What is soapstone?
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of talc; it can contain different amounts of other
minerals like mica, amphibole, and carbonate. It is usually very soft and is thus easy to carve.
Soapstone owes its name to the fact it does a feel a bit like soap.
Where is soapstone found?
Soapstone can be found all over the world. Most of the soapstone used today comes from India,
China, or Brazil. Soapstone, however, has also been found in the United States, Switzerland, Italy,
Germany, France, England, Canada, Austria, and Australia.
Is soapstone resistant to heat?
Since soapstone is mostly talc, it has many of the same properties as that mineral. For example,
soapstone is heat-resistant like talc. Other properties that soapstone shares with talc include the
- Soft and easy to carve
- Resistant to alkalis and acids
- High specific heat capacity
- Low electrical conductivity
What are the uses for soapstone?
Soapstone’s properties make it extremely versatile. It can be made into a variety of items that
include the following:
- Countertops for laboratories and kitchens
- Fireplace hearths and liners
- Plates and bowls
- Sculptures and carvings
- Cemetery markers
- Tiles for walls and floors
Are soapstone countertops easy to maintain?
Yes. A homeowner will only need ordinary soap and water to clean it. It can’t be damaged by acids
like wine or lemon juice – which is one reason scientists use it in their labs. Since soapstone is heat-
resistant heat, you can place hot pans and pots on it without damaging it. It doesn’t get stained, but it
may get darker as it ages.
The main downside to soapstone is its softness that makes it vulnerable to nicks and scratches.
Mineral oil can make them less noticeable and make the veins in the soapstone more prominent.