Soapstone is becoming the “newest” trend in counter tops. It is gaining in popularity with architects, interior and kitchen designers alike, as they are drawn to soapstone’s soft feel and matte finish. It is becoming a highly coveted material and is both a much needed and excellent alternative to quartz and granite.
When you mention soapstone, the first thing that comes to mind is the carvings of the Canadian Inuits. There are essentially two categories of soapstone; Artistic and Architectural. Artistic soapstone (including most Canadian soapstone) has a very high talc (a soft mineral) content, approximately 80%, making it quite soft and ideal for carving and sculptures. Architectural soapstone on the other hand has a lower talc content, approximately 30%, making for a superb countertop and sink material. It still has the appearance and properties of Artistic Soapstone, but with the strength and durability needed for use in the home. This grade of soapstone typically comes from the United States, Brazil or India.
Soapstone’s talc content makes it smooth and waxy to the touch, also making it very water resistant and chemically inert as well as being absolutely stain resistant. Red wine, lemon juice, acids, oils, vinegars, etc. will not impact the surface. Unlike granite, there is no chemical sealing required, and so no unwanted toxins on your cooking surface. The only regular maintenance of soapstone that is required is the periodic application of either food grade mineral oil or a wax made from linseed oil and beeswax. While not required to seal the soapstone, these two products can be used to enhance the color and pattern of the soapstone.
Another huge benefit to using soapstone is that it is heat resistant, which allows you to safely put a hot pot directly on the surface with no fear of damage. Soapstone can also be used to make sinks. They can be made to any size or configuration leaving it’s design limitations to only ones imagination. The sinks are put together using a blind mortise and tenon joint, fastened with epoxy and guaranteed not to leak for life. The bottoms are sloped on all four sides to the center drain basket. The sinks are also made from the same slab as the countertop to ensure colour matching.
The design possibilities with soapstone are endless for both interior and exterior projects. When designing your next project, it might be worth it to consider soapstone.
Green Mountain Soapstone currently stocks 9 colors, ranging from grey/black, green/black, grey, charcoal, black to dark green. The slab sizes are similar to those of granite, but can vary in size, depending on the colour, and are worth the time to check out in person.