When you go to your local home improvement store to browse home finishes, how often do you consider the chemical makeup of your options? For most of us, the answer is never, or maybe once in a blue moon. For most homeowners, we assume that it does not matter what the chemical makeup is as long as everything is made to last given its intended use. But when it comes to soapstone, the chemical properties actually make a difference! Here’s what you need to know:
Soapstone’s Big Benefits
If you have been looking at different stone countertop options, or maybe stone flooring at your local home improvement store, you have undoubtedly heard all about the longevity and durability of using stone around your home. Soapstone offers a lot of the same benefits as granite, marble, or quartz. It’s hard enough that it will last for years to come, and heat-resistant so that it can handle hot pans straight from the oven or being used as a fireplace surround. But the most valuable benefit to soapstone in particular is one that sets it apart from other stone options: soapstone is chemically inert.
Let’s Talk Chemistry
It is surprising that soapstone is not talked up more for being chemically inert because that one little factor provides some surprisingly big benefits. Being chemically inert means that soapstone is non-reactive; it is neither alkaline nor acidic. This might not seem all that important outside a chemistry lab, but it actually provides some pretty stellar benefits no matter how you choose to use soapstone — it is also the reason soapstone is so often used for countertops and tabletops in laboratory settings.
Being chemically inert means that soapstone is not going to react to either acidic or alkaline solutions. In a laboratory setting, this means scientists do not need to worry about reactions if they happen to spill a solution. In your home, it means that you do not need to worry about which cleaning products you use. For anyone who is eco-conscious, as so many of us are here in Colorado, it means you can use that green cleaner without worrying how it might wreck your lovely stone countertops — something that is not the case for other stone counter options. With stone finishes like marble or granite, in particular, you generally have to watch which cleaners you use because the chemical makeup of some household cleaners can interact with the minerals in the stone and cause permanent discoloration. This extends beyond cleaning products, as well. Because soapstone is non-reactive, you do not need to worry about what happens if someone spills food or drinks on a soapstone countertop. It is just as safe to use soapstone surfaces for school science projects, art projects, and so much more.
Soapstone’s Other Properties
The fact that soapstone is non-reactive is a great start in terms of making it incredibly useful. Now we will add another layer to that usefulness. Not only is soapstone chemically inert, but it is also non-porous. The combination of qualities is what makes soapstone so useful and so durable. Because it is non-porous, there are no little nooks and crannies for grime to work into. This makes soapstone naturally a lot more bacteria-resistant and hygienic overall. One of the big reasons that other stone surfaces are less hygienic is because of the pores, which can house bacteria and allergens as well as general grime. And, because it comes down to a microscopic level, the pores within most stone surfaces can be a lot harder to clean out and fully disinfect. But that is something you don’t need to worry about with soapstone because it is non-porous!
The fact that soapstone is non-porous and non-reactive goes a long way toward improving its longevity. One of the big things that wears away at other stone surfaces, particularly marble and granite, is that so many little particles can dig into the pores and slowly wear away at the stone from the inside out. That is why there is a heavy emphasis placed on cleaning stone surfaces with the appropriate cleaners and keeping up with regular resealing. Without the sealant, those other stone surfaces would wear away a lot faster. However, since soapstone is non-porous and chemically inert, you do not need to worry about which cleaning supplies you use, or keeping up with regular sealant applications. Your soapstone is — at the chemical level — made to handle those concerns without issue. By dint of how soapstone is at a component level, it can handle a lot more than those other stone surface options.
On top of those two big qualities, soapstone is also heat-resistant to an impressive degree. This is the case with other stone options as well, but most of them are not quite as useful. For example, you could pull a hot dish out of the oven and put it directly onto a granite or quartz countertop without worry, just like you can do with soapstone. Soapstone, however, takes it a step further. It actually takes soapstone a while to absorb heat, but it retains that heat impressively well. This makes soapstone counters safe for hot dishes, but it also makes soapstone ideal for even hotter uses like fireplace surrounds or masonry stoves. Because soapstone takes a bit longer to absorb heat, it also dissipates it more slowly. This means that you could use your fireplace to heat your Colorado home, and then rely on the residual heat from the surrounding soapstone to continue providing ambient heat for a while afterwards. It is a great way to heat your home nicely while cutting down on your utilities costs!
Bring Soapstone Into Your Colorado Home
There are so many reasons that soapstone is ideal for everything from kitchen counters to flooring, fireplace surrounds, and more. Are you ready to see how soapstone could bring more ease to your home? Connect with the knowledgeable team at Dorado Soapstone to learn more about what soapstone can do, how it can be used, and all the colors available!