Are you thinking of remodelling your kitchen and replacing those cheap countertops that came with the house? Then why not try soapstone countertops! Soapstone is a very old stone. According to scientists, this stone is around 300 to 400 million years old. This stone is usually soft and feels like dry soap when touched, that’s why it is called a soapstone. For centuries, this stone has been used by humans as material for fireplaces, tools and sculptures. The soft and warm features of this material are one of the reasons why consumers are raving about it. Soapstone countertop cost is comparable to that of other natural stones, such as granite.
Soapstone Countertops Features
This stone is actually a type of talc, and this is the reason for its soap like qualities. Aside from talc, it is also made of other substances such as chlorite, dolomite and magnesite. This makes this stone inert, which means it won’t react to any household chemicals such as acid based cleaning fluids. This is an advantage over granite and marble which can be easily etched or stained by vinegar or aggressive cleaning substances. It is also stain-proof as well as burn-proof. Though it is not scratch proof, scratches can easily be remedied by light sanding. This makes it a very durable material for kitchen or bathroom surfaces, despite not being as hard as granite or marble.
Soapstone countertops come in a wide variety of colors and textures, with dark grey and light grey being the most common. However, depending on what other minerals enter its composition you can have soapstone countertops with a green or blue tinge. As a natural stone, no two slabs are alike and your kitchen won’t look the same as any other kitchen. The irregularity and variety of texture is what makes natural stone so popular even when compared to man-made quartz countertops with similar features.
Unlike granite and marble, soapstone countertops are non-porous without requiring sealing. This and its tolerance for acids is what makes them popular as material for science labs desks! (admittedly a lot of them use metal worktops nowadays, but soapstone lab benches were a thing!). However, if you want to keep dark soapstone looking dark you’ll need to regularly apply mineral oil and that may wear off unevenly. If you want your worktops to look pristine and totally even, you are better off with quartz countertops or even marble.
Soapstone countertops are also softer to the touch than any other natural stone, and feel more like wood. Like wood, they will get scratched but the scratches can be sanded off easily. However, they won’t give a glossy surface look for long, even if you are very careful. Technically they are less likely to break a glass or dish falling on them, but that is likely to leave a dent and to be honest, the glass will probably break. Don’t try that at home and save yourself the trouble of sanding the dent off!
Soapstone is best suited for a kitchen which matches a patina feel. Scratches, uneven wear and texture, they can make your kitchen look like a dreamlike lived-in cozy home or may drive you crazy. In that sense, it feels a lot like wood countertops, in that keeping it pristine is often not worth the cost and effort and it’s just better to go with the flow and a softer look. They are not particularly cheap either, so if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to granite this is not it.
Soapstone Countertops Cost
Soapstone countertops costs usually the same as that of the cost of granite countertops. One square feet of the soapstone cost around $70 to $100 for a normal quality soapstone. A normal countertop would be around 30 square feet so if you multiply that for a sample price of $85, you would need to pay around $2550 as a conservative estimate. Aside from the material, the labour for transportation and cutting charges for the stone, along with installation costs should also be considered. If you choose to go high end and demand something highly customised, perhaps because your kitchen has an unusual layout, soapstone countertops cost can become much higher. They can go as high up to $300, but this material is usually customised to the customers desired shape and size.
In regards to installation, you are likely to need more seams with a soapstone countertop than with granite, as the slabs tend to be smaller. Larger slabs can be prohibitively expensive and very difficult to install, so not many venders will offer those. This also means DIY installation is usually not an option unless you are in the trade, as handling the stone slabs is a specialist talent and requires specialist equipment. So factor in installation costs on your budget and don’t be distracted by the call of YouTube “you can install them yourself” videos.
Soapstone countertops would definitely be a great addition to your home, especially if you have kids who love messing around the kitchen. They are easy to keep clean, durable and will add value to your home if you decide to sell it, as the new owners will appreciate the quality of the kitchen surfaces. When you know they are going to last for decades with minimal care, soapstone countertops cost doesn’t look so high but admittedly is an investment and you must make sure you choose a texture and colour you absolutely love.