Soapstone has been around longer than some of its more modern countertop counterparts, but it is not the top choice for people looking for the low maintenance granite or almost no maintenance quartz. Though beautiful with its natural and unique by “lot” colors from almost black, to light gray or with a hint of green, soapstone has a “living finish”. Living finishes are those that develop a patina, or worn look like untreated brass, or oiled wood.
Soapstone is porous and requires sealing as often than marble; so why soapstone? If you are a purist and like a surface that is great for bread kneading, and also know that your well used kitchen or prep area will take on a life and story of its own… this surface can add warmth to your kitchen.
If you are looking for soapstone at a stoneyard make sure to request to see the slab wet which will give you a true read of the surface once it is oiled.
For those who aren’t afraid of imperfections we embrace each memory made through its use! Here you can see nicks that are common in high traffic areas like above the dishwasher or around the sink edge.
Below is a picture of soapstone being harvested in a quarry.
The Alternative: If you like the look, but don’t have the desire for the maintenance, we have substituted honed Jet Mist granite (seen in the second image in a past blog post)… and if you get the right slab, it can be difficult to tell the difference (unless you are one of those purists we discussed earlier).
Fun facts: Recently made popular, “Soapstones”, sometimes called whiskey stones, can be put in a freezer and later used in place of ice cubes to chill alcoholic beverages without diluting.
Years ago, small blocks of soapstone were heated on the cookstove or near the fire and used to warm cold bedclothes or to keep hands and feet cozy while sleighing.
Disappearing at a fast rate are sinks that almost every pre-50’s Wellesley home had- a soapstone utility sink in the basement.