All About Soapstone Countertops

All About Soapstone Countertops

We’ve heard all about quartz and granite, but what about soapstone? Soapstone is a viable option for countertops throughout the home. However, Soapstone, also known as steatite, contains around 50% of talc. Unfortunately, this also means that soapstone is very soft compared to other natural stones. That being said, with proper care, soapstone can be used as an alternative to granite and marble.

What are the benefits of using soapstone?

Just like other stone tops, soapstone is 100% natural, and will have unique variations across slabs. This means that no two slabs are identical and, just like with granite, picking out a slab at a supplier is recommended. The beauty, warmth and quality of natural stone is hard to beat compared to other engineered surfaces, and soapstone is no different. However, there are far fewer shades and varieties available in soapstone, as its color pallet trends towards the darker side. Soapstone is naturally heat-resistant, so no burn marks or scarring when placing hot pots or utensils directly on the surface. Soapstone is unique in that it does not react to acid. This is why it is favored in chemistry labs and will show no remnants from vinegar, citrus, wine, or tomatoes in the kitchen. Soapstone is nonporous, so there is no risk of staining, and does not need to be sealed, which is a huge advantage over granite and other natural stones.

Are there any downsides to using soapstone?

Unfortunately, soapstone if very soft and will show nicks and scratches easily. This is by far the softest countertop material available. A cutting board is required in every situation, to not show any knife marks. Repair of nicks and scratches can be easily done by sanding, but there is a limit to this. Soapstone wears unevenly as well, so you will need to keep up with oiling it to keep the look uniform. Locations of high use will wear quicker than other spots. It is advised to use mineral oil to maintain the dark look of soapstone, and this can be a time-consuming process. Soapstone slabs are generally shorter than other natural stone slabs. This means there can and will be seams on most soapstone tops. Soapstone tends to be on the higher end of the price spectrum as well, with prices generally above that of granite and engineered stone (still lower than marble though!).