Just why is soapstone perfect for bathroom renovations? For one thing, soapstone has been around for centuries and has lots of uses from the past on into the present. With a wide variety of applications, it remains a viable source for countertop use in bathroom remodeling. Soapstone has the physical attributes and vintage appeal that works in almost any bathroom setting.
Though thought of as a countertop material for kitchens, soapstone is now taking a place in the bathroom for vanity and sink use. There are reasons to use soapstone in bathroom spaces. Here are a few that explain its significance.
Soapstone has a different feel and finish. It’s a soft material and that’s because it contains talc, which makes it soft. It’s not a hard stone like marble or granite but soapstone’s density compensates for the differences. Soapstone is durable enough to improve any bathroom area and add a unique touch at the same time.
Soapstone is usually a soft gray color, but when you treat it with mineral oil, the color will gradually enrich itself and appear considerably darker and finer. Homeowners like the look of enhanced soapstone, but most people like the look of soapstone in its natural state. They prefer not to treat it. If you decide you want a darker version of soapstone, you can purchase everyday mineral oil at most grocery and drug stores. You’ll have to apply several coatings before any real darkening occurs; however, it will create a permanent dark look. When you’re not sure about going about the darkening process, it’s best to speak with experts before you begin.
Nonporous and Soft
As a soft and nonporous material, soapstone requires limited maintenance. Simply use water, a mild cleanser, and a soft cloth for cleaning countertops and sinks. The softness factor (1-4 on the Mohs scale) may be a turnoff, as soapstone is susceptible to scratches, but this feature doesn’t bother most soapstone users. Any scratches are easy to buff out, plus any nicks, dents, and gouges are fairly simple to repair. Some people even leave the surface with a worn look, which brings out the natural sheen of soapstone.
In dealing with any scratches, use mineral oil or sanding paper with larger scratches. You should be able to eliminate them. Consult with representatives at nearby granite companies and they should be able to give you the appropriate advice for any issues with soapstone. You can also keep damages away in kitchen areas by using butcher block boards to prepare any food on soapstone countertops.
Another advantage of using soapstone in a bathroom space where germs can multiply quickly is the antimicrobial nature of the stone. With soapstone being a nonporous material, there’s no room for viruses or bacteria to gather, stay and spread germs. Soapstone is not completely free of the opportunity for bacteria to make its way to the top of your countertops. Dirt and debris can still accumulate there, but soapstone’s nonporous nature makes for simpler cleaning and sanitizing, especially in a bathroom area.
In addition to this, soapstone is chemically inert, meaning it won’t react to acidic or alkaline substances. You can use a cleaner that contains a disinfecting component without the worry of damaging the surface. With a bathroom, there will always be germs lurking about and soapstone is a whole lot easier to disinfect than other stone materials.
The mining process with soapstone involves lifting slabs out of the earth and then cutting the slabs into different sizes for bathroom, kitchen, and other uses in a home. The entire process is an environmentally friendly operation. Since the slabs are nonporous, upkeep for them is minimal and doesn’t involve the use of harsh and chemically laced cleaners. Sealing of the stone is unnecessary because of its nonporous nature, so that again eliminates the use of chemicals and harsh cleaning products that could affect the environment.
Another reason soapstone is the perfect bathroom material is that it only improves with age. Besides being easy to maintain, you can change its color with intermittent coatings of mineral oil. As time passes, soapstone is further enhanced and gains a newfound beauty. Bathroom vanities and countertops will appear darkened even more so than from their initial installation.
Retains Heat without Burning
As soapstone is a nonporous material, you can maintain a warm temperature of any water that you use in your bathroom sink. Soapstone countertops are perfect for managing any heat from blow dryers, curling irons, and other hot hair tools that you use in a bathroom area. A soapstone vanity and sink handles high temperatures well, so you won’t have to worry about burning a soapstone countertop. Also, any natural light coming into the bathroom area will remain in the soapstone, so you should stay warm coming out of the tub or shower.
Soapstone Uses for Showers and Surrounds
Again, with soapstone being a nonporous material, any water or other liquids that accumulate won’t have a barrier to soak up excesses. Think about creating a backsplash in the back of the sink or surrounding the tub and shower areas with soapstone tiles for both functional and decorative effects.
Also, the heat resistance factor with soapstone is good for bathrooms. Soapstone is a great replacement for countertops that are heat resistant. With a shower or tub surround, heat resistance shows that soapstone absorbs the heat from the warm water, which means it will absorb the heat of the water and distribute it. Your shower will get toasty warm and stay that way. One thing to remember with soapstone, it gets slippery when wet, so if you’re going to use it as flooring for a shower, you’ll want to use smaller pieces of soapstone tile or incorporate some kind of textural elements in the shower to lessen the chances of slipping.
If you’re considering a bathroom renovation but still have concerns or questions about soapstone, contact Marble Concepts at 215-396-7393. We will be more than happy to help you.