The maintenance of soapstone is really a decision based on what you want your countertops to look like. The application of oil or wax isn’t a must to protect the soapstone from stains and it isn’t something that it has to have in order to protect it.
You will hear Scott say this as his recommendation:
Apply mineral oil to your coutertops twice a week for one month and then decide what you want to do from there. The logic here is that by oiling the tops during this period you will be building a base, then the areas where you do food prep and cooking will stay dark because you feed them in the natural course of use. This builds a use patina and a use patina is maintained by just using the tops.
We don’t tell you to be careful how you use your tops, we just want you to know what to expect. Soapstone is soft and it will get scratches, these scratches will blend into the use patina and become familiar and unnoticeable. Actually, soapstone becomes better with age, becoming a surface that can tell a story if you even notice. Soapstone is often surrounded by the most beautiful environments, details from history, architectural style and design. Surfaces that have been walked on, painted, stained, stripped, refinished or recreated. In this setting soapstone will blend in and contribute, it will not dominate, that is until it is touched. Once your hands feel Bucks County Soapstone you will often find yourself returning for the tactile reminder of one of your favorite things.
Grey look or dark look?
As we said above, the shade of your countertops is based on personal preference; your oiling practices (or lack thereof) determine the look. For darker countertops you will apply mineral oil more often, there is no set schedule, just oil when your counters are lighter than you like.
If you would like to order our specially formulated Mineral Oil it is available for $10 online (plus shipping). If you pick it up in our showroom it is $10. Bring your old bottle back for a discount! It is much easier to apply than the thick consistency of standard drug store mineral oil.
Make sure your countertops are clean and dry.
Use a clean cotton cloth to apply oil
Use another cloth or a paper towel to remove excess oil. There is no reason to wait as oil is not sinking in due to the nonporous nature of soapstone.
We recommend that you apply oil to the entire top before wiping off the excess.
After the first application, put the cotton cloth in a zip lock bag to use next time.
The grey look:
The grey look is achieved by applying and scrubbing your surfaces with a more aggressive cleaner. A good example of this is Simple Green. Anytime oils are spilled, dropped or splattered on a soapstone surface you can strip them off with a degreaser which will help maintain a greyer look.
Sealers on soapstone:
Over the years we have tried many different products on soapstone. Our recommendation is not to seal soapstone because sealers are inherently designed to penetrate and seal a surface. Soapstone is a nonporous stone and sealers will not penetrate it and therefore will not bond as effectively. What this means is that if you decide to put a sealer on your countertop you MUST maintain a strict reapplication schedule to keep the light look, if you lapse these treatments your countertops will start to spot in unpredictable places due to natural oils.
If you do decide to use a sealer on your countertops we have tested and found DuPont BulletProof sealer to be very user friendly. It can be found on Amazon.
How to sand out scratches
Repairing soapstone countertops
Dig out the sandpaper that our install team left for you or purchase a few more and lightly sand in a circular motion. Check your work and see if you need apply a little more elbow grease or if the scratch is gone.
If you are looking to add an instant hot, air switch or soap dispenser here is the tool you need. It is a hole saw that is available at hardware stores. One thing to know when using one of these drill bits is to let the tool do the work, don’t use excessive force especially when you are close to being through the soapstone. If possible drill down 2/3 of the way from the top and then drill the final 1/3 from below.
As Norm says “be sure to wear your safety glasses.”
Refinishing your countertops or any other soapstone surface is easy when you use a Random Orbit Sander like the one pictured above. On countertops we recommend a 150 grit sandpaper for the finish and on flooring we recommend 80 grit sandpaper.
Enlarging the hole for a new faucet or other accessory is easily done with this round file. You can pick up one of these at any hardware store. We recommend that you do all the filing on the DOWN STROKE
Our shower pans are made to accept a standard shower drain like the one shown here.
With our Hand-Built sinks we recommend a Kohler K-8801 strainer, here is it’s counterpart at the Home Depot.
When setting soapstone tile we recommend first installing Wonder Board in this thinset adhesive with a 3/8” notched trowel. Once the Wonder Board is set in thinset use the recommended screws to mechanically fasten it to the floor, do this approx. every 6 inches. Let this set overnight and then set your tile with the same thinset and trowel.