Soapstone is an affordable, attractive and reliable natural stone material.
It consists of the minerals talc and/or steatite. Its origins settle between the regions of India, the Middle East and Brazil, where the rocks are mined and highly extracted.
In Brazil, it is heavily mined in the city of Rio de Janeiro. In the United States, it is the Vermont region that produces most of the soapstone stones.
Although, it is more commonly referred to a type of soapstone, it is in fact, a trade name, which is derived from the word Steatite, a naturally occurring rock consisting of talc.
Soapstone is a good, solid, durable and inert material that is known to resist molds, bacteria, odors and good for warmth.
Many find it to hold a great appeal in terms of its texture, appearance and warmth.
Steatite has also been known to flake or crack, making this not a very good choice for busy family homes.
Benefits of Soapstone Countertops
The popularity of soapstone countertops is on the rise. If you haven’t had the chance to explore this hard material, perhaps you’re interested in learning more about it. Soapstone is a hard and polished stone that takes on different classifications depending on how it’s cut and used.
Sapphire-like gemstones that come from Brazil or Uruguay are often called soapstone. However, when it’s cut and polished for use as countertops, it’s generally referred to as soapstone. This is because the material is similar to soap, but more resistant to water damage.
Sapphire-like gemstones are used for a variety of countertop purposes. However, in this article, we’ll touch on the advantages and benefits of using cut and polished soap stone for countertops.
Soapstone is also a naturally occurring mineral. It’s formed when silica rich bedrock (sedimentary rock) combines with ash.
Soapstone is often considered a green material, because it’s less harmful to the environment than plastic or laminate countertops. No wood or petroleum based oils are needed in the manufacturing process, so soapstone countertops are relatively eco friendly.
How to Care For Soapstone
Just like with other types of natural stone countertops, soapstone countertops are susceptible to water marks.
For best results, wipe up spills as quickly as you can. Later, you may decide to clean the countertops with soap and lemon juice.
However, if you are dealing with deep stains, you might need to contact a professional. They will be more likely to help you with any issues that you're having.
So, the real question is, are soapstone countertops worth the investment? Certainly, the countertops are on the higher end of the price spectrum, but then again, you don’t have to do much to maintain them. You can simply wipe them down, and they will look as good as new.
Most importantly, soapstone countertops are as aesthetically pleasing as other countertop materials you can choose.
Protect the surface from dents and scratches
It goes without saying that soapstone is a beautiful material, but it’s also prone to denting and scratching. To keep it looking its best, be careful whenever you handle it. Don’t drag heavy appliances across it. Also, if you plan to mount small kitchen equipment on it, make sure it’s secured carefully. You may be able to eliminate some of your countertop equipment by using a wall-mounted spice rack or storage unit.
Another way to protect the surface is to use lightweight pots and pans, even if it means getting used to a milder stovetop. Make sure that any food material like plastic or wood are securely attached to the surface before pouring sauce or batter. This will prevent it from sticking to the soapstone countertop and creating unwanted marks. This will also prevent damage to the wood or plastic, which may become ruined with repeated contact with the sauce, not to mention the boiling water.
Invest in a mineral oil treatment
Mineral oil is a liquid that is extracted from petroleum. It is used in many industries, including soaps, cosmetics and cleaning fluids. So why not use it on your soapstone countertops?
A treatment of mineral oil will preserve the countertops and give you that shiny new look. You should wipe the oil down with a cloth while wearing a plastic glove, and do this about once a month.
If you want the countertops to remain shiny, don’t use any cleaners other than soap and water on them.
In fact, remember to never use anything abrasive on the countertops, and any spills should be dealt with quickly to avoid permanently staining the beautiful soapstone.
Clean with regular soap and water
Soapstone can be cleaned with soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or anything with vinegar.
Remove scratches when necessary
Most soapstone countertops are going to have a slight sheen to them. If scratches become visible, use a countertop repair kit to make them disappear. These kits are readily available from soapstone suppliers and include a bottle of stone polish and a bowl of scratch filler. Simply wet a rag, apply soapstone polish, and rub the stone.
If you’re in a rush, you can just wet the rag and rub the scratch. It won’t be done as well as if you do it with the kit, but it will help you out in a pinch.
When the polish dries, it will create little bits of soap on the countertop. This is normal and can be removed using a paper towel and water. If your countertop is extremely dirty, repeat this process. But remember that
If your countertop already looks sparkly when you add a new coat of polish, you only need to wipe it off with the wet towel to remove any excess.
Now you have your oiled-up countertop. So get your shiny new butcher block and start chopping, mincing, and grating your heart out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did soapstone countertops become popular?
Soapstone is an all-natural material that has been manufactured for centuries. The word “soapstone” actually comes from the rock’s use as a soap substitute.
Soapstone countertops went out of vogue sometime in the 1900s and were replaced by the more modern-looking granite, quartz, and engineered stone. But the natural look of soapstone has made a comeback and is being used in kitchens today.
What are the benefits of soapstone countertops?
Stones are beautiful.
Stones and natural stone are beautiful. While manufacturers and limestone quarry companies are able to produce some high-quality products, there is just something about a piece of natural stone that is incomparable to anything else. Natural stones have been used in kitchen countertops for centuries and you can see that in its elegant simplicity, natural stones have an elegant and often timeless beauty.
Stones are durable.
Stones do not easily scratch or get chipped.
Stones are a great insulator.
While thickness and properties of stones vary depending on quality, all stones are an excellent insulator.
Stones can be crafted to fit any design.
Should I seal my soapstone countertops?
What colors do soapstone countertops come in?
Let’s be clear about something: soapstone is not marble. In fact, it’s a metamorphic rock which means it forms when heat and pressure compress sedimentary stone like limestone or shale. And the color of the soapstone countertop you choose depends on where it’s sourced and how it’s processed.
Here’s an overview of the types of soapstone, their pros and cons, and the colors you can expect to see in your shop:
Black/Jet: This is one of the most common varieties of soapstone. It’s the shade of dark grey that you’d likely expect to see in a soapstone countertop and is often called “Jet Black” or “Black Soapstone.” It’s a smooth stone that has a low sheen, meaning it has a matte look rather than a glossy shine.
Can soapstone really withstand extreme heat? What makes it heat-resistant?
If you have spent much time looking at different countertops (or you’ve had a granite countertop for a long time), you have probably seen soapstone. But you may have wondered what it is or whether it would be a good choice for your countertops. A lot of us may have only heard of it recently because designer Frank Lloyd Wright popularized the use of soapstone in his home and works, but soapstone has been used for building for hundreds of years.
Can you cut on soapstone countertops?
One problem with the countertop is that it will dull some of your knives.
However, some kitchen knives come with special blades that can be used to cut on a stone counter, and you can adapt your other knives to this as well. In addition, you can purchase a special stone sharpener that will allow you to hone your cutting blades.
If you’re considering getting soapstone countertops or another type of stone countertop, you should get a professional to install it.
You may be able to do the labor yourself, but the installation of stone countertops is best left to the pros. The reason for this is that stone is heavier than traditional countertops and it needs to be installed correctly.
Also, you can do any necessary repairs at the same time you install your countertops. However, if you’re not sure where to start on repairs, you can dress up your stone countertop with some paint. Painting a stone countertop is an inexpensive and easy way to spruce it up without doing extensive work to it.
Your stone countertop can then be professionally polished to bring out its shine and regenerate its surface.
However, no matter how much work you do on a soapstone countertop, it won’t have the long lifespan of more traditional countertops like granite or wood.
A Contemporary Choice
Soapstone counters are a beautiful option to consider for your new countertop. They can be installed in both modern and traditional residences and they can add a unique appeal to your bath and kitchen space.
They are beautiful to look at and made of stone, which is an excellent bathroom countertop material, but they do require a little bit more maintenance than your average granite or marble countertop.
So, are soapstone countertops worth the extra maintenance that you’ll have to do? You’ll have to decide that for yourself, but here’s a quick look at what soapstone countertops are and if they work for your home.
Soapstone is a non-porous stone, which means that stains will be easier to remove and more likely to sink in, like with marble. There are two different types of soapstone. Black or grey with streaks of white are both natural soapstones. These are real stones and the white streaks are from the minerals and natural sediments that were captured in the stone while it was still forming.
Man-made soapstones have an artificial white streak running through them and these are made by combining magnesite with organic stone. The result is a stone that looks like marble and marble in nature. They are much less expensive than marble is but cost more than typical granite countertops.