A common question that we are asked in the Pacific Northwest is whether or not Soap Stone is a good choice for countertops. The next questions that follows is usually what is Soap Stone.
What is Soap Stone?
Soap Stone or Soaprock is a talc-shist stone or metamorphic rock. It is formed in the earth’s surface much in the same way that other stones are formed through heat, pressure and time. Soap Stone is usually divided into two categories based on the amount of talc found in the stone. Artistic Soap Stone has a higher content of talc which makes the stone softer and soapy to the touch hence the name. Artistic Soap Stone is usually used for most carvings made of Soap Stone due to its ease of manipulation. Architectural Soap Stone contains less talc and is used for countertops, Benches etc.
Talc is one of the softest known minerals. Talc is not water-soluble and is the main mineral found in Soap Stone that give it its density. Talc ranges in color from white, grey or green. This is why Original Grey or Original Green are common names of Soap Stone used for countertops.
Soap Stone Countertops
Although extremely soft Soap Stone is also extremely dense and non-porous making it an ideal choice for countertops or lab tables. It is extremely difficult to stain and is not susceptible to acidic materials or heat.
Soap Stone is usually used in installations where one is hoping to achieve a period feel such as turn of the century or a more rustic feel. Soap Stone countertops are usually treated with mineral oil to bring out the rich colors of the stone or left untreated for an ultra-natural appearance. It has been our experience that Soap Stone is best suited for the customer who want’s the natural look of Soap Stone and does not want to periodically treat the stone with mineral oil or wax compounds.
Equally impressive in an old farmhouse as it is in an urban condo, soapstone is a great choice for the consumer who wants low maintenance and a sophisticated look.