Let’s make this very simple for you! No matter the material of countertop you choose to get for your kitchen, each requires daily and weekly upkeep that will ensure it stays in the best possible condition. Some require more maintenance than the other but rest assured every single material requires at least some. You may not know this but some of the things that we do daily are detrimental to the health of our stone kitchen counters. Stone is one of the most durable materials on our planet but even minor things over time can wreak havoc.
A common misconception is that granite/quartz countertops are the “indestructible” materials. Granite indeed is a stone that is very durable, and quartz is a manmade material that is equally as durable. Both are difficult to stain and do not etch, chip, or crack as easily as some other materials. Darker granite stone material is the most durable since it is not as porous as lighter granite (you can feel this by running your fingers across a light or dark granite stone). Yet even these “indestructible” stones can be damaged and become irreparable. Which is why it is important to follow these tips.
Daily Cleaning: Almost everyone already does a quick wipe down of their countertops during the evening clean (after a meal). Many though use damaging cleaners that are actually doing more harm to the material than good. For best results wipe down a granite countertop with a simple dry microfiber cloth to wipe up any dust, and then go over with a wet cloth. If you have a strain you are trying to get out use warm water and dish soap, nothing more is required. Steer clear of harsh chemicals such as windex, lemon/lime cleaners, anything acidic, anything with ammonia or bleach. Some may be using these cleaners on a daily basis and not realizing that it is eating away at the sealer and etching and staining the granite underneath. If you absolutely need to use a cleaner to get a tough spot out look for those that are safe for use with granite/quartz or your type of stone.
Although Marble is not the best material for kitchen counters and we do not recommend it, many have been able to keep the stone in great shape and avoid all of the possible disasters that even a small spill could cause. If you are thinking of choosing marble or already have it we would like to warn you that you will need to be extra careful as well as maintain the stone daily. Marble is made of calcium carbonate and will etch as well as stain. Follow cleaning instructions as well as these tips to the tee for the best results.
Daily maintenance: Similar to granite you will need to wipe down the counters daily, and will not have the luxury of waiting or not picking up a spill right away. Even a slight spill of any beverage will be soaked right in and has a high chance of leaving an ugly stain and if not an ugly stain will result in a small dull spot, a result of an area that was eaten away by the acid. Exactly like granite, do not use any harsh cleaners but rather use warm soapy water with a dish towel and then a dry absorbent towel to dry and polish the surface.
Tips that apply to all stone countertops
Reseal the stone: First of all make sure that your countertops were sealed to begin with. An unsealed countertop surface will soak in spills and cause stains. Periodically; every 10-15 years it is a good idea to reseal the stone counters as the sealing layer may have worn off. This is a fairly simple process you can even do yourself by purchasing a sealing liquid from a local Home Depot or Lowes store and following the manufacturers instructions. To check if your counters need a new layer of sealant (or if they are sealed at all) spill a few drops of water onto the surface (in a unnoticeable area) and leave for a few minutes. If the drops bead up your counters still have a good seal layer, if they are absorbed into the stone it is time to reseal.
Always use a cutting board: It may be inconvenient at times and many will argue that it doesn’t do much damage to the counters. No matter, it is always a good idea to use a cutting board because you will prevent any possible scratching from occurring and you can be certain nothing will spill out (example: tomato juice) and etch or stain the counters.
Avoid extreme temperatures: Don’t place a hot pot or pan directly onto the stone always use a hot pad underneath. Although granite in general can take a hot pot or pan with no problem there is such a thing as thermal shock which may cause cracking even in granite and much more in other materials. Placing a pot or pan directly onto the stone will trap dirt/grit in between the two and when you move the pot/pan cause scratches in the surface. This will not happen the first time, but since we tend to use the same spot on the counter time after time both the heat and dirt particles will take their toll.
Use mats: Don’t only use mats under hot pots and pans, also use mats under objects that are capable of scratching as these will also be used in the same exact spot time after time resulting in deep irreparable damage.
These are just some of the basic tips for stone upkeep. If you have any specific questions or topics that you would like us to address please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to answer it.
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