Soapstone has been used for thousands of years in art and architecture, but today it is growing in popularity as a material for kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Like granite, soapstone is a natural stone. But it is softer than granite, and it tends to be darker, available largely in shades of blue, green and gray. Soapstone has a unique look that appeals to homeowners who are looking to create a distinctive space.
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Cost of Soapstone Countertops
Soapstone is comparable in price to granite. Typically, expect to pay about $75 to $100 per square foot, including installation. High-end soapstone or custom jobs can reach $150 per square foot or more.
Keep in mind that price is also impacted by factors such as your geographic location and the current availability of soapstone. Installation costs vary from one contractor to another, although it’s probably worth the extra money to hire someone with significant experience. Otherwise, you risk damage to the stone.
Soapstone Countertops Pros
- Durable – Soapstone countertops are extremely durable. They will last a lifetime – perhaps many lifetimes. Soapstone counters will never stain and they are highly resistant to damage from heat.
- Sanitary – Soapstone is extremely dense, so it does not absorb bacteria or illness-causing germs. Comparable materials, including granite, slate and marble, are highly absorbent and not as sanitary.
- Low maintenance – Simply clean the countertops with a damp sponge and a mild household cleaner. As with any type of countertop, however, it’s best to stick to manufacturer-approved cleaners.
- Minimal seaming – Large soapstone countertops do have seams, but the seams can be sanded down so they are barely noticeable.
Soapstone Countertops Cons
- Prone to scratching – Eventually, your soapstone will soften and develop some scratches, dents and dings, particularly around the edges. Scratches can removed by light sanding, but some people leave them, believing they add character.
- Limited color options – With soapstone, there are fewer color options than with other types of natural stone. If you don’t like grays, greens and blues, soapstone is not the best option for you.
- Prone to color changes – Soapstone tends to darken when it is exposed to water, oils or grease. This can be prevented by periodically treating the surface with mineral oil. Apply mineral oil to the entire surface of the counter, then wipe it down with a dry cloth.