Soapstone countertops may not be something you have heard much about, but they have been around for centuries. They are very durable and there are actually soapstone sinks and counters from the 1800’s that are still in use today. They are also commonly found in chemistry labs and the kitchens of professional chefs because they are scratch, stain, heat, and chemical resistant.
Soapstone is a beautiful stone that forms naturally in the earth. It is quarried just like granite or marble. Because it is a natural stone, no two soapstone countertops will ever be alike. The stone comes in a variety of colors with white, gray, green, and blue being the most common. The patterns in the stone are also unique. Stone quarried in some countries has a soft, swirly marble-like design while stone taken from other countries may have small flecks of color.
Soapstone is environmentally friendly. It is a naturally nonporous material and does not have to be finished or polished before installation. It is cut, shaped and installed. If you would like, you can choose to use a mineral oil to help bring out the natural color of the stone. This is not necessary, but some homeowners prefer the darker look. Soapstone is 100% recyclable.
If you are interested in buying soapstone for your kitchen, check with your dealer about trying a sample first. Most reputable dealers will give you a sample to take home and try before you decide to buy it. It is your job to abuse that sample in every way you can think of. Drop things on it, set hot pots on it, try to stain it, burn it, scratch it, and chip it. Make sure it will stand up to whatever you are going to put it through.
Soapstone countertops are incredibly durable. The ability to withstand heat, stains and scratches makes it a great choice that should last a lifetime in any kitchen.