When looking for a countertop material, you may come across soapstone. Although not as common as other countertop materials, soapstone is one of the most functional countertop materials. It adds on a rustic, elegant and urbane feel, similar to that of slate or granite. It is important to know the pros and cons of soapstone countertops before buying one. This helps you decide whether the investment is worthwhile, care and maintenance not forgetting durability.
The pros and cons of soapstone countertops
If you’re looking for a natural stone with an amazing amount of warmth, this is it. That’s one of the reasons that soapstone countertops are a favourite in many kitchens. They offer outstanding design versatility. The colours you’ll find in soapstone range from almost pure white with slight marbling to charcoal grey with a nearly solid colour. In between, you’ll enjoy a pleasant array of whites, off-whites, pearls and greys with rich marbling.
While not as hard as granite, this material is more pliable. That means it is less brittle, so it won’t crack unexpectedly from stress or weight. In addition, soapstone is very non-porous, another important strength that sets it apart from granite, sandstone and slate. It doesn’t require the sealing that those materials do, and it is far less likely to stain when wine or oil are spilt onto it.
The fact that soapstone is not manufactured using synthetic chemicals means that it is environmentally friendly. Its extraction does not damage the earth not forgetting that it can be recycled. And if you want to focus on reducing your carbon footprint, using a soapstone countertop is a great option.
Easy cleaning and maintenance
Since soapstone is non-porous, it is easy to clean. However, you need to use mild soap and a soft sponge. When it comes to maintenance, soapstone countertops need regular oiling to maintain their natural look.
If you constantly find yourself placing hot materials on kitchen countertops, then a soapstone countertop is ideal for your space. Soapstone countertops are heat resistant. As such, you do not need to worry about discolourations or damage from heat. This makes soapstone countertops ideal in most kitchens.
Natural stones are harder to install than man-made stones. But with soapstone, the ease of installation makes it cheaper than other stones. However, the cost of the slab can be on the higher end compared to other natural stones.
The cost of a soapstone countertop varies based on the talc content of the stone and where it was quarried. In addition, professional installation can significantly raise the cost of a soapstone countertop. When you consider the cost of the soapstone and the installation cost, the total cost can be substantially high.
Limited colour options
Since soapstone is a natural stone, it does not have a lot of patterns and colours. It comes in a few shades of grey, blue and black. Also, it is difficult to get an exact matching pattern for two pieces when creating something like a waterfall countertop. Nevertheless, contrasting soapstone countertops can create a curious and interesting look in a space.
Soapstone scratches easily
While the soft nature of soapstone is beneficial in preventing soapstone countertops from cracking, it makes them more susceptible to scratches. Simple things such as throwing a spoon on the soapstone countertop can cause significant scratches. However, these scratches are easily removable with the use of sandpaper.