Quartz and soapstone are both popular countertop materials that offer some similar aesthetics, but have distinct differences. Here is a detailed comparison of quartz and soapstone countertops to help you determine if there is a quartz option that can mimic the look of soapstone.
An Overview of Quartz and Soapstone Countertops
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from crushed quartz minerals combined with resin and other materials. The resin binds the quartz particles together to create a hard, non-porous surface.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of talc and magnesium. It has a soft, smooth texture and a distinctive look with natural veins and shading that ranges from light gray to dark charcoal.
While they share some visual similarities, quartz and soapstone have distinct properties:
- Quartz is non-porous, stain-resistant and harder than natural stone. Soapstone is softer, more porous, and can stain from acids.
- Quartz needs little maintenance beyond cleaning. Soapstone needs yearly sealing to prevent stains.
- Quartz has consistent coloring throughout. Soapstone has color variations due to natural veining.
- Quartz offers a wide range of colors and patterns. Soapstone’s color palette is limited to gray, black, and greenish hues.
Finding a Quartz Countertop with a Soapstone Look
Many quartz manufacturers now offer options that are designed to mimic the aesthetic of soapstone:
- Light gray or charcoal coloring – Soapstone’s most distinctive visual feature is its light to dark grayish coloration. Many quartz products now offer similar soft gray, charcoal, or black color options.
- Subtle veining – Higher quality quartz can incorporate thin veining to emulate soapstone’s natural color variations. The veining is understated compared to dramatic granite or marble.
- Matte or honed finishes – Soapstone has an attractive matte look. Quartz that mimics soapstone often has a honed or matte finish instead of a glossy polished finish.
- Mottled or nuanced coloring – Some quartz has a multi-toned look with subtle changes in shading across the surface to replicate soapstone’s natural color variations.
Specific quartz countertop lines known for their soapstone aesthetics include:
- Cambria’s Stormy Night Quartz – This has a rich charcoal base with gray mottling and thin white veining.
- Caesarstone’s Intense Ultra Quartz – A near-black base with subtle gray veining results in a dramatic soapstone look.
- Silestone’s Kensho Quartz – Light and dark gray tones blended with wispy white veining provides a close match to many soapstones.
- LG Viatera’s Midnight Muse Quartz – A medium to dark gray base with a matte finish offers a spot-on soapstone aesthetic.
The Pros and Cons of a Quartz “Soapstone” Countertop
There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a quartz countertop that emulates the look of soapstone:
- Provides the visual appeal of soapstone without the maintenance
- Durable and resistant to stains, scratches, and heat
- Easy cleaning and minimal upkeep required
- Consistent pattern and coloring throughout the slab
- Wide range of colors beyond just gray
- Lacks the velvety smooth feel of real soapstone
- Can have a “synthetic” appearance upon very close inspection
- More expensive than real soapstone
- Limited options that mimic soapstone well
While no quartz can perfectly replicate the natural beauty of genuine soapstone, there are many high-quality quartz products that come impressively close in aesthetics. For homeowners that love the look of soapstone but not the maintenance, opting for a quartz designed to emulate soapstone veining and mottled coloring can be an excellent alternative. Seeking out quartz slabs with honed finishes and subtle tonal variations is key to finding a countertop that resembles real soapstone without the hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops That Look Like Soapstone
Can you get quartz to look like soapstone?
Yes, many quartz manufacturers now offer options specifically designed to mimic the look of soapstone. Certain colors, subtle veining, matte finishes, and mottled shading can give quartz the distinctive aesthetic of natural soapstone.
How do you tell the difference between quartz and soapstone?
Quartz has a glossier, more uniform appearance while soapstone has a softer, more textured look. Quartz is non-porous while soapstone can absorb stains. Quartz feels hard and cold to the touch; soapstone feels slightly soapy. Only soapstone develops a patina over time.
Does quartz staining negate the advantage over soapstone?
No. While quartz can stain, it is much more stain resistant than porous soapstone. Any stains on properly sealed quartz are usually superficial and can be removed with cleaning. Stains on soapstone tend to soak in deeply over time.
Does quartz need to be sealed like soapstone?
No, sealing is generally not needed for quartz countertops since quartz is non-porous. The resin binds the stone particles tightly, preventing absorption of stains. Soapstone requires yearly sealing to prevent dark stains.
Is a quartz soapstone look cheaper than real soapstone?
Often yes, quality quartz is less expensive per square foot than real quarried soapstone, especially for rarer darker soapstone slabs. However, premium quartz lines with lots of realistic detailing can sometimes cost more than lighter colored soapstones.
Does quartz develop a patina over time like soapstone?
No, the engineered nature of quartz prevents it from developing a worn-in patina like soapstone. But many quartz lines do incorporate pre-designed veining and shading to mimic the aged look of patinated soapstone right from the start.
Is a quartz soapstone look easier to maintain than real soapstone?
Absolutely. One of the biggest benefits of choosing a quartz countertop with a soapstone aesthetic is that it retains the look without the high maintenance needs of real soapstone. Quartz requires very little regular upkeep.
Can you get an antique look with quartz?
It is difficult to age quartz convincingly since it won’t develop a natural patina. However, you can find quartz options with veining, honed finishes, and multi-tonal coloring meant to imitate the aged, timeworn appearance of materials like soapstone straight from installation.
Is there a big difference in price between quartz and soapstone?
There can be, but it depends on the specific materials chosen. Lower priced quartz is often competitive with mid-range soapstone. More exotic quartz options can be pricier than common gray soapstones. Darker soapstone slabs are rarer and cost more than lighter quartzes.
While quartz may not offer the exact same depth of character as genuine soapstone, advancements in quartz manufacturing allow for very convincing soapstone mimics. For those seeking the look of aged, weathered stone with fewer of the downsides, a well-crafted quartz soapstone duplicate can be an interior design home run. Be sure to inspect quartz slabs in person for subtle detailing and variation before making a selection. With a little diligence, it is possible to find a quartz countertop that looks remarkably like the real thing.