Although an outstanding countertop material, soapstone seems to be slightly overlooked. It is far less discussed than other materials, such as quartz and granite. There is less buzz about this stone, but it provides a natural, rustic look that people adore. We are shining the spotlight on soapstone in this blog and giving you the scoop on this superb material!
What is soapstone?
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that is composed mainly of talc. It contains varying amounts of chlorite, pyroxenes, micas, amphiboles, carbonates, and other minerals as well. This stone has been vital to society for thousands of years. The toughness of soapstone can be described on a spectrum. The softest type is used for sculpting, while harder stone is used for tables, kitchen work surfaces, wood burning stoves, tiles, etc. It can be dated all the way back to the late Archaic Period (3000 to 5000 years ago), when Native Americans used the softer rock to make cooking slabs, bowls, smoking pipes, and ornaments. It is a natural stone, which means that it is produced by the earth, not man made. This also comes with the benefit of uniqueness. No two slabs are alike, so you can maintain your individuality when you choose to add this material to your home. Furthermore, as it is not artificially manufactured, there are deviations among slabs that should be considered. The color of the stone can vary depending on the area that it was derived from. You will, however, have the option of applying mineral oil to soapstone countertops to darken the look. This is completely elective, you can keep it looking natural and avoid the oiling process completely if you would prefer. Mineral oil allows for the choice between a lighter and a darker countertop based on your own personal preference.
As mentioned before, homeowners love the natural, rustic look that soapstone can provide. It is a natural stone, so its essence is impossible to capture in any other material. However, beauty is not the sole benefit of this material. It is one of the most durable stones available today. It is nonporous and can withstand chemicals, acids, and heat. In fact, it is common to see soapstone stoves and sinks that were manufactured in the 1800’s still being used today in the northeast section of the United States. Furthermore, it is very low maintenance. Since this material will last you a very long time, you will be glad to know that cleaning will not be a hassle throughout the years. All that you need is a little soap and water for your soapstone countertops to stay looking like new. Opting for this material can be seen as a life-long investment. This stone makes for stunning countertops that will hold up throughout the years.
Along with its many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to this material. Despite its incredible ability to withstand chemicals, acids, and heat, it is one of the least scratch resistant natural stones sold. This material will last for generations to come; however, you should be mindful of items placed on it. To help avoid scratches, employ the use of cutting boards and coasters. We suggest taking this precaution with any countertop surface, but it is especially necessary for soapstone. In addition, soapstone has a limited color range. It is not available in the bolder colors, such as deep reds, for example. This stone is typically seen in shades of grey, sometimes with bluish or green tints. However, splashes of warmer colors can be found in some slabs. Fortunately, the colors that are common amongst soapstone, neutral tones, are currently very trendy and sought after. If you prefer countertops in the more white to charcoal range, this stone will likely have a color to catch your eye.
We hope that this blog helped shed some light on soapstone. We felt that it was about time to give this beautiful and durable material the attention that it deserves! Although it is not as often discussed as some other stones, we have installed many soapstone countertops throughout the years. You may even be surprised to find out how many of your friends have opted to incorporate soapstone into their homes.