Soapstone Countertops Pros and Cons
If you’re deciding between the numerous types of kitchen and bathroom countertop materials, you’re aware that you have several options. Soapstone is one of the most popular options for countertops and for good reason. Here’s why you should consider soapstone countertops and an overview of the soapstone pros and cons.
Why Choose Soapstone?
Soapstone is an incredibly popular countertop and household material, and it has been for centuries. With an elegant milky appearance, soapstone is a naturally occurring stone material that instantly creates a rustic look where installed. Many homeowners love the natural charm of soapstone, which has driven the material up in popularity over the last several years.
When it comes to soapstone, you have a lot of options. There are two different materials popularly referred to as “soapstone” including talc and steatite. Slabs with lots of talc have been used by sculptors through the ages due to its softness. Steatite with less talc is hard enough for use in countertops and fireplace surrounds.
All are types of metamorphic rock and largely composed of the mineral talc, and are used for modern household countertops. Soapstone is softer than most other naturally occurring minerals, but it is dense and non-porous, even more so than slate, marble, and surprisingly even granite. Soapstone, like granite, is heat, stain and liquid resistant, making soapstone countertop care relatively easy.
Pros of Soapstone
The highly resistant quality of soapstone is one of the major “pros” of choosing this material for your countertops. Although it is soft in comparison to other countertop types, it still is largely stain, chip, and damage-resistant. As long as you avoid placing heat directly on soapstone countertops, refrain from dropping heavy glass objects or cast iron on it, and avoid cutting directly on top of it, soapstone is a durable enough material to last you years.
For this reason, soapstone countertop care is a light task. Since soapstone is extremely dense, it’s difficult for liquids to absorb into the countertop, which helps with stain prevention. In most cases, all you’ll need to do is to wipe up any spills right away with a damp cloth. All that’s needed to keep soapstone counters clean is a common household cleaner, a soft pad, and usually a water-dampened cloth and dry towel to finish off the job.
Another considerable advantage of choosing soapstone for your countertops is the aesthetic appeal. Soapstone has a very natural look and provides warmth to the environments it’s installed within. These are the primary reasons why soapstone countertops are especially popular in country kitchens.
Furthermore, when it comes to any soapstone countertops, no two slabs are ever the same – it’s the unique nature of the material. The one that you have decorating your kitchen will never be duplicated in any other home.
And, if you’re an advocate of environmental sustainability, soapstone countertops may be your best bet. Soapstone countertops are naturally harvested from the earth and simply custom cut to fit kitchens and living spaces. It’s a truly all natural option and requires no manufacturing to make it beautiful or finished.
Cons of Soapstone
The softer quality of soapstone is what sets it apart from other quartz-based countertops materials, but it can be considered a weakness for homeowners who are looking for the most durable material for their countertops. In general, the softer nature of soapstone makes it nice to the touch but also represents its one main weakness.
While soapstone is relatively easy to clean on a day-to-day basis, it does require some unique long-term care. The primary care that soapstone requires, which is really more for aesthetic than performance reasons, is a periodic oiling that keeps it looking its best and produces a natural patina as the years go by.
Other potential drawbacks of soapstone countertops are the limited color and variety options. Soapstone is naturally grey, with colors ranging from white to charcoal, so you won’t find some of the more colorful options offered in granite, marble, or of course, tile.
If you are looking for a durable yet pliable countertop option that will last you for upwards of 20 years with minimal cleaning required, soapstone will make a great choice.
For other countertop material options, check out our comparison guide to kitchen and bathroom countertops.