For thousands of years, soapstone has been recognized as a practical and versatile stone with uses ranging from spearheads to kitchen counters and sinks. It is, of course, the latter with which we’re concerned here. If you have soapstone in your business or home, you probably already know that—unlike granite, marble, or slate—the alkalis and acids found in many foods and drinks are not likely to stain or etch the dense and inert surface of soapstone and, if a stain does occur, it can be quickly and easily remedied with scrubbing or sanding. No doubt you have also discovered that soapstone is more prone to nicks and scratches than other natural stone.
Not to worry, though. Most day-to-day scratches can be easily remedied following these simple steps:
Step 1—Sanding Scratches
Light scratches will disappear with a direct dab of a soapstone enhancer or an FDA approved food-grade mineral oil—which has neither odor nor taste, and will not become rancid the way olive and other oils do.
To permanently remove a deeper scratch, apply medium pressure to the scratched area with an 80 grit sanding sponge. The deeper the scratch, the more sanding will be needed. Your stone restoration contractor can expertly perform this service for you.
Step 2—Oiling or Enhancing
After the scratch has been sanded out, apply a light coat of the mineral oil or soapstone enhancer to the sanded area. The mineral oil application should be repeated 2-3 times over a 2-3 day period until the sanded area matches the coloration of the rest of the stone. The soapstone enhancer should be applied according to the directions on the container (generally, this is twice, with the second application about 24 hours after the first).
For deeper scratches, cracks or actual chips, (or if you just don’t want to tackle it yourself) give your stone restoration professional a call. Soapstone is functional, durable and beautiful. Even after 100 years of hard use, soapstone can be refinished to a looks-like-it-was-just-installed state.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PRO Partners.