Aside from the ageless natural beauty and tactile quality of the stone, it is very practical. Soapstone is very comfortable in a hard working kitchen since it is non-porous and will not stain. No bacteria will be able to penetrate the stone’s surface. Soapstone has excellent thermal qualities making it virtually heat proof. Setting extremely hot or cold pans on soapstone is never a problem. In the June 2006 issue of Money Magazine seven surfaces were field tested for countertop durability. Soapstone won the challenge. Soapstone is a natural material for sinks. As soapstone sinks age the better they look. Soapstone sinks can be built to most any size and style. Fireplaces and hearths work well in soapstone. A fireplace lined in soapstone is estimated to be many times more efficient. Using soapstone on Fireplace hearths and surround adds an old-world charm to any living area.
What Is Soapstone?
Soapstone or Steatite is a metamorphic talc based stone that comes in many degrees of hardness. Among is components are talc, magnesium silicate and chlorite. The softer variety is known as “pure talc”, this is used for soapstone carvings and may be broken down for other industrial uses. Here at Soapstone Werks the harder countertop quality of steatite is used, as it lends itself to better wear and heat resistance. Soapstone is quarried in mines like other countertop stones and in its raw state is either blue/gray or green/gray on color.Soasptone will always go darker with the traditional treatment of mineral oil.
Why Use Soapstone?
With it’s soft to the touch feel and old world matte finish, soapstone appeals to people looking for a different warmth and approachability not always found in high gloss stones. It’s resistance to chemicals and heat is well known and the reason it has been used for years as labaratory countertops. These qualities are what makes soapstone so desirable in the kitchens of well known chefs and cooks worldwide. Household acids such as lemon juice, vinegar and the like don’t react with soapstone because of it’s chemical inertness. Soapstone is an old world stone in the truest sense. It’s workability and hardiness are why it has been the choice for generations worth of sinks, countertops and fireplaces.
The Applications of Soapstone
Soapstone can be used in many applications
Soapstone is a non-porous stone and therefore needs no sealing, it has traditionally been treated with mineral oil to darken it’s surface giving it the rich almost black patina. Soapstone has commonly been used in laboratories because of its density and inertness. Soapstone can also withstand high heat, so will not burn. You may have seen soapstone in high school or college science labs.
Using tools readily available in local hardware stores, most soapstone is very workable by homeowners and craftsmen. Cutting is usually done with a skillsaw and diamond turbo blade and can be given a hand-finish with a good sandpaper. Those who wish Soapstone Werks to do the custom fabrication and installation can be accomodated as well. Although any edge profile can be accomplished in soapstone, the 3cm thickness of soapstone looks best with an old-world “plank edge profile” that is softened on top and bottom with an 1/8″ radius..
Soapstone is non-porous. Because of its density and with mineral oil applied as a further protective topcoat it is virtually stain-proof. After installation soapstone is often oiled with mineral oil. It will then patinate to a deep black matte finish with the beauty of natural stone markings. Surface scratches can be repaired with the application of mineral oil or an occasional light sanding.
Soapstone Is A Hit!
Using soapstone in your home or project just makes sense to those desiring a unique and proven stone that is beautiful in looks and personalilty. This is why many are re-discovering it’s special qualities and bringing soapstone home!
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