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Comparing Porcelain & Soapstone

Porcelain and soapstone are materials used for a variety of surfaces. Countertops, worktops, and tabletops are a few of the surfaces that have been fashioned form these materials. Yet, each of these materials has its own identity. Both have some traits that make them unique. However, there are things that these materials have in common as well. In this article we will take a look at these two materials. As we do, we will examine their characteristics, compare similarities and discuss some differences between them. So, let's get into comparing porcelain and soapstone.

Porcelain Surfaces

Porcelain surfaces have been around for many years. There are several applications for which porcelain has proven to be suitable. We will not elaborate on the details of porcelain surfaces in this article since we have a page that talks in more detail about porcelain surfaces. Here, we will simply touch on some of the basic characteristics of porcelain and why that makes it a good surfaces material.

Characteristics of Porcelain

Like every material used for hard surfaces, porcelain has distinctive traits that make it desirable for use as a hard surface material. First, it is a sintered material. So it is heat resistant. Second, like many sintered materials, porcelain is very hard. Third, porcelain surfaces are easy to care for and are non-porous. These characteristics make porcelain very appealing.

The traits we mentioned in the previous paragraph contribute to the appeal of porcelain for use as hard surfaces such as countertops. Heat resistance means porcelain surfaces do not burn or scorch for higher temperatures. This is wanted when it comes to a countertop or island surface in a kitchen. The hardness contributes to the durability since it is scratch resistant. And the non-porous nature of porcelain means it doesn't absorb liquid that could stain the material. Thus, it is relatively easy to care for. Additionally, it can be cleaned with a variety of cleanser types so if there is a stubborn stain, chances are you can remove it using the right cleaner.

What Is Soapstone?

Soapstone is a material used for a number of types of surfaces. Worktops, counters, and other smooth, flat surfaces are good candidates soapstone applications. The traits of soapstone make it a very practical material for specific uses. If color variety is what you are after though, soapstone is not the material you are after. This natural stone is invariably some shade of green. There are some variations that are in the gray realm too. But even the gray will have a degree of green hue in them.

Similar Benefits Between Porcelain & Soapstone

It may surprise you to see that soapstone and porcelain have some common characteristics, but they do. Each, as we have already mentioned, is non-porous. They both can be cleaned using a variety of chemicals. And both of these materials are used for countertops, worktops, and other "hard" surfaces. Each is stain resistant due to the lack of pores in the material. Finally, both porcelain and soapstone are heat resistant. So, as you can see, these materials are very similar in a number of ways. But that is not to say that these materials are not very different. They very much are. As we will see next.

Differences Between Soapstone and Porcelain Surfaces

For all their similarities, porcelain and soapstone are two very different materials. For example, porcelain is made in a range of colors. On the other hand, soapstone only forms in a range of greens. So, when it comes to color choice, these materials are different from one another.

Color availability is not the only difference between these materials. The hardness is also a contrasting trait when compared. Porcelain as we said earlier is very hard. Alternatively though, soapstone is very soft. In fact, on the Mohs scale of hardness, porcelain is at a 7 and soapstone is about a 3 or 4. With 10 being the hardest on that scale and 1 being the softest, it is easy to see where these materials are on that scale.

As you can see from comparing porcelain and soapstone, two very different materials can and do share traits. But they also are very different other ways. So one of the takeaways here is that each surface material is unique and will share some traits with other materials. But when compared side-by-side, it is easy to see that two materials are unique.

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