Soapstone Countertops - Popular material choice
Qualities and Cost
Soapstone is a unique material with excellent characteristics for use in home countertops. You may not know much about this stone, but it has been used by humans for centuries for many purposes, including tools, vases, fireplaces and sculptures. Soapstone is becoming increasingly popular again for use as kitchen countertops because of its soft and warm feel. Consumer reviews regularly rate soapstone as one of the best countertop surfaces available.
Just remember – it may be called soapstone, but it cannot be used as soap! This name came about because of the unusually soft feel it has – similar to the feel of dry soap. This soft feel is due to the presence of talc in the soapstone. Talc is one of soapstone’s main ingredients, along with magnesite, dolomite and chlorite. Soapstone is an extremely old stone, being anywhere from 300-400 million years old, depending on where in the world it comes from. Vermont and Brazil are two of the world’s major producers of quality soapstone. Prices for soapstone are comparable to granite.
One the most notable features about high quality soapstone is its inert nature. This means it will not react to household cleaners or spills of acidic or alkaline liquids such as juices and vinegar, which marble and granite will react to. Another excellent characteristic of soapstone is that if it is stained, the stain does not seep deeply into the structure of the stone. This means with a little light scrubbing or sanding you can erase the stain and return your countertop to its original state.
Cost of Installing Soapstone Countertops
Having your home fitted in soapstone could cost you anything up to $50 to $90 per square foot – with most slabs measuring on average 30” by 72”. Slabs with unique details can cost significantly more, and home owners also need to factor in the cost of design work, the shipping and transport of the slabs, and cutting charges.
Most kitchens use 1 ¼” thick slabs, this rules out the need to add a sub base to any existing cabinets.
Many companies also give you the option of having part of the slap fitted with drainage grooves – these are neatly carved into stone.