Soapstone has become a popular choice for counter tops and sinks because of its ease of care and the naturally warm patina it develops over time. Primarily composed of magnesite and talc, soapstone has a high resistance to heat and staining. In the arena of maintenance and repair, one of soapstone’s drawbacks doubles as an asset: its softness relative to other stone materials. This means that even though the softness of soapstone makes it prone to small cosmetic problems, softness also makes it easy to repair. Follow a few simple procedures to get your soapstone looking as good as new.
1 Light Scratches
Soapstone’s relative softness means that it will inevitably become scratched with normal use. When the surface accumulates light scratches, simply buff the surface with mineral oil and a hand towel. Once rubbed in, the mineral oil will darken the surface, add to its natural patina and hide any light blemishes. For convenience, keep the hand towel for reuse.
2 Deep Scratches or Stains
Sand deeper scratches or nicks will need to be sanded with medium-grit sandpaper. Due to the stone’s softness, the scratch will disappear into the surrounding area with little effort. Once you’ve sanded away the scratch, move to progressively finer sandpapers until the repaired area matches the rest of the surface. Clean the area of dust with a dry towel or vacuum, and apply a light coat of mineral oil until you’ve made the area indistinguishable from the rest of the counter. The same procedure applies to stains; lightly sand the stained area, clean and rub down with mineral oil.
Soapstone may chip if struck hard enough, creating a small area that you must replace. For this repair, you will need a small piece of similar soapstone and a clear, two-part epoxy available at any full-service hardware store or home center. Break the loose piece of soapstone into fine chips and mix with the epoxy. Fill the gap in the soapstone with the mixture and allow to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the chip appears on the corner or edge of the soapstone, use masking tape to create a mold to hold the epoxy mixture in place.) Once the epoxy dries, sand, finish and oil the affected area as detailed above.