Choosing the right materials for your home projects can be surprisingly confusing. First, there is the issue of availability of materials. Your top choice may not be within distance of what you want to do. In addition, there is the cost associated with the material.
Take kitchen countertops as an example. Finding the right surface for your kitchen is based on as series of factors both economic and personal. Is your desired material available for use? Is the price of the material and installation affordable? Is it in the right color? Can it hold up to constant use? Will it require any additional maintenance?
These are but a few of the questions a person asks when getting a new countertop. To make this process simpler for you, we will take a look at a counter top material that is only growing in popularity, soapstone. In addition to taking a look at this material, we will compare the pros and cons associated with using soapstone countertops. With any luck, you will leave this article with a better understanding as to whether or not soapstone countertops are right for you.
The Pros of Using Soapstone
1. The Look
Simply put, soapstone is a beautiful material to have a countertop made out of. It ranges in a number of different grays and blacks. In addition, some soapstone has elements of green in it. Soapstone reflects well, and the veins of material in the soapstone shine out brilliantly. For these reasons, soapstone has become very popular among architects looking to install new kitchen materials in freshly built households. It should also be noted that one thing owners of soapstone counters love is how the counter will change color over time. This is not an effect of it absorbing liquids. In fact, soapstone is very hard to stain when compared to other popular countertops. Rather, it is a natural effect of the stone to gradually darken over time, eventually becoming gray to black in color. In addition, this causes the veins in the material to shine even brighter, creating an interesting and appealing contrast.
2. Resistance To Heat
Unlike other commonly used countertop materials, soapstone countertops are incredibly resilient to heat. This means that you can rest things from the oven on the countertops with relatively little to no fear of damage being done. While minor to some, this feature makes the countertop significantly more versatile to granite or other material types. In addition to being able to withstand heat, soapstone does a good job of absorbing and displacing the heat that comes in contact with it, making it perfect if you need to use the same space repeatedly while resting hot things on it.
Depending on the countertop, cleaning can be a real challenge. In addition, as people with granite countertops have learned, there is a real chance of staining being a problem. Soapstone countertops do not suffer from the same challenges as granite when it comes to cleaning. In fact, soapstone countertops are amazingly easy to clean. In addition to being easy to clean, they are non-porous. This makes them an excellent material to prepare food on, and it ensure that when you prepare food on the counter, you will be able to effectively clean the countertop afterwards.
4. Easy To Shape For Your Need
Soapstone is easy to shape and manufacture into your desired space. Where as granite is more difficult for unique applications, soapstone is perfect for even the most challenging kitchen arrangements. While soapstone may be more expensive then granite in some areas, this added feature makes it perfect for individuals looking to customize their kitchen.
To summarize, soapstone is easy to clean, is easy to have cut into your desired shape, is resistant to heat, and looks fantastic. With that being said, lets take a moment to review some of the cons associated with soapstone.
The Cons of Using Soapstone For Your Countertop
1. Easy to chip
More then most other kitchen countertop materials, soapstone is easy to chip. These chips can result from a number of different sources, and vary in the challenge to fix. Though soapstone has been reported to chip easily, most chips can be fixed with relatively little effort. The first technique people use to fix their chipped countertop is to apply mineral oil. In addition, people sand down the surface to smooth out imperfections. Either way, if you are worried about your counter chipping and you do not want to worry about the material, then you should consider something besides soapstone.
2. Requires Additional care
More then most other countertops, soapstone requires the occasional tender love and care. This can take on many forms. First, there is an annual application of mineral oil, and other surface treatments design to both strengthen the soapstone and create a more appealing, darker color. Beyond that, there is being aware of the fact that some cleaning materials do not work well with soapstone. Figuring out what works and what does not work is more often then not a trial and error process. Once again, if you do not want to spend time thinking about your countertop, then soapstone is not for you.
Generally speaking, soapstone is more expensive then an alternative material like granite. This is for three reasons. The first is a product of proximity. Are there any providers of soapstone in your area? The second is a product of manufacturing amount. How many countertops do they have available and what is the level of demand? The third thing to consider is what quality of countertop do you want if you do not go with soapstone. Granite for example can be as costly as soapstone depending on where you live and the quality of the granite. Again, soapstone is generally about as expensive as the higher quality granite countertops.
4. Limited Color Selection
The last thing to consider is color. While soapstone may be perfect because it can be cut into the right shape, it suffers greatly from having only a limited amount of colors. Unless you are looking for a gray to black countertop, and are ok with the countertop becoming darker as time goes on, then you should not consider soapstone. This is one of the leading reasons, as well as cost, why people do not ultimately choose soapstone.
So, to wrap up the cons, soapstone can be more expensive then other materials, it has a smaller selection of available colors, it requires additional care, and it is easy to chip.