If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, you might have come across soapstone as an alternative to granite or marble for your countertops. Soapstone countertops come in a more limited range of colors than granite, and are softer than other natural stone materials, but they have one major benefit: soapstone countertops are virtually maintenance-free.
Soapstone Countertop Cleaning
Soapstone countertops are nonporous, which makes them easy to keep clean. Spills do not soak into the countertops, and do not leave stains. The soapstone may darken when liquid collects, but it will return to its natural color as soon as the liquid evaporates or is wiped up.
Soapstone’s nonporous structure makes it naturally resistant to bacteria. This makes cleaning simple – all you need is mild soap and water. No harsh chemicals or antibacterial cleaners necessary.
Soapstone Countertop Maintenance
Soapstone countertops naturally darken over time. Some homeowners prefer to speed up this process by wiping their countertops with food-grade mineral oil. After 6-10 coats of mineral oil, the soapstone will be permanently darkened and no further treatment is necessary.
Occasionally, soapstone countertops acquire small nicks and grooves that are easily sanded out. Sand nicks using coarse sandpaper in a circular motion until they are almost gone, then switch to finishing sandpaper. Once the nick is gone, treat the area with mineral oil until it matches the surrounding area.
Soapstone Countertop Cost
Soapstone countertops range from $60-$105 per square foot installed, depending on the quality and thickness of soapstone, and the region you live in. If you plan to install soapstone countertops as part of a larger kitchen remodel, ask potential contractors to include them in their quotes. If you plan to replace the countertop alone, look for a company that specializes in architectural soapstone.
Unlike granite and marble, soapstone is quarried in relatively small (under 7-foot) slabs. If your countertops span more than seven feet, you’ll need a contractor that is skilled in minimizing seams and matching veining.
Once your new soapstone countertops are installed, they will last as long as your house.