One of the biggest benefits to choosing stone countertops is how versatile and durable they are. There is a reason all of those home improvement shows talk about stone countertops like they are the only option, and it can easily be summed up as “the best bang for your buck.” While the amount of soapstone uses out there are numerous, there is a reason that this material is so often used for kitchen countertops. But if you are preparing to make an investment in stone countertops, you want to make sure it’s the right investment for you. Explore these common questions about using soapstone in the kitchen to make sure it’s the best choice for your needs!
How durable is soapstone?
Anyone who plans to use their kitchen is going to be concerned with durability. After all, between cooking and entertaining, home projects, and other happenings, kitchens inevitably see a lot of use. It’s more than just doing a bit of chopping straight on the counters, or heavy pots banging around. The kitchen is often the hub of the home, so it needs to be prepared to handle anything, not just exuberant cooking. The good news is that soapstone is impressively durable. It’s not quite as hard as granite, but it’s still plenty hard. Over years of use, you may notice your soapstone counters develop small scuffs and nicks, but those can be buffed out with some gentle steel wool or a fine-grit sandpaper. Otherwise, the fact that soapstone is not as hard as granite is a boon; it means that it’s less brittle, and you don’t need to worry about your countertops breaking along the seams or around edges. So, feel free to chop an onion or help your kiddo with a science fair project on your soapstone countertops — just don’t make a habit of chopping dinner straight on the counters so you don’t wreck your knives!
How does soapstone handle heat?
Soapstone is great with heat. As with most stone countertops, you can pull dishes out of the oven and put them straight onto soapstone counters with no worries. The stone simply absorbs the heat and will radiate it out slowly over time, with no damage to the counters. Soapstone is often used as a fireplace surround or for masonry stoves because it handles heat so well, so it is definitely a good option for the heat of the kitchen. It is even a good option for handling heat for extended periods of time, so if you want to pull your Thanksgiving dishes out of the oven and immediately serve up, just set everything down on the counters and worry about clean-up later!
How easy is it to clean?
Soapstone is impressively easy to clean for a couple of reasons. First, it’s non-porous. This means there are no little nooks and crannies for crumbs and bacteria to work their way into. Soapstone is easy to clean because all you need to do is wipe away messes. And, because it is non-porous, your soapstone counters will not stain. Did a puddle of red wine sit there overnight? No big deal! Since soapstone is non-porous, the wine won’t seep into the stone and leave a permanent mark. Simply add some moisture and wipe it away — that’s it!
Even better, soapstone is non-porous, which also makes it easier than other stone counters to disinfect. You don’t need to worry about bacteria getting into the pores in the stone, which helps keep soapstone much more sanitary. In addition, soapstone is also chemically inert, or non-reactive on a chemical level. This means you don’t need to worry about which cleaning solutions to use or avoid; just use your preferred cleaners and trust that your counters will come through just fine.
How much care do soapstone counters need?
Soapstone has a reputation for being a “soft” stone. And, in comparison to granite or quartz, yes, soapstone is softer on the Mohs Hardness Scale. However, softer does not mean “soft.” Soapstone is still plenty hard, so it will endure through pretty much any wear and tear. You may see some slight scuffing, but that’s totally normal and just gives soapstone its unique patina. If you want to buff out those scuffs, you can do so easily with a fine-grit sandpaper or a bit of steel wool. However, it is not a necessity part of upkeep for the longevity of your soapstone counters.
The other big benefit to soapstone being non-porous is that it means your counters will not need to be sealed and re-sealed the way granite or quartz need to be. The reason granite and quartz (and other stone countertops) need to be sealed is to prevent bacteria and grime from getting into those pores, staining the stone, growing mold, and eventually damaging the stone itself. However, since soapstone is non-porous, those worries are not applicable, so soapstone does not need to be sealed and re-sealed. At most, the only upkeep that soapstone needs is to be wiped down and occasionally oiled if you like the shine and the added depth of color that oiling provides.
Do soapstone counters stain?
We already touched on this above, but no, soapstone does not stain, which is why kitchen counters are one of the most popular soapstone uses. The fact that soapstone is non-porous and chemically inert means there really is no way for your soapstone to stain. This is a big reason that one of the most popular soapstone uses outside of the home is for tabletops and counters in scientific laboratories. As it is the right option for spaces in which much more volatile chemicals are used, soapstone is a great option to protect against stains and keep bacteria at bay in your kitchen.
Outfit Your Kitchen in Style
Soapstone is an ideal option if you want long-lasting, beautiful countertops in your kitchen. Get more information on the many soapstone uses out there and explore the variety of colors that can be found in different soapstone slabs by connecting with the team at Dorado Soapstone today!