Countertops and other surfaces in the home, especially in the kitchen, are subject to a great deal of wear and tear. Some materials perform and age better than others. A few even claim ‘no maintenance’. If, however, you are inclined to be skeptical about certain claims and simply would like to explore the real pros and cons, then hopefully we can at least help explain the properties of soapstone.
First, soapstone is known as a soft but incredibly dense stone. This is important for at least two reasons. The very dense nature of soapstone makes it a truly hygienic surface for food preparation. Unlike many other natural stones, and even some man-made surfaces, soapstone never needs to be sealed to assure a cleanable and safe surface in the kitchen.
Secondly, the soft characteristic of soapstone allows for its unique workability, feel, repair and even aesthetics. Simply put, the ‘soft but dense’ nature of soapstone makes it easy to repair mishaps and yet allows for an aging process that many think makes it look better with time. Another truly functional property of soapstone is its almost total resistance to heat. Its use in fireplaces and woodstoves has long made it recognized as a stone almost impervious to heat. Soapstone can be cut in a precise manner allowing almost invisible seams, similar to a fine piece of woodwork. Various edging and backsplash details are possible for a unique and custom look.
We stock a Brazilian soapstone called ‘Barroca’ from M. Teixeira Soapstone. This stone is a soft gray with light veining giving it a traditional New England look to your project. Our stone, from this particular quarry in Brazil, is, in our experience, the best quality soapstone we have found for kitchen countertops. It has exceptional consistency and is quite attractive. Most, but not all, customers use mineral oil to give their countertops a beautiful charcoal color with multiple hues and natural veining. Considered food safe, mineral oil will build a silky but durable surface on your countertop.