Taking a Look at Soapstone Countertops

September 8, 2017

Known for its durability, soapstone has become a popular material for bathroom and kitchen sinks and countertops around the world for centuries. You may have encountered soapstone in your high school science lab where it was the countertop material of choice for its resistance to bacteria and for being chemically neutral.

If you love the look of a natural material and have been considering countertops in either granite or marble, consider soapstone as another alternative for your kitchen or bath. Soapstone, like marble and granite, is completely natural, has similar veining and inclusions, and is fairly easy to maintain in today’s modern home.

Soapstone for Style and Versatility

No matter what style of kitchen that you have, soapstone is an excellent countertop choice. The colors of soapstone range from white to different shades of green or browns all with slight or more pronounced marbling running through the stone. You can even opt to match your countertops with a soapstone sink for a uniform beauty all around.

Like granite and marble, soapstone is a quarried material. Soapstone, like quartz, is completely non-porous which means that food particles will not be harbored inside the stone. Both soapstone and quartz are stain resistant and can take everyday normal use and even a fair amount of abuse. Soapstone will last for years and actually become more beautiful with time and use. However, because soapstone is a soft material, care must be taken to avoid cutting food directly on the surface. If soapstone does become scuffed, it is possible to buff out scratches and slight dings with a bit of rubbing alcohol and fine grit sandpaper.

Over time, the soapstone will turn darker. This patina is valued by some homeowners. By occasionally applying a food grade mineral oil to a soapstone countertop, the oxidation process can be sped up slightly. Mineral oil can also help make the darkening of the stone more uniform. Soapstone can be cleaned with soap and water, bleach, or even acetone and it won’t harm the surface. You can even place a hot pan on the surface of soapstone for several minutes and the surface is completely unharmed.

Other uses for Soapstone

Soapstone has been used in China and Europe for centuries as a material not only for countertops but also to build stoves, ovens and fireplaces. Soapstone is chosen because it can retain heat. Long after a fire goes out, a fireplace or cook stove made of soapstone will radiate heat keeping the home warm. Archaeologists at sites around Asia have found walls that were decorated with soapstone tiles and they are still used in a similar fashion today. Other uses for soapstone have included sink basins and bathtubs that were also crafted from this material. This material is considered one of the best choices for countertops because of its ability to withstand both heat and cold without any damage to the surface.

Cost Considerations

You can expect to pay more for countertops made of soapstone than you would for some other countertop choices. A soapstone countertop will be more expensive than one that is made of laminate, for example. However, soapstone will cost about the same amount that you would expect to pay for a very good quartz or higher quality granite countertop, but will probably cost less than one made of marble.

For a median quality soapstone countertop, you can expect to pay between $50 – 60 per linear foot, installed. If you want to go for the highest possible quality of soapstone available, you can expect to pay between $60 – $80 per linear foot, installed.  Either choice of soapstone can mean a very good return on your investment. Soapstone countertops are also considered to be a highly desirable amenity for buyers if you ever decide to sell your home.

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