Although not as well-known as granite, marble, or quartz, soapstone is quickly making a name for itself in kitchens throughout the country. This gorgeous natural stone has the elegance of both granite and slate while maintaining a slightly rustic charm. Soapstone looks fantastic amid contemporary and classic designs, and it might be perfect for your home. But if you’re considering a soapstone countertop, there are a few things you need to know.
What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is also known as steatite stone, meaning that it is predominately made of talc. Also found within soapstone is dolomite, chlorite, and magnesite. Some soapstone has far more talc in it, making it softer and more useful for sculpting instead of countertops. The most notable characteristic of soapstone is how soft it is to the touch. Don’t underestimate this stone, though. It’s more than capable of standing up to the demands of the everyday kitchen.
Soapstone Countertops: Pros and Cons
Natural and beautiful, soapstone is a unique addition to any home. That said, before visiting the quarry or store to choose a slab, you must think about the pros and cons of this material.
Pros of Soapstone
- Although soft to the touch, soapstone is incredibly compacted and dense. This makes soapstone easy to wipe down after chopping up fruits and vegetables. It is also environmentally friendly.
- Soapstone remains largely inexpensive when compared to other natural stone surfaces.
- Soapstone is heatproof, though you should protect your countertop with trivets and silicone pads to prevent damage. Since soapstone can tolerate heat, it can also be used for makeup vanities or wherever a curling iron or hair straightener is placed.
- Unlike more porous stones, soapstone is able to withstand acidic liquids, like lemon and tomato juice. You can also use chemical cleaners when necessary, but those are rarely required.
- Because soapstone is so dense, it’s extremely difficult for bacteria to find ways into cracks and proliferate. This makes it an antibacterial material.
- Due to the density, soapstone is ideal for moist environments, like a bathroom.
Cons of Soapstone
- While some homeowners might not consider the patina a drawback, others might. Like marble, soapstone has a tendency to develop a dark patina over time through the process of oxidation.
- Soapstone is softer than other natural materials. While it is resilient, it will sustain damages from wear and tear more quickly than granite or marble. You will notice etches, chips, and scratches. The best way to protect your soapstone from damage is to use cutting boards.
- Soapstone slabs are beautiful and unique, but it has limited color variations. You might find that the blues, greens, grays, and blacks are lovely, but you won’t find vibrant hues like those seen in granite and marble. Some people might find that their design aesthetics and soapstone don’t mix.
You will find that soapstone has plenty of color options to choose from. While a majority of quarried soapstone comes in black, white, or gray, there are also blues and greens available. Some soapstone even has speckling or veins, similar to marble or granite.
Black soapstone is the most dramatic of the colors because it is deep and rich. Choose black soapstone if you wish to create a contrast between stainless steel appliances and white walls. You can use this kind of soapstone as an island countertop, wall accent, backsplash, and flooring.
White soapstone, on the other hand, is more common and known for developing a patina. This color is modern, bright, and sleek. If you have dark-colored cabinets or appliances, white soapstone will add an elegant touch.
Caring For Your Soapstone Countertops
Cleaning soapstone counters is a delightfully hassle-free process, because it is nonporous, unlike granite and marble. Usually, the only things you will need are a soft dishrag and some all-purpose kitchen cleaner. Mild soap also works. Simply wipe the countertops after every use.
As the soapstone begins to develop a patina, you can apply natural mineral oil to keep the coloration consistent and maintain the beauty and luster of the stone. Doing so will also preserve the value of the soapstone.
Looking For Soapstone Countertops?
Soapstone is one of those materials that you can fall in love with. Easy to care for, aesthetically pleasing, and heat-resistant, soapstone is an agreeable option for kitchens and bathrooms. Yet, before you make the final decision about getting a soapstone countertop, it’s important that you stop by a showroom or quarry to see a sample of soapstone in person. That way, you can see how the stone feels and whether it will look good in your home.
If you’d like to learn more about soapstone, give us a call here at Marble Concepts. We’re more than happy to answer your questions.