Choosing Between Soapstone And Granite Countertops

Posted on: 26 July 2016

You can't go wrong choosing to have granite countertops installed in your kitchen, but soapstone isn't shabby either. A lot of your choice comes down to the look you prefer. Granite comes in a much wider range of colors and patterns. However, the gray on gray marbling of soapstone is distinctive, and many homeowners prefer that profile.


Both granite and soapstone are natural, quarried stones. Being stone, they are both fairly durable. However, soapstone is composed partially of mineral talc, which gives it the warm profile and feel, relatively speaking. Soapstone used for countertops features a high concentration of quartz, which makes it harder. However, if you drop something hard on the countertop, you can chip soapstone's surface. That said, soapstone is non-porous, which makes it impervious to staining and also naturally resistant to bacteria. It also won't burn if you set a hot pan on the surface.

Granite usually won't burn either. However, lighter colors of granite can stain if you choose a low-gloss or honed finish. Granite can chip, too, but the force has to be a lot stronger than with soapstone. With both stones, you're advised against cutting directly on the surface to avoid scratches.


Soapstone and granite are both low maintenance, largely because of their durability. Granite requires a finish, though, and it may need to be refinished periodically. Soapstone doesn't require a finish. However, after installation, it's necessary to rub mineral oil into the surface a few times during the first month. After that, if you do encounter a scratch or small chip in the countertop, you can lightly sand it out and apply the mineral oil again. Granite requires stronger sanding and refinishing to repair scratches or chips.


Natural stone countertops do carry an upfront cost, but that's generally mitigated by their durability. According to Home and Garden TV stone countertops come in the $50 to $250 range per square foot. Granite is right within that range, depending on the rarity of the color, the finish, the size of the slab and the edging. In other words, a large slab in a rare color with a high gloss finish and elaborate edging will be in the upper range of those figures.

Home and Garden TV puts soapstone more in the mid-range, from $50 to $80 per square foot. Soapstone comes in three tiers of quality. Softer soapstone, which is more prone to scratching, is the cheapest. The hardest soapstone is the most expensive.

Whether you choose soapstone or granite for your kitchen countertops, you'll have a beautiful surface that complements your décor.