Soapstone is a very traditional countertop material,
and for good reason.
Soapstone is superior to other natural stone when it comes to heat. It is often used as cladding on wood burning stoves, and retains and radiates heat evenly. It makes a wonderful fireplace surround! Soapstone doesn’t stain, and does not require a sealer. Instead, most Soapstone is typically treated with mineral oil to darken and enhance the color of the stone.
It’s not necessary to oil soapstone, but most people prefer the deeper color produced by doing so. Soapstone is not affected by acids contained in typical kitchen items like lemons, wine, or vinegar. Historically, it has been used as labratory surfaces, and it is a beautiful, practical and durable work surface in the kitchen.
Soapstone has a matte finish, and a luxurious texture (hence the “soap” in Soapstone). Soapstone can and will scratch. Happily, most scratches can be subdued by a light sanding and oiling, and over time small scratches add to the patina.
Soapstone is available in shades of grey and black, with most having green undertones that are enhanced by oiling, and it typically has delicate but dramatic white veining throughout.