Ah, stunning gray soapstone. It looks magnificent in the kitchen and is growing in popularity as an alternative to more expensive natural stone, like granite and marble. You may have recently seen a soapstone counter in a friend’s house and found yourself spellbound. Now, you are here looking to see if the material is worthwhile. To help you figure out if soapstone countertops are the right choice, we have put together this article.
Let’s get started.
Pros of Soapstone Countertops
Having an amazing kitchen counter might not be the solution to all your problems, but having a kitchen you enjoy and functional countertops can definitely make cooking and baking a lot more joyful. Here are some reasons you should purchase soapstone countertops:
You can pick a selection of colors
While the selection itself is limited, soapstone does come in a spectrum of grays and blacks with veining and undertones. You can find nearly black soapstone or those with veins of green to complement elements in your kitchen.
Soapstone is all-natural
If you are weighing your options and are stuck on engineered quartz and soapstone, you might like knowing that your soapstone countertops came from a quarry instead of a lab. Natural stone has more character than engineered options, and since no two slabs are identical, your countertop will be truly unique.
You don’t have to worry about seals
Yes, you read that correctly. You don’t have seal soapstone as you would with granite. Soapstone is nonporous, so it will not suck up moisture and liquids. That means less bacterial growth, no staining, and no water rings.
It’s resistant to heat and acid
That might not seem like too big a deal, but when you are running out of trivets during the holidays and have to set down a flaming out pan right now, having a heat resistant countertop is going to feel like a god send. Plus, you do not have to freak out when you accidentally spill orange juice or vinegar on the counter. Soapstone is inert.
Cons of Soapstone Countertops
Now that you know soapstone’s superpowers, we need to talk about the kryptonite. Soapstone is not perfect and will have flaws. It’s soft.
Softness might seem like a favorable property, because that reduces the risk of chipping and cracking. However, the soft surface of soapstone makes it terribly susceptible to impacts from falling objects. Drop a can of beans, and the stone will get a divot. Do not think about cutting food directly on the stone, because you will get scratches.
Additionally, your soapstone countertops will age unevenly. This means that some sections are going to get a patina faster than others, and that could end up making your kitchen counter look drab.
This can be off-putting, especially when you consider the price. Soapstone hovers around the same price as granite and quartz in most cases.
Caring for Soapstone Countertops
One of the reasons so many people are embracing soapstone is for the easy cleaning. Like any natural stone counter, you do need to keep up with routine care and maintenance. Here are some things you need to know about upkeep (because knowing what you are signing up for with soapstone countertops is important):
Use Soap and Water
Owners of soapstone counters learn early on that you need to use some mineral oil on the stone to keep it looking luxurious. Mineral oil will also accelerate the oxidation process, giving the soapstone a richer look, faster. The thing is, when you are trying to get that lovely patina, you need to maintain the coating of oil. In the event you wipe down the counters with an acidic cleaner, like something with lemon oil or vinegar, it will break down the oils.
The best way to wash soapstone is soap and water. Easy!
Dealing with Scratches
Sure, soapstone may not be as resilient as granite, but those scratches can be easily buffed out. You simply need some sandpaper and mineral oil. Buff out the scratch lightly then wipe the area with the oil. Ta-da.
Yes, you don’t ever have to worry that your soapstone countertops are going to get stained. What you do need to worry about is denting. The stone is softer than granite, so if you drop something on it, you might find a ding in the surface. The dents cannot be fixed.
Looking for Soapstone Countertops Near Me?
So, are soapstone counters in the kitchen a worthwhile investment? Or should you toss ‘em to the curb? It depends. Someone people will love the soft, soapy feel of the stone and the way it ages, getting darker and darker. Others will find that they are not a fan of the patina or even the amount of work it takes to maintain that shiny darkness. You also need to reflect on the pros and cons, such as the heat resistance versus the low resistance to nicks and scratches.
Have questions about soapstone or ready to make the jump and get new kitchen countertops? Give us a call. At Marble Concepts, we have a wide selection of natural stone for counters and floors; we also have the experience and know-how required to make every installation perfect. Give us a call at 215-396-7393 or fill out the contact form to get in touch with us.