Many homeowners immediately go with granite when it comes to countertop material. Granite certainly is a beautiful and durable countertop choice. However, soapstone is an equally beautiful but less common countertop selection. As you plan your kitchen remodel – or brand new kitchen – consider the unique beauty that soapstone offers.
Beauty of Soapstone
Soapstone is quarried in Brazil, Finland and China in the same manner of granite. Its main components are mineral talc, magnesium and dolomite. The talc is responsible for its soft appearance – and warm touch, relative to other stones. Soapstone used for countertops contains high percentages of quartz, which gives the material its hard surface. Natural soapstone typically starts light gray with veining but eventually becomes a rich gray over time. Fun fact – soapstone is actually similar to marble in being ideal for rolling out pastry dough.
Soapstone is a classic countertop material for farmhouse kitchens. Any edging is possible, but a bullnose or beveled edge looks charming in such a country kitchen. The rich color makes an attractive foil to sunny kitchen colors. However, as Better Homes and Gardens points out, the gray/black of soapstone is a natural counterpoint to white cabinetry. This kind of pairing is chic enough for a mod kitchen, so consider a crisp, eased edge for the countertop.
Soapstone requires even less maintenance than granite, which needs periodic resealing. After having the countertop installed, you should rub it with mineral oil every week or so to enhance the beauty of the marbling. In the event of a rare scratch, the soapstone can be gently sanded. An application of mineral oil is necessary after this procedure. Otherwise, it's simply a matter of washing soapstone with a soft cloth and gentle cleanser, same as you would any other countertop material.
The mineral talc in soapstone does make it a little softer than granite. As such, you'll want to avoid cutting directly on the countertop. Likewise, try to minimize dropping hard items directly on the surface as it can chip. However, soapstone is also non-porous, which means it's naturally impervious to bacteria. This also means it's not susceptible to staining. Therefore, don't use any harsh cleansers on the surface – it's unnecessary, and it can leave scratches. (You can always buff these out, though.) Finally, the quartz in soapstone makes it hard enough that it's relatively impervious to heat. Therefore, you can place a hot pan directly on your soapstone countertop.
Soapstone is a beautiful complement for any style of kitchen. To learn more, visit a website like http://empiremarblegranite.com.