When you think about the most popular kitchen countertop materials, it is probably things like granite and marble that come to mind. Though soapstone may be a less conventional option for kitchen counters, it is a beautiful and highly durable material that is worthy of consideration. If you are thinking about using soapstone for your own kitchen counters, consider the pros and cons for this material discussed below.
What Is Soapstone?
Soapstone is a type of natural stone, and it gets its name from the softness of its surface – it is often said to have a soapy feel. This “soapy” feeling results from the presence of talc inside the stone. There are two different kinds of soapstone, architectural and artistic, which are differentiated by their talc content.
Architectural-grade soapstone is harder than artistic soapstone, and it has a lower talc content, generally 50 percent to 75 percent – this type of soapstone works best for countertops. Artistic-grade soapstone is softer, and it has a much higher talc content. The color of soapstone may vary, but generally it is available in shades of grey. Soapstone tends to darken naturally over time, and you can even speed up the darkening process, if you like, by applying layers of mineral oil to the surface.
Pros for Soapstone Counters
Not only is soapstone very durable, but it provides a number of additional benefits, such as those listed below:
- Soapstone is naturally resistant to staining, because it is very dense and nonporous.
- This material is resistant to acidic materials, such as chemical cleaners and lemon juice.
- Soapstone is an excellent heat conductor, which makes it highly resistant to heat damage.
- Because this material is nonporous, it doesn’t have to be sealed or waxed – it is very low maintenance.
- Soapstone is naturally resistant to bacteria, so cleaning it is very easy – you only need soap and water.
Cons for Soapstone Counters
Though soapstone is a very attractive and durable option for kitchen countertops, it does have some downsides, which are listed below:
- Soapstone is available in a limited variety of colors (versus that of quartz stones) – mostly shades of gray with some green or blue undertones.
- The natural color of soapstone may darken over time – this may not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on your color preferences.
- Because soapstone is fairly soft (in comparison to materials like granite and marble), it may be susceptible to nicks and scratches.
- Soapstone is fairly pricey, though less expensive than marble – you can expect prices to range from $60 to $100 per square foot installed.
All things considered, soapstone provides a number of significant benefits, and its drawbacks are typically not deal-breakers for most homeowners. If you are looking for a durable and attractive kitchen countertop material that costs less than high-end granite and marble but provides a similar look, you may want to consider soapstone as an option. Otherwise, give us a call to get premium service on kitchen countertops or for your commercial counter needs.