Soapstone, Slate and Sandstone
Soapstone has a timeless, rustic appearance which makes it a popular choice for kitchen countertops. It is a natural stone, like granite, that is quarried. Soapstone is non-porous and composed mostly of mineral talc, which makes it quite soft (it can etch and scratch easily), but varieties used for countertops typically have higher percentages of quartz in them, which makes them harder and more suitable as a kitchen surface. The most popular soapstone comes from Brazil and in its natural state is grey with some white veining. Many homeowners will oil the soapstone at installation which can leave it with a much darker and richer background color.
Unique Stone Concepts offers only a few soapstone options, as this material has a more limited supply compared to other natural stones. If you have any questions regarding our soapstone slabs, please feel free to contact us.
Appearance – The color of soapstone ranges greatly depending upon the type of soapstone used. Over time, soapstone develops a natural patina and a soapy feel when touched.
Features – The material is stain, chemical and water resistant but scratches easily.
Pros – Beautiful natural grey color, smooth matte feel, resistant to etching from acids, scratches can be sanded or oiled away; great surface for making pastries.
Cons – Requires maintenance; not impervious to dents and scratches; regular oiling and buffing recommended; the color darkens with age (which may be a pro for some).
Care – Clean with water.
Slate is a non-porous, natural stone with a more uniform appearance compared to other natural stone slabs. Brazil, India and China are the main producers of slate. The slate from India and China tends to come out of the quarries in very small blocks so the material is only available in tiles. In contrast, the slate from Brazil comes in large slabs that can be used for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities and fireplace surrounds.
Slate slabs tend to have sharp and brittle corners, so if used as kitchen countertops, we recommend rounding edges if possible. Slate is being used for both residential and commercial projects, but overall has an very industrial look. We invite you to contact us if you have any questions or would like additional information regarding the slate slabs we carry.
Appearance – Shades of slate include green, black, dark red, gray or even mottled purple.
Features – Slate is very hard, durable and waterproof.
Care – Rinse with water and air dry for best results.
Sandstone is a porous natural stone that can be found in residential and commercial applications. Popular for outside projects and countertops, Sandstone has a very natural and warm appearance. This material can be found all over the world, but most commonly in Italy and other parts of Europe, India, and Egypt.
Unique Stone Concepts offers a few options of Sandstone in our locations – St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, KS, Omaha, NE, Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, and Cincinnati, OH. Please call for a current stock at your nearest location.
Appearance – Found in a variety of colors such as brown, red, purple, tan, and other earth tones
Features – Sandstone is very porous but harder than a marble. It is also heat resistant and impact resistant.
Cons – As with many natural stones, Sandstone must be sealed regularly as it is penetrable by water.
Care – Clean up spills quickly and use mild soap and water for regular cleaning. Dry with a towel.