How To Care For Granite Countertops
Granite countertops are a popular style used by many homeowners for new construction projects and home remodels.
The perks of the stone are that it’s durable, beautiful and does not require much maintenance. However, you still need to know how to care for granite countertops to ensure that your granite stays in great condition.
Granites differ in their texture but they all have similar properties such as their resistance to the invasive action of most substances found in the house. Unlike marble and limestone, granite is the least affected by acids or alcohol. It shouldn’t be damaged from leaving hot utensils on it or by sharp knives. (Having said that, the new fusion edge knives claim to be able to cut anything – you have been warned!)
Stones are Porous
All stones, due to their granular construction, are porous to a greater or lesser extent and most granites fall into the latter category. To reduce the slight ability of granite to absorb liquids we treat the surface with a proprietary sealer that penetrates the surface and fills the microscopic voids between the crystals. This process is first done in the shop at the completion of manufacturing and again when installed. However, you should be aware that with the lighter colored granites you may experience slight darkening of the stone in areas where water has been allowed to stand, but this should fade away as it dries out. Beetroot, wine and cooking oil, particularly when hot, may cause a stain on your marble or granite work top, and you should always clean this up immediately with paper towel.
Acids and Alcohol
Marble and limestone are susceptible to the aggressive action of acids and alcohol. Care should be taken to remove spills of fruit juice, particularly lemon, wine and vinegar, beetroot etc. E.g.; the residue of red wine on the base of wineglasses will leave its mark. Nail polish remover and any other solvent or oil based products will stain if not wiped up immediately.
Caring for Your Countertop
Despite its reputation for toughness, stone can be stained, scratched and chipped. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of the time damaged stone floors and countertops can be made to look like new again.
Accidents happen, but stains don’t have to be permanent. The right cleaning agent, mixed with a powdered poultice, can suck stubborn spots out of solid rock.
Repairing Chips and Scratches
Scratches and chips are best repaired by a professional refinisher with the proper tools and skills. First, the refinisher will fill any chips and deep gouges with special polyester or epoxy, tinted on site to match the color of stone. Then the scratches and chips are honed with several increasingly fine diamond coated abrasive pads until polished to match existing finish.
Sealing Out Stains
The best way to improve stone’s stain resistance is to apply a penetrating sealer, also know as an impregnator. Unlike waxes or other coatings, these sealers go below the surfaces and protect the stone from within. The premium sealers- such as Miracle Sealants 511 product line and Stone Care International’s Stone Guard- contain a chemical known as a fluo-alphatic, which repels both water and/or oil based stains. Penetrating sealers that contain silicone only repel water.
Not all countertops need to be sealed. Some stone is so dense that staining isn’t a serious problem. The test is simple: just place a drop of water on the surface. If it doesn’t darken the stone after several minutes, a sealer is optional. However, if the area under the drop becomes dark the stone is then porous and should be sealed.