Soapstone Countertops to Inspire Your Kitchen Design

Soapstone has become an increasingly popular material for kitchen countertops due to its natural beauty, durability, and practicality. If you’re considering soapstone for your next kitchen remodel or new construction project, read on to discover how soapstone countertops can transform the look and functionality of your kitchen.

What is Soapstone?

Soapstone is a natural stone made of talc and quartz. It gets its name from its soft, soapy feel, which makes it easy to carve and work with. Soapstone has been used for centuries to create everything from cooking slabs and countertops to sinks and tiles.

Some key features of soapstone include:

  • Aesthetic Versatility – Soapstone has an attractive, earthy look that ranges from light gray to dark charcoal shades, often with veining patterns. The soft feel and muted colors work with many different kitchen design styles.
  • Heat Resistance – Due to its high talc content, soapstone can withstand very high temperatures, making it an excellent surface for kitchens. Hot pans and baking sheets can be placed right on soapstone without damage.
  • Stain Resistance – The dense, nonporous nature of soapstone makes it stain resistant compared to many other natural stones. While sealing is still recommended, soapstone won’t readily absorb liquids and stains.
  • Durability – Soapstone is incredibly durable, able to last many decades with proper care. The material is not prone to chipping or cracking.
  • Low Maintenance – Simple cleaning with soap and water is all that is required to keep soapstone counters looking like new. Re-sealing every few years will maintain water repellency.

With this overview of its key attributes, it’s easy to see why soapstone has grown in popularity for today’s kitchens. Keep reading to see how soapstone countertops can infuse unique, natural style into your kitchen design.

The Timeless, Organic Beauty of Soapstone

One of the biggest appeals of soapstone is its rugged, organic look that feels both timeless and contemporary. The neutral gray and charcoal tones complement a wide range of kitchen aesthetics, from modern to farmhouse chic. Integrating soapstone into your design can create visual interest and bring the beauty of nature into the space.

A Sophisticated Neutral Backdrop

The light to dark gray shades of soapstone make it perfect as a sophisticated neutral backdrop for your kitchen. Especially lighter-hued slabs create an airy, open feel and allow cabinetry, flooring, appliances and decor to take the spotlight. Your choice of countertop coloring can range from:

  • Subtle, almost white grays with faint veining.
  • Classic medium gray reminiscent of weathered wood.
  • Dramatic dark charcoals with bold veining.

Lighter soapstone works well for small kitchens where you want to maximize the sense of space. Darker slabs make a bold statement for larger gourmet kitchens and pair beautifully with white cabinetry and rustic wood floors.

Natural Pattern and Texture

Beyond its neutral palette, much of soapstone’s visual appeal comes from its natural veining patterns and texture. Each slab of soapstone has an organic marbling and color variations that infuse unique personality. The soft feel also adds an inherent coziness and timeworn charm to the counters.

Soapstone’s raw yet refined aesthetic allows it to fit into diverse kitchen styles. For traditional kitchens, soapstone provides a hint of Old World European charm. In modern designs, soapstone brings in natural warmth to soften sleek lines and hard surfaces. And for today’s popular farmhouse style, soapstone’s weathered patina aligns perfectly with rustic charm.

A Natural Stone Feel

Unlike uniform solid surface or quartz counters, no two soapstone slabs are exactly alike. Soapstone delivers the beauty and uniqueness of genuine natural stone. Yet unlike some polished granites and marbles, it has a much softer, grounded look and feel.

For those desiring a completely unique kitchen space, soapstone is an ideal choice. With custom fabrication, a countertop can be created showcasing the distinctive patterns of each slab. This artistic attention to each piece highlights soapstone’s handcrafted, artisanal nature.

So if you want to move away from homogenous manmade materials and bring an organic, natural stone look to your kitchen, soapstone may be the perfect fit. The multi-tonal veining and one-of-a-kind detailing will infuse your space with subtle sophistication and warmth.

The Practical Advantages of Soapstone Countertops

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, soapstone offers some valuable practical benefits that make it an excellent – and durable – choice for kitchen countertops.

Heat and Stain Resistance

Two of the standout qualities of soapstone are its heat resistance and stain resistance. This is thanks to soapstone’s makeup of talc, quartz and magnesium.

The talc in soapstone allows it to withstand very high temperatures without damage. Burn marks and discoloration are not a concern as they are with some other countertop materials. You can place hot pots, bakeware and other cookware directly onto the surface without worry.

For avid home cooks and bakers, this heat resistance provides added freedom and flexibility in the kitchen. You don’t need to be as cautious about high temperature cookware or be vigilant about using hot pads and trivets. Soapstone almost acts as a built-in trivet surface.

In addition to high heat, the denseness of soapstone makes it stain resistant for daily use. While soapstone is still somewhat porous and sealing is recommended, it does not readily soak up kitchen stains. Spills like wine, coffee and oil are less likely to permanently stain the countertops with proper cleaning. This stain resistance also makes soapstone a bit more forgiving for messy cooks.

Of course, soapstone isn’t indestructible. But you typically have more time to wipe up spills before any staining could occur. This offers more leeway and peace of mind for busy kitchens prone to spills and accidents.

Low Maintenance

For those wanting low-maintenance, easy-clean counters, soapstone is an ideal choice. Simple soap and water cleaning is all that is needed for regular upkeep. Only occasional resealing (every few years) is required to maintain water repellency on soapstone counters.

This is a big advantage compared to some natural stones like marble that necessitate frequent sealing to avoid stains. It also compares favorably to engineered quartz which needs special cleaners to keep the glossy finish free of marks.

The soft patina of soapstone also tends to hide mundane scratches and scuffs that can mar polished surfaces. You don’t have to worry as much about keeping the counters in pristine condition.

For busy homeowners who want little hassle for cleaning and care, soapstone delivers reliable low maintenance and long-lasting durability. The nature of the material helps it retain its unblemished beauty with simple upkeep.

Long-Lasting Durability

high quality soapstone is remarkably durable and able to withstand decades of use. Properly cared for, soapstone countertops will last for generations and avoid common issues like chips and cracks.

The dense mineral makeup of soapstone makes it resistant to damage from regular kitchen wear and tear. It won’t easily scratch, scorch or etch like some other surfaces. This durability provides reliable performance even in busy kitchens.

Soapstone’s longevity also makes it a sound investment that will keep your kitchen looking fabulous for years. Unlike ceramic tile or laminate, you won’t have to worry about soon replacing worn or dated countertops. The enduring elegance of soapstone remains timeless.

For sustainable design, soapstone offers an environmentally-friendly natural stone option that doesn’t require frequent replacement. Choosing soapstone supports responsible renovation practices.

Antibacterial Properties

Recent research indicates that natural soapstone harbors inherent antibacterial properties. Tests show the magnesium content in soapstone significantly reduces bacteria growth compared to other minerals.

This means soapstone counters provide a naturally antibacterial surface in the kitchen. While still requiring proper cleaning, soapstone inhibits the spread of germs better than many other countertop materials.

For cooks concerned about hygiene in food prep areas, soapstone’s bacteria-fighting attributes provide extra assurance. This can be especially beneficial for counters around sinks and appliances where germs tend to accumulate. It provides a safer and more hygienic workspace.

So in addition to its rugged durability and stain resistance, soapstone also offers healthful antibacterial advantages. This provides well-rounded protection for your kitchen.

Designing Your Dream Kitchen with Soapstone Countertops

If you’re sold on soapstone’s natural elegance, practicality and durability, it’s time to envision how soapstone can transform your own kitchen design.

Soapstone’s versatility allows it to be incorporated into diverse kitchen aesthetics. Whether aiming for sleek contemporary styling or comfy cottage charm, soapstone adds timeless character.

Here are some ideas for using soapstone counters to enhance popular kitchen design motifs:

Modern Simplicity

The minimalist look of a modern kitchen gains warmth and texture from soapstone counters. Gray or black soapstone pairs nicely with crisp white cabinetry and modern stainless steel appliances.

For an urban loft vibe, soapstone islands or full counter slabs complement exposed brick walls and hardwood flooring. Streamlined soapstone pieces keep the modern aesthetic from feeling too stark or clinical.

Rustic Farmhouse

In relaxed farmhouse kitchens, soapstone counters strike the perfect balance of rugged and refined. Weathered wood cabinetry and soapstone create an inviting vintage feel.

For added charm, mix lighter toned soapstone islands with white apron-front sinks, antique brass hardware and subway tiles. The multi-texture look infuses cozy appeal.

Traditional Elegance

To bring some European Old World allure to a traditional kitchen, choose a dramatic black soapstone countertop and backsplash. Dressy carved wood cabinetry and burnished bronze fixtures play up the sophistication.

Layer in ornate lighting, arched details and marble accents for an elegant soapstone-centered space. The timeworn patina of soapstone fits beautifully with traditional refinements.

Cottage Chic

For a cheerful cottage kitchen, combine painted shaker cabinets in light hues with gray mottled soapstone counters. Add in open shelving, floral accents, and vintage-inspired hardware and lighting.

The soft look of soapstone keeps the cottage kitchen feeling casual, comfortable and inviting. Welcome guests with charming vintage style.

Industrial Edge

The adaptive nature of soapstone allows it to work in edgy industrial designs too. In an urban loft kitchen, rough-hewn wood or exposed pipes are nicely offset by smooth black or gray soapstone islands or countertops.

The organic stone softens hard metal and concrete finishes. Matte soapstone also fits the industrial aesthetic. Keep visible metal beams as an accent with soapstone for a well-balanced look.

As you can see, soapstone counters offer versatile design potential for personalized kitchen spaces. Whether you crave an airy modern or comfy cottage feel, soapstone makes a gorgeous and practical addition.

Selecting Your Soapstone Countertops

Once you’ve decided on integrating soapstone counters into your kitchen redesign, it’s time to choose the perfect slabs. Carefully selecting your soapstone involves decisions on color, finish, thickness, edges, seam placement and custom design details.

Picking the Right Color

Soapstone colors cover a wide spectrum from light gray to dark charcoal. Visit a stone supplier to view actual slabs and determine which shade and veining patterns appeal most.

Keep your overall kitchen design and cabinetry in mind. Light soapstone can get lost against white cabinets while dark slabs highly contrast. View soapstone samples in different lighting at different times of day to make the best choice.

Also think about how the counters will be used and if you prefer a more forgiving light color or want to embrace beautiful staining over time. Your soapstone supplier can offer guidance on performance of each color option.

Matte, Leathered or Polished Finishes

Soapstone’s surface finish options include:

  • Matte – A smooth, even finish. This allows soapstone’s soft patina to show through.
  • Leathered – A lightly textured finish with more visual depth. Provides some shine while retaining the natural look.
  • Polished – A glossy smooth finish that enhances vibrancy. Requires more frequent sealing.

Matte is the most common finish as it retains the authentic qualities of soapstone. But a polished or leathered finish can dramatically enhance gray or black soapstone with added luster.

Determining Thickness

Soapstone slabs typically come in 1.25″, 1.5″ and 2″ thicknesses. Thinner countertops (0.75″) are also possible but not ideal for durability. In general, aim for at least 1.25″ thickness.

Thicker soapstone is heavier and more expensive but provides sturdy performance for generations. It resists chipping and minimizes sagging over time. For heavily used spaces like kitchen islands, opt for a 1.5″ or 2″ thickness.

Custom Edge Profiles

The edges of your soapstone counters can be finished in different ways. Common edge options include:

  • Straight – A flat 90-degree angle. Works well for modern designs.
  • Bullnose – A softly rounded edge. Adds sculptural detail.
  • Bevel – A flat angled edge, typically 45 degrees. Has a clean architectural look.
  • Ogee – An elegant dual curved edge. Provides traditional charm.
  • Custom – For a truly unique detail, design your own customized edge.

Edging impacts both aesthetics and functionality. Sharp 90-degree edges can chip over time from impact. Consider eased, beveled or rounded edges for added durability and visual interest.

Planning Seam Placement

For larger counter expanses, multiple soapstone slabs will need seaming. Careful planning of the seam placement before fabrication and installation is important for best results.

Seams falling mid-counter should be avoided if possible. Locate them near corners, along edges, or where they naturally fall with cabinet breaks. Get templates of your space and map out seam locations thoughtfully.

Also consider the countertop shapes needed. For example, a large single slab for an island can showcase the beauty of soapstone’s natural patterning. Multiple smaller slabs may work better for perimeter counters.

Discuss options with your fabricator to balance seam limits, installation, and your budget. Anticipate seams but locate them discreetly.

Custom Detailing

For a truly bespoke kitchen, consider special custom details using your soapstone slabs. This could include bookmatched slab patterns, inlaid designs, edge inlays, corbel supports, carvings and more.

Work with an experienced soapstone fabricator to see if your design ideas are possible. Custom detailing requires extra time and skill but offers a personal artistic touch.

So investing attention in selecting your slabs, finish, thickness, edging and details will ensure your soapstone counters perfectly suit your kitchen design vision.

Caring for Your Soapstone Countertops

Once installed, proper care and maintenance will allow your lovely soapstone counters to last for decades. Follow these soapstone care tips:


Applying a food-safe mineral oil sealer 2-3 times per year will maintain water repellency. Extra sealing may be needed for polished finishes. Reseal whenever the stone appears dry.


Use a gentle soap and water solution for regular cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that could scratch the surface. Blanch a tomato slice over stains before scrubbing.


If your matte soapstone loses its luster over time, you can buff it back to a silky sheen using fine (400-600 grit) sandpaper. A power sander makes quicker work of resurfacing larger areas. Just work gently to avoid removing too much material. Then reseal the freshly polished surface.


For chips or dings, sand down any sharp edges. Fill the damaged spot with colored epoxy resin formulated for natural stone. Once dry, sand smooth and reseal. Larger damaged areas may require professional repair or replacement.


Use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the counters. Placemats or trivets can shield sections from regular wear and tear. Move hot pots and pans quickly off the surface once cooking is done.

With proper soapstone care, your counters will develop their own unique patina over time but avoid permanent damage. The key is regular sealing plus gentle cleaning and repairs as needed.

Soapstone Countertops FAQs

Still have some questions about soapstone counters for your home? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How durable is soapstone compared to other countertop materials?

Soapstone is more durable than marble, concrete, laminate or tile. It is comparable to granite and quartz in durability, but unlike quartz does not require color-enhancing resins or sealers. Soapstone’s natural makeup provides long-term durability.

Can you cut right on soapstone countertops?

It is better to use a cutting board instead of cutting directly on soapstone. While resistant to deep scratches and cuts, any stone surface will show light marks from repeated cutting motions. Using a separate board preserves the unblemished beauty of soapstone.

Do soapstone counters need to be sealed?

Sealing soapstone counters is highly recommended 2-3 times per year using mineral oil. Frequent sealing waterproofs the surface to prevent stains. Insufficient sealing can lead to permanent staining over time, especially with more porous slabs. Sealing maintains the stone’s density and water repellency.

How do you clean soapstone counters?

Use a mild detergent and warm water for daily cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads. For food stains, blot immediately and clean with baking soda and water.