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Natural stone has been a popular choice for countertops for a number of years now and the demand for them is not decreasing. When many people think about natural stone countertops they are thinking about granite or marble but those are not the only alternatives when it comes to stone for counters – soapstone countertops are another great alternative that those thinking about installing new kitchen or bathroom countertops should certainly take a look at.
What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is a naturally occurring material that is considered to be a metamorphic rock and is composed of several different minerals, primarily talc chlorite, dolomite, and magnesite. There are two different grades of soapstone – artistic grade which contains more talc so is softer and suited for sculpture and architectural grade, a harder version of the stone which is the kind used to create soapstone countertops.
What Does Soapstone Look Like?
As it is a natural product no two soapstone countertops will look exactly alike. There are those who think that soapstone countertops resemble marble and this, to a certain extent is true but it actually has a very unique and elegant beauty all of its own. Soapstone countertops come in a wide variety of colors varying from light and elegant grays through rich greens and blues all the way to deep dark black tones that have a very “rich” appearance.
Soapstone Pros and Cons
It would be fair to say that there is no such thing as a perfect countertop material. Any material you can find to be used as a countertop in either the kitchen or bathroom comes along with its own set of pros and cons for homeowners to keep in mind as they make a decision about the countertop material that is right for them. Soapstone is no exception and understanding what the pros and cons commonly associate with soapstone countertops are can help you decide if they are the right choice for you.
Soapstone Countertop Pros
These are just of some of the benefits of choosing soapstone for your new countertops:
- Soapstone is a natural rock but quarrying it tends to be kinder to the environment than granite or marble quarrying is. marble quarrying, for example, entails cutting quite deep into mountainsides but soapstone is found far closer to the surface so while there is some environmental impact it is lessened.
- Soapstone is naturally bacteria resistant and that property remains intact in the soapstone countertops you can buy today. These natural properties mean that choosing soapstone may mean making a healthier choice, especially great for families.
- Soapstone will not stain. That means that it stays looking great longer and a spilled glass of red wine does not mean the end of the world!
- Soapstone is heat resistant, which means that you can put a hot pot down on it without the fear that doing so even for a minute will damage your countertop for good.
- Good quality soapstone countertops are chip resistant
- Soapstone is easy to clean on a daily basis.
- Natural soapstone is found in many different colors so you can find a shade that will suit the kitchen decor scheme you are planning perfectly.
- Soapstone is a less expensive choice than either granite or marble
Soapstone Countertop Cons
There are few things that homeowners should know about soapstone countertops that they may consider a drawback:
- If you choose a lighter colored soapstone countertop it may very well darken over time, a natural property of the rock it is made from rather than a fault.
- Soapstone countertops are not completely maintenance free. In order to keep them looking their best, they do need to be oiled on a fairly regular basis. Failing to do so may make them susceptible to cracking over time and the small scratches that may show on a soapstone countertop will become a little too obvious.
- If you are not being sold the right grade of soapstone you may have real problems. There are those manufacturers that use the cheaper artistic quality soapstone for their countertops but as previously mentioned that is softer and will be far less durable than architectural grade which has been used in homes for centuries and can survive decades of use.
Soapstone Countertop Costs
Usually, soapstone is a little less expensive than granite and certainly cheaper than marble but it would be hard to call it an inexpensive countertop option. When considering costs though you do have to look at the longevity expectations for the material you are choosing to determine the real value for money you are getting. When properly cared for soapstone countertops will outlast you!
Another benefit of soapstone countertops is that like other natural stone countertops they will increase the perceived value of your Waterloo Region home, great if you ever decide to sell your home at some point in the future as together with hardwood floors natural stone countertops are some of the most sought-after features by home buyers today.