Granite, an igneous rock is one of the most durable types of countertops available today. This gorgeous stone is used for countertops and flooring. After being harvested from quarries, this stone is cut, polished, sealed and installed as countertops. Granite is available in various styles and colors such as pink, black, gray, brown, and 275 other varieties. Its speckled, salt and pepper appearance is attributed to the different minerals forming the stone. Granite is natural, beautiful as well as durable. Its heat-resistant and scratch-resistant qualities make it an ideal choice for kitchen countertops. Of all the materials available, granite is the most durable and strongest. Moreover, its cleaning and maintenance is easier as compared to other materials, which suffer from minor neglect. Thus, even though they are expensive, installing granite countertops is a wise investment.
Granite countertops are durable and easy to maintain, however, undertaking the right precautions can prevent it from being damaged. Proper care and maintenance will ensure the countertops' beauty for years to come. Slight daily and weekly attention will help sustain its shine.
Blot up spills immediately: Spilling anything other than water or mild soaps, especially acidic substances must be avoided on these countertops. Substances like wine, tomato sauce, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, coffee and soft drinks won't necessarily etch the granite like they do with marble, but they can stain the surface if neglected. Moreover, cooking oils can also leave their stains, if not wiped up immediately.
Sponge or soft cloth for cleaning: For regular cleaning as well as blotting up spilled liquids, paper towels, sponge or soft cloth must be used. Damp rags can be used to remove sticky residue from the countertop. Using warm water and dish soap are alright to clean granite, however, excessive and repeated use of soap can cause the surface to become dull. Steel wool or other cleaning products should not be used to clean the surface.
Avoid adding weight to countertop edges: It is important to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the edges of the countertops. Increased pressure and weight can lead to damage of the edges. Activities such as using the countertop to climb and clean something or reach a shelf, grabbing onto the countertop for balance, etc. must be avoided. All this can cause the attractiveness of the granite to diminish.
Use cutting boards: Granite is scratch-resistant, however, this does not imply that one can use the countertop in place of a cutting board. Cutting boards must be used and all possibilities of causing scratches must be avoided. Moreover, cutting on granite will not only dull the stone, but will also damage the knives' edges.
Use hot pads or trivets: Granite countertops can withstand heat very well, unlike other surfaces. Granite is a hard stone and can take tons of abuse, without getting damaged. However, the granite surface comprises some soft, thin strips of granite. These thin strips lack enough surface area to absorb all the heat from the piping hot pots and pans, thereby resulting into chipping and scratching of the lustrous surface. Generally scratches are not formed so easily, however, it is advisable to use trivets or hot pads as precautionary measures.
Use sealant for protection: Application of sealant on the countertop after their installation, helps protect the granite surface from damage. When solvent based sealers are applied to the countertops, the surface achieves a new, sparkling look. Sealers do not eliminate the danger of staining, however, they do increase the window period of stain blotting time. Sealers generally need to be reapplied every year.
Avoid harsh cleaning products: Many common household cleaners, such as bleach, kitchen degreasers and glass cleaners contain acids, alkalies and other chemicals. These harsh cleaners can degrade the sealer, thereby making the granite susceptible to staining. Bathroom, grout, tile or tub cleaners must be strictly avoided. Moreover, ammonia, vinegar, orange or lime must also not be used as cleaners.
Granite countertops are elegant, unique, durable and enhance the beauty of the kitchen. Inculcating these tips into one's daily routine will keep them sparkling in the kitchen for years together.