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How to Lay a Soapstone Countertop (page 2 of 3)

DIY Network's expert stone masons transform an unfinished kitchen into an elegant country kitchen with soapstone countertops and backsplashes.

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soapstone counter and backsplash added to kitchen Watch Video

Step 4: Set the Island Pieces

Dry-set the three pieces on the island and look at the seams. You want the island to appear seamless. Look at the veins and see how they move across the seams. By turning a stone around and positioning it differently, you can get the seams to seemingly disappear. Once you are satisfied with the orientation of the stones, set them in place with the correct overhang measurements and clamp them into place.

The next step is to glue the soapstone pieces into place. You need to glue the seams together with a fast-drying epoxy and then glue the pieces to the cabinet below with an adhesive caulk. To minimize clean up of the epoxy, tape the edges of the seams with painter's tape.

Begin with an end piece. Unclamp the stone and place the soapstone on blocks of foam. Place a bead of adhesive caulk on the edge of the cabinet in a smooth thin line. Set the stone back into place. Line it up with the stone next to it, which should be set exactly in place.

Next, move the center stone onto the foam blocks. Apply caulking to the cabinets as before. Apply a quick-drying epoxy to the seams of the stone. Set the middle section back into place and gently squeeze the epoxy together against the first stone. Repeat the process for the last stone. Firmly press the pieces together. Let the epoxy and adhesive dry.

tape edges of seams with painter tape

Step 5: Sand the Countertops

Once the epoxies and adhesives are dry, use a belt sander to sand off any excess epoxy and smooth the entire stone. Use a belt sander with 36-grit sand paper. Attach a vacuum to the sander to collect the dust, but also wear a good mask. Apply an even pressure, just enough to smooth the surface (Image 1).

To round the corners of the island, use a roll of tape as a template and trace the round edge to make a soft, round corner. Repeat on each corner of the island. Then, using the belt sander, sand down the corner to the round corner mark. Twist your body, and gently rock back and forth to round the edge (Image 2).

With the corners rounded, it's time to treat the edges of the island. Use a fine-cut file and a piece of 80-grit sand paper. File the edge firmly (Image 3), then sand it gently (Image 4).

Repeat all the way around the island.

Step 6: Return to the Stove Counter

Next, we return to the kitchen counter. The two pieces on either side of the stove in this project are rectangular, so no templates are needed. Measure the dimensions then transfer them directly to the stone for cutting. Remember to account for the 1-1/4” overhang.

Cut the stones as before with a circular saw and sand them with a belt sander. Dry set the pieces to make sure they fit correctly and then glue them in place with the adhesive caulking.

Make templates for the remaining pieces around the sink (Image 1). With those templates cut, tranfer to the soapstone, mark, cut, sand and set in place, using the adhesive caulk and epoxy to glue them in place.

Remember to tape the seams to minimize cleanup (Image 2).

Push the pieces together and press firmly against the wall to set them in place.

You might decide to add a window ledge made of soapstone above the sink. Measure, cut and sand just as you did the other pieces. Use shims to hold it in place. You will glue it when you install the backsplash behind the sink.