Are you considering soapstone counters? Then you’re probably wondering what soapstone countertops cost.
You might be surprised to learn that soapstone is actually a great material for counters at a reasonable price. When considering soapstone vs granite, you don’t need to go for the trendy, expensive option.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to have a beautiful budget-friendly counter using soapstone. Soapstone can withstand heat nicely, and it isn’t porous, making it an ideal choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
From cost to value, keep reading to learn how soapstone can benefit your home!
What Is Soapstone?
Unlike some well-known types of rock, soapstone is a bit of a mystery to many people.
A less-common name for soapstone is “steatite.” This metamorphic rock is comprised of at least half talc, plus other minerals, such as magnetite.
This minerals form into solid rock over a long period of time, under lots of pressure. Because soapstone is soft, it’s been used for carving for many centuries in a number of cultures. In fact, the best-known use for this material is in sculptures of all sizes.
Soapstone has been found all across the globe. Among the cultures that have used it in carvings are Africans, Inuits, Native Americans, and Grecians.
In the past, people used this type of stone to make pipes, bowls, molds, and even roads. Since it stands up to heat so well, many of these soapstone relics have survived to the modern day.
Have you ever seen “whiskey stones” used to chill drinks without ice? Those are also made of soapstone. Even in the modern world, it has a wide variety of uses.
Because it’s soft, this material is fairly easy to scrape and scratch. Soapstone had a value of just one on the Mohs scale of hardness – compared to 10 for diamonds.
However, the name of the stone actually comes from its soap-like feeling. When you touch soapstone, it often feels like touching a dry soap bar.
Soapstone doesn’t have to stay soft and malleable, though. It can be fired at 1,000 degrees Celsius, which levels up its hardness to a 5.5 on the Mohs scale.
The two types of soapstone have different talc contents, which is their main distinction. Artistic soapstone has more talc, so it’s easier to make into small, delicate carvings. However, architectural soapstone is much harder, with a talc content of 50 percent and more.
If you’re thinking of saving money by making countertops with artistic soapstone, think again. It’s too soft to make good counters, so architectural soapstone needs to be used. This variety can also be used to make other items that need to be hard, such as bathtubs.
Soapstone comes in a range of shades, from off-white to deep charcoal. It might even have a greenish cast at times. Mineral oil can also be used to darken the lighter types of soapstone.
It takes a number of mineral oil applications to get the stone to darken, but this doesn’t harm the material in any way – it just changes the color.
Some types of soapstone also have different visual effects, such as white veining or a speckly or flecked appearance.
Soapstone Counter Pros and Cons
Soapstone is a neutral stone, chemically: the alkalis and acids in household cleaners won’t affect it. This makes it more durable than both marble and granite, even though those other stones are harder.
Soapstone also has a more neutral look, which works nicely for some spaces. The bold patterns of marble and granite aren’t for everyone. Soapstone has subtle waves and patterns in simple grayscale patterns instead.
This type of stone is also bacteria-resistant, making it a top choice for bathrooms and kitchens. It sometimes changes in appearance a bit with time and wear, but many people find this a bonus, as it tends to get more beautiful with age. Although it’s not the cheapest material, it is easy to install, so you can save on the labor costs.
The one major drawback is that it’s soft, so it’s easy to nick or otherwise damage. However, when scratches and nicks happen, they can be sanded away to make the counter look as good as new.
Cost of Materials and Installation
The lowest cost for 50 square feet of soapstone is around $1,800. However, a price of $3,200 is more average. On the high end, you can spend up to $5,000. And that’s just for the materials.
The cost of labor depends on the layout of your kitchen. For example, the more cutouts there need to be for sinks and appliances, the more it will cost.
A counter with a lot of angles or curves also costs more to install. Complicated edging designs adds to the labor costs, too. However, all things considered, it’s still cheaper to install soapstone than granite.
An average installation takes about 10 hours, so budget accordingly. Less-skilled laborers don’t generally charge as much, but they also won’t have the same quality of work as their more experienced peers.
Once you’ve budgeted for materials and installation, there are still a few things to think about.
If the surface needs to be sanded, you should pay attention to the types of grit used. Some types might negatively affect the appearance and durability of your counters.
However, if this happens, you’ll just need to get the counters re-sanded. Hiring experienced installers will help decrease the chances that they’ll use the wrong kind of grit.
Is the Soapstone Countertops Cost Worth It?
The soapstone countertops cost can seem steep. However, this option is more affordable than granite, and most people find that there are more pros than cons.
Aside from being soft and easy to damage, soapstone doesn’t have many drawbacks. And since it can be sanded down, the damages can quickly be camouflaged. For a trendy home design that doesn’t break the bank, sandstone is a great choice.
Ready to take the next step in getting your new counters? Contact us today.