Soapstone countertops are made of soapstone, a hard and durable metamorphic rock. Because it is a natural stone, untreated soapstone is prone to cuts and cracks just like graphite and marble. However, the soapstone used in kitchen countertops are usually sealed and oiled to protect its surface from cracking and getting scratched.|
Soapstone countertops are relatively strong and do not crack easily. However, due to moisture build-up, they can crack and break. Rubbing mineral oil on the surface of soapstone countertops can seal it and prevent this moisture build-up. Once it is applied on the soapstone countertop, the surface changes color, usually turning a darker and deeper shade of its original red, brown, black, gray, or green color. The mineral oil seals the surface from water and other liquid substances that can seep into the soapstone's crevices.
How soapstone countertops crack
Soapstone countertops can crack in several ways.
Exerting too much pressure or weight on the countertop's surface. Soapstone is generally a durable material. When used in countertops, soapstone does not crack and give easily, unless it is subjected to extended use and abuse. The normal, everyday food preparation activities like chopping, grinding, slicing, and cooking are not enough to cause serious damage to soapstone countertops. However, soapstone countertops can soften and get scratches, cuts, and small cracks over time. They can crack if too much pressure is exerted on its surface. They can give under the weight and crack if heavy-duty equipment is placed on the surface.
Exposure to extremely high temperatures. Cracks can also form if soapstone countertops are exposed to extremely high temperatures. They can normally handle the bare undersides of hot pans and other hot cookware. However, they can also crack if they are continually exposed to too much heat.
In natural calamities like earthquakes. In extreme cases, soapstone countertops can crack if they are built in areas that are prone to natural calamities like earthquakes. High-magnitude earthquakes can make whole buildings and houses crumble and collapse. If a house is built near a fault line or in an area where earthquakes are common, then its natural forces can shake the soapstone countertop's foundation cause the surface to crack.
How to prevent soapstone countertops from cracking
Prevent soapstone countertops from cracking by regularly applying mineral oil on the surface. Mineral oil not only deepens the shade of soapstone countertops, they also prevent moisture build-up.
Do not place extremely heavy objects or equipment on top of your soapstone countertops. Too much weight can cause the surface to buckle and crack.
Avoid exposing soapstone countertops to extremely high temperatures. If it is impossible to avoid placing hot pans on the surface, use heat-absorbent pads or trivets to elevate them.