How You Can Reinforce Soapstone Countertops
Countertops for the kitchen, bathroom, or other areas in which surfaces are used extensively are an important aspect of a project. Using soapstone as a countertop material may seem counterintuitive since soapstone is normally under one's feet. However, when soapstone is used as a countertop material correctly and has been reinforced, it serves the purpose effectively. In another article we talk about reinforcing stone in a general sense. In this article though, we will explore some important information regarding how to reinforce soapstone countertops.
Why Reinforce Soapstone Countertops
The reasons for reinforcing a given soapstone countertop will vary depending on specific variables. Each situation is different and the reasons for reinforcing a soapstone countertop might vary from one prject to the next. For example, the countertop might extend out from one ore more sides of the base, making it a oxide jacking. In this scenario, the tension produced on the the top of the counter by the overhang of the unsupported section means the soapstone benefits from support. In the event that a the countertop is not a cantilever, it still is an unsupported span; making it in essence, a beam without support. Throw in the natural force we are all familiar with called gravity and you have tension on the underside of the countertop.
Even if the soapstone countertop is not being created under the conditions mentioned above, it still makes sense to add support. Why? Because buildings and foundations settle and change. The base could shift or twist; adding tension in areas of the countertop that might not be expected. So as a general rule, it is a good idea to reinforce soapstone countertops. But the question then is, how?
Soapstone Countertop Reinforcement Methods
As with many other practices, countertop support may mean different things to different people. This is because there are multiple ways to reinforce soapstone countertops. We will briefly consider two of them in this context. The two methods we will consider are:
- Rodding Reinforcement
- Brace Reinforcement
Rodding Countertop Reinforcement
As you may have inferred from the terminology, rodding support is beneficial. This is because it strengthens internally. Rodding support of a soapstone countertop is added by using one of many types of material. Rodding support works by adding strips of the support material into slots cut in the soapstone surface. This support material may be made of any of the following:
The above list of materials is not all inclusive, but you get the idea. Choose a material that is able to be cut into strips and used to create strengthening rods so that when the soapstone is put under stress, the rodding inside the soapstone adds structural support.
Brace Countertop Reinforcement
The other method of reinforcing soapstone countertops is, as the name implies is also important and adds to the overall quality of the finished countertop. Brace support contributes to the strength of the soapstone as well, but it is performed using a different form of material strengthening. This way of strengthening soapstone surfaces is external.
Brace support of soapstone makes use of soapstone support braces for the soapstone surface to rest on. This technique is used as a way of supporting countertop overhangs and in some cases is necessary.
Materials of all sorts will require support in many cases. Whether it is by rodding the surface or adding support brackets to the adjacent structure, or both, knowing about some of the reasons why the technique is being used will heighten your conviction. Soapstone is versatile, appealing, and tough but it is not indestructible. So it is good to be familiar with ways of strengthening the installation.
In the end, reinforcing soapstone countertops can be done in a couple of different ways using several materials for the primary support. The optional secondary support material however, should be one of a couple designed specifically for use with alkaline substances like soapstone. Choosing the proper support materials for you soapstone countertop will ensure that your project turns out the best it can be.