LESLIE: Next up we have Michael in Virginia who wants to discuss soapstone.
How can we help?
MICHAEL: Well, I have a question just regarding what type of soapstone might be best and then I’m just curious about do-it-yourself projects with it.
LESLIE: OK, Mike. In regards to soapstone, I mean this is a – it’s a good question; it’s also a tough question because soapstone is such a unique material. And there’s a couple of things you need to look for when you’re selecting a soapstone.
You want to make sure that you get architectural-grade soapstone because it has a lower talc content which makes it more durable; it makes it less stain – it doesn’t absorb any stains, so you won’t have any sort of stains that stay in the soapstone which is common if it has a higher talc content. But it is kind of hard to work with because it is a little bit fragile and it’s very dusty and it requires some special tools while you’re actually working with it.
If you’re going to work with it yourself – which unless you’re kind of experienced with the material, I’m not sure if I would recommend. But if you’re going to work with it yourself, you need to make sure that you have a masonry blade. If you’re going to drill with it, you need a metal speed bit or a whole saw. And if you’re going to shape it for any reason, you need a wood rasp or a carbide router bit.
TOM: It could also be very expensive if you make mistakes with it, Michael, so it’s probably not – it’s not like trying to start with wood being your first material for a do-it-yourself project, you know?
LESLIE: I think if you’re going to get a soapstone tile, just make sure, depending on where you’re putting it, that you get something that is of architectural grade just so it’ll be durable and then you can use a thinset mortar with a bonding agent in it to adhere it. Because it comes in tiles. You can get prefabricated sinks. You can have all these things custom made for you from a soapstone builder and installer.
And I think as far as varieties of soapstone go, I think depending on where it’s mined from or quarried from, I think you’ll find that there are different colorations, different talc contents. So you might just want to do a little bit of research into what it looks like so you can find a coloration that you like. I know some that comes from the northeast in the United States tends to be very gray and chalky but rich in the same sense and it’s really a beautiful material. But make sure you do some research on it.
TOM: The neat thing about soapstone is that it’s one of a kind because it’s a natural product. So once you do find that piece that you fall in love with, you know that it only exists there in your house.
MICHAEL: Oh, very good.
TOM: Michael, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.