The Ins and Outs of Soapstone Countertops

by Rachel Laurendeau on August 15, 2012

When selecting what type of countertop you will use in your kitchen or bathroom, the options can be rather daunting. Although soapstone doesn’t seem to get as much airtime as some of the other popular stones like granite and marble, it is actually an excellent choice for many homeowners.

Pros and Cons of Soapstone

Pros
• Soapstone is a beautiful grey-green color with variations in veining. It will develop a darker, richer patina as it ages.
• It is heat resistant and is not damaged by acids and alkalis like some other types of stone. It is even said to have anti-bacterial properties.
• Bakers often like soapstone since you can cool it down and it will stay cold for a long time. This is helpful when working with dough that needs to stay cool while you’re working with it.
• Although soapstone can mark, dent or stain, the damage can be sanded out and mineral oil applied to reduce its appearance.

Cons
• Soapstone is one of the softer stones, meaning that it can scratch, dent and chip more easily than other countertops like granite or engineered quartz. If you have a rough and tumble type of cooking style or lots of people using the kitchen, soapstone may not be the right choice for you.
• It requires regular maintenance with mineral oil or wax to ensure that the surface ages evenly. However, some experts say that this step is not necessary, as long as you don’t mind a more rustic appearance as the stone develops its own patina naturally but somewhat unevenly.

Note: If you are unsure as to whether or not this is the right countertop material for you, ask for a sample. The bigger the better. Place it on your kitchen counter and use it as you would your normal countertop. This will give you an opportunity to live with it and see how it stands up to your lifestyle.

Beyond Kitchen Countertops
Soapstone can be used for a wide variety of items around the house beyond kitchen remodeling; the possibilities are endless:
• Fireplace hearthstone
• Bake ovens
• Sinks
• Bathroom tile
• Trivets and coasters
• Bowls, vases, carafes

While soapstone counters are not an inexpensive choice, they are beautiful and can last a lifetime with some refinishing from time to time. If you’re in the market for a high-end countertop for your kitchen or even your bathroom, talk to your home remodeling expert or stone supplier about soapstone.

Related post: Butcher Block Countertops For Your Kitchen

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