When compared to other natural stone and man-made materials, soapstone has many uses and superior attributes. Like other natural stone, soapstone is quarried from the ground and is not man-made as commonly believed.
Soapstone contains magnesite and talc and the high talc content gives it a natural dry and soft feel like dry soap. It’s this surface texture that gives it the name soapstone and the appearance of being porous or absorbent whereas the opposite is true. No known substance can penetrate the surface of soapstone. This natural protection against chemicals makes soapstone ideal for sinks and bench tops. As a countertop soapstone is a natural low maintenance alternative to plastics, granite, and marble. It can be left to acquire its own natural surface darkening with unique patina accents, or mineral oil can be applied to give the stone surface an even natural darkness.
When heated, soapstone will expand without cracking which lends it to applications such as cooking surfaces, fireplaces, woodstoves and ovens. Tiles can be applied to radiant heat system floors to increase efficiency and provide a warm and soft feeling underfoot. Regular woodstoves are around 25% efficient but when constructed with 100% soapstone - named a Masonry Heater - efficiency levels increase to above 90%.