Let’s talk about two popular materials used in homes: soapstone and marble. Both of these materials have unique benefits that make them excellent choices for kitchens, bathrooms, or outdoor spaces. But which one is right for you? We’ll compare both beautiful materials, so you can decide if you want one or the other… or maybe you’ll choose both!
Marble vs. Soapstone: Which is more porous?
If there’s one “complaint” about marble you’ve heard, it’s how porous the material is. As a result, some homeowners worry about spilling coffee or wine on their beautiful new countertops and feel like they can’t use their kitchens.
Yes, marble is porous, but it won’t be destroyed if there’s a spill. Always act quickly to clean it up, and apply your sealant regularly to keep it protected.
Soapstone, on the other hand, is completely non-porous. It’s a natural stone that works well in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces because of this feature.
If marble is so porous, how can it be used in a bathroom? The answer is with specific treatment and regular sealing, but hard water can damage marble irreparably.
If marble is porous, is it anti-bacterial?
Yes, even though marble is porous, the natural stone itself repels bacterial growth. If you’re concerned, you can always use an anti-bacterial cleaner.
Soapstone is dense and non-porous, so you never have to worry about bacteria growing in the stone.
For both, all you need to clean is warm, soapy water. For marble, avoid soaps and cleaners with any added dyes and acidic properties.
Is marble or soapstone heat-resistant?
The answer is yes: almost all natural stones are heat resistant, making them ideal for kitchens where you may be worried about placing a hot pan or baking sheet directly on your countertop.
Engineered stone may melt if you don’t use a trivet, so we think natural stone is always the best option in a kitchen remodel.
The durability of Marble vs. Soapstone:
Because marble is a soft stone, it can crack and break with extreme use. Many homeowners will not have this experience, but it may be a factor in your decision-making. Soapstone is a very dense stone and will not break easily.
Even though soapstone is dense, it’s still soft enough to carve beautiful custom runnels and edging on your counters. Then the durability ensures it will stand the test of time in your space.
Both may scratch fairly easily, but any scratches can be removed with very fine grit sandpaper and re-treated to look new.
Maintenance differences between marble and soapstone
While marble needs to be sealed upon installation with some regular treatment to lower porosity, soapstone is treated with Soapstone Oil or Soapstone Wax to age, darken, or patina.
When Garden State Soapstone installs a soapstone countertop, we apply the Original Soapstone Wax™️ to increase the aging, patina, or darkening. Then, you’ll apply the wax or oil initially as often as you choose to increase the aging and maintain the patina. You can decrease your application as the patina becomes permanent. If you notice one area of your countertop is darker longer than the others (usually an area that sees more use), then reapply the oil or wax to blend it.
The important difference is that a marble sealant keeps the surface less porous. Soapstone wax or oil increases the aging process and beautifies the soapstone.
Colors: the REAL reason you choose marble or soapstone
Let’s be honest: the real factor between marble and soapstone is the coloring. Marble is a lighter white or off-white color with different veining characteristics, while soapstone comes in dark colors with a variety of different veining.
Soapstone has a variety of shades, from dark grey to black with or without off-white veins, to even green hews. The amount of veining in the stone depends on the slab itself.
The great news is that they look beautiful together and can serve your kitchen better, too.
Mixing Marble and Soapstone
Some homeowners choose marble for their island with a soapstone perimeter. This creates a beautiful contrast in your kitchen while getting that beautiful marble look you love. We think you should consider the areas that experience the most wear and tear (typically near the sink and stove) and use soapstone there. That way, you can be less concerned about your marble staining.
Ready to see both samples of high-quality marble and soapstone? Schedule a visit to the Garden State Soapstone showroom, and we’ll show you all the possibilities for these two favorite materials.