Soapstone is a relatively soft stone that is susceptible to scratching. Using cutting boards, as well as avoiding the use of abrasive cleansers and not scraping heavy pots and pans along the surface, will help to reduce scratching.
If scratches occur, you can buffed them out with a fine grit (400 to 300) sandpaper, and then touch up the affected areas with mineral oil. Deeper scratches may require use of heavier grit sandpaper. If so, start with the heavier paper, and gradually work up to the finest grit to create a finish consistent with the rest of the countertop.
Soapstone is one of the few natural materials that is nearly impenetrable. It will not absorb stains as other natural stone surfaces do. Soapstone will discolor when a liquid makes contact with its surface; however, liquids will evaporate out of the stone, leaving no stain behind. Soapstone requires regular oiling to maintain its maximum beauty and help keep a consistent color throughout.
Hot pots may be set directly on soapstone with no potential for the stone to show burn marks. If you set hot pots directly on your soapstone surface, take caution after removing it as the stone will absorb heat from the pot and will remain hot to the touch for some time afterwards.
Soapstone’s natural color is a grayish blue tone. It can be treated with mineral or linseed oil to create the darker, richer color that many owners prefer and to help ward against showing scratches. If you choose not to oil your countertop, its color will darken over time, taking on a natural finish, especially in areas of high use.
The following schedule for applying mineral or linseed oil is advisable:
– Week 1: Two applications
– Weeks 2 through 4: One application per week
– Weeks 5 through 9: One application per two weeks
– Apply monthly for up to 18 months; as time goes on, you will need to oil the countertops less and less frequently, noticing that the deep color will last longer between applications. Oiling the countertop at least twice per year is recommended after the initial 18 month period of care.
To apply mineral or linseed oil, wipe the oil over the entire countertop, and then wipe with a clean cotton cloth. The cloth may be stored in a plastic bag to be used for future applications, or for touch ups when buffing out scratches. Mineral and linseed oil can be found at many drug and hardware stores.
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