If you want stone countertops in your home, then you have a variety of options available to you, especially if you are interested in natural stone countertops. Consider soapstone. Soapstone does not stain and you can place hot objects directly on top of it. The stone is also environmentally friendly and easy to take care of. However, if you want soapstone, then there are a few care tips that you should follow.
Oil The Stone
Many people purchase soapstone because of its rich and dark patina. However, some people do not know that soapstone can also come in a lighter shade of gray, green, or blue. If you want a deeper blue or gray stone, then you should opt for Brazilian soapstone. The majority of architectural soapstone comes from Brazil, but some countertop professionals still use materials that are quarried in the eastern part of the United States. Make sure to ask where the materials are sourced if you want a darker stone installed.
Even if you opt for a darker stone, you may want to enhance or deepen the shade. You can do this by applying mineral oil to your countertops. You will need to oil the countertops one to two times a week for several months. Then, you'll oil them once a month for about one year. The soapstone will not hold as much oil at first, but it will absorb more and more the longer you treat the countertops.
You can purchase soapstone oiling products or you can buy a generic bottle of mineral oil from your local home store. Clean the countertops with dish soap and water and buff them dry with the assistance of a clean cotton rag. Afterwards, place a generous amount of the oil on a rag and wipe the counters using circular motions. Apply more oil to your rag as needed and continue oiling until the counters are completely covered. The soapstone should appear a darker tone immediately. After the first application, you will see the stone lightening after just a few days. Apply a second coat of oil and then stick to your regular twice weekly or monthly plan.
If you decide that regular oiling is a hassle, then you can use wax to deepen the tone of the stone as well. Use either beeswax or carnauba wax to complete the waxing.
Remove Scratches Gently
Soapstone can withstand a great deal of stress and wear and tear. Staining and burning are not issues that you need to worry about. However, since soapstone is softer than some other natural types of stone, like marble and granite, it can scratch. Since soapstone is textured, you can use this to your advantage when removing scrapes and scratches from the stone. Basically, a scratch will not permanently mar the surface or appear overly noticeable.
Scratch removal can be completed with some sandpaper. Before you begin, you should use a bit of mineral oil on the scratch to see if this helps to minimize its appearance. If it does, then continue to treat the scratch with oil every few days until you can no longer see it.
If mineral oil does not assist the scratch, then purchase a piece of coarse sandpaper. A piece of 60-grit sandpaper will work well. Use gentle pressure and sand the scratch in a circular pattern. When the scratch becomes a shallow indentation in the stone and you can just fit your fingernail in the opening, use a piece of fine grit sandpaper on the area. Buy a piece of 240 or 320 sandpaper and lightly sand the area again. Clean with soap and water when you are done and then apply mineral oil to the surface of the countertops.