granite vs. soapstone vs. marble-- why?

Hi,
I'm a serious amateur sculptor and painter, and am getting into marble this summer. For sculptors, for quality figurative work, alabaster, limestone, marble, or *maybe* soapstone are the only real options; with very different qualities.
But I ask about countertops merely out of curiosity. We have granite in our kitchen. No more expensive than Corian, much thicker and classier and beautiful than mere formica. The finish can be scratched, and it looks like in parts the finish hasn't penetrated the veining; but it can always be recoated-- the granite itself is very hard. It seems ideal. SO, why do people use soapstone? I scratch my head. For sculpture, it has a very fine grain if any; it's not porous at all. But I don't see that as an issue in granite? It also is so very soft; talc is lower on the Moh's scale than a fingernail!! It can be pretty, but not as brilliant as granite. I'm not in the construction industry, I'm just speculating here. Why do people get soapstone? Is it very cheap, or is it just a particular look, damn the durability issues; or because of being non-porous and requiring no finish, is it super-sanitary? Finally, why get marble for a countertop? I'm not quite so confused with marble as with soapstone; but granite would still seem to be better? Or, just a visual aesthetic that people will sacrifice material properties for?
thanks! -Bernard
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I'm planning to use soapstone in my kitchen remodel, for two reasons: First, it is non porous, so it won't stain and doesn't require any sealers. Second, it is easy to work with carbide tools, so I can do the the entire installation myself. Softness in a countertop is not necessarily a bad thing: less likely to break things dropped on it, less damaging to knives if one occasionally cuts on it, easy to polish out any damage.

Right, but soapstone isn't pure talc, the other minerals make it noticeably harder.
Cheers, Wayne
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