There is a factor soapstone is so extremely demanded, and not simply for chemistry laboratories. As we leave the shiny granite, swirly marble trend, soapstone with its understated design and extraordinary performance is as soon as again proving to be the countertop material that genuinely stands the test of time.
Soapstone is a naturally happening metamorphic rock called Steatite. It is composed of several minerals, the most plentiful being talc. Steatite, because of its additives, is more difficult than talc, making it suitable for resilient surface applications like countertops. Soapstone with a greater talc content is far softer and is frequently utilized for sculpting.
New England has a long history in soapstone, the Francestown Quarry was the first in New Hampshire, and it’s riches were discovered by mishap.
1808 landowner Daniel Fuller found that his rocky land deserved more than he might have imagined. One day while out repairing a fence he dropped his recently honed axe, to his surprise the axe was not harmed and had actually sliced through the ledge listed below. Fuller went on to become an extremely rich guy and the soapstone market was born.
Over the last century, almost every United States quarry has actually closed and most soapstone is imported from Brazil, the Albarene Quarry in Virginia is still working and producing soapstone slabs for the United States market.
Functional appeal. If a countertop material has actually been executed its rates in a high school chemistry laboratory, you understand it can take some rough treatment.
For years, soapstone was the go-to option for laboratory counters due to the fact that of it’s dense, non-porous surface area. It can withstand spills of bleach or acid, burst pens or spilled soda makings it pretty great in a kitchen.
The non-porous surface area also makes soapstone naturally anti-bacterial and extremely easy to tidy. My favorite part? You can put your hot pans right from the oven onto the counter, no scorching and no trivets.
Mineral Oil, no gas masks needed. Because soapstone is non-porous it does not need any sealing, which indicates no chemical off-gassing in your kitchen. The stone can be left in its natural state, and will stay light grey, or it can be oiled to reveal the dark black and charcoal that soapstone is known for. Food grade mineral oil does the job – a quick wipe on/wipe off and the stone will instantly go black, leaving any veins white and producing a lovely contrast.
The oil doesn’t sink into the stone (non-porous …) nor is it sealing or safeguarding the stone, it is just “speeding up” the natural darkening process. The oil will fade after time and will have to be reapplied, after about 6 months of routine oiling the dark color will be almost irreversible. Wax is also a choice, it tends to remain on a somewhat longer than the oil, however it takes a little bit more effort to use.
Soapstone has character. In time, the patina of the stone establishes steady imperfections, it will never ever be the ideal choice for somebody trying to find an extremely official or shiny surface. Soapstone is naturally matte and has a downplayed quality that silently radiates style.
Soapstone is soft, it can be scratched with a fingernail (and a little effort), fortunately, the scratches disappear with the application of mineral oil and any deeper marks can be buffed out with some light sanding.
Shades of Grey. Any type of soapstone, in its natural state, is a shade of grey. Some darker, some lighter, some with more green tones and some with blue. Each species or kind of soapstone has qualities that are developed in their environment and are special to that species. When trying to find soapstone discover a dealership who has a couple of different key ins stock, so you can see the differences between them and choose the stone that fits your look.
Nuts and bolts. Soapstone rates normally falls in the range of higher end marble and granite. If you’re handy and going to do some work there is that option, soapstone is soft enough for the weekend warrior to deal with and most soapstone distributors will offer DIY choices from installing it yourself, to doing all the fabrication.
Soapstone is niche, it will never be traditional (which’s OK). However, with its undoubtedly subtle design, and true performance soapstone can be a fantastic option for a stunning kitchen.