Soapstone countertops have become increasingly popular due to their durability and practicality. Soapstone is a natural material that is highly resistant to many different elements. Unlike a lot of other kitchen counter materials, soapstone's benefits greatly outweigh its drawbacks. The number one reason why many people install soapstone countertops is that this material does not stain.
Soapstone is a non-porous material, which means that it will not absorb any liquids. Thus, those that install soapstone countertops do not have to worry about permanently marking the surface following a spill of any kind. In fact,this is one of the main reasons why soapstone is also used throughout the world in science laboratories. In addition to being a non-porous material, soapstone is also heat resistant.
Hot pots and pans can be placed directly onto the surface of a soapstone counter without damaging countertops. Still, many manufacturers warn against placing a hot item on top of a soapstone counter. Small bits of rock and dust that can adhere to a hot item may scratch the surface of the soapstone. Since soapstone is a soft material, it is prone to various scrapes and scratches.
While soapstone cannot resist cuts and scrapes, most marks can be easily sanded out of the material with minimal effort. Caring for soapstone is merely a matter of applying mineral oil or sealer, and keeping soapstone looking like new only requires an occasional buff. In addition to the fact that soapstone can chip and scratch, this material is not available in a wide variety of colors.
The color of soapstone is greatly impacted by the area that it comes from. Depending upon the geographical location of the stone quarry, colors can range from light grey to to white, and sometimes a pale green color can be found. Some pieces of rare Brazilian soapstone often mimic the same veining that can be found in fine marble. Since soapstone is mostly composed of talc, truly dark colors cannot be found naturally.
To create darker soapstone countertops, mineral oil must be applied in various layers over an extended period of time. Applying mineral oil will change the overall appearance of soapstone from matte to glossy. Price-wise, soapstone tends to be more expensive than granite, though the advantages of soapstone tend to override the initial cost of the material. Compared to most other countertop materials, soapstone countertops are an excellent choice for any kitchen or bathroom area.