Soapstone countertops are commonly used as a food preparation surface and make use of a soapstone surface. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that is made of talc, dolomite, magnesite, and chlorite. Talc gives soapstone a soft and soap-like texture, hence its name. Soapstone is obtained from different quarrying sites in many parts of the world. Depending on the site it is found, soapstone can be as old as 400 years.
Soapstone is durable yet soft enough to be sculpted using even the most primitive tools. Throughout history, soapstone has been used to make goblets, vases, fireplaces, sculptures, and tools. Because of its hard and solid feature, soapstone has also been used in building construction materials and in making household sinks.
Today, soapstone is used in making for various kitchen and household structures like fireplaces, ovens, sinks, window sills, balusters, island tops, pizza ovens, and more recently, kitchen countertops. By nature, soapstone is an inert rock that is nonreactive to acids and alkaline substances. It traps heat and distributes it evenly throughout its surface, remaining hot hours after the fire used to heat it has been extinguished. Because it is a solid surface, soapstone is fairly resistant to stains and does not crack easily.
Soapstone is sold in slabs in varying thicknesses, depending on its intended use. No two soapstone slabs are alike in color, shade, pattern, and texture. Soapstone comes in a traditional gray shade, but it can come in different colors and textures that can fit any style or preference.
Advantages of soapstone countertops
Just like granite and marble countertops, soapstone countertops are durable surfaces that would not crack easily. Soapstone has varying densities. The softer variety is used in making smaller structures like vases and goblets while the harder variety is used in making heavy-duty structures like fireplaces and countertops.
Soapstone countertops do not stain easily. They do not discolor when acidic substances like wine and vinegar are accidentally spilled on it. It is because of this property that soapstone is a popular material to use in making science laboratory countertops.
Soapstone countertops are excellent retainers of heat. Hot pans and other hot cookware can be placed on the surface of a soapstone countertop without worrying about burn rings or marks. The heat would just be evenly distributed throughout the surface.
Soapstone countertops come in various colors and textures that give builders and homeowners the freedom to choose the style they want.
Disadvantages of soapstone countertops
Because it is made of natural materials, soapstone countertops require scheduled maintenance.
Much like granite, soapstone countertops need to be coated with mineral oil several times a year to prevent discoloration and cracking.
Soapstone countertops may be difficult to replace if there are damages or cracks on the surface. Since each slab has its own unique pattern and shade, it may be a bit difficult to find a slab that would match the ones on the countertop.
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