Soapstone countertops are made of a metamorphic rock called soapstone, which is quarried in India, Canada, Chile, Brazil, the United States, and Zimbabwe. Soapstone is a natural rock made of talc, which affects its luster, color, and density.
The manufacturing of soapstone countertops begins in the quarries where raw soapstone is obtained. Some first-hand soapstone countertop builders have their own quarries where they mine their own soapstone. After the soapstone has been quarried, it is made into thick soapstone slabs in varying thickness and density. The thickness of soapstone slabs range from three-fourth-inch thick to 1 ¼-inch thick. These soapstone slabs are sold per square foot. The regular slabs can cost anywhere from $70 to $100, while the high end ones go for more than $100. The cost of soapstone slabs depends on the density, the place where it was quarried from, the manufacturer, and the overall quality of the soapstone.
Soapstone slabs can be bought from first-hand manufacturers or from resellers. Buying them from resellers can cost more since they purchase the slabs from the builders themselves. Before buying soapstone slabs from resellers, scout for first-hand builders in your area first. Aside from providing you with materials at a lower cost, they can even help you build and install your soapstone countertop as well.
How to make soapstone countertops
If you are into do-it-yourself projects, then you can easily build your own soapstone countertop. Not only does building your own soapstone countertop give you fulfillment, it also lessens your expenses. However, if you want to leave the building of your soapstone countertop to the professionals, then process is fairly simple.
The making of your soapstone countertop begins with a consultation between you and the builder. In this process, you can tell the builder the countertop design, the dimensions of your kitchen, and the specific type and color of soapstone countertop you want to have installed in your kitchen. The builder takes notes of these considerations before proceeding to the next step.
The builder then visits your home or the place where the soapstone countertop is going to be installed. The builder measures your kitchen dimensions, takes notes of the placement of big kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator and oven, and locates the position of the electric sockets to ensure that your soapstone countertop fits properly.
Next, the builder calculates how many soapstone slabs are needed before you place the order and pay for it. Once the slabs arrive, the professional builders can now come in and start building your soapstone countertop. It should be finished within a few hours.
Tips on installing soapstone countertops
Here are a few helpful tips that you can do if you want to install your own soapstone countertop:
Clean all the edges of the soapstone slab by cutting them with a diamond blade and sanding them down. This gets rid of the sharp edges that can cut you or the other surfaces in your kitchen like wood paneling and cabinets.
Always make use of templates when creating backsplashes and countertop edges. This ensures that you cut the right size of the soapstone slab and prevents you from making mistakes.
Blend in a black or blue tint when closing the seams with epoxy, and then rub down your countertop surface with mineral oil. This makes the seams invisible.