Soapstone provides a unique, subtle beauty, which is likely one of the reasons it’s becoming an increasingly desired material for kitchen countertop designs. If you’d like to learn more about this charming material, or are trying to decide if it’s the right choice for your home, keep reading!
What is Soapstone?
A natural quarried stone, soapstone got its name from the soft (or “soapy”) feel of its surface. It’s composed mostly of mineral talc, which gives it this luxuriously soft feel. Most American soapstone is sourced from the Appalachian mountain range, or imported from Brazil and Finland.
Soapstone has a gorgeous natural grey color and is available in a range of grey shades, some with bluish or greenish undertones. It’s also available with black, grey and green undertones and over time, as soapstone ages, it achieves a beautiful patina, as marble does.
Each slab is unique and varies from quarry to quarry, with many variations in veining patterns. See the images below for two soapstone variations that are different, but equally stunning.
Properties of Soapstone
In addition to its visual appeal, soapstone is also sought out due to its many great properties:
Although soft, soapstone has a very dense surface so it doesn’t stain.
It’s durable against acidic materials such as lemon juice, wine and coffee. Coffee and wine lovers need not fear spills on soapstone countertops!
Soapstone’s density also makes it heat resistant. Its ability to withstand high temperatures makes it a wonderful conductor of heat – extremely hot pans can be placed directly on this surface without causing any damage!
Soapstone needs to be re-oiled or re-sealed on a regular basis to keep its rich color. Over a long period of time, oils and a sealer will help increase the patina and the stone will need less maintenance, so eventually only soap and water will be needed for cleaning!
The one maintenance requirement to note with soapstone is that, since it’s a softer stone, it is more susceptible to scratching. Regular oiling and buffing are recommended to remove scratches and keep its appearance.
Uses for Soapstone
While soapstone is a popular countertop choice, its versatility makes it a perfect option for many other applications. Soapstone also looks lovely with bathroom features, and, due to its heat resistance, is especially suitable for fireplace surrounds.
With beauty, durability, low maintenance requirements, and such diverse applications, soapstone is definitely one material to consider, whether for a kitchen countertop or another aspect of your home. Wherever you use it, you’re sure to love it!