DEAR TIM: A kitchen artist recommended soapstone countertops for my new kitchen. Do you accept any acquaintance with soapstone counters or alike a soapstone sink? I’ve never heard of this actual and admiration about it. Would you use it in your home? If not, why not? — Tara M., Montrose, Calif.
DEAR TARA: Soapstone is a accustomed bean product. It’s quarried aloof like marble or granite. It’s a metamorphic bedrock that contains a almost aerial bulk of talc, which is why it’s alleged soapstone. If you’ve anytime had a block of crumb in your hand, your aboriginal consequence is that it feels soapy.
Knowing this, you should extrapolate that soapstone is somewhat soft. My academy above was geology. I acutely bethink a lab chic back we were testing the acerbity of minerals. Crumb was one of the softest minerals we had in the lab. It aching actual easily.
As you ability expect, Mother Nature can aftermath soapstone in assorted grades of hardness. The softest array is awful admired for abstraction or carving. The hardest soapstone can be acclimated in all sorts of places about homes, businesses or alike labs. Adamantine soapstone has a academy bulk of quartz in it.
If you took aerial academy or academy allure and formed in a laboratory, your lab table was actual acceptable fabricated from soapstone. Its apparent arrangement makes it about impervious to chemicals or best liquids. That’s a abundant affection for a countertop.
Soapstone seems to accept a bounded attitude in New England. It’s quarried in Vermont, breadth the Green Mountains are loaded with bags of metamorphic rock, including marble, schists and granite. Abounding bodies assume to adulation a soapstone adverse and acknowledge the appropriate brighten it develops with use.
You can actually get a soapstone sink. But I would acclaim that you booty a attending at ones that accept been in use for a acceptable three to bristles years. See how they book in absolute accustomed use. My assumption is that you’ll be afraid by what you see, abnormally if pots and pans accept been bouncing about in the sink.
My accepted home actuality in New Hampshire has soapstone counters in the kitchen, and I’m not a huge fan of them. The counters blemish easily, and to accomplish them attending acceptable all the time you accept to consistently covering them with a anointed mineral oil. Alike the fabricators of the bean allocution about approved oiling to accomplish soapstone counters attending good.
I don’t apperceive about you, but I try to abstain articles that crave approved aliment like that. I’ve never had to oil my granite acme to accomplish them attending good. They flash anniversary day with no care. Every bristles to ten years I do accept to administer a covering of bright sealer to the granite, but it’s not anointed and it doesn’t get on my clothes.
The best admonition I can accord you afore authoritative a accommodation as big and final as this is to do a test. The analysis may amount you beneath than $100. Go to a soapstone architect and buy a trivet. Get a big one — say, 16 inches square. Place it in a high-use breadth of your absolute countertop. Do things to it that you’ll be accomplishing to your new countertops.
Analysis it to death. Slide cans over it. Drop apparatus on it. Use it as a acid lath if you’ve cut things in the accomplished on your counters. Spill things on it like red wine, grease, etc. and let them sit for hours. See if the liquids absorb in and stain the stone. Treat it aloof like you do your absolute counters.
See if the bounded soapstone provider can acquaint you three places breadth soapstone counters accept been in use for ten years or more. Try to appointment those places to see how they look. Remember, abounding bodies adulation the attending of soapstone that works adamantine anniversary day. I’m aloof not one of them.
Tim Carter is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. He can be contacted via his Web site, http://www.askthebuilder.com/printer_Submit_Question.shtml.
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