Soapstone is a natural and durable countertop choice. For centuries, it has been used to craft countertops, hearths, and stoves. Soapstone forms from mineral deposits and is one of the softest, most non-porous, natural stones on earth. The natural qualities of soapstone make it a popular choice for countertops; however, a few disadvantages should be considered before making a final selection.
Advantages of Choosing Soapstone Countertops
Soapstone countertops provide traditional and timeless beauty. The surface wears gently over time, developing a unique patina and appearance. Soapstone is completely non-porous and impenetrable making it naturally stain and bacteria resistant. Unlike many other surfaces, soapstone does not require special coating or sealing to maintain its durability. The soft properties of soapstone make it less likely to chip and break. Scratches are easily repaired using sandpaper and mineral oil. Many scratches gradually wear away with everyday use. Soapstone is completely heat resistant allowing hot utensils, pans, and plates to be placed directly on the surface.
Disadvantages of Choosing Soapstone Countertops
Soapstone is only available in blue, green and gray tones. All colors eventually darken to a charcoal gray color and gradually change in appearance over time. With few colors to choose from and a changing appearance, many consumers feel that they are left with few decor options. Additionally, soapstone scratches easily and countertops may have temporary dark spots where the surface has been exposed to food or oil. Soapstone is a natural stone product that is quarried from the earth, producing a negative impact on the surrounding environment.
Soapstone vs. Other Countertop Materials
Priced at $55 per linear foot, soapstone is one of the most cost effective countertop materials. Lifetime maintenance of soapstone is inexpensive, requiring only sandpaper and mineral oil. Other countertop materials including, granite, concrete, stainless steel, and solid surfaces start at price points greater than $100 per linear foot. Although popular, they require regular maintenance, are difficult to repair, and are not completely stain and heat resistant. Silestone®, tile, and butcher block are less expensive materials, but they lack the durability and ease of maintenance that soapstone provides.
Quote: “Stones such as marble, granite, slate, and soapstone are beautiful, durable, heatproof, and waterproof. Often seen in historical as well as modern homes, soapstone has a rich deep gray color, is smooth to the touch, and somewhat stain resistant.”
Source: Jean Nayar
Green Living by Design: The Practical Guide for Eco-friendly Remodeling and Decorating
“The Maine Soapstone Company – All About Our Soapstone.” The Maine Soapstone Company – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. http://www.mainesoapstone.com/oursoapstone/oursoapstone.htm.
“What is soapstone, its uses, durability, history.” <em>Vermont soapstone countertops, sinks, building stone.</em> N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2010. <http://www.greenmountainsoapstone.com/about_soapstone.html>.
“M Teixeira Soapstone Steatite (soapstone) manufacturer : India Brazil Soapstone.” <em>Soapstone Kitchen Countertops : Soapstone Sinks Tile Slab : M Teixeira Soapstone.</em> N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2010. <http://www.soapstones.com/about_soapstone.html>.