Find out if this charcoal-like stone is the right fit for you
Soapstone countertops offer a rich, timeless look that can elevate all sorts of kitchen aesthetics. But like many great things in life, soapstone does come with a few drawbacks, which you'll want to consider before committing to it for the long haul.
Here, we break down all of the pros and cons of soapstone countertops so you can figure out whether they're an ideal fit for your home and lifestyle.
Pros of Soapstone Countertops
There's a whole lot to love about soapstone countertops.
A lot of natural stones are porous, which means they soak up stains easily. But despite being natural, soapstone is actually nonporous. This means common kitchen messes won't stain it, so you won't have to worry too much if you accidentally knock over your morning coffee or evening cocktail. Plus, soapstone's nonporous composition means that bacteria won't penetrate it, so it's a total breeze to clean.
Doesn't Require Sealant
Being nonporous also means soapstone doesn't require a sealant to maintain its appearance. Many other countertop materials, such as quartz, limestone, and wood, require regular sealing to stand up to tough stains and other messes that typical kitchens see on the daily. But if you opt for soapstone countertops, then you never need to think about this protective layer.
Easy to Carve
Soapstone is a relatively soft stone, typically falling between 2.5 and 3.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale when used for countertops. And while this softness means it's more susceptible to scratches than many other stones, it's also very easy to carve. So if you find a countertop slab that you like, you can hire a local countertop contractor to carve out matching sinks, soap dishes, and drain boards for an oh-so-stylish kitchen.
Withstands High Heat
Often, you need a trivet to put hot pans down on your countertops to prevent the heat from causing damage. But if you have soapstone countertops in your kitchen, you can transfer your pans directly from the stove onto the countertop without fear of damaging the surface.
It's a Natural Stone
Soapstone is a natural stone. It doesn't require sealant and it's not mixed with resin. Its all-natural composition also means that no two pieces are exactly alike, so your countertop will truly be one of a kind.
Doesn't React to Acid
Acidic foods, such as lemons and tomatoes, can damage many types of countertops—but not soapstone. In fact, soapstone countertops don't react to acid at all, so you don't have to worry about a spaghetti spill ruining your beautiful new counter.
Cons of Soapstone Countertops
Like all types of countertops, soapstone has a few drawbacks to consider.
Limited Color Options
Because soapstone is a natural stone, its colors are limited to what Mother Nature dictates. Most soapstone comes in darker hues, like gray and black, though some have blue or green tints. So, if you're hoping to find a specific color to match your kitchen's aesthetic, then you might be better off with an engineered stone countertop such as quartz, which comes in all kinds of different colors and styles.
Soapstone is softer than many other countertop materials, so it's pretty susceptible to damage. Even sliding a glass vase across it might cause a few scratches. Fortunately, mild damage is fairly easy to fix, usually only requiring a bit of sanding. Still, if your kitchen sees a lot of activity or you simply can't stand to look at imperfections, soapstone countertops might not be a good fit for your household.
It Wears Unevenly
If you want your soapstone countertop to continue looking dark and rich, you'll need to rub mineral oil on it every few months to maintain its color and prevent fading. However, the areas of your counter that get used a lot will always fade faster than other parts of the counter, so your countertop might look a bit uneven between oilings.
Though not as expensive as marble, soapstone countertops cost more than many other natural stone countertops—even granite—so it's definitely not the most budget-friendly option. If you like the look of soapstone but not the price, then you can go with quartz, which is slightly less expensive and can mimic the appearance of soapstone.
Soapstone comes in relatively small slabs, so if your kitchen counters are larger than 7 square feet, you'll probably have some visible seams where the two slabs connect. That said, if installed properly, the seams won't be too noticeable, so it shouldn't necessarily be a dealbreaker.