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The Stone Circle Issue #40 Soapstone
February 28, 2006
Your central place for stone information.

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In This Issue:
  • What's New at Natural Stone Interiors?
  • Idea this month: Soapstone
  • Info, Hints, and Tips From the Fabricator: More on soapstone...
  • Recap of the months "Question of the Week"

What's new this month at Natural Stone Interiors?

Interested in soapstone? All the information you need on soapstone is here: Watch for granite pricing. We currently have over 400 stones in our data base categorized in levels. I want to take it a step further with descriptions and pictures. A huge, time consuming project but hopefully the raw data will be up this month!

Idea this Month

The Look of Soapstone
Unoiled Iceflower Soapstone Kitchen

Iceflower soapstone is quarried in Brazil. In its natural state, it is a dull and matted looking gray stone. The veins are visible but not very dramatic.

Iceflower Soapstone SlabIf left in its natural state, soapstone has a rustic look and feel. Your stone will darken over time but it will darken unevenly. Highly used areas of your countertop and areas around your sink are more noticeable. This rustic patina isn't for everyone.

To achieve an even and dramtic color, mineral oil is used. After applying mineral oil, the color of Iceflower deepens to a deep, dark green. It's almost black. The lighter green and white to blue veining really stand out.

Oiled Iceflower SoapstoneSoapstone is easy to work with. Easier than granite or marble because it is a softer natural stone. Arches, curves, and carvings can all be implemented in your soapstone project.

(Can't see the pictures?) Try going to view and click allow blocked images. Or, go to the page online:Picture Online

Info, Hints and Tips: From the Fabricator

A little more on soapstone...
  • Soapstone is not readily available everywhere.
  • If it is not readily available in your area, be prepared to pay more or consider installing it yourself.
  • If you plan to install soapstone countertops yourself, make sure you have patience, motivation, tools, and a strong back.
  • If you plan to hire it out, find a natural stone fabricator who has experience installing soapstone. Otherwise, you may as well install it yourself!
  • If you love soapstone, don't let anyone talk you out of it or steer you towards granite, silestone, cambria, etc.
  • Soapstone is priced about the same as an expensive granite. Near Minneapolis... $75.00+ per square foot.
  • If at all possible, personally choose your stone.
  • The slabs at the stone yards have a matte finish. If you plan to oil your soapstone, view a sample of your stone choice with mineral oil applied.

RECAP of the months "Question of the Week"

Can I use my regular household cleaners on my natural stone?

It's not recommended. Ammonias and chemicals contained in these cleaners can have a negative reaction on your stone. They can etch some stones or even make them look dull and lifeless. It's best to use care products made specifically for stone. The MB Stone Care line carries safe, friendly, and effective stone care products.

Is marble suitable for a kitchen countertop?

Marble isn't usually a good choice for kitchen countertops. This natural stone is more porous than granite and susceptible to stains in a highly used area such as the kitchen. Acidic substances, such as orange juice or cola products, can etch the surface of marble. It is also much softer and can chip and crack under frequent use.

Do granite seams show?

The visibility of seams will depend on the pattern and color of your stone. A small, uniform grain, such as Verde Labrador, will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain such as Peacock Green. A dark color will be less noticeable than a lighter color. A dramatic pattern with lots of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern. Most people find that the beauty of natural stone outweighs the concern of seams.

Is marble appropriate to use in living areas?

Yes. Where and how you use marble depends on your lifestyle. This natural stone has been used since ancient times for architectural and structural purposes. Marble is used for flooring, walls, sculptures, table tops, countertops, walkways, stairways, and other household furnishings. Since marble is composed of calcium carbonate, this stone is vulnerable to acids found in some cleaners and various food products. It is important to use a cleaner made specifically for natural stone.

I am thinking about using natural stone for my countertops. Where can I meet marble and granite fabricators?

Home and Garden shows are great! You can meet and interview many fabricators in one place. You can view slabs and samples, look at edge profiles, compare products and prices, and ask questions.

Be original,
Darren & Carolyn
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