Sleek, low-maintenance, and environmentally friendly granite kitchen countertops have remained popular for decades. As a long-term investment in your kitchen and overall property value, it’s essential to treat granite countertops appropriately to keep them looking their best. Caring for your countertop will keep it in excellent shape.
When you spend time and money installing granite kitchen countertops, it’s important to protect them from preventable wear and tear. Discover the dos and don’ts of granite countertop care with Motor City Granite & Cabinets.
Why Countertop Care is Critical
Granite is one of the more expensive options for kitchen and bathroom countertops, as its durability and timeless design make it a long-term investment in your home improvement project. They can also increase the home’s value by up to 25%, which may be important to a homeowner planning to sell later. So it makes sense to protect your countertop from serious damage.
Inadequate care and poor countertop treatment can transform a granite countertop from a highly-polished centerpiece to a stained, scratched, and dull focal point.
Maintaining a granite countertop is simple. Taking care of your countertops prevents them from wearing out prematurely and keeps your kitchen in good shape for many years.
Granite Countertop Dos and Don’ts
Granite countertops are incredibly sturdy and heat resistant, but they can still sustain minor damage from time to time. To keep your countertops in mint condition, follow these dos and don’ts.
Do: Protect Your Countertop from Heat
Unlike some countertop materials, granite is resilient to heat and will not burn, crack, or warp if you place a hot pan or tray on the counter. However, research suggests repeatedly exposing granite to sudden temperature changes can cause microscopic cracks in the stone.
Occasionally placing hot cooking materials directly on the countertop will not irreparably damage the countertop. Ideally, place pots, pans, and baking sheets on a trivet or cooling rack rather than on the countertop.
Don’t: Use Sharp Tools Directly on Your Counter
Granite is durable, but it isn’t indestructible. Using sharp tools like knives directly on the countertop can leave scrapes and scratches in the granite or sealant, damaging the natural stone.
Your knife can also sustain damage from being used on a stone slab. Your countertop may feel smooth, but the surface of granite is surprisingly rough. Granite is made of minerals like quartz and feldspar, which rank 7 and 6, respectively, on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and can potentially scratch your knives. Cut foods on a cutting board, not directly on the counter.
Similarly, avoid dragging heavy equipment across the countertop. Kitchen appliances or machinery can leave unsightly scratch marks in the sealant or granite. Place a soft surface underneath heavy equipment, or pick it up and carry it.
Do: Clean Your Countertops Regularly
Sealed granite countertops are primarily protected from spills. However, if the sealant is wearing down or wasn’t applied properly, small pores or microscopic gaps in the granite may be exposed. Spills and grease can enter these gaps, spread through the granite, and leave large stains on your countertop.
On darker granite, like ubatuba granite, these stains may be less visible unless looking closely. However, stains and discolorations can stand out on white or light granite and make your countertop look dirty. Cleaning up spills as soon as possible minimizes potential damage to your counters.
Granite countertops are easy to maintain: just use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe off the surface. If something is stuck firmly to the counter, use mild dish soap. Specialized granite countertop cleaners are available but often aren’t necessary.
Don’t: Use Abrasive Cleaning Materials
Rough materials like scouring pads, grout brushes, or steel wool are adept at removing particularly stubborn messes. This extra strength, however, can also leave scratches on your granite countertops. Abrasives can wear down the sealant on your countertop and scrape the granite, leaving your countertop dull and uneven.
Harsh cleansers like lemon juice, vinegar, tile cleaner, or bleach should also be avoided. Acidic and alkaline substances can break down sealant and corrode granite, causing your countertop to become uneven. In addition, the chemicals in the cleanser can react with the stone, leaving discolored patches on your countertop that can only be fixed by replacing the counter.
Do: Seal Your Countertops As Needed
Granite countertops are coated with a sealant that protects the stone from stains and damage. However, this sealant can wear down over time, providing little defense against liquids and grease. Resealing your countertop strengthens the barrier and reduces the risk of stains.
To test your countertop’s sealant, pour a small amount of water on the counter and let it sit for up to half an hour. Monitor how quickly the countertop absorbs the water. If it absorbs within five minutes, your counter needs to be resealed.
How frequently you need to reseal your countertop varies: some must be resealed every few months, while others can be resealed every few years. Some granite slabs never need resealing, as they have received a permanent coating of sealant from the manufacturer.
The type of granite can also influence how often you must seal it: dark-colored granite, like black granite, typically needs to be sealed less often than lighter granite colors.
If you are unsure how often you need to seal your granite countertops, consult a Motor City Granite & Cabinets professional.
Don’t: Try to Repair Damage Yourself
Dropping heavy equipment on a granite countertop can cause the granite to chip or crack. If your countertop suffers damage, it’s best to call a Motor City Granite & Cabinets professional to repair it.
Repairing granite countertops is a difficult job, even for skilled professionals. While minor chips or cracks can be fixed with epoxy, trying to do so yourself can leave a visible seam in your countertop, and epoxy is insufficient for more severe damage. A professional can look at the damage and determine the best way to repair it.
Consult Motor City Granite & Cabinets for Kitchen Remodeling
Installing granite countertops is an excellent way to improve your kitchen’s appearance and increase your home’s value. Motor City Granite & Cabinets provides granite slabs in a wide variety of colors so that you can find the perfect match for your project.
With the help of our professionals, you’ll be satisfied with every step of your kitchen remodeling, from selecting your countertop to the day it’s installed. Call us at (248) 690-9537 to take the first step into a world full of remodeling options.