We love everything Soapstone, so we were excited when we saw Forbes Magazine’s recent article, “Why Soapstone Is Ideal for Kitchen Countertops and Sinks.” The article offers a detailed overview of soapstone, from its history to origin and its most common applications today.
The article also notes the many benefits of soapstone countertops:
Soapstone is non-porous
Soapstone is durable and dense
Soapstone is a maintenance-free material
Soapstone is resistant to bacteria, stains, acids, chemicals, wine, and heat
Soapstone does not require sealing, keeping chemicals out of the kitchen
Soapstone thaws food quickly because it absorbs the temperature of its environment
Beyond its practical benefits, this beautiful natural stone adds style to both traditional and modern spaces. It develops a beautiful patina with age, which can be allowed to evolve naturally or evened and deepened by oil application.
The article, written by Sheri Koones, is a great overview of the benefits of using soapstone for indoor or outdoor countertops.
To read the complete article click here.
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:
New York based fashion stylist Katie Mossman recently completed a three-year renovation of her now-stunning Brooklyn home, which was featured in Architectural Digest. The desired effect was to invoke the essence of sunny Baja, California, and it’s safe to say she has succeeded. The bright and airy space is home to many mid-century modern pieces, which are elevated by high ceilings, smooth and modern stone, and a delightful neutral-white color palette.
M. Teixeira Soapstone had the pleasure of fabricating and installing several stone pieces in this magazine-worthy home, each one competing for the title of pièce de résistance.
The fireplace provides a gentle focal point and anchor for the seating area, which is comprised of Katie’s most-loved chair collection. The breathtaking white Arabescato marble fireplace has just the right touch of gray veining to add movement and visual interest to the space.
A modern kitchen isn’t complete without an island, and the Calacatta Gold marble island just begs you to serve a California cocktail. The straight lines and edges of this island are at home in this space that pays homage to the past while staying very current and trend-minded. The gray veining in this particular stone is more open and free-flowing, which plays very nicely with its straight edges.
The most impressive stone installation may just be the bathroom. We used the same Arabescato marble in the bathroom as we did on the fireplace. With stone floor, counters, and bathtub, the bathroom feels like absolute luxury.
After purchasing a Co-op in Prospect Park South, Brian and Amy embarked on a complete renovation of their space. The couple brought their styles together carefully, with each getting to show off their favorite decor, furniture, and artwork. The interior design style of their home is a tastefully eclectic mix of mid-century modern and vintage boho. The home was recently featured on 6sqft.com, a NYC real estate and architecture blog. The client selected delightfully bright Super White Quartzite slabs from M Teixeira Soapstone’s New Jersey location. M. Teixeira Soapstone fabricated and installed the bathroom vanity, kitchen countertops, and the kitchen island, which Amy describes as the anchor of their home. The lightness of the stone contributes to the open and airy feel of the home, while the grey veining adds depth and texture.
Beyond its versatile and elegant aesthetic, Quartzite is an excellent and practical choice for a kitchen or bathroom countertop surface. It’s stain resistant, acid resistant, and low maintenance.
Each slab of quartzite is unique with veining in shades of dark and light grey. The sugary crystal appearance of quartzite is simply beautiful and makes a unique addition to any kitchen countertop or island. The stone can be polished, honed or brushed and fabricated with a number of different edges.
On June 7th, M. Teixeira Soapstone celebrated the Grand Opening of our new showroom at the San Francisco Design Center, where we are offering the largest variety of soapstone countertops on the West Coast. The San Francisco Design Center is renowned as California’s top resource for the finest of home furnishings.
Meet our West Coast Manager, Francesco, who did a fantastic job setting up our new showroom in the San Francisco Design Center. As they say, great things happen when a Brazilian and a Sicilian get together. Ok, they don’t really say that…
Our guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and spirited beverages while browsing distinctive soapstone products in the bright and airy showroom.
On display were characteristically deep soapstone sinks, a variety of soapstone tile and bathroom tile, stunning countertops and vanities, soapstone flooring, and a distinguished carved soapstone fireplace and mantel.
Meet Christine, Francesco and David, the San Francisco Dream Team! Great job organizing our Grand Opening event. Thanks to everyone that came to support us!
Our Potrero Hill location in San Francisco has provided soapstone products and installation services in Northern California since 2005. We specialize in imported and domestic soapstone countertop displays, sinks, carved mantels, and infinity vanity sinks.
The San Francisco Design Center is free and open to the public for browsing, though we do recommend making an appointment to ensure the highest level of service.
We would love to help you build the home of your dreams! Come visit our new showroom to get started on your next project.
Now offering free shipping to California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington.
Our beautiful new showroom at the San Francisco Design Center
We are quite proud to share this extraordinary work of soapstone art. Ronie Ryba, an iconic Brazilian artist and one of our suppliers, created this piece after finding inspiration in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Ryba was intrigued by a renaissance fireplace mantle that had appeared in the film. Upon further research, he learned of the original piece, which can be found at The Villa Della Torre Allegrini in Italy.
His inspiration came to fruition when he found the perfect piece of soapstone. As many great sculptors have expressed, Ryba saw the lion within the soapstone block, just waiting to be unveiled by his hands.
Those who have seen the work in person are wonderstruck by the piece’s powerful presence and generous size at 9’x9’x5’.
Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s recent article, “Home Buyers Love Splurges in the Kitchen,” suggested that homeowners invest in high quality kitchen finishes before putting their home on the market. The kitchen has long been known as the heart of the home, and this sentiment is true whether your house is going on the market or will be kept in the family for years to come. M. Teixeira’s DIY Soapstone Countertop was used in Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s ProHOME kitchen for its durability and elegance. The kitchen featured is a mix between modern and traditional, which showcases soapstone’s ability to flawlessly blend with and accentuate any design aesthetic.
Some homeowners shy away from natural stones because they believe the cost isn’t within their budget. Soapstone is an affordable option, but can be even more affordable if you use M. Teixeira’s DIY Soapstone Countertop kits. More than half of the cost of soapstone counters comes from labor, which makes our DIY kits a smart choice for pennywise homeowners.
M. Teixeira’s DIY Soapstone Countertop selection ranges from complete DIY to fully fabricated, so no matter your skill set or tool collection, you can save money on renovating your kitchen, outdoor area, or bathroom counters. For those who may second guess their ability to tackle this project, we’ll even give you a practice piece to try before you commit to the full kit. Take a look at M. Teixeira’s DIY options today to get started on building the natural soapstone countertop you’ve always wanted!
Recently, M Teixeira Soapstone was given the opportunity to help create a sizzling ambiance at Cote, New York’s “Most Exciting New Steakhouse.” Restaurateurs Simon Kim and David Shim wanted tabletops that would hold up to heavy use while maintaining an aesthetic of class. Soapstone is the perfect choice for their new eatery because it hits all the points required for a restaurant application.
M Teixeira Soapstone provided the soapstone, fabricated the dining tables and also performed the installation.
Photo: Melissa Hom
Soapstone Durability – Withstand the Elements of High Use Restaurant Areas
Soapstone is a nonporous material that is denser than both granite and limestone. It cannot be penetrated by liquids, harmed by excessive temperatures, or stained. Its neutral chemical composition also makes soapstone immune to corrosives, harsh chemicals, and acidic substances. Many people remember soapstone countertops in the science labs of their youth – if teenagers and Bunsen burners won’t harm this material, then it is certainly up to the task of hot plates and spilled martinis.
Photo: Melissa Hom
Trending Classic – Accentuate the Aesthetic
The appearance of soapstone is simply exquisite. While there are many varieties of veining and color available, many find that the color and texture of their soapstone blend seamlessly with any backdrop, style, or décor. The stone’s smooth-to-the-touch surface leaves an impression than any restaurant would want for their patrons.
Soapstone’s Low-Maintenance – Focus on What Matters
While happy customers make room for hungry guests, servers need to move quickly to ensure a positive dining experience. A restaurant’s wait staff has no time to worry about which cleaner is O.K. to use on their tabletops, and they certainly don’t have time to polish. Soapstone doesn’t need to be coddled – you can use any cleaner you like. Occasionally we recommend rubbing it with a bit of mineral oil if you enjoy the way it darkens, but it’s not required for the longevity of the stone.
Photo: Melissa Hom
Long-Lasting – Let the Good Times Roll
It’s not unheard of to find 19th century soapstone sinks and wood-burning stoves that are still performing like new. Each of the above qualities gives soapstone a longevity that can be difficult to find these days. This charming (yet tough) material is a lifetime investment that will host evenings out for years to come – maybe even for the great-grandchildren of tonight’s table of two.