Soapstone is natural stone material that has been used for centuries in countertops. Its milky appearance gives it a rustic feel when compared with the urbane and elegant look of granite or slate.
Let’s answer some questions you may have about quartz and quartz countertops.
How is soapstone made?
Soapstone countertops are made from quarried steatite stone that includes chlorite, magnesite and dolomite. Most soapstone also contains quite a bit of talc which accounts for the milky or powdery look and feel.
Where does soapstone come from?
There are active North American soapstone mines including Quebec City and Central Virginia. Architectural soapstone is mined in Canada, Brazil, India and Finland and imported into the United States.
What colors do soapstone countertops come in?
The colors you’ll find in soapstone range from almost pure white with slight marbling to charcoal gray with nearly solid color. In between, you’ll find an array of whites, off-whites, pearls and grays with rich marbling.
Can soapstone countertops have different finishes?
The surface of Soapstone is most commonly sold with a honed finish, which is smooth, like a polish, but is not reflective. Other finishes are also available, such as a leathered finish that you commonly see with granite. Traditionally, Soapstone is treated with mineral oil to enrich the color.
A periodic application of mineral oil is the only maintenance that is recommended, but not required. Over time, soapstone countertops develop a patina which gives it a rich, antique character.
Is soapstone durable?
The presence of talc produces a material that is softer to the touch than most natural stone countertop materials. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t stand up to the demands of the kitchen.
While not as hard as granite, soapstone is more pliable which means it is less brittle, so it won’t crack unexpectedly from stress or weight. In regards to stains, soapstone countertops are very non-porous and are far less likely to stain from wine or oil.
You’ll find that soapstone countertops age well and can last for many generations. If you get any scratches, you can either leave them as a part of the natural patina or you can sand them out to restore the initial integrity of the stone.
How much maintenance is involved for soapstone countertops?
This type of stone is so dense that no type of sealant is required at all. You can only oil the countertop but this is only done for aesthetic reasons.
Talk to our professionals for more information on soapstone countertops.