What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock, also known as steatite or soaprock. The chief mineral in Soapstone is talc, but it also contains varying amounts of magnesium, chlorite, mica, quartz, and iron compounds. Soapstone is formed over time by heat, fluids, and extreme pressure without melting. This process creates a stone that is naturally non-porous. Soapstone is ageless, not being affected by acids, heat, or daily use so it will last for centuries. Even though soapstone is soft to the touch, it is durable enough for use as countertops, sinks, heat applications, architectural accents, outdoor kitchens and ovens, flooring and many more things. If the surface of soapstone picks up a stain or discolors, this is literally just on the surface and can be removed by normal cleaning or light sanding. Even after decades of hard use, soapstone can be refinished by sanding and cleaning to a new condition.
Soapstone comes in shades of gray. As soapstone weathers and ages the stone will darken and develop a rich patina. Soapstone enjoys a friendly relationship with oil. The application of oil (often mineral oil) will quickly darken the stone and enhance the colors on the surface. This only affects the surface. Since soapstone is non-porous, the oil never penetrates and can be removed easily by sanding. The application of oil is optional as the stone does not need to be sealed or treated for durability. Soapstones surface invites your touch and has a wonderful quiet resonance when in contact with glass or metal kitchenware.
Soapstone International Inc. maintains a stock of grade A Soapstone from Brazil and India. Our stock changes as we move the stone through our warehouse. We work closely with M. Teixeira Soapstone to bring you the best soapstone variety for your individual design preferences.
What Can I Use It For?
Soapstone has many possible uses for your home, not only kitchen countertops. Although those are the most common, because of their elegance and durability. Soapstone matches any decor style from country to contemporary.
Soapstone is stain & heat resistant, think of the endless possibilities. Below we name a few:
KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS & SINKS
Obviously countertops are a prime choice for soapstone. The main reason being that they are resistant to any household liquids that you will be using in your kitchen or bathroom. It is one of the best for heat resistance, so if you are cooking and put a hot pan down, you won’t have to worry about damaging the countertop.
BATHROOM TUBS AND SINKS
Another popular use for soapstone is to be used for bathroom surfaces such as bath tubs or sinks. You may even find soapstone in houses built in the 1800’s simply because they are so durable and have very low maintenance requirements. They are still just as strong more than 200 years later.
Because Soapstone is heat resistant, you can design your fireplace around it. It shows beautifully and adds that extra class to your living room, dining room or bedroom. Additionally, Soapstone has natural thermal qualities making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor fireplaces and pizza ovens!
LEDGES OR SEATING
Soapstone is often use for decor to add culture and a unique look to any room. Clients have often purchased slabs of soapstone for seating or window ledges.
How Do I Clean It?
You can clean Soapstone with any household cleaner. The same soapy water you use to wash your dishes works well because it is safe around food preparation areas. Wash it with the wet cloth and tiny amount of soap then dry it with a towel.
If your countertop has lightened from the cleaners that are used, just oil the area or the whole countertop with mineral oil.
Don’t panic about anything that happens to your Soapstone. Everything can be fixed quickly and easily with washing or a light sanding on the area. If a few months or years goes by and you want to make the Soapstone look like new, just sand the whole counter lightly with a block and sandpaper of the same grit as your finish in a circular motion and oil again.