Soapstone Countertops

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					?Soapstone - a form of metamorphic rock containing magnesium, dolomite and talc -
is so-called because touching its surface produces a tactile sensation that is
remarkably similar to that of a dry bar of soap. Geologically, it is related to marble,
which has long been valued as a surface in homes and buildings dating back to the
Hellenistic Period. Unlike marble however, soapstone countertops are easier to care
for and cost less than marble surfaces.

The scientific name for soapstone is steatite. Like quartz, marble and even diamond,
the material from which Soapstone Countertops begins its existence deep beneath the
planet's surface. There, it is subject to pressures and heat of unimaginable magnitude.
Under these pressures, this proto-rock is transformed, or morphed into what we know
as soapstone. The material that goes into the design and construction of soapstone is
generally dug from quarries, extracted from geologic formations that date back as
much as 400 million years. Since the eastern part of North America is far older
geologically than the relatively youthful western part, American and Canadian
soapstone is found primarily in Quebec, New England and the Maritime provinces.

Soapstone is relatively soft and easy to work with, yet is durable enough to stand up
to a fair amount of abuse. Aboriginal peoples throughout the world, including Native
Americans, Polynesians and various African peoples have known of the unique
properties of soapstone for millennia, using it for cookware and even art. In fact, there
are Hindu temples located in a southeastern region of India that contain highly
elaborate carvings made from soapstone.

Why should you consider soapstone countertops? If you know a great deal of cooking,
you no doubt are aware of the kind of abuse that countertops must endure, especially
when it comes to stains. In fact, soapstone - unlike its geologic cousin, marble - is
chemically inert, and will not react with acidic nor alkaline substances. What this
means is that virtually nothing you spill on it will cause permanent staining - simply
wipe it off or remove it from the surface with a bit of fine sandpaper, and it's good as
new!

Soapstone Countertops also offer great aesthetic value; it is what is known as a schist,
meaning it has a grained appearance like wood and marble. There are many different
colors, types and treatments for soapstone countertops; you will have few problems
finding soapstone that will blend in nicely with any color scheme or décor. Soapstone
offers versatility, durability, ease of care and a unique kind of beauty. Soapstone
countertops are one of the best and ultimately, most economical ways to upgrade your
kitchen; check out the many options available today!