Looking for a new high-quality stove with a spark of originality? Soapstone is the right fit for your needs. This somewhat unknown material offer distinct economic and aesthetic advantages that might convince you to opt for it.
What is soapstone ?
Soapstone is natural metamorphic rock that can withstand extreme heat and is an excellent material for wood stoves. The composition of soapstone is remarkably stable. It is able to hold up against direct flames and dramatic shifts in temperature. For centuries, soapstone has been recognized for having excellent heat retention. Anyone considering a soapstone wood stove should know that this appliance is most appreciated for gentle, long-lasting heat.
Granite and marble are also known for their ability to hold and radiate heat. But soapstone has one additional attribute that surpasses all of the natural materials: Soapstone can indefinitely withstand direct flames. It’s no doubt because when soapstone was formed long ago, it was under incredibly intense pressure and heat.
5 Reasons for Soapstone, in more detail
A stove with a soapstone firebox lasts longer than cast iron, steel, or refractory bricks, which are other materials used in wood stoves.
Each slab of soapstone forms an interior and exterior wall of the stove. On the inside, the heat of the fire is absorbed directly into the stone. On the outside of the stove, heat is radiated into the room from the polished surface of the soapstone. For anyone with small children, soapstone is ideal because the heat on the outside is very stable and won’t quickly cause a burn the way other materials do.
You can cozy up near a soapstone wood stove to enjoy the comfortable, even, gentle heat. This is unlike sitting near a steel stove, for example, which will deliver blasts of heat that are difficult to endure from a close distance.
Another great feature of a soapstone wood stove is that it will stay warm for many hours, whether providing overnight radiant heat or for times when you are unable to tend to the fire.
Residual heat is a money-saving feature because you will need less heat and energy provided by the utility company and less firewood is needed to keep your home warm.
Every soapstone wood stove has unique elements of décor and design, thanks to the beautiful veining in the stone as well as other patterns naturally created. The rich colors of soapstone are known to sometimes deepen over time, when exposed to extreme radiant heat.
Tips for Choosing a Soapstone Wood Stove
It’s important to realize that not all soapstone wood stoves have the same amount of stone. They are often made with a combination of cast iron or steel and soapstone. Shop around to be sure you are truly getting the benefit of soapstone with the stove you buy.
The strips of soapstone on the stove should be substantial; in some models, there are only small amounts of the natural material that are also very thin. With a minimal amount of stone, heat retention is lost. Without the needed mass to hold onto and radiate the heat, the stoves tend to overheat and then cool down quickly.
Be sure the thickness of soapstone in a wood stove you purchase is a minimum of 30 mm in thickness. For a truly excellent stove with maximum heat retention and efficiency, get one that has soapstone 60 mm wide.