON of questions in regards to our countertops, so I figured I’d answer them all in one place. Let’s get to it!

*My countertop slabs were gifted by Polycor. We paid for fabrication. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!

Before I dive in deep, this post contains EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOAPSTONE. If you missed it last year, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comSoapstone is truly a magical material. It has a touch like no other natural stone… it almost has a soft, velvety cool texture. It’s super forgiving, you can easily rub on enhancer or oil to make scratches disappear, it’s versatile, and it patinas beautifully over time! Basically, it’s an easy stone to love.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comI was sold on soapstone the first time I laid eyes on a slab in the quarry during a Polycor trip years ago. I ordered it for our previous kitchen and laundry room, but Emmett honestly wasn’t convinced with the sample I brought home. Obviously I proceeded, knowing he’d come around, and within a week- he was totally smitten. It was actually Emmett who requested it this time around. It grew on him SO much, he begged me to include it in our new kitchen design plan. Obviously I wasn’t going to decline because I’m equally as obsessed.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comI selected my slabs from The Stone Collection. If you’re in Salt Lake, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, or Forth Worth- I highly recommend them. They have a gigantic selection of stone at all of their locations. I could’ve spent hours in their slab yard. My rep had already pulled the Polycor options for me and below, you can see the color difference. The slab on the left is natural, dry soapstone. The slab to the right was wiped down with water to enhance the color to better show the veining. Pretty cool, right?! Basically, you can decide if you want to leave your stone natural or enhance it, giving it that jet black look.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comKnowing, I’d be permanently enhancing the stone in my own kitchen, I was allllll about that gorgeous veining. After selecting my slabs, the stone was delivered to my fabricator. If you’re wondering how much we used- I ordered 3 slabs (compared to 1 in our previous kitchen)… but we have some of the third slab leftover that we’ll use for another project in our house!

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comLuckily, Emmett works for a custom cabinetry company and has an excellent fabricator friend at work. He was able to send photos and keep an eye on the entire fabrication process… which was a lot of fun for me. I really enjoyed seeing behind the scenes. You can also see below, the ogee edge profile in the shop, that I specified for our kitchen. So what exactly is an ogee edge? It’s a curved, dramatic, more traditional edge profile. There are many different edge profiles to choose from. In our previous kitchen, I used an “eased edge” for a modern look.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comI also wanted to get creative with our soapstone. Rather than only using it on the countertops, I had a vision of continuing the stone onto our new windows and using it as the window sill. The ledge turned out really nice and gave me an opportunity to add another feminine radius curve to the space. I like balancing out a rectangular space with softer curves. It’s a fun detail I was excited to implement! It’s also a functional backsplash that is super easy to clean. Another perk? It acts as a ledge for candles, plants, soap, … whatever I feel like tossing up there.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.com

FAQ

What do you use to enhance the countertop to make it look rich black?

You can use wax, oil, or ager. I’ve used all 3… just to experiment. Having lived with the material for quite some time (in our previous kitchen), this ager was my favorite and gave me a non-greasy beautiful black that lasts for up to a year. Just like our previous kitchen, it took a few coats of enhancer after installation. The porous stone really has to absorb it, so I applied ager twice in our new kitchen for the best result. I used a sponge for application, then wiped it dry with a rag. I probably won’t have to reapply for at least 8-12 months.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.com

Is soapstone durable- or does it easily scratch? What does “patina over time” mean?

Yes and yes! It’s durable, BUT it does scratch. That doesn’t bother me at all though. Like I previously mentioned- you can easily add some ager, wax, or oil to the scratch, rub it, and watch it disappear like magic. Personally, I’m not disturbed by the natural aging, scratching, or patina process. I cook on the countertop, cut on it, place hot pans directly on top, and it holds up beautifully! Our kitchen is lived in… it’s not a showroom. “Patina” is the process in which a natural material ages. Soapstone will wear with time, absorb oil, darken, and look more lived in. I think it absolutely 100% gets better with time!

Where do you buy soapstone?

I ordered my slabs from The Stone Collection (in Salt Lake City), and the stone is from Polycor. Not all soapstone is created equal, so if you like the look of Polycor stone- you can check out my page on their site, scroll to the bottom, and click “Find a Dealer”. 99% of the natural stone in our home renovations I’ve sourced from Polycor. From marble to soapstone… their quarries produce gorgeous material.

Will your soapstone turn green?

My soapstone slabs will not turn green- even over time. Quality is super important to Polycor and I’ve never had an issue with discolored stone from them. I’ve seen very old slabs in person that still look rich black. You can also leave the stone in the natural state as a beautiful gray… like pictured below.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.com

Is soapstone easy to fabricate?

According to my local fabricators (and Emmett’s friends)– yes. It’s a softer stone, like marble, and that makes the process easier. I also asked for a more complex edge (the ogee profile), and they didn’t have any issues. As long as you’re using a professional fabricator, they shouldn’t have trouble.

For all other questions, they’re most likely answered in this post! Or definitely drop me a comment at the end of this post and I’ll get back to you with an answer.

Why We Used Soapstone In Our Kitchen... Again - roomfortuesday.comI’m a natural stone girl through and through. There’s something about the touch, feel, texture, and veining that just can’t be replicated with a manmade product. Installing soapstone countertops AGAIN just felt right… like the countertop material our dream kitchen had to have. Other questions or comments? Please leave them for me below! I hope you guys aren’t sick of kitchen posts quite yet… I have a few more up my sleeve: the budget, the lighting plan, my spice rack sources & DIY, plus a few more! Thanks again for showing up to read all about it. Like I previously mentioned, we’re super proud of this space and your feedback has been so rewarding!

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    July 25, 2019 at 5:53 am

    I’m sold…I think. It’s certainly stunning; I feel like you can almost sense the velvety texture from your photos. I fear the patina… Although, truth be told, all counter materials probably incur some level of regular damage. You mentioned that it could be left in the light gray state; is there a sealant that maintains that color, or would it just be super prone to staining? Also, I’m kind of intrigued by the “turning green” comment. Since it’s a natural stone, can some slabs have more of an undertone? Now I’m kind of curious to visit a local slab yard…just for a little field trip. Keep the kitchen posts coming! I’m waiting for your epic spice drawer post; I’m dying to know what all your spices are! #nosy

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 25, 2019 at 9:26 am

      It’s really an awesome texture / feel! That’s a great point… in our first home, we used quartz for our countertops and the first week after having them installed, I dropped a bottle of olive oil after grocery shopping and it chipped a big hunk out of the corner. I was super bummed because I thought quartz was “indestructible” and to your point- nothing really is. They do make different types of sealer you can use to leave the stone gray, but it does absorb oils and color since it’s a porous stone. Depending on the quarry, some lower quality soapstone is said to turn green with time. I’ve personally never experienced this though. You really should take a field trip just because it’s really fun and inspiring to see the stone and the price :)

  • Reply
    laura@everydayedits.co
    July 25, 2019 at 6:21 am

    HI Sarah! We are in the early stage of a kitchen renovation. I told my friends my husband and I almost got a divorce over the placement of the new stove! ha! laura in CO
    How do you like the cabinets that sit further to the front of the counter? Are you using them to hide small appliances. I worry about it taking up counter space. xo laura

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 25, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Thanks Laura! That’s how I felt about wallpapering with Emmett. lol! There are just some projects you can’t tackle with your spouse. Haha! I love the cabinets that sit on the countertop… we still have plenty of prep space in front and to the sides :) xo

  • Reply
    Brittany
    July 25, 2019 at 7:02 am

    When I saw your kitchen reveal-and not to take away from the entire beautiful thing that it is-my favorite part was where you made the sill from the soapstone. Sooooo pretty!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 25, 2019 at 9:28 am

      Thank you so much, Brittany! The soapstone is one of my favorite elements in the space too :) It’s so gorgeous in person!

  • Reply
    Tara Traylor
    July 25, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Loving the soapstone! Do you recommend a slab yard in the Cincinnati area (I’m willing to drive farther outside the city too)?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Thanks Tara! It has been awhile since we lived in Ohio, but I’d recommend scrolling to the bottom of this page, click “find a dealer”, then it will prompt an email to my friend Steve. Ask him the best slab yards / retailers in your area and he can pull up who sells their stone. He’ll know better than I do!

  • Reply
    Kate
    July 26, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Hi Sarah! I’m fairly new to your blog and am absolutely loving it! Your renovations have been stunning and so timeless!

    I am wondering about the porous quality of soapstone. I’ve heard people remark about concerns of bacteria seeping into porous stone. Is this a real concern? Or, if so, is there any sort of sealant that would protect against it?

    Thanks again for wonderful content! And I so appreciate all of your thoughtful insight!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Hi Kate, thank you so much! I’m so glad you’re here :) Happy Friday! To answer your great question, it is a porous stone (like marble), but actually not quite as porous as granite. It’s pretty amazing because it naturally has antibacterial properties and is also naturally stain resistance. It honestly requires very little maintenance. Like any countertop in a kitchen, I wipe it with cleaner regularly… it doesn’t effect the color or ager.

      • Reply
        Kate
        July 29, 2019 at 10:58 am

        Thank you, Sarah! Honestly, it just sounds better and better!

  • Reply
    Liz Volger
    July 26, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I can see why you would use the Soapstone again. It’s gorgeous! Your whole kitchen came out beautiful. I really love how you designed the cabinets. One thing I was interested in seeing was how the window look open from the inside and outside. Great job!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you so much, Liz! I’ll photograph the windows open next week :) … rain is in the forecast. Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    Julia blackwell
    July 28, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    It’s gorgeous, I’ve been considering it, or a black granite. Is it easy to keep it looking clean? Or is it like everyone says, “you see EVERYTHING, even water or soap” ha! I was considering a honed granite to avoid that.
    Also, do you know what price per square foot it averages at retail?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 29, 2019 at 8:14 am

      Thanks Julia! It really is easy to keep clean. I actually think it disguises things like water and soap because of the veining, speckles, and movements within the stone. The price totally depends on your retailer and location (because they have to factor in shipping).

      • Reply
        Julia
        August 10, 2019 at 6:35 pm

        Perfect, thank you so much for your reply Sarah! I am in SLC as well, and will swing by the stone collection to see what they have for soapstone. Do you have the information for your fabricator?

        • Reply
          Sarah
          August 13, 2019 at 7:44 pm

          Of course! Happy to help, Julia. As for the fabricator… unfortunately, my husband’s work did it- and they don’t take residential clients. I’m sorry! We’ve used Cobblecreek countertops in the past (for our old kitchen) and they did great with the soapstone. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Marly Ortega
    November 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    I just had soapstone installed and have oiled it twice with mineral oil (provided by the fabricator). Would you know when the soapstone will stop showing smudges? It’s okay when just oiled but as the oil evaporates, it reverts back to the gray and shows lots of smudges.

    Your kitchen looks amazing and I love the windowsill. My windowsill is also in soapstone.

    Thank you,
    Marly

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 4, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Marly! I would recommend ager instead of oil. It lasts so much longer and absorbs a lot better (you only have to apply once a year). Check out this post and this post for more information and links :) Hope this helps! xo

  • Reply
    TJ
    January 5, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Wonderful kitchen!
    Beautiful selections!
    I too am a second time soapstoner. Love it for all same reasons.
    Please tell me about colors. I love the cabinet color. Can you tell me the color name and or brand. The countertop looks black.
    I am going on a soapstone roadtrip tomorrow. So much fun.
    Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Laura Duarte
    January 19, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Hi Sara, your kitchen is beautiful! My husband and I are going to use soapstone in our kitchen remodel, would you share the size and color of your tile and cabinet color?

  • Reply
    Katie
    September 22, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Hi there! I came across your page and LOVE the blue you paired with your soap stone. Do you happen to remember what color you used? I’m trying to help my parents pick out wall colors after they newly installed black soap stone into their tuscan inspired kitchen! We all love the warm feeling of the orange walls and wooden chopping block counter tops but with this new change counters, we’re deciding on a new color. Would love to emulate what you’ve created!

  • Reply
    Joei
    November 5, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Gorgeous counters!! We chose soapstone in our previous home and I LOVED the look and feel ( I called it my black marble), but ours tended to have water spots and it actually etched when some lemon juice was left unnoticed. Have you had those issues? We will be remodeling new kitchen and I’m slightly hesitant to go with soapstone again even though I love the look and feel.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 8, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      Thank you, Joei! Soapstone is a soft stone, so it can definitely etch (just like marble). We haven’t had any issues and have found it hides imperfections well, but if that bothers you- I’d recommend a quartz look alike :)

  • Reply
    Melina
    April 20, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Hi! I’m considering soapstone in our kitchen and love your look but I worry about the dark color showing every crumb and dust spot. Do you find that everything shows up on your counter? I have a busy household so absolute cleanliness is not possible! Ps I found you on Pinterest and coincidentally, I live in slc too! Thanks for your time :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 20, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      It definitely shows all the crumbs and dust, but I actually like that- because it’s easy to clean (and to know when it needs cleaned). It’s not for everyone, but it works for us! You might also try a soapstone with more movement, veining, or variation- there are some speckled looking slabs that would probably hide things more easily. I hope that helps! Nice to meet a neighbor, Melina :) Happy you’re here! xo

  • Reply
    Kathey Bushnick
    April 24, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Beautiful! What is your backsplash? Love!

  • Reply
    Tosha Lynn Fullerton
    July 27, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Sarah! Thanks for your post – it is so helpful and reassuring! I have loved soapstone since the moment I laid eyes on it but it really gets a bad wrap and no one uses it so I feel a bit like a rebel selecting it for our new kitchen (which I have no question, just looking for the right slab). Curious what sink you went with, I would love a soapstone one but need to find the right fabricator – looks like you might have went dark but not soapstone?

  • Reply
    Christy Gorman
    November 8, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Sarah!
    Thank you for the detailed posts about Soapstone! We are buying a house that has it, but it appears very dirty/dull grey in places. I’m ordering the ager you recommended, but wondering if we should sand it all over first? Is having it re-honed a thing or is there a deep cleaning we can do first?
    Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 9, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      So happy it was helpful, Christy! Congrats on your new house! I’d ask a fabricator or stone professional about your dilemma. If it were me, I’d try the ager first and see how that works. Sanding is a mess and you may not even need to if the ager penetrates well. It also depends on the type of soapstone. I hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    December 2, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Sarah!
    Would you mind sharing what the overhang of your countertops is? Is some of the pictures the countertop edge almost looks flush with the cabinets, but I’m figuring that might be an illusion? It looks great and doesn’t look like a huge overhang. It looks nice and tidy.

    Sarah

    • Reply
      Sarah
      December 2, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      Hi Sarah! I’m happy to share- the overhang is standard 2″. I hope that’s helpful!

  • Reply
    Leif
    January 6, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    What color are the those cabinets. They are great!

  • Reply
    Stacy
    March 1, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    We will be using soapstone in our upcoming kitchen remodel. So excited! I keep reading that it’s non-porous but I saw in this thread that etching is possible. So just wondering what your experience has been? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      March 1, 2022 at 5:40 pm

      That’s so exciting, Stacy! It can etch and it definitely can scratch. I love our soapstone and I’d certainly use it again! It’s very forgiving and durable. I hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Barbara Mathias
    April 7, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    We are using soapstone for our kitchen remodel. What color faucets and drawer pulls would you recommend? Copper? Brass? Stainless?

  • Reply
    Terry
    April 26, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Photos of countertops like yours are lovely but deceptive, as they give the impression that soapstone slabs with lightning-bolt veins, swirls of gray/black and general movement are widely available from Polycor. This article was posted in 2019, but I’ve been looking for stone like this farther back than that, seeing many photos like yours online but finding mostly slabs with not only no veins but almost no movement, with large dark blotches and distinct speckles rather than gradual variegation, so that the slabs look more like granite than soapstone. Now I’m having to settle for what Polycor is willing to turn out from its current quarry site (one of several since the Alberene quarry reopened) if I want to enjoy the benefits of soapstone (not just the soapstone “look”) and also stick to my “domestic only” rule. If there were more distributors in my area I might have more of a selection but I’ve had to choose from what’s trickled in over the years; and even so the warehouses in other parts of the country are telling me that they’re seeing mostly the same thing. I could keep looking but we’ve been in our new home for 9 months now and nobody seems to see anything new (or old) on the horizon. I envy your luck and I understand that stone is a natural product that no one can predict or control, but I wish Polycor would make more of an effort to provide what people are looking for and otherwise live up to its promises.

  • Reply
    Terry
    April 26, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    Also (to tack onto my previous comments) I love how the stone looks unoiled and would love to find some this light gray color.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 28, 2022 at 9:49 am

      Hi Terry! You’re definitely right- all natural stone is at the mercy of the quarry and each one will be different. Soapstone also changes. Our stone looks totally different than it did when we installed it two years ago. More veining and speckles have come out, which I love! I think it’s more about embracing the patina and quirks if you’re going with a natural product. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have a great selection though. I luckily was able to choose my slabs elsewhere (there weren’t any in my area) and have them shipped. You can always requests slab photos and opt for freight shipping, so that’s another option if you have a specific amount of veining or variation in mind. The design industry as a whole is working through stock and lead time issues, so I think (unfortunately) patience has been key in renovating this past year or two. It takes a lot of time to find and get what you want. I’ll also say this- I’ve worked with Polycor for many years… sourcing stone for my own home and for clients, and I love their commitment to quality and the environment. A quarry is unpredictable and nature made, so they pull out what it offers, then move to the next area of the quarry. It’s really luck of the draw of what the earth produces. That’s just how all natural stone goes (soapstone, marble, etc). I’d recommend quartz if you’re looking for a very consistent look. In regards to the gray color- all soapstone begins as the light gray color. You can either leave it natural (gray) or enhance it to bring out the black. I hope that’s helpful!

  • Reply
    Terry
    April 28, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Sarah…That is interesting (and encouraging) to know that your stone has continued to develop character and not just darken in shade as I’d read (I’d love to see updated pics, even if they make me jealous :)). Again on the one hand I understand that a quarry can’t control what the stone it extracts looks like and that stone will vary in appearance; but while white marble is white marble except for where the streaks happen to be, soapstone that looks like soapstone is different from soapstone that looks like granite. You might understand how seeing numerous kitchen photos (even on the Polycor website, until recently) with exclamations of, “Look at this Alberene soapstone – look at those veins and that movement! Isn’t it gorgeous?” (maybe not in so many words but photos speak) and then going to a warehouse and seeing soapstone that looks nothing like this while being told, “No, we don’t have that,” would feel a bit bait-and-switch, or that at least someone is holding out and sending the pretty stone somewhere else. After confirmation by various stone yards (and even communicating directly with the quarry) I had more or less concluded that the photos I’d seen were from a bygone era and no longer available; but if that were so then someone should have explained or corrected the discrepancy rather than pretend that what’s available now is as it has always been. Now I’ve come across your photos from 2019, which was not that long ago and wonder again, where is this? Why can I not find it? Does this mean I should keep looking, or just settle? What if I do settle and then learn some time later that new, veiny, swirly blocks are being extracted? I play the long game, for the same reason I insisted on domestic stone, and I don’t believe in tossing a nonrenewable resource after 5 or 10 years because I got tired of how it looked. We moved into our forever-house last summer, and once we have countertops installed we’ll be married to them for the next 30+ years (essentially until we’re dead or the house is destroyed by a tornado).

    I have looked online at slabs in other parts of the country, but buying stone without seeing it in person first is not recommended (for good reason as I almost purchased slabs that were “leathered”, which I found is something that should never, ever be done to soapstone), and most distributors insist on payment before they’ll ship. From what I’ve learned the Alberene quarry stopped extracting blocks in early 2019 and only got started again last summer. It opened a new section early this year but the stone there is not much different from what I’m told and it doesn’t sound like they plan to actively look for what they used to produce. As for your other suggestions, quartz seems basically like countertop mdf, given that it’s glued-together stone dust. I might have liked a quartzite, also for the veins and movement, but apparently no quartzites are quarried for countertop slabs in the U.S. But the soapstone I’m considering (as well as all of the ones I’ve seen in recent years) is already a darkish gray (I’d post pics if I could) which I could live with but isn’t my preference. I have considered going back to the drawing board as it were but as I had to make color choices (gray/green) for the floor tile my options are limited by these, and the main reasons I chose Virginia soapstone (domestic, no sealing necessary) still apply. The third reason – and the reason it edged out the only other contender Vermont slate – was the aesthetics. I tell myself it’s still soapstone and will have that matte look and silky feel, the character and patina (presumably) regardless…but whether these will be enough, I don’t know.

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