Color and Style Options
Due to the way that granite is formed in the earth, granite comes in an overwhelming amount of colors, vein options, grain sizes, and more. While granite does come in darker options, the biggest difference in color and style between granite and soapstone is that soapstone is naturally sealed from the elements and wear and tear of daily use. This means that soapstone counters can have a matte finish, as opposed to granite, which will almost always need a sealant, creating a glossy finish. Soapstone also has a smaller range of color and vein options, and most are darker than you would find in granite options.
For a wide selection of color options that aren’t granite, check out the selection of high-quality quartz options from our sister store, Nustone Quartz!
On the hardness scale, granite definitely ranks higher than soapstone – with a Mohs hardness ranging between 6 and 7, granite is highly impervious to dents, scuffs, and scratches. On the other hand, soapstone is one of the softer stones on the scale, with a rating ranging from 1 to 2. However, this can work in your favor – soapstone’s appearance tends to be positively impacted by daily wear and tear because the marks add to the classic, worn-in feel of the stone. Plus, any dents or scratches can easily be buffed out with sandpaper.
With hardness in mind, you would think that durability and hardness are directly linked; however, this is not the case! With soapstone and granite, in particular, the two stones are actually very similar in durability – the main difference is that if granite is scratched or chipped, repairs take much more time and effort, as well as a higher cost.
One of the many things to consider when choosing a countertop material, especially in the kitchen, is heat resistance. For many people, having the option to place hot pots, pans, and plates down without worry of scorching or burning their counters is important. In these cases, soapstone is the perfect option; the stone is immune to scorches and burns, because of its unique heat resistant qualities. On the other hand, granite is much easier to scorch and burn, so it is more suited for people who prefer using trivets and pan holders instead.
When investing in a new countertop, an important factor is maintenance required, and both soapstone and granite have their own specific needs. While soapstone does need oiling down, especially during the first year of use, overall, maintenance is relatively easy. Because it’s not a porous material, soapstone does not need sealing, and of course, no regular resealing is required. Additionally, the more you use your countertops, the more soapstone keeps its darkened tone, which means that oiling your countertops becomes less necessary over time. Granite is a porous material, and therefore requires a seal and annual resealing to maintain the countertop’s glossy finish and to prevent stains or wear and tear.
Stains can be a worry regardless of where your stone countertops are in the home – the kitchen is prone to water stains and food splatters, while the laundry room is susceptible to cleaning chemicals and clothing dye stains, and the bathrooms are likely to see personal product stains from hair dye or cosmetics. Granite countertops, unfortunately, are highly susceptible to staining, especially if they need resealing. On the other hand, soapstone is nearly impervious to stains because of the stone’s porosity.