Soapstone is Trending, and for Good Reason
Soapstone’s resilient qualities make it an excellent choice for sinks, kitchen and bathroom countertops, tiles, and more. Due to its impervious qualities, soapstone has also been used to fabricate chemistry lab tops, acid room sinks, and lab shelving (fun fact: M. Teixeira Soapstone has supplied soapstone to many high schools in the NY area). As if those weren’t enough practical applications, soapstone is also widely used as firebrick material due to its thermal qualities.
Though soapstone has been used in American homes since the 1800s, Martha Stewart and Bob Villa made soapstone even more popular in the late 90s by publicly featuring it in their projects.
Be Smart When Shopping Around
Smart consumers often shop around for the best deal, especially when investing in a quality item like soapstone. Some companies are using false advertising to take advantage of consumer desire to find their soapstone at a discounted price. Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more cases of this in the market, and would like to take this opportunity to educate you on the issue and how you can spot fake soapstone.
Just like we see fake leather and gold, we are seeing an increased supply of fake soapstone. These misnamed stones are most often slates, marbles, granites, and even quartz.
Soapstone Look-alikes are Flooding the Market
We are particularly concerned with a wave of slate from India that is being sold throughout the country as soapstone. Due to the abundance of supply, Indian slate is fairly inexpensive, and some companies have been deceiving their customers by selling it as a soapstone. Though this slate may look like soapstone, customers may be horrified to find that it does not have the same properties. They may wonder why their soapstone is staining, or damaged by high temperatures. They took time to research and learn that soapstone is impervious to acids and heat, so what happened?
In addition to selling slate as soapstone, marble has also been sold as a soapstone. Some companies have misled customers to believe that there is such a thing as white soapstone. White soapstone only exists in the form of pure talc, which is definitely not a suitable building material (it’s usually crushed and sold as baby powder).
See picture below of this marble currently being sold as a “White Soapstone”:
So How Can You be Sure You are Buying Authentic Soapstone?
Spot Potential Fakes
There are some names that you should be aware of and question your supplier on what the material really is. These names include Marine Black Soapstone, Black Moon Soapstone, Luna Soapstone, Arabesque Soapstone, Noire Soapstone and White Soapstone (to name a few).
Find a Good Salesperson and Ask Questions
An honest and knowledgeable salesperson should be able to educate you on what their product really is. Ask about the properties and origin of the stone. If they say the stone has no Talc or they don’t know the talc contents, ask for clarification. Is it slate, quartz, or marble? A schist of phyllite?
If You Have Questions, We are Here to Help You
While you shop around and do your research, we’re happy to help you to make an educated decision.
Here are some photos of some of the slates that are being sold as soapstone: