Because of its naturally soft composition, soapstone can be easily shaped into custom designs to give your countertop a more unique and personal feel. Edge details and finishes are some of the most popular soapstone countertop options.
Soapstone countertops can have a straight or curved edge. The type of edge you choose will affect the outline of your whole countertop, since some outline designs can only be created with a specific type of edge.
Flat edges are more versatile than curved ones. You can use various outline designs with a flat edge, from simple square countertops to round, curving, or even free-form outlines. Manufacturers will usually present you with sketches or illustrations of the different designs available to give you a better idea of what you could do with your countertop. The edges give the countertop a sharper and more detailed look, making them an attractive focal point for your room.
For curved edges, you have two options: convex and concave edges. Convex edges curve outwards, while concave edges curve inwards. Of course, concave edges are more space-efficient, but most people find convex edges more attractive. As a general rule, use a convex edge as a workspace and serving area for large homes, and use a concave edge as strictly a working area for small homes.
The standard finish for soapstone countertops is mineral oil. Most manufacturers finish their soapstone countertops with a thick initial coating of mineral oil, which will wear away in about two months. You will have to reapply the oil regularly afterwards, every four to eight weeks, to retain the countertop's color and shine. There are two types of mineral oils available. One will give your countertop a darker color, while the other simply gives it a glossy finish.
The first type usually lends a dark bluish tint to your countertop. You will notice the change an hour or two after application, and the color gradually fades over several weeks until the next reapplication. It is best to use non-darkening mineral oil, however. This has a more protective than aesthetic function, and it will protect your countertop from stains, scratches, and other surface damage. Besides, soapstone naturally darkens over time, so you can also achieve the effect of a darkening mineral oil with a clear one.