One of the best qualities of soapstone is that it is very resistant to heat damage. In fact, it is one of the most heat-resistant countertop materials available and is often used for hearths and fireplaces as well. Still, this is no reason to use your soapstone countertop as a cooling rack for all your pans.|
Soapstone and hot pans
Hot pans fresh from the fire can be very hot, often reaching temperatures over 200o Celsius. This can be enough to melt a laminate countertop or permanently scorch a wood countertop. A soapstone countertop, on the other hand, will simply absorb the heat, making no changes either on the surface or in the soapstone's internal composition. You can safely place a hot pan on a soapstone countertop. It can even withstand hot grills and ovens.
However, there are a few problems with the heat-resistant nature of soapstone. Although a soapstone countertop is able to absorb a lot of heat, it retains this heat for a long time and may take hours to cool completely. A soapstone countertop can get very hot when it remains in contact with a hot pan for even 15 minutes. This may not damage the countertop directly, but if this keeps up for years, the soapstone may loosen internally and eventually get weak.
Despite their extreme durability and heat resistance, soapstone countertops are not indestructible. You cannot expect your soapstone countertop to keep itself together without at least a little help. Here are some things you can do to keep your soapstone countertop strong and durable for years.
Rub mineral oil or sealants regularly over your soapstone countertop. This will not only retain its color, but also create a protective layer over the surface to protect it from stains and scratches. Hot pans and kettles can scratch the surface of a soapstone countertop when they slide or drop accidentally. Sand away scratches and stains with 80 grit sandpaper. Never use steel wool or scouring pads to scrub stains away.