Soapstone: The Humble Stone

The humble soapstone… it has such a quiet and unassuming presence you would never know it was the superman of stones. It’s basically the Clark Kent of stones.

There has been a resurgence of the natural stone and it’s growing in popularity–and we know why! Soapstone is impervious to stains and is exceptionally heat resistant. In fact, it is typically used in laboratories because of its ability to be impervious to virtually all chemicals. It’s often used in ovens because it is temperature neutral. You can feel free to set your blazing hot pizza stone or boiling soup pot right on top. It is an extremely dense, nonporous stone that is completely hygienic and never needs to be sealed. Not even bacteria can penetrate it! And because essentially nothing can penetrate it, soapstone is also a green choice for your home–you don’t need harsh chemicals to clean or seal it. A simple solution of vinegar diluted with water will clean the stone just fine.

Soapstone has a soft, warm touch, and develops a patina over time. It will last many lifetimes. We love the look and the endless design options and have come to appreciate its resilient qualities. Soapstone varies in tones of gray and blue and can be conditioned with a few coats of mineral oil to give it a charcoal hue. One of our customers used soapstone in his kitchen for his countertops and as a fireplace bench that seems to float in space:

While soapstone is extremely dense and thus impervious to stains (it’ll takes hard problem stains like wine, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in stride) it can scratch. Soapstone has a lot of talc in its composition and while the talc makes the stone feel soft, it can also cause it to show wear over time. However, repairing soapstone is easy! Small nicks can easily be rubbed out and a coat of mineral oil will restore where water spots or hot spills have evaporated the oil. If you’re attracted to rustic, natural elements that seem to live, you may not consider soapstone’s “living” quality a flaw!

Soapstone has many textural and design options. It can be minimally polished to have a rough, natural finish or can be highly polished for an ultra-modern, contemporary look–or even something in between! It can be left to age naturally which will keep the stone lighter than if you oil it. A simple rubdown with mineral oil once or twice will give it an aged, charcoal look. Or you can apply mineral oil on a regular basis to ensure a consistent darkening happens throughout the stone. If you want to know where you can view slab samples, visit our distributors Intrepid or Pental located in Portland, Oregon, or stop by our showroom to see samples!