Soapstone countertops are not a feasible selection for many people. When it comes to soapstone, in general, people love it or hate it with no grey areas. In order to grasp the full effects of installing a soapstone countertop it is essential to understand where soapstone comes from and how it is transformed into a trendy countertop.
Granite, quartz, and marble are all natural stone material that is harvested directly from the earth. Soapstone is known to be anywhere from 300-400 million years old in relation to what location it was quarried. The natural components that are present in soapstone are magnesite, dolomite, chlorite and talc although there are many other minerals present. Talc is the component that is responsible for the actual name of soapstone. Talc provides that soft, soapy feeling of the stone hence the name.
It was only recently that soapstone began making an introduction to the inside of the home in a trendy fashion. Typically, soapstone was utilized for building urns, fireplaces and other heat resistant needs. Soapstone soon gravitated to becoming a material to engineer sinks due to the ease with which it could be cut. By the early 1900s, soapstone countertops were becoming increasingly popular. Soon after soapstone, countertops were not only the norm but also windowsills and popular kitchen islands.
The texture of the soapstone countertops cannot be rivaled by any other natural substance in the world. Natural granite can absorb natural fruit acids and alkalis and can cause damage by staining the surface of the countertop. The longevity of soapstone countertops becomes obvious with the sinks and tiles that have been used in science classrooms for well over 100 years!
Many individuals are turned off by the mere thought of soapstone countertops. Part of the conflict is that the name tends to indicate that it is a soft, porous surface. Nothing could be further from the truth! Soapstone is incredibly soft to the touch but it is not an indication of the absorption rate nor the durability of the countertop manufactured from this stone. If a soapstone countertop acquires a stain or scratch, the very simple remedy is to sanded back to the original appearance. Most slate, marble, limestone and even granite absorb liquid and it is incredibly difficult to correct. After it is sanded to remove the imperfections that were acquired, it simply is oiled with mineral oil to restore the original color and look. Even after years and years of high traffic, soapstone countertops can be sanded and re-oiled to give the appearance of a brand new countertop.
The coloring of a soapstone countertop can vary from slab to slab. The typical rule of thumb that accompanies soapstone is that the color is light gray. The mineral oil that is applied after installation will expose a unique color personality for each soapstone countertop. It is not odd to see amber, beige; varying shades of green, white as well as numerous other colors. It is the ultimate gift that the earth can provide to any individual that is considering a soapstone countertop.
There is a bit of maintenance required to keep a sharp looking soapstone countertop however, it is relatively inexpensive and simple to perform. Mineral oil can be applied with a soft cloth and left to absorb into the soapstone for at least an hour and preferably longer such as overnight. This typically needs to be done as required after the initial installation. Manufacturers and installers of the soapstone countertops will instruct on how to care and maintain for the new countertop. Usually they recommend once a week or as required. For example, if the countertop is scratched daily, it may be viable that it will need a treatment of mineral oil.
One of the best advantages to installing soapstone countertops is that there is not a need for sub-counter support. This is a great feature because many stone countertops require extra support from the cabinet frame. Usually if the counter frame is well built and strong, there is no need for reinforcements eliminating expensive cabinet remodeling. Silicone adhesive is used to attach the soapstone countertop directly to the cabinet frame with relative ease.