What is Soapstone?
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of talc, which makes it a fairly soft stone. The typical colouration is dark grey and black with green or blue tints. It is used frequently in sculpture and pottery / cookware, as well as in architectural applications like countertops, sinks, fireplaces and tile.
Soapstone is nonporous and nonabsorbent (which means no sealing!), heat resistant and acid resistant. Its ability to absorb heat and radiate it slowly made it a valuable material in ancient cookware and fireplaces, and is sought out today for kitchen and laboratory countertop applications as well as everyday items such as thermal spa stones or whiskey stones.
This low maintenance stone is a great option for countertop applications, however you must be aware of a few key factors. Soapstone is soft and therefore quite easy to scratch with everyday items like knives, heavy cookware, cans and porcelain mugs. Minor scratches will wear away over time, and can be sanded out. The surface will also wear with time, unevenly depending on use, and create a darker patina with soapy feel. The use of mineral oils can help this process and give the surface a more uniform and finished look and feel.
If you are interested in a soft and warm to the touch natural surface, then soapstone can be a great option for you. It offers little worry when it comes to cleaning and spills, however still requires attention when it comes to scratches. You must also be at peace with uneven wear over time, and with the development of a patina.