Soapstone, or steatite, is a soft rock formed by the pressure and heat deep within the earth's crust. Comprised of talc and magnetite, soapstone is found throughout the world and is valued for its ability to hold and release heat evenly.
Though this naturally quarried stone is softer than most other naturally occurring minerals, soapstone is a very dense, non-porous stone- more so than granite. As no liquid will permeate soapstone's impenetrable surface it will not stain like other solid surface countertops. The color varies from light bluish gray to a dark black, depending on the source or the amount of mineral oil that is added to the surface.
Uses for Soapstone
Soapstone is widely used for sinks, counters, cookware and the softer types are carved into artistic forms. . Soapstone makes unique tiles for shower enclosures and when it is used with heating under the floor will keep a room much warmer than ordinary means of heat. Soapstone is a common source for lining fireplaces and woodstoves because it holds and distributes heat so evenly.
Soapstone is a dense heavy stone and requires a sturdy base to rest upon when used for counter and kitchen islands, so be sure to include the weight of the pieces you are using in your plans when refurbishing or building your kitchen. Soapstone acquires a fine wear with age and is easy to clean and sand if necessary. When deciding on color and source of soapstone in your interior decorating, remember that a sink, countertop, or island made from soapstone will probably last the rest of your life, so plan accordingly.