It can be hard to choose the soapstone countertops colors that works best for your kitchen remodel. Soapstone provides that minimal, natural stone look that works in both a farmhouse kitchen and a more modern design, but the wrong color choice can spell disaster for your remodel.
Before we get into color though, we’ll outline where soapstone comes from, explain grade, provide some soapstone countertop care tips and discuss the effect mineral oil has on soapstone color.
Where Does Soapstone Come From?
The color of soapstone has a little to do with where it comes from. This natural rock hails from all corners of the Earth, forming from metamorphic rock in ocean rift zones. These zones are distinguished by their significant heat and pressure from tectonic movement and mountrain pressure. Soapstone is actually one of the few stones on Earth quarried in the U.S.!
The smooth feel of soapstone is attributed to the talc mineral within. In fact, soapstone’s texture is where it got its name from: many compare the surface to a dry bar of soap!
Grades of Soapstone
Soapstone is distinguished by how it is quarried; Either high talc (artistic) or low talc (architectural). Most countertops are made from architectural grade, since the artistic type is too soft (75% talc, in fact). Instead, high talc soapstone is used for carving and sculptures. Architectural soapstone is 60-70% talc, and it can be used for countertops, fireplaces, sinks and more. You’ll want to keep this in mind if you’re purchasing soapstone to do a kitchen remodel on your own.
Much like granite and quartz countertops, soapstone countertops are naturally burn and stain resistant, giving them that low-maintenance reputation. In addition, soapstone’s non-porous makeup means it doesn’t have to be sealed.
Soapstone Countertop Color Options
One of the downsides of soapstone is that it doesn’t come in a huge array of colors. Instead, you’ll be able to pick from a palette of gray, blue-ish gray, green and black. Veins can come in a variety of colors, including amber, white, beige or green. In addition, you may find some swirls of white and quartz. These hues are determined by the mineral content of the deposit.
Expect lightness and veining variation in countertop color, and be aware that soapstone colors can change over a long period of time due to oxygen exposure. You can maintain some control over color by oiling your soapstone to create a darker, richer look, but keep in mind that this is different than mineral oil treatments. Oiling can be done during fabrication and right before the kitchen countertop is installed.
One of the more common soapstone countertop colors you’ll come across is gray, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t subtle nuances in each unique piece of stone.
Barroca soapstone is a type of light gray soapstone quarried in Brazil that sometimes features thin, white veins that are clearly visible after oiling or waxing. Some soapstone colors are hidden!
Black Venata Soapstone also comes from Brazil, though its color is darker and full of long, light veins and sometimes white spots.
Porto Alegre Soapstone is naturally a light blue-grey color, though it can also have white, copper and dark metallic veining. Once oiled, this stone takes on a darker green, charcoal and black look. Strong veins give this option a nice contrast.
Python Soapstone is light gray with dark stripes prior to mineral oiling, though stripes will blend after treatment to create a more consistent look. Considered one of the more muted options, Python’s raw color and subtle patterning make it a great choice for kitchens with a dramatic backsplash.
Fantasia Soapstone is technically in the green category, though it looks gray from a distance. This particular type is native to Brazil, and it’s slick surface makes nicks a rarity. This dark grayish-green option boasts wide, swirling veins that are clear and distinct.
Santa Rita Soapstone is a traditional Brazilian stone with thick veins arranged in a marble-like fashion against a blue-green background
Indigo Soapstone’s dark green and gray color and spotted surface make it a dynamic addition to any kitchen.
Pinheiros Altos Soapstone (also known as ‘PA’) is very dark with minimal color variation, providing visually appealing contrast to white marble. You can choose between moderate and dramatic veining, though keep in mind that white veins take on a green hue when treated.
Churchill Soapstone (made in the USA!) is gray with simple veins, though this color can deepen to a rich black when oiled or waxed.
While soapstone darkens in color naturally, some opt to speed up the darkening process through mineral oiling or a rub down with a special soapstone wax. As soon as the oil is applied, you’ll notice your counter take on a dark, charcoal gray or even black. Expect to see some hints of your blue or green still present in the stone.
The reason many people choose this process is because it ensures an even darkening. If you let the stone darken naturally, you’ll have to deal with oil spills leaving a distinct imprint of dark gray. If you don’t treat your soapstone, the surface will begin to darken wherever you use the counter more frequently. However, these spots can be removed via a light sanding with sandpaper, since soapstone is a dense stone.
It’s not only oils you have to watch out for; Other liquids can also darken the surface of soapstone in some instances. If you’re someone who likes the natural look of scratches and variation in color though, this shouldn’t be a problem. Country and farmhouse kitchens are particularly great candidates for soapstone.
If you decide you want to oil your soapstone, a general rule of thumb is to oil every time you notice the countertop lightening up. You may have to go through more oilings when you first purchase your countertop, but frequency should decrease as the stone begins its natural darkening process. Check out our other blog post for a full breakdown of Soapstone countertop care.
TIP: Clean soapstone with a mild soap and water. Don’t waste a fortune on granite cleaners or harsh chemicals!
Soapstone Countertop Cost
Now that you’ve figured out what soapstone countertop color you want to go with, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Though soapstone isn’t the most expensive material on the market, it’s high demand and exotic origins make it one of the pricier options.
Expect to spend more than $70-$80 per square foot with installation. Since soapstone slabs are typically smaller than granite, it may take more than one slab to complete an entire kitchen. Having experts install your countertop may be an extra cost, but it ensures all slabs are properly treated beforehand and installed to exactly match your existing countertops.
Get a Quote Today
If you’re sold on a new soapstone counter and want to see some of these beautiful colors for yourself, visit our showroom in Lenexa, KS, or give us a call at 913-310-0420.