Soapstone 101: What You Need to Know About Soapstone

Soapstone, also known as steatite, is a quarried stone that is softer to the touch, yet extremely pliable and non-porous. It can be used in a variety of ways in both interior and exterior spaces, and it was famously used to create the “Christ the Redeemer” statue located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here is a look at some of the common uses of soapstone, as well as a look at its pros and cons.

What Are the Benefits of Soapstone?

The main feature that soapstone offers it its extremely dense construction. The stone is not porous at all, and it is actually denser than granite, marble, slate, and limestone. This makes it virtually impenetrable, which means it is not likely to stain and it repels fluids. Even though soapstone is dense, it is still pliable, so it is more resilient to cracks from the pressure of weight than other stones.

What Are the Most Popular Uses of Soapstone in Connecticut?

Due to its impermeability, soapstone is commonly selected for locations that come into contact with liquid, such as countertops and custom sinks. Soapstone is often the material of choice for chemistry lab counters because of its durability.  In Connecticut, soapstone is also a popular choice for fire boxes. It lines the inside of the fire box and provides a more modern, streamlined look versus brick or other types of stone.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of Soapstone?

As far as appearance goes, soapstone is pretty basic. It is usually gray, dark gray, or black, and some stones have veining while some are completely clean. When the stone gets wet or oiled, it transforms to a much darker shade than it is in its natural state. To the touch, soapstone feels like a dry bar of soap, hence its name.

Where Is Soapstone Quarried?

When it comes to our personal selection, soapstone is quarried naturally right in New England, with most of the stone we use for fireboxes coming from Vermont. We also import soapstone from Brazil, Finland, and Canada when it is being used in countertops and university chemistry labs.

What Are the Limitations of Soapstone?

While the benefits of soapstone are undisputable, it does have some negatives to be aware of. Since it is softer in nature, some people feel like it gets dinged easier—however, it has to be hit just right with a sharp object for this to happen. Additionally, if the stone is left in its natural state, it will turn darker if greasy things get on the stone. As a result, many people choice to darken their soapstone counters early on reducing the opportunity for spots to occur.

Overall, soapstone is an excellent choice if you are working on constructing a firebox or an area that comes into contact with ample liquids. If you would like to see our stunning collection of soapstone firsthand so you can select the best slab for your client, stop by our showroom today.

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