SOAPSTONE (or in petrographical terms, steatite) is a metamorphic rock whose chief component is usually talc, and also contains varying parts of chlorite, mica, tremolite, quartz, magnesium and iron contents. It is found in areas where tectonic plates changed the rocks by heat and pressure, without melting. Soapstone is found mostly in grey to green color. It has a greasy or soapy feel, hence the name soapstone. Large commercial deposits of SOAPSTONE are found in Brazil, mostly in the state of Minas Gerais.
One of the outstanding features of SOAPSTONE is its excellent capacity to withstand heat. It is not affected by very high temperatures, even exceeding 800oC.
SOAPSTONE resists all kinds of weather changes for hundreds of years.
SOAPSTONE for fireplaces and ovens
SOAPSTONE, due to its excellent heat absorption properties, retains most of the warmth produced by the energy source (wood, coal, charcoal, electric power) and conducts it quickly through the so-called thermal mass heating. This means that the stone itself acts as an efficient source of heat and not the actual flame, as it happens in traditional open fireplaces. In other words, the fireplace heat is absorbed by the mass of the SOAPSTONE and is then released slowly and evenly over time, even after the source of heat is extinguished or turned off. The outstanding feature of SOAPSTONE is that it generates radiant heat while remaining generally safe to touching.
Best uses of soapstone
In addition to fireplaces and fireplace surrounds and ovens, for which SOAPSTONE is the material of choice, it is used for: