Soapstone counters enjoy a lot of popularity amongst homeowners that like a matte, dark counter that still has some veining and personality to it. Soapstone gets its name from the soft, almost soapy texture that the stone has when finished, it does well as a countertop, resisting most scratches and stains and requiring no sealants. However, many people do choose to either oil or wax their soapstone, which gives the counter a deeper, richer color and helps make the veins pop against it.
Oiling and waxing are not requirements of owning a soapstone counter. However, the stone will darken on its own over time regardless of whether or not you oil it. This patina is natural and an integral part of the stone, but it can develop unevenly, darkening areas around the stove or sink more quickly than other sections. Therefore, many people who don’t necessarily wish to oil in the beginning, ultimately do so to help even out the color of the stone.
When deciding between oil and wax for your soapstone, you may want to consider both the ultimate hue you wish to achieve, and how much effort you wish to invest. Some people enjoy oiling their stone, for example, while others may find it tedious.
Oil may eventually lighten up again, especially if the stone is touched or used frequently, which means that it does need to be reapplied often. Wax does not lighten or wear off quite as quickly, so you can go longer between applications.
Both oiling and waxing your soapstone take only a few minutes of buffing the enhancing substance into the surface, waiting for 30 minutes, then buffing again with a clean cloth. Whether you choose to oil, wax, or leave the stone alone is up to you; enhancing the stone only affects its color, not how well it will perform for you over the years.
Consider enhancing the color of your soapstone, to see your counter in all its beauty