Most stone counters are made of granite or marble, both of which require a lot of maintenance to keep the counter looking its best. Using soapstone, however, eliminates this problem, leaving you with a counter that is soft to the touch, full of personality and beauty, and which grows better looking over time.
Like marble and some forms of commercial granite, soapstone is metamorphic. It’s quarried from huge blocks of talc – the mineral that gives soapstone a slippery feel.
What you might not know about talc is that it is completely heat resistant, stain resistant, and isn’t affected by acids and alkalines – including those commonly found in the kitchen like tomato sauce and wine.
This puts soapstone head and shoulders above other stones, which require sealing to impede stains and special cleaners to prevent dulling and etching.
Because soapstone is so soft, however, it can’t be brought to a high polish like marble and granite counters. Polishing these other stones brightens and deepens the colors of the stone, showing off their natural variation and veining.
Soapstone that is used for counters often contains minerals other than talc that gives it beautiful color variation and swirling veins. So how do you bring out the beauty and color of the stone if you can’t polish it? It’s very simple; you oil it.
Applying mineral oil to the counter monthly will gradually deepen the color of the stone, giving it a soft sheen. It will also help to hide any scratches that may occur in the surface.
Using natural stone slabs as kitchen counters adds beauty, texture, and interest to the space. If you’re looking for a stone counter that is as durable and low-maintenance as it is beautiful, skip the everyday granites and look for a slab of soapstone instead.