5 Things to Know About Countertops Made of Soapstone in Oregon - Luxurious Natural Stone in Oregon

Ready to remodel your Oregon kitchen? It’s a big project to take on, with lots of decisions to make along the way.

Gourmet kitchens are at the top of everyone’s wish list. Realtors agree that an upgraded kitchen can close the sale. And you don’t have to break the bank for an updated look. Switching out cabinets, adding new door handles, upgrading to stainless steel, and installing new countertops can do the trick.

And if you’re in the market for new countertops, we have a recommendation for you: use soapstone for your Oregon kitchen.

There are many different types and styles of natural countertops you can select. And while a lot of homeowners come in thinking about granite or marble, they leave happy by choosing soapstone countertops instead. It’s the perfect choice for a lot of Oregon homeowners because they look great and go with our approach to living a natural lifestyle.

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock made up of at least 50 percent talc. When you feel a soapstone countertop, it feels soft to the touch. In fact, that feeling is what inspired its name—it’s similar to a dry bar of soap. But don’t let that fool you. If you select soapstone for your countertops, they’re a lot harder and more durable than a bar of soap.

What to Know About Type

Soapstone comes in two categories: artistic and architectural. The difference is in the amount of talc content in the product. Artistic-grade soapstone has a high talc content, above 75 percent, which makes it soft and easy to carve. Architectural-grade soapstone has a lower talc content, between 50 and 75 percent, which makes it harder and more suitable for the countertops in your home.

Soapstone is quarried around the world, from Brazil to India to right here in the US. In fact, it’s one of the few natural stones quarried here. And that’s nice to know when you’re remodeling your home in Oregon. Soapstone countertops can be the perfect choice if you want to work with local products—and as one of the leading sellers of soapstone countertops right here in your local community, we’re happy to offer you great advice.

What to Know About Color

Soapstone has a lot more consistency in color than other natural stone products such as granite. Therefore, suppliers tend to name the selections based on marketing, rather than the product itself. Don’t let these names fool you. You can’t call around and find specific looks based on these names, or for a similar look to the one you’ve recently seen in a Street of Dreams, for example. Seeing is the only way to be sure you like the finished product.

You’ll likely find soapstone labeled based on three color selections: gray, blue, and green.

Gray soapstone, for example, will come in varying shades of gray, depending on where it is quarried, with veins of color weaving through it in varying texture. Barocca soapstone has a smooth, light-gray color throughout, with thin white veins that weave across the surface. These become more visible when you oil or wax the soapstone. It’s quarried in Brazil and is an excellent addition to any home.

You’ll also find the occasional “white soapstone” at certain dealers. While it may look like soapstone because of its color and veining, it isn’t soapstone at all. It’s actually made of marble. Ask the fabricator questions so you understand what you’re truly getting in the slab you finally pick out.

What to Know About Durability

Don’t let the talc fool you. Soapstone is a hardy stone. It’s heat resistant, making it a great choice for kitchen countertops. It won’t feel as hot to the touch as other countertop choices, like granite.

Soapstone is also a nonporous substance, meaning it won’t stain, even when touched by the harshest chemicals. If you remember soapstone tables in your high school chemistry class, this is why.

Soapstone is softer than granite, however. If you’ve had granite in the past, this may be a bit of an adjustment when you introduce them into your home. They scratch and nick a bit easier. If the scratch is surface level, all it may take is a simple swipe with a damp cloth to remove it. You can also try a gentle application of soapstone oil or wax. Deeper marks can be wiped away with a gentle rubbing with steel wool, followed by oil or wax.

What to Know About Cleaning

Because soapstone is nonporous, it cleans up like a dream. Just use a mild soap and a sponge or dish rag to wipe the countertop down.

Another good thing about using soapstone in your Oregon home is that it’s a very sanitary choice for your family. Its nonporous finish means easier cleanup and less contamination as you’re cooking with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that are sometimes associated with bacteria.

What to Know About Care

Soapstone typically comes in a lighter color when first purchased and installed and darkens with age. You can treat your soapstone regularly with oil or wax to keep it looking new. Some homeowners prefer an aged look and allow the color to change naturally over time.

Either way, your preferences dictate coloring and how it starts to wear. You can leave it for months or apply oil or wax regularly to change the look. It’s like “remodeling” your kitchen with just a damp cloth—a new look suddenly appears to your Oregon home with your soapstone countertops.

Yet, don’t be concerned about the graying over time. It’s what soapstone does. It’s what gives your countertops character and personality.

Is Soapstone for You?

The good news is that adding soapstone countertops to your home is as easy and cost-effective as granite. Because of their durability, they’ll last for years.

Be aware that not all soapstone dealers are the same. As a wholesaler right here in the Portland area, EleMar Oregon stocks a variety of soapstone slabs. Soapstone can be smaller than granite slabs, which means you might need more than one slab to complete your project. By having a full selection, we ensure you can create your kitchen’s look without having to hunt for soapstone in other regions, upping the costs for your project.

If you’re ready to see how soapstone will enhance your Oregon remodeling project, stop by today.