It’s little wonder that soapstone countertops are becoming a more popular choice for homeowners across the country. It’s a completely natural surface that has a lot of distinctive benefits that you won’t find in rivals such as marble, quartz and granite. Along with these amazing benefits also come various cons that you should know about before taking the plunge and making an investment in a new counter.
There are a lot of reasons why you should seriously consider this work surface for your kitchen including the following:
- Aesthetic value
- A healthier choice
- Environmentally friendly
- Textures available
- Return on investment
- Cost effectiveness
- How it ages
Mother Nature has put her best into producing this rock that is available in varying degrees of hardness. The softest type is used for sculpting while harder stone is used for tables, kitchen work surfaces, wood burning stoves, tiles etc. If you took a chemistry class back in high school you would have been working on a soapstone lab table since it’s pretty much impervious to most types of liquids and chemicals. If you go back and visit your high school classroom you’ll probably see the same tables in place that you were using years ago.
Durability is one of its’ biggest bragging rights and it’s common to see soapstone stoves and sinks that were manufactured in the 1800s still being used today in the northeast section of the United States. If you decide to purchase one for your kitchen work surface you can consider it to be a beautiful investment for life.
When it comes to any soapstone countertops, no 2 slabs are ever the same. The one that you have decorating your kitchen will never be duplicated in any other home. Your countertop will become a personal treasure and will grow on you as it ages.
The color of the stone can vary depending on the area that is coming from. The colors can range from an almost pale green to a light gray and if you choose a slab that comes from Brazil, you’ll often see the same type of veining that you’d find in fine marble. You’ll have the option of applying mineral oil to soapstone countertops to darken the look or you can keep it looking natural and avoid the oiling process completely. Mineral oil does not have to be applied and you’ll have the choice between a lighter and a darker countertop based on your own personal preference.
It’s natural beauty makes it blend in perfectly with older traditional homes and cottage style houses but you’ll find it also appearing in higher-end luxury homes.
With soapstone you don’t have to worry about taking a pot from the stove and putting it right onto the counter. This stone won’t get damaged from heat and doesn’t stain. It’s a lot easier to cook with a soapstone countertop since you won’t have to worry about spilling things or placing hot items on it. The only other type of counter that can compete with it when it comes to workability in the kitchen is one that is made of stainless steel.
They are are non-porous so it will never absorb liquids. Spilling a glass of red wine on the counter is not a problem and any acidic liquids can be wiped right off as well. This type of stone is so dense that no type of sealant is required at all. You can only oil the countertop but this is only done for aesthetic reasons.
A healthier choice
You don’t have to worry about germs and bacteria invading your soapstone countertop. As a result, you’ll be providing a healthier and safer kitchen environment for everyone in the family.
Soapstone countertops are harvested from the earth and simply custom cut to fit your kitchen. It’s all-natural and can be recycled completely. No sealers or toxic chemicals of any kind will be introduced into your home. Nothing needs to be done to make soapstone beautiful since nature has taken care of this all on its own. Once it has been quarried from the earth it simply needs a cleanup and a trimming before it arrives at your door in its natural state.
You can order them with different textures and you don’t have to settle only for a high-polished finish like you would with other stones. Whether you want it to be slightly rough or completely smooth, this stone can be refinished according to your preference. No matter what texture you choose, you’ll love the way it feels soft to the touch without compromising on durability.
Return on investment
If you install a soapstone countertop in your kitchen you can expect to see a return on your investment when you sell your home. Generally, new soapstone countertops will see a 50% to 80% ROI once the house sells.
Although the actual slab can cost quite a bit and can be comparable in price to other natural stones, you have more cost-effective options when it comes to the installation of your countertop. Fortunately, it’s is one of the easiest counters to set up and you can even take it on as a do-it-yourself project on your own. If you don’t want to tackle this type of renovation product by yourself, you can hire a handyman to do it for you. No expensive installation company is required.
How it ages
You’ll find that they age well and can last for many generations. If you get any scratches, you can either leave them as a part of the natural patina or you can sand them out to restore the initial integrity of the stone. You can’t do that with a granite countertop! Scratches, dents and other imperfections that take place on other natural stones can’t be easily worked out and you’ll just have to learn to live with them!
The cons of soapstone countertops
Along with the pros come some serious cons that you’ll want to take into consideration before making a final decision. These negative factors include:
- Surface texture
- Regular maintenance
- Limited selection
- Cost factors
They are the softest of natural stone worktops that you can get, and that is one of the reasons why many people don’t want to invest in it. Yes, it will scratch and dent easier than other types of kitchen work surfaces but fortunately these problems can be handled with a piece of sandpaper, mineral oil and a rag. There are varying degrees of softness so you’ll want to choose a piece of stone that is harder than the others. Here’s a great tip to keep in mind. In general, the stones with greener shades are usually softer than the ones that are mostly gray.
As mentioned above, you’ll have your choice regarding the type of surface texture you’d prefer. It’s best to choose a smoother surface since the natural roughness can scuff China and glassware.
Some people prefer a hands-off approach when it comes to maintenance of a kitchen counter. If you want the surface to darken evenly you’ll have to oil it regularly to have this effect. If you’re not at all interested in any maintenance and don’t want to enjoy the natural look that comes along with normal wear and tear, you’d be better off with a stainless steel or a quartz countertop.
Some people just aren’t a huge fan of dealing with mineral oil that is greasy and can get on your clothes. With a quartz or stainless steel countertop it’s a set-and-forget type of deal. With granite, you’ll only have to apply sealer approximately once a year to keep it sleek and shiny.
When it comes to this stone, your selection of colors and patterns is going to be extremely limited. If you’re looking for something trendy and colorful, you won’t find it with with this stone.
While the cost of installation can be greatly reduced by doing it yourself, many people prefer to have the installation done by a company that has experience with this stone. This makes the whole process quick and easy but at the same time much more costly. In general, they can end up costing you more than what you would have to pay for other natural stone counters when the installation is supplied by the retailer that is selling you the soapstone slab.
When it comes right down to it, you are going to have to work through these soapstone countertops pros and cons to decide whether this type of stone fits into your lifestyle or not. Soapstone does offer a priceless beauty to anyone that appreciates the pure raw nature that only this stone can provide.
One of the best things that you can do is find someone that owns this kind of countertop and has had it for a few years. This way, you’ll be able to see for yourself what you can expect in the future from this type of stone and whether or not it will serve as an enhancement to your kitchen.