How to Install Soapstone Countertops in the Kitchen
Even though soapstone is soft and pliable, it is a relatively heavy and dense material. Therefore, you should install a soapstone countertop only if it can get adequate amount of underlying support. This is possible only when the top of the kitchen cabinets are lined up in the same level. The main steps of soapstone countertops installation are as follows:
Prepare the Work Area
First of all, remove all the materials kept inside the kitchen cabinets and make them empty. Next, you have to remove the existing kitchen counter. Most of the countertops are either fixed with screws or glue. So, removing them is not that difficult.
Take Proper Measurements
Usually, the entire countertop is not perfectly rectangular in shape. Certain parts of the countertop like the area around the sink have somewhat irregular shapes. Divide those parts into smaller sections and measure each section separately.
For the rectangular portion of the countertop, you do not need any template. Mark the stone as per the measurement and cut it accordingly. If the rectangular area of the countertop is large, then instead of using one large slab, you can use two or three smaller slabs and install them to create the larger surface.
Dry Set the Soapstone on the Countertop Area
This is done to check out whether the soapstone pieces set into the countertop properly. You should position the stones in such a way that the veins of two adjacent pieces of stone merge with each other so well that the countertops appear to be seamless. Check out the overhang measurement as well.
Now, you have to make a few slits of one-eighth inch deep an inch apart on the edges of the two adjacent meeting slabs. Use a router tool with a diamond blade for this task. This will help in proper gluing of the edges and will make the seams stronger.
Set the Soapstone with Adhesive
Start gluing the stone along the edge of the countertop and proceed towards the wall. Pick up one stone from the area and put adhesive caulk in a thin line to the cabinet and place the stone back to its position. While caulking the second stone, apply quick drying epoxy along its seams to fix it with the first stone.
Follow the same method for installing each and every piece of soapstone. Apply firm pressure on the newly installed countertop so that they set with the glue properly. Keep it untouched till the epoxy and adhesive is completely dry.
The rough edges of the countertop has to be smoothed with a 80-grit sandpaper. The fine sanded marks that are left behind can be eliminated with the help of a finer grit sandpaper. Finally, apply little mineral water on the new countertop surface using a clean and dry rag. This oil will act as sealant to ensure proper protection of the surface from stains.
You may have to work hard for the installation job but the end result will give you immense satisfaction. Cleaning and maintenance of soapstone countertops is no big hassle and you can use any cleaner to clean up its surface.