Granite countertops are attractive and add value to your home. However, they require a bit more care than tile or formica.
Different kinds of granite have different levels of durability. Some resist staining and scratching better than others. Ask your countertop installer how to best protect your countertops. While cutting directly on granite surfaces will not affect the majority of granites, it will quickly dull your knives. And, repeated use of a knife in the same area on a granite countertop will eventually wear down the polish. Play it safe and use a cutting board.
Minimizing Stains - Make Sure Your Countertop Is Sealed Properly
Lighter-colored granites will be more prone to staining than darker stone. The best way to avoid most potential staining is to wipe off spills immediately - especially coffee, red wine, cooking oils, butter, lemon juice, tomatoes and anything else that's oily or acidic. To help repel stains, most countertop installers will seal granite countertops with a penetrating agent (stone impregnator). If you're not sure if your countertops were sealed, consult with an expert. The granite should be resealed once a year. Take care to use appropriate cleaning agents; ammonia-based products can etch the granite and dull its polish.
Will Granite Countertops Burn or Scorch?
The good news is - no, they won't! You may set a hot pot or pan directly onto a granite surface. However, after you remove the pot, the granite will have absorbed the heat from the cooking utensil and may be too hot to touch.
Natural stone cleansers are the best for everyday maintenance. Some of the products are available at your local Home Improvement store. If not, try a tile store. If you want to forego a stone cleanser, use a mild, PH-neutral dish detergent such as Ivory Liquid with water. Keep your granite countertops clean at all times - don't let food or other substances linger on the surface in order to prevent staining and bacteria growth. Paper towels or disposable cloths are best because they will not harbor bacteria from previous use. To disinfect a countertop, use a mix of half water and half bleach - however, this is something that should be done on rare occasion, as it may cause etching if done frequently.
Avoid caustic or harsh chemicals on your countertops, including tile cleaners, window cleaners (no ammonia-based products!), degreasers, anything abrasive. Surprisingly, cosmetics such as shaving cream, lotion, makeup and perfumes can also damage and/or stain granite surfaces.
Not Sure About Your Particular Countertops?
If you purchase a home that already has granite countertops and the previous owner did not leave care instructions, consult a tile store or countertop company. Bring a photo of your countertops to show them exactly what kind of granite you have so they can give you care instructions that match your countertops. If you're not sure when your countertops were last sealed, have a professional visit your home to advise you when to apply the next round of sealant.
Follow these simple guidelines and your granite countertops should last for many years.