We are located right next door to a supplier called Crocodile Rocks. They currently have 8 different soapstone in stock!! All different colors, hardness’s & looks! They have the best selection of soapstone slabs out of any distributor/wholesaler in whole Pacific Northwest! That’s right, we’re talking, Seattle, Oregon, Idaho & Montana! Soapstone is a classic stone material with truly remarkable characteristics. This stone is pleasing to the touch with its soft soap-like feel, hence its name “Soapstone” which is due to its composition of Talc and Magnesium Steatite. As one may ponder the softness of this stone don’t let that elude you in terms of durability as Soapstone is a dense material, it is inert to acids such as lemon juice and it’s overall a strong stone. The surface of Soapstone does develop a charming patina over time which is quite desirable by most. Soapstone material is also easy on the maintenance list…the traditional means of sealing Soapstone is by using mineral oil and all that it entails is a simple wipe on & off procedure and voila sealed stone. The application of mineral oil reveals the inner beauty of this material and gives the stone a fresh and lustrous appearance. This material typically is used as kitchen counter-tops, vanities, sinks, fireplaces or even pizza ovens! Yes that’s right pizza ovens, the heat characteristics of this material are beyond that of most materials so hats off to the chef!
It really depends on an individuals personality, whether Soapstone would be a good fit. If you are a perfectionist (Dania style), this is probably not your stone. But if you like “patina” similar to Anthropologies’ charm, than you will be sure to fall in love!! You can decide what kind of tone/style you want these counter-tops to exude. Just like butcher block, it can scratch. You can decide to leave it; or sand it out with comet or sandpaper & re-oil with mineral oil! It’s just like leather. If you like soft, worn used leather, you would like soapstone, marble, sandstone & limestone. If you like tight, shiny, new leather, you would be happier with granite or man made quartz.
It’s on average 3 lbs a square foot heavier than granite, so it’s super dense.
It can withstand up to 4,500k degrees of heat. It’s the #1 choice for pizza ovens.
It’s virtually non-porous, therefore it’s impervious to heat, bacteria and stains due to the natural composition of the soapstone
It’s 100% not affected by acid. They used to use it in chemistry labs.
It can’t compare to any other stone, for it has such an old world & down to earth feel; not to mention that it’s super soft to the touch!
It’s a do it yourself type of material. You can use wood tools to cut & shape the edge.
If you’re a perfectionist, you may not be able to get past the “patina”.
It’s a pretty dark material, coming in different shades of charcoals.
It’s heavy in weight, so you may need one more set of hands to help install. Weighing on average 23 lbs per sq/ft.
It’s basically only available in a matte finish. You can’t get it with a high polish.
DID YOU KNOW..
The darker the soapstone is, BEFORE it’s oiled, the harder it is. It’s because it has a lower percentage of talc.
Hardness is determined by the ability of one mineral to scratch another. Federick Mohs, a German mineralogist, produced a hardness scale, using a set of ten standard minerals. The scale arranges the minerals in order of increasing hardness. The higher the number, the harder the mineral.
You can roughly determine the mineral hardness by using the followings, steps/tools:
A fingernail has a hardness ranging from 2 to 2.5
A penny is a little harder than 3
Glass ranges from 5.5 to 6
A Knife blade is generally in the range of 5 to 6.5
Their Soapstone’s on the Moh’s scale
Arabesque is a 5
Black Moon is a 5
Cinza is a 2.5-3
Forest/Pia is a 5
Mirasol Black is a 2.5-3
PA is a 5
Do I want a “harder” soapstone, or a “softer”? What is the difference?
The difference really is, are you looking forward to “patina”? If so, the softer soapstone, it is! They both will accumulate patina, over-time. But the softer one will sooner. It is a bit softer, but than again it’s a little easier to repair. Most scratches disappear with a coat of mineral oil. If the scratch is still visible, just take 220 sandpaper in a circular motion and you’re good to go. The “softer” soapstone’s, are indeed still hard. So try not to get in your mind, that because it’s a bit softer, it’s not going to turn into a pile of sand if you’re hard on it. The way you can determine the hardness, is by following the MOH’S scale. It also helps to see the stone raw or dry (before it’s been oiled). Usually the darker ones are a bit harder, than the lighter ones. This is because the harder ones have less talc. The lighter ones are the original soapstone that we’ve always seen. They’re the ones that charmed us in science class. These darker ones are still soapstone; but they have less talc and more schist. The lighter they are, the better they are for retaining temperature. So if you want to do a pizza oven or firebox from soapstone, you’ll want to choose the softer variety.
If you’re not sure if you’ll like it, come out and take a look at our counter-tops in our showroom. They’ve been installed for years, so they’ve accumulated “patina”. Seeing them, will let you know right away if it’s the stone you’ve been looking for!