Gone are the days when the terms "stone counters" and "granite counters" were basically synonymous. These days, designers and homeowners are growing more experimental and starting to use a wide array of different stones to make countertops. One type of stone that is increasing in popularity as a countertop material is soapstone. It looks lovely in many kitchens, but is it right for your kitchen? Take a look at these pros and cons of soapstone counters, and decide for yourself.
Pro: Soapstone is dense and resistant to stains.
Soapstone is not the hardest of countertop materials. It's considerably softer than granite or marble. However, it is very dense. In other words, the particles of stone are pressed really close together. This makes soapstone quite resistant to staining. You don't have to rush to wipe up a spill or worry that bacteria might get trapped in the stone after you set raw meat on the counter. There's also no need to seal soapstone counters because they're so dense.
Con: Soapstone can chip.
Although it is dense, it is a bit fragile. The edges of soapstone counters have been known to chip if you drop something heavy on them or bump into them when moving furniture or appliances. You need to be a bit careful around soapstone to avoid chipping it. It may not be a good idea for an apartment kitchen, since people will be moving things around a lot more.
Pro: Soapstone is affordable.
Soapstone comes at a much lower price point than granite or marble. It's also pretty easy for a contractor to install since it's softer and easier to cut than granite or marble. This brings the installation costs down, too.
Con: Soapstone comes in limited colors.
If you like the pale gray color with flecks of darker gray, then this isn't really a con. But if you're looking to get more adventurous with color choices, then soapstone may not be the right counter material for you. There's some variation in shades with certain slabs being a bit darker than others, but most soapstone is about the same color. Also, soapstone does darken over time, so you will need to plan for this when creating your kitchen color scheme.
If you like its color and are able to be careful around it, then soapstone can be a really safe, practical, affordable, and beautiful addition to your kitchen decorating scheme.
For more information, contact a kitchen countertop service in your area.