Soapstone is a natural quarried stone that comes in a variety of colors, veining patterns and sizes. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock, also known as as “steatite”, which is comprised primarily of the minerals talc, chlorite, dolomite, and magnesite.
People are often confused by the fact that there are different types and grades of soapstone. Artistic grade soapstone contains a higher talc content, which means that it is softer and suitable for carving. At Sierra Soapstone, we import only architectural grade soapstone. Our soapstone has a low talc content, which makes it harder and more suitable for countertop usage.
Because of it’s mineral composition and the process by which it is formed, soapstone is very dense, non-porous, and chemically inert. Nothing will stain or etch soapstone, and you do not have to apply artificial sealers to protect soapstone countertops. Other natural stones, such as granite or marble, will stain or etch even after applications of artificial sealers. Soapstone has been used for decades as chemistry lab tables, because it is inert and will not be harmed by acidic materials.
Soapstone is also an efficient conductor of heat and can withstand very high temperatures. You can set hot pots and pans directly on your soapstone countertop surface without worrying about damaging your stone.
Soapstone Environmental Benefits
Green: Very small quarries with minimal impact
Because soapstone quarries are much much smaller than quarries for marble and granite, there is minimal impact to the environment. In fact, if there were quarries within 500 miles of us, soapstone would qualify for LEED certification. Unlike marble, we don’t cut into mountains to harvest soapstone nor do we dig deep into the earth. Although there is some impact to the environment, when you choose soapstone, you are choosing to minimize your impact on the environment, but still have natural stone countertops.
Clean: Chemical Free
Soapstone is quarried, fabricated and installed in its natural state. Because soapstone is bacteria resistant, it can be cleaned easily without any chemicals or harsh cleaners.
Efficient: Soapstone maintains its temperature
Soapstone is a popular choice for masonry heaters and flooring because it will retain temperatures longer than any other natural stone, including marble. Once the soapstone heats up, it will keep a room warm throughout the day, resulting in tremendous energy savings. As a countertop surface, this also comes in handy for baking projects that require consistent cold temperatures.