Four Reasons Why Soapstone Stoves are Worth the Investment

What is soapstone? Where does it come from? What are the advantages of a wood-burning stove made of soapstone? Are they expensive?

These are some of the most common inquiries your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer receives from customers. Let’s talk about these and other questions and you’ll see for yourself why a soapstone stove is worth the investment!

WHAT IS IT?

A little background about soapstone. It’s a rock with special qualities and properties that make it very unique. It is mined in Brazil, Canada, the USA, India and Finland. It is a metamorphic rock, relatively soft and can be cut and carved fairly easily. It’s made mostly of talc and is rich in magnesium.

The main appeal is the fact that soapstone has a very high heat storage capacity. It has been used for thousands of years to aid in heating and cooking. It’s the only stone that will take dramatic shifts in temperature and not crack under a direct flame. Marble and granite might be able to withstand high temperatures, but they will be damaged and crack when subjected to a direct flame. Soapstone will not.

WHAT ARE SOAPSTONE STOVES?

Some wood-burning stoves are designed with this unique stone. The appeal: the soapstone absorbs heat from the fire and slowly releases or radiates that energy back into the room. It has incredible heat retention capacity. Depending on the size and weight of the appliance, the stone will radiate that heat energy for a long period of time. This means maximizing heat output while using less wood for the fire. These stoves store more heat with respect to their weight than their steel or cast-iron counterparts. In fact, pound for pound, soapstone stores about twice as much heat energy as steel or cast iron.

This means that a soapstone wood-burning stove will continue to heat your home long after the flames are out and the coal bed has died down. These appliances normally produce a fire up to 70% hotter than a steel or cast-iron stove. This type of rock generates a huge amount of energy from a small amount of wood, comfortably heating your house with less wood.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Many people describe the radiant heat from a soapstone stove as softer, more consistent and less harsh than the heat output from a steel or cast-iron model. This is because of the properties of the stone and the way the heat energy is evenly radiated into the living space over several hours.

Many soapstone stoves are designed with the stone on both sides, the front and back, and the bottom and top. This maximizes the advantages of soapstone. Other stoves, inserts and fireplaces might have stone on the bottom, top or sides only. These appliances are taking benefits of the soapstone along with some of the advantages of cast iron and steel. Keep in mind that all wood-burning stoves, inserts and fireplaces today are engineered and designed to exceed the EPA’s 2020 emissions requirements and are highly efficient.

Four Reasons Why Soapstone Stoves are Worth the Investment - Woodstove Novo 18 by Supreme with Soapstone Option in the Firebox

Woodstove Novo 18 by Supreme with Soapstone Option in the Firebox

ARE SOAPSTONE STOVES MORE EXPENSIVE?

Do you pay a premium for soapstone? Compared with a basic steel or cast-iron stove of similar size and heat output, soapstone stoves can be a bit more expensive. Many people feel the additional cost is well worth the slight upcharge for a highly decorative and individual piece. However, comparable sizes of porcelain enamel cast-iron stoves or steel stoves decked out with a fancy door and fan will be very similar in price to a soapstone stove.

Soapstone stoves are made by hand, one at a time. The folks involved in manufacturing these appliances take extreme pride in their role in the process. Get this... the technician that does the final assembly and inspection of a soapstone stove actually signs their name in the corner on the back of the stove! What does this tell you about their attention to details and the confidence and pride they have in their product?

The soapstone on the stoves your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer sells is 1¼” thick. The stone is held in place by a cast-iron frame. The stoves are designed with highly efficient reburn systems, strict air control, and are easy to operate. Many dealers and satisfied customers often consider a soapstone stove as a “functional” piece of furniture.

Soapstone stoves are stunning. They come mostly in shades of blue and gray and occasionally, green. Since the stone is a naturally occurring material, no two stoves are ever the same. The veining of the stone varies from piece to piece. The rich colors usually deepen over time and add to the beauty and distinctiveness of the appliance.

Incidentally, the chimney system for a soapstone stove is going to be identical to other wood-burning units. Remember, it’s always best to match the size of the chimney system to the flue collar size on the stove. A six-inch chimney is considered “standard” today. However, there are a few stove models that may require an eight-inch chimney system.

SUMMARIZING REASONS TO INVEST IN A SOAPSTONE STOVE:

  • These wood-burning soapstone stoves will suit your unique lifestyle. They are one-of-a-kind models. Stove models will look similar, but no two are the same because of the unique characteristics in the veining of the stone. You’ll love that traditional “look”. When it’s fired up, a soapstone stove is truly impressive.
  • The heat from the fire is absorbed into the stone and this radiant energy is slowly released in your home. This consistent, steady and gentle heat eliminates those hot peaks and cooler valleys of heat output commonly felt with steel and cast iron models.
  • Save time and money because you will be using less wood. These stoves provide long periods of radiant heat even when the fire is out and the coal bed is waning.
  • The durability of a soapstone stone firebox is longer than a steel or cast-iron stove. Because of high heat, and over time, cast iron can warp and firebrick often needs to be replaced to prevent damage to a steel firebox. But the stone will last and last and last...

Your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer is a trusted expert. A soapstone stove is going to have a special place as your family grows and you look back on fond memories and traditions. Your WE LOVE FIRE® expert looks forward to showing you the complete line-up of soapstone models.

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

Winston's Chimney Service LogoVisit Store Page

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Hearth & Home Shoppe LogoVisit Store Page

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Warrenton, VA

Costello's Warrenton Fireplace & Hot Tub
251 West Lee Hwy
Warrenton, VA 20186


For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

19 Responses

  1. Angela Bolet
    Thank you for sharing, great article. Do you recommend a store in or near the Houston area? Which brand of soap stone do you recommend ? Thank you
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for reaching out. We really like the Hearthstone brand. They are made in the USA, in Vermont. They provide beautiful heat and fires. Great people to work with too. We currently do not have a local expert in Houston. Our closest one to you would be in Georgetown, which is a pretty long way. We will eventually have an expert there... All the best! Dominique
    • You will love the hearthstone...nice size especially for a smaller unique style home....they run about 3000.00
      Very nice stove...I lucked out and bought mine for a mere 300.00 Yes....300.00 from marketplace... Brrrr bring on winter Oklahoma!!!
      • Dominique Page
        Wow! We are impressed with that deal!!! That is awesome!
  2. Brandon
    Hi, I’m trying to find replacement soap stones for my hearthstone clysdale insert, trying to find a cheaper solution then going to the dealer?
    • Dominique Page
      Good day! Thanks for reaching out. Unless you have a contact with a soapstone mine who could cut the stone to size and match the 'veins' and 'color', I don't see any other option that going to the local dealer who will will be sourcing from Hearthstone. Stay Warm, Stay Safe! Dominique
  3. John T.
    I believe the Castleton 8031 will suit our needs for a 1600 sq ft. Home. Are all all installers the same or should I go through a Dealer's recommendation for choosing an installer?
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! thanks for reaching out. I think going with the dealer's installer will provide you with the level of comfort of the guaranteed product and install. One point of reference...so if you need assistance down the down, one will no blame the other...:) You will love that stove...! Dominique
  4. Paul plson
    We have had two hearthstone soapstone stves in our home over 30 years. We are now planning construction of a new home and it will have a hearthstone soapstone stove.
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for your beautiful comment! We love Hearthstone too!!! Domninique
  5. Michael H.
    Which fireplace inserts have soapstone? Or is soapstone only available on freestanding stoves?
    • Dominique Page
      Hi Michael Thanks for your message. You have a good question here. Hearthstone has Wood Inserts with Soapstone. They have a new one coming too, the Clydesdale. On the Ambiance Brand, there will be a new Wood Insert coming too, in April. It is called the Flair 34. All of these will have Soapstone 'inside' the firebox. If you are looking at a full blown Soapstone Insert, with Soapstone on the 'outside', there are none on the Market right now. Hope this answers your question. Stay Safe and Warm! Dominique
  6. Charles Stitzwe
    I have always preferred a soapstone wood stove over steel and cast iron because of soapstone's beauty and properties. I am currently building a (not quite) tiny house that is 600ft2. Although I would like soapstone, I think the available models might put out too much heat for a small space and could be conducive to creosote formation. Is there a soapstone stove small enough to heat 600ft2, last all night and burn efficiently?
    • Dominique Page
      Hello Charles. Thanks for reaching out. The Hearthstone Castleton would do the trick for 600 sq ft. The beauty of the new technology from Hearthstone is that you can burn super slow and lower the heat output per hour. Take a look at it...Hearthstone Castleton
  7. Rose
    We are in the process of having a hearthstone Shelburne installed in our home. What is your opinion of the soapstone/cast iron stoves?
    • Dominique Page
      We love the Hearthstone stoves! The mix of cast iron and soapstone combines ease of maintenance of the outside of the stove, and the heat retention of soapstone. You will love it!
  8. Tommie Mackie
    We have had our soap stone stoves for 19 years and absolutely love,love,love it. Our son and his wife purchased one as close to ours in looks as they could get it. The people that came and installed ours were so professional, I had my doubts the stove pipe could with stand this Oklahoma wind, but no problems, these folks absolutely know what they are doing.
  9. Joanne
    It would be good if in big print BEFORE a soapstone stove is purchased, that presto logs or compressed logs are NOT to be burned. We live in the desert and no firewood within hundreds of miles. Now we have 2 tons of compressed logs and an empty stove. No one told us otherwise, and we only learned of this when reading the enclosed information AFTER installation. Not happy.
    • Joseph Bodden
      Joanne: We understand your frustration, but have some good news for you. I would use these compressed logs but: 1) Be certain to use an appropriate stove thermometer in the connector pipe and keep a close eye on the temperature until you get a good feel for the stove, how quickly it responds and the temperatures generated by these logs. 2) Be sure to operate the stove within the temperature range that the manufacturer recommends. And, strictly follow the break-in procedure outlined in the owner's manual. 3) Double check yours, but I don't think compressed logs have chemicals added to them like a SternoLog or some of those creosote "cleaning" logs do. The compressed logs that I'm familiar with are like big honkin' pellets for use in a wood burning stove. The natural resins from the wood holds them together and prevents them from crumbling during storage. Never use any compressed logs with chemicals or artificial binders that could damage the stove. Hope this helps . . . and enjoy the radiant warmth of that beautiful stove!

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