Soapstone is a classic choice for countertops. Enduringly popular, it’s been around for hundreds of years in farmhouse kitchens and has stood the test of time. More recently, soapstone has come into the spotlight as the trend for outdoor kitchen and bbq areas grows. Increasingly, we are seeing consumers who would like to use stone in their outdoor kitchen areas, or who are looking for an indoor/outdoor kitchen option, with sliding doors to open up the kitchen to make the most of the outside space their home has to offer.
However, soapstone is not for everyone. Like many of the countertop choices out there, it pays to do your research and consider whether the qualities and properties of soapstone are right for you and your lifestyle. Here are some factors to consider to help you decide if soapstone is the right stone for you.
Soapstone – An overview
Soapstone is a durable stone which is mainly composed of talc. The talc is what gives it its reputation as a “soft” stone (softer than granite or quartz). Being a softer stone is part of its charm for many customers. The weathered, personalised look and feel of the surface adds character and gives soapstone its changeable finish. Soapstone will scratch, but due to its nature, it’s quite forgiving because the scratches become part of the natural look of the stone over time. Larger scratches in the stone can usually be sanded out by hand.
Unlike granite and marble, soapstone is not porous. This means that you don’t need to re-seal soapstone countertops. However, the presence of talc in the stone makes the finish matte, so homeowners often choose to oil their soapstone countertops. This makes the stone appear darker and shows off more of its natural beauty. It’s a personal preference how often you oil the surface. Since the stone is non-porous, the oil will eventually wear off because it sits on the surface rather than seeping into the stone.
Soapstone is well suited to the growing trend for outdoor kitchens. Its natural qualities make it able to withstand cold winter temperatures with freezing and thawing, as well as extreme temperature changes and very hot weather. Due to its non-porous nature, rain, leaves and so on will not stain the surface. Also because of this, it won’t discolor or fade over time in direct sunlight.
In summary, if you’re looking for a flawless surface which will not show any scratches or marks, soapstone may not be suitable for you. Soapstone will never look perfect, but that’s what appeals most to the people who love it. They enjoy the character and the personalised look and feel of the stone as it changes over time and with use.