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Reading: Pros and Cons of Soapstone Countertops

Pros and Cons of Soapstone Countertops

April 29, 2021
6 min read

When looking for a countertop material, you may come across soapstone. Although not as common as other countertop materials, soapstone is one of the most functional countertop materials. It adds on a rustic, elegant and urbane feel, similar to that of slate or granite.  

So, why is soapstone uncommon? Since this is a naturally occurring material, it may not be as common as man-made countertop materials. It is made from a steatite stone, a naturally occurring stone that includes dolomite, magnesite and chlorite. And if you prefer natural countertop materials, then you will enjoy your soapstone countertop.   

Before purchasing a soapstone countertop, it is important to fully understand the pros and cons. This helps you decide whether the investment is worthwhile, care and maintenance not forgetting durability.  

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Here are the pros of soapstone countertops 

The beauty 

There are very few natural stone countertops. And soapstone being one of them, the natural stone beauty look and feel in a home is one that every natural stone fanatic dreams about. While it may be plain-looking, the rustic appearance enhances its beauty and versatility in a home. And with each slab being unique, you get to have rarity in your home. Also, given soapstone countertops’ natural charm, your kitchen will not have an overbearing look.  

Its environmentally friendly 

The fact that soapstone is not manufactured using synthetic chemicals means that it is environmentally friendly. Its extraction does not damage the earth not forgetting that it can be recycled. Having a natural soapstone countertop also eliminated the fear of food-unfriendly products due to the manufacturing process. And if you want to focus on reducing the carbon footprint, using a soapstone countertop is a great first. 

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Soapstone countertops do not stain 

Soapstone is a non-porous natural stone. As such, you will not have to worry about liquids sipping into the stone and staining it. This is unlike granite and marble. Porosity is an important factor when choosing your countertop material. Imagine being worried every time some wine spills on the countertop. This is a non-issue with soapstone countertops on any liquids including acidic liquids such as vinegar and coffee.   

Soapstone does not crack easily 

While it may appear soft, soapstone countertops do not crack easily. This is however a problem when it comes to scratches. The softness makes it easily susceptible to scratches but protects it from cracking.   

Durability 

Since soapstone countertops do not crack easily, they are more durable than other countertops made of natural stone. Its non-porosity feature also means that your soapstone countertops can serve you for a long period without requiring sealing.   

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Ease of cleaning and maintenance 

Since soapstone is non-porous, it is easy to clean. However, you need to use mild soap and a soft sponge. When it comes to maintenance, soapstone countertops need regular oiling to maintain their natural look.  

Heat resistance 

If you constantly find yourself placing hot materials on kitchen countertops, then a soapstone countertop is ideal for your space. Soapstone countertops are heat resistant. As such, you do not need to worry about discolorations or damage from heat. This makes soapstone countertops ideal in most kitchens.  

High return on investment 

Soapstone does not decrease in value. As such, once you install soapstone countertops, the value of your home will increase. And if one day you choose to sell your home, you could even get a 50% return on your soapstone countertop investment.  

Ease of installation 

Natural stones are harder to install than man-made stones. But with soapstone, the ease of installation makes it cheaper than other stones. However, the cost of the slab can be on the higher end compared to other natural stones.  

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While soapstone countertops have some pros, there are many cons as well  

Cost: How much is a soapstone countertop? 

The cost of a soapstone countertop varies based on the talc content of the stone and where it was quarried. However, the average cost of soapstone per square foot ranges between $45 and $85. Professional installation can significantly raise the cost of a soapstone countertop. When you consider the cost of the soapstone and the installation cost, the total cost can range between $85 and $150 per square foot.  

Limitation of colour options 

Since soapstone is a natural stone, it does not have a lot of patterns and colours. It comes in a few shades of grey, blue and black. Also, it is difficult to get an exact matching pattern for two pieces when creating something like a waterfall countertop. Nevertheless, contrasting soapstone countertops can create a curious and interesting look in a space.  

Oily substances are not soapstone-friendly 

While soapstone is non-porous, oily substances can significantly darken soapstone countertops. It is advisable to spread mineral oil on the surface of the slab. This darkens the entire soapstone countertop hence preventing dark patches. 

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Soapstone scratches easily 

While the soft nature of soapstone is beneficial in preventing soapstone countertops from cracking, it makes them more susceptible to scratches. Simple things such as throwing a spoon on the soapstone countertop can cause significant scratches. However, these scratches are easily removable with the use of sandpaper.  

The texture 

After applying mineral oil on the soapstone countertop, the texture may change to a soap-like, leathery feel, hence the name. It is impossible to change this non-slick texture and you may have to endure it if you do not like it.  

Torn between quartz and soapstone countertops? Here’s why quartz countertops beat soapstone countertops.  

The variety- Soapstone is a natural occuring stone. As such, it is only available in shades of light grey, soft white and deep charcoal. Most soapstone countertops exhibit gentle veining, with some having hues of green, blue or Perl. However, quartz countertops are available in a variety of colours. With quartz countertops, you are assured of getting a countertop that rhymes with your home’s aesthetics.  

Ease of maintenance and durability- Soapstone requires regular maintenance. Also, it darkens over time and will need mineral oil treatments regularly. But with quartz, the ease of maintenance is unmatched. All you need to ensure is that you clean off spills immediately and avoid placing hot items on the quartz countertops.  

Overall, while soapstone is a totally acceptable choice for your kitchen counters, quartz represents a much more elegant and beautiful choice. Quartz countertops are also more modern, due to the cutting-edge method of manufacturing and the incredible colour choices.