Need counters that are going to take a beating and still look good? Then you should take a look at a natural material known as soapstone. Durable and maintenance-free, soapstone is the miracle that you have been waiting for. That is why we at Marble Concepts have pulled together some information about soapstone and soapstone countertops so you can make the best choice.
Here is everything you need to know about soapstone countertops:
What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is a natural stone that comes from quarries throughout the world. The reason it is called soapstone is because of the feel of it, which is smooth and soapy—maybe even soft—because of the talc that is present. Most American-sourced soapstone comes from the Appalachian mountains. Otherwise, it is imported from Finland and Brazil. There are two grades of soapstone: architectural and artistic.
The artistic type soapstone has a higher talc content and is easier to carve than architectural, which does not have the same amount of talc. Architectural soapstone is more difficult to carve, making it slightly more suitable than artistic-grade soapstone for countertops.
Although soapstone is not as hard as marble or granite, it is easier to cut, shape, and install, too. However, because soapstone has to be quarried in smaller slabs than marble and granite, soapstone countertops that are longer (84 inches or longer) often have several visible seams holding it together.
Soapstone Advantages and Disadvantages
There are several properties of soapstone that make it wonderful for kitchen counters. Here are some of the pros of soapstone:
- Soapstone doesn’t get stained. Unlike some other types of natural stone, soapstone is nonporous and dense. Although a dark spot might develop when liquid collects on the surface, the stone returns to normal when the liquid evaporates.
- Soapstone is resilient against acidic liquids and materials. Since the stone is chemically inert, you can use lemon juice and other acidic cleaners on the surface without causing damage. That is why soapstone is often used in science laboratories.
- Soapstone is heat resistant. The density of the stone means that it will be able to withstand high heat without getting scorched or damaged.
- Soapstone is low maintenance. You do not have to worry about the countertop getting stained or charred. It is also easy to clean because soapstone is pH-neutral and only needs a food-safe mineral oil to keep the top shiny. You don’t even have to seal it.
- Soapstone ages gracefully. Over time, soapstone countertops gain a natural patina on the surface that looks beautiful. This is because of the materials that oxidize, so there are some darker and lighter sections in the stone.
Sounds pretty great, right? Well, we also have to consider the disadvantages of soapstone countertops, too. Here are some cons:
Soapstone does have a high price tag
- You will need to oil the surface if you want to see the patina faster
- The stone is not as durable as granite and is not resistant to scratching, cuts, dents, and chips
For the final disadvantage, there is one workaround that anyone with a natural stone countertop should take to heart. Simply do not cut and chop directly on the countertop and do not drop heavy objects on the surface. Use a cutting board. Keep up with routine maintenance. Overall, your soapstone countertop will last for many years and will look stunning the whole time.
How Much Does Soapstone Cost?
Soapstone is not as expensive as more luxury stone. You can anticipate a slab of soapstone to cost around $45-$85 per square foot, depending on the talc content. The lower the talc, the harder the stone, and the higher the price tag.
If you are planning on getting professionally installed soapstone countertops, you can expect an additional $50-$65 per square foot. Any custom edging also increases the cost.
How to Choose Soapstone Countertops
One thing you have to understand about soapstone when you start shopping for it is that there is a lack of color options. Soapstone is naturally gray, and while there are a few variations, you are not going to see the same range of colors and patterns as you would with marble, granite, or even engineered quartz.
However, there are variances with veining of blues, greens, or even pearlescent stone. Since soapstone gets a patina over time, you can anticipate lighter gray to dark until it becomes almost black. This can create an interesting visual when the slabs of your countertop are different. Yet, some people may not like the disjointed appearance of multiple shades of gray in their kitchen.
Be sure to visit a showroom to find identical colors so the changing patina does not affect the aesthetics too badly.
Finding Soapstone Countertops Near Me
Are soapstone countertops right for you? If you are looking for a nonporous, durable, heat resistant stone that has a beautiful look and feel, then soapstone will put a smile on your face. The only issues are the lack of durability and the lack of color options.
Tired of searching endlessly for “soapstone countertops near me”? Call Marble Concepts today! We don’t just handle marble; we have a huge selection of natural stone for every home renovation project. Ask us all your questions about soapstone counters or other natural stones. Give us a call at 215-396-7393 or fill out the contact form. We will be in touch.