The Appeal of Soapstone Countertops
To understand the appeal of soapstone countertops we have to first discuss what it is. Soapstone is an incredibly flexible and unique natural stone that is commonly known as steatite. It’s often sourced from the Appalachians and New England, but can also be found in Brazil, India, and Scandinavia. It also has an amazing balance of the qualities found in both granite and marble.
One of the most surprising aspects of soapstone is that mineral talc makes up at least 50% of it’s composite. The presence of talcum has the same softening effect on the overall material as it does on your skin. This can be proven through Friedrick Moh’s 10 point scale for measuring hardness in minerals.
You’ll typically find Soapstone countertops between 2.5 and 3.5 which is very close to the hardness of marble countertops with quartz countertops sitting at 7 and diamond being a 10. This may sound like a weakness but we’ll cover why it’s a strength further later.
Two Main Types of Soapstone
The two main types of Soapstone are architectural and artistic. These types vary based on the amount of talc present.
Artistic soapstone is the softer of the two because it contains a high amount of talc. This has long been the choice of sculptors because the higher amount of talc allows for easy artistic manipulation of the stone due to its softness.
Architectural is the polar opposite of Artistic. Its low concentration of talc makes for a harder material able to be perfectly suited for countertop applications. We provide the highest quality architectural soapstone for our projects, so you don’t have to be concerned about that when choosing MultiStone. If you’re not with us then please make sure you confirm and request the use of high quality architectural soapstone for your project.
The Main Benefits
Soapstone is an incredibly beautiful and versatile countertop material choice. Its soft and minimal feel makes it compliment both contemporary and modern home styles. There’s also a great pallet of choices that can give you the smooth darkness of granite and even the subtle veining you would find in marble.
Soapstone countertops carry a great balance of beauty and affordability. The amount of value you get is remarkable considering you can all the aesthetic benefits mentioned above with a cost per square foot between $95 and $160. This is in contrast to quartz and granite which often run as high as $200 per square ft.
The presence of talc and the rest of the general makeup of soapstone gives its density. This allows it to be a countertop choice that is very sanitary and easy to maintain. Oil can also be applied routinely to help maintain consistency of color. A simple mixture of soap and water will also be enough to sufficiently clean your soapstone countertop.
Soapstone is incredibly resistant to heat and placing a hot skillet gently on the surface will not damage it.
Some Things to Consider
Limited Color Pallete
Soapstone does have a limited color palette ranging from black to light grey. You can get hues of blue and green but soapstone really does only sit in this range. Soapstone countertops will also darken over time as they are exposed to oxygen. a pre-treat of oil during the fabrication process will help curb this process but it’s not necessary if you prefer it to age naturally.
The soft nature of soapstone does make it more susceptible to damage. It’s still more than hard enough to be a great choice for countertops. You just cannot take a knife to its surface without damaging it. You just need to be more intentional about what you do on and around your countertops. The upside is that the rustic appeal of worn soapstone is a huge pro for people who have it. So, this makes it a perfect choice if that’s what you’re into.
Interested? Let’s Get Started
Are you building a new house or renovating your kitchen and want to learn more about your options for soapstone countertops? Our countertop experts can help design and install the perfect countertop for your indoor and outdoor area of choice.