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Soapstone Counter Top: A Popular Alternative

Nov 5, 2007
Soapstone counter tops are becoming a more popular alternative to granite or quartz for some people since soapstone is nearly indestructible, requires very little maintenance and blends well with many design themes.

A soapstone counter top is durable, heat and stain resistant like granite, simple to install and fits most household budgets. A unique feature is the ability to integrate a soapstone sink into the design as well.

What Is Soapstone

Soapstone, also called steatite or soap rock, is a metamorphic rock that is composed mostly of talc. It is produced when the tectonic plates are subducted, and has been used for carving in many cultures for thousands of years. Along with talc, soapstone also contains different amounts of chlorite, amphiboles, and even magnesium.


Soapstone counter tops are silky smooth and feels somewhat "soapy" when touched. It is commonly used in chemistry labs and kitchens, since it resists acid and doesn't stain or absorb liquids. Soapstone is even used in fireplaces and wood stoves for it's ability to retain and evenly distribute heat.

Soapstone will not burn or stain, and acids cannot etch soapstone like marble or other stone countertops. Contractors can easily cut soapstone on job sites, which makes it a much easier material to deal with than marble or granite.

Colors and Design

Soapstone counter tops are available with a limited color range, but colors differ depending on where in the world it was quarried. Untreated soapstone normally has a solid light green or gray color to it, but applying a coat of mineral oil can darken it to a shiny black.

Some varieties of soapstone, most commonly found in Brazil and other Southern American countries, contain white veins similar to those found in marble. This variety of soapstone tends to be softer and potentially more easily damaged.

Soapstone works best for those who are looking for a dark theme in their kitchen, and matches exceptionally great with stainless steel appliances.

Soapstone Sinks

Soapstone sinks are also very popular due to the large basins, integrated drain boards and many other features that can make a smart addition to your project.

Soapstone is easy to work with and virtually any custom size or shaped sink can be created; however, many dealers have basic soapstone sink shapes and sizes for purchased.

Care and Cleaning

A soapstone counter top is highly chemical and heat resistant so regular household cleaners can be used without worry. Always use a cutting board since nicks and scratches can occur when using knives or other sharp objects directly on the surface.

The good news is that blemishes can easily be buffed out with some sand paper and mineral oil.

Sealing is unnecessary, but mineral oil is commonly applied in order to quickly darken the soapstone. This color change will happen naturally over time, but many people prefer the shiny black surface you get from mineral oil.

Cost and Installation

Cost of a soapstone counter top varies from company to company, especially since different companies sell different types of soapstone from all over the world. A higher quality slab of soapstone can run for a few thousand dollars, but is well worth the cost since soapstone can last a lifetime.

Soapstone sinks also vary in price, mostly depending on the size and shape of the sink. Custom jobs require estimates to be made by the supplying company, but typically range from about $300 to $3000.

Soapstone has been used for centuries in household construction. Soapstone counter tops have many desirable characteristics and a proven durability.

The darker colors are certainly sleek and modern, but also work well with rustic or country designs. If your installing a new countertop, definitely consider soapstone. You'll enjoy it's beauty and resiliency throughout years of happy use!
About the Author
Author Ryan Burden publishes CountertopSpecialty.com, which provides expert guidance and information on custom countertops and backsplashes AND . . . produces a nice income. Perhaps YOU have a business or passion that you'd like to turn into online profits. Learn how with Websites That Work.
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