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Having a countertop is a big investment just as it is a big responsibility. It’s very easy to find countertops to outfit your kitchen or bathroom with and it’s even a lot easier to have one installed in your home. As most homeowners would tell you though, caring for countertops is not as easy as caring for a table or any other flat surface in your house.
One of the top choices for a countertop currently is granite. It stands at the top right next to other popular options like marble and quartz. There are many benefits to getting granite countertops which is why more and more homes are being outfitted with them. If you are having one installed in your home, there are a lot of things you should know about it first.
Whether you use it for the bathroom or for the kitchen, it’s very important that you take good care of your granite countertop. They are indeed durable but one thing they aren’t is self-maintaining. If you don’t take care of your countertop, you’re just putting it to waste. More importantly, though, you are putting your health at risk too but more on this later.
Maintaining your granite countertop is more than just wiping it down after every use. In reality, there are many things you should do to take care of your granite kitchen countertops or granite bathroom countertops. If you want to make sure that these last with you for as long as possible, then you may want to consider these maintenance tips.
Scratching And Chipping
Despite being durable and very sturdy, granite and all other natural stone countertops are actually prone to chipping and scratching. Chipping is what small pieces of granite are chipped away from your countertop. This is caused by many factors including falling objects, accidents, and many others. This is one of the worst things that can happen to granite countertops.
There’s exactly no way to treat granite chipping. However, the best course of action is to actually be careful around your granite countertop. Avoid dropping heavy and hard objects on it as that can result in actual chipping. When moving in new appliances, you should cover the countertop with a thick cloth so that there’s some sort of protection still.
Another common cause of granite chipping is when you smash on your knives too hard. This is common especially if you’re butchering meat. If you can’t help it, buy a butcher’s block. This can absorb almost all of the force which can keep your granite countertop safe. Never use a thin cutting board on your granite countertop because this can actually ruin your granite.
Some homeowners try to remedy chipping by using super glue to stick back the piece of granite into the countertop. However, this doesn’t always work especially the piece that chipped off is too large. In other cases where the chip is in the corner and if it’s small, you can actually use superglue to remedy the problem but this is only a temporary fix.
Scratching is a completely different matter. As the name suggests, scratching occurs when the surface of your countertop gets scratched. Again, this is caused by various factors which include heavy objects getting dragged on the surface, accidents, and many more. Most cases of scratching is actually the result of the owner’s actions.
The good news is that since it’s very durable, it’s tough to actually scratch the surface of a granite countertop. To scratch it it needs to be damaged by an object that’s just as hard as granite or is harder. There are many items that can cause scratching and it includes the diamond on a diamond ring for instance.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t drag anything across the surface of your countertop. If you are putting in new appliances, it’s much better to carry it instead of dragging it. If you want to, you can place a small piece of rubber under the legs of the appliances so that they prevent further scratching.
Of course, there will always come a time and when accidents happen and scratching does occur. Don’t give up when this happens though. The best course of action is to conceal the scratch with a permanent market. You can also buff out the scratch using a #0000 steel wool pad. However, there’s no permanent fix to it other than being careful.
When buffing with a steel wool, try to be gentle and not to press to hard. You can actually cause more damage to it. It’s also important that you get the right type of steel wool as anything harder can cause severe scratches.
Stains And Spills
One of the most apparent features of the best granite countertops is that they are mostly resilient to stains and spills. However, one thing worth noting about these countertops is that they are porous. When buying a countertop, checking for porosity isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement which can help you understand how to better care for your countertop.
Porosity means that there are tiny holes within your granite countertop. Now, these aren’t visible holes per se. However, they are big enough to actually absorb water and other fluids that drop on the countertop. This is more of a health concern as the liquid that seeps in can actually develop into bacteria or mold.
That being said, granite countertop fabricators ensure to seal the material first before putting it on your kitchen or bathroom. The practice of sealing means actually covering the countertop with resin. Doing so makes the countertop non-porous, thus water resistant. Meaning you don’t have to worry about having fluids seep through.
Sealing is a process that’s done at least once a year. As such, it’s best that you keep in touch with your fabricators so that you already have a contact person that can actually manage the sealing for you. Sealing usually costs around $400-$500 depending on how large you countertop is. It’s a good investment for your health though.
As for stains and spills, the key to keeping your countertop free from this is by simple acting fast. Once a spill occurs, you should wipe down the countertop as quickly as possible. This can prevent permanent staining. You should only use cleaning agents that you are comfortable putting on your hands too.
What this means is that you shouldn’t use strong chemicals like bleach and detergent to clean your countertop with. Instead, use cleaning agents like a mild dish soap or a mild detergent instead. Anything stronger could actually cause discoloration on your countertop which is the last thing you’d want.
A Few More Tips
The key is to not treat your granite countertop – or any other natural stone countertop material, as you would a regular surface. There are many complications when doing this. Natural stones have a lot of different properties that you can’t find on wood or steel surfaces so it’s best to stay knowledgeable.
For starters, whenever you spill liquids that have a strong color – like wine or soy sauce for instance, make sure to not leave it to dry. Even when sealed, granite countertops can still some of the fluids. As such, leaving these fluids to stay overnight can actually result in discoloration which is one of the worst problems you can come across with when owning a granite countertop.
Another thing worth noting is that you should never abuse the durability of a granite countertop. They may be heat resistant and sturdy but that doesn’t mean you should smash things on them. As much as possible, you need to be gentle with it if you want your countertop to last with you for a long time.
If you aren’t confident about your granite countertop maintenance skills, then you should ask your fabricator for tips first. They have the proper know-how that can help you prevent serious damage to your countertop. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your granite countertops as getting a new one is definitely expensive.
Granite countertops are a great addition to your home’s bathroom or kitchen. However, you need to take care of it just as much as it helps you out. It can be costly to get a new countertop so you have to be really careful about how you go about caring for your countertop. As you can see, it’s all really a matter of being careful.
When you get a granite countertop, a new burden will be laced on your shoulders and that’s the responsibility of caring for granite. What you get in return though is a very durable and functional countertop material that can last you for a lifetime. As such, carry that responsibility with you and you’ll be surprised at how well it can benefit you.
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