Thursday, October 7, 2010

Step on a crack, break your mother's back

If a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck, how many years does a cracked soapstone countertop bring?

When our countertop was first installed, I noticed fine white lines through the slab. Will told me it was nothing. Just the way soapstone is made.

A couple of weeks later, I noticed this.

Nothing, right? Just a vein?

Sadly, no. It's a crack. From the front of the slab all the way to the back. You can feel it with a nail. At its worst point, it opens up like a little chasm.

The Grand Canyon was not in my design scheme.

I've been through panic. And anger. And anxiety. Now I'm stuck in wait mode for our installer to come back and deliver his verdict. I don't want a brittle countertop that needs to be babied. I don't want a countertop that will crumble in a year or so. I chose soapstone after lots of research because it was considered almost impervious to damage. Yes, it was softer than granite and could be dinged, but I thought I avoided that by choosing a harder variety.

So this is a warning for those of you who're considering soapstone. Our soapstone distributor (now) tells us that harder varieties of soapstone (like Beleza) are particularly prone to cracking. Something about a thin rivulets of softer stone running throughout. A kind soul on the Gardenweb kitchen forum had this advice. When considering a slab, have it pulled. Wet it entirely with water and squeegee it. Watch it as it dries. If the cracks remain wet, there may be a problem. It's too late for me, but I hope this helps someone still in the planning stage.


  1. Oh, I just checked your blog this morning to take one more peek at your marmoleum floor (which I am so now using in my mudroom), and I saw your post about your countertop. I am sick! I am so sorry to read about the soapstone. I thought you were going to use honed marble?? (That's how I came across your blog--I'm doing kitchen and I wanted to learn more about honed marble.) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out to be someone else's fault and you can get the countertop replaced. (Did you think about going with a honed black granite, something like absolute? One of my friend's has that in her kitchen and it looks great--it's a very smooth, uniform surface, but warmer than polished.) Good luck and keep us posted. And thank you for all the great information--you've been (unknowingly) very helpful as I wend my way through our own renovation maze.

  2. Thanks for the sympathy and suggestions! They're both much appreciated. I did one counter of honed marble and the longer run in soapstone. I fretted over the marble and assumed that the soapstone would be fine. Ironic that the marble has turned out to be pretty bullet-proof (though it does etch), and the soapstone is troublesome. I'll let you know how things turn out!


  3. did you get the crack epoxied? this is a major bummer.

  4. Yep. Buzz kill. Haven't had it epoxied yet. Waiting on our fabricator. (Sound of toe tapping.)


Thanks so much for commenting. I love reading your thoughts and responses.