Beautiful and timeless, soapstone slabs have been used in farmhouse kitchens for hundreds of years.
Blending seamlessly into design styles from traditional to modern and eclectic, this soft stone is surprisingly versatile and durable. Its many facets, however, should be seriously considered before deciding if its right for your application and lifestyle.
Sourced from Brazil, Finland, China, and locally from the Appalachians, each slice of soapstone is some 300-400 million years old. The powdery feel of this quarried stone comes from its talc content, with high-talc slabs much-loved by sculptors throughout the centuries, and lower-talc varieties offering superior countertop and architectural performance.
The changeable looks of this gray to black stone are its biggest attraction/objection, depending on perspective. The stone naturally darkens over time. Untreated, its coloring is matte and grey. Rubbed with mineral oil, however, is rich luster and contrasting veining are revealed. Soapstone does not require oiling however, as it is nonreactive and nonporous. Oiling is only for aesthetics, and can be completed as often or as little as desired. On high-use areas, expect oils fade. If the urge to oil-up faded spots immediately will weigh on you, consider carefully before installing this stone. (You may be happier with engineered quartz lookalikes, which have their own benefits/drawbacks.)
Soapstone comes in a variety of textures from matte to polished, working well as a countertop in the kitchen or bath, as a backsplash, or for fireplace surrounds. It’s also a great choice for outdoor surfaces due to its impervious nature.
Soapstone is the material of choice for those looking for a surface designed to take a beating. Soapstone stoves and sinks manufactured in the 1800s are still in-use in the northeastern U.S. today. But this durability doesn’t mean the stone will come off unmarred. Standing up to the heavy rigors of the kitchen, wine will not stain its nonporous surface. Lemon juice will not etch the neutral stone. Its hard surface is sanitary, bacteria-resistant and easily cleaned with soapy water and a dishrag. You can even set a hot pot directly atop it without scorching the stone - however its soft, pliable surface will scratch. These little imperfections, or the ‘character’ created over time, are what soapstone lovers are drawn to. A cutting board is advisable, and a light hand when setting pots, pans and heavy objects onto the slab advisable. Masses of scratches? You can either leave them to become part of the stone’s natural patina, or easily sand and restore the surface of the stone.
Looking for the perfect stone to suit your home and lifestyle? Shop the wide selection of natural stone at your area Granite Imports today.