Soapstone is a natural material which is made of talc, quartz and other minerals which gets compressed over millions of years. There are two kinds of soapstone available: one is artistic while the other is architectural. Artistic soapstone is softer and has higher talc amount, which makes it suitable for carving. The architectural type of soapstone is harder and denser which makes it suitable for making kitchen countertops, sinks, and other objects. Soapstone is light gray in color when it is extracted, with moderate to heavy vein like patterns. With age, the stone color darkens which gives it character and beauty.
- The countertops give rich and deep color options for countertops, with a natural earthy feel. The color can be light gray to black.
- The material of soapstone is softer and less porous as compared to granite countertops, which gives your kitchen a softer and homely look and feel.
- Most countertops made from stones are rough and need to be sealed with a special sealant for making them smooth. However, soapstone countertops have a surface which has a soapy smooth feel; as they are made with talc, minerals and quartz.
- Soapstone has high resistance to heat, and one doesn't need to worry about cracking of the countertop due to hot liquids or the like falling on the countertop.
- These kinds of countertops don't stain easily, and make the job of kitchen cleaning very easy. By installing the countertops for kitchen, you can avoid ugly stains, as they are easy to clean.
- These countertops are made out of tough material, and hence can withstand constant use, cutting, washing, etc.; they also don't break down easily. In addition, they are also resistant to acids and alkalies, and it is safe to use chemical cleaners on them.
- Though beautiful looking, the countertops cost are quite high.
- They also require high maintenance, as one needs to wipe it down with mineral oil once every week for the first year of use.
- Also, it scratches easily and one needs to sand them, or rub the scratches out. Hence, one needs to spend a lot of time on maintaining these countertops.
- Soapstone will darken with age, and it is possible that your kitchen decor that you created considering the light color of the countertop might not match after a few years.
The price of these countertops can be anywhere between USD 50 to 90 per square foot. Most slabs measure on average 30 inches by 72 inches. The price of the countertops varies because it is quarried from different parts of the world. Soapstone that display attractive vein patterns, flecking and colors are more expensive. Initially soapstone will be in grayish blue with vein patterns, and after application of mineral oil it will turn into charcoal gray color.
It is important that you don't attempt to install it on your own as the job calls for a pair of skilled hands of a professional. The countertops need to be well cut and leveled, professional installers also know how to take measurements and make the appropriate templates. With professional help, the slabs will be exactly cut and used for electrical or plumbing fixtures.
So, consider the above pros and cons well before making your decision of installing countertops made with soapstone.