Granite has emerged as one of the most popular countertop surfaces for kitchens. Homeowners with a discerning taste prefer this material for its beauty, durability and sustainability. Even though a granite countertop can be a considerable investment for any homeowner, it is totally worth the money spent. Whether you are building a new home or renovating your kitchen, this is one material that you can opt for giving your place an upscale look and feel.
However, you need to make sure that the aesthetic beauty of the countertop should be retained as granite is a material that can actually last for a lifetime. Therefore, it is vital to have a good care and maintenance routine so that you can get value for every penny spent on the granite countertop for your kitchen. Let us share some maintenance tips that you need to follow for prolonging its life and to keep it looking as good as new for decades.
Apply a sealant. Granite is a natural stone and needs to be sealed for giving it a non-porous finish and protecting it from stains. Proper sealing done at the time of installation ensures both. Further, you need to get it re-sealed at least once a year to keep your countertop looking shiny and beautiful. It is to be noted that sealing is to be done more frequently for white granite as compared to the darker shades as the former is more susceptible to showing stains. You can reseal the countertop on your own because applying a sealer is an easy process. Alternatively, you can have it done by a professional.
Keep the stain-free. As a part of the regular care routine for your granite countertop, make sure that its surface is always stain free. Spills do occur when you cook, but make it a point to clean the surface before the stain penetrates deeper within and becomes permanent. Since granite is an absorbent material, the chances of getting stained are high if you leave spills around for prolonged periods of time. So have a kitchen mop handy to clean spills as quickly as they happen.
Have a regular cleaning routine. Besides keeping your countertop spill-free while cooking, you need to have a regular cleaning routine as well. Soap and water will suffice for everyday cleaning and you must do it at least once a day. Make use of a specialized granite cleaner periodically to keep the area shiny and stain-free. You need to be careful about choosing the right cleaner because one with harsh chemicals can rip off the seal and damage the stone underneath. Avoid using acidic ones altogether and also do not scrub the surface too hard.
Be careful with acidic materials. When it comes to choosing the right cleaner for your granite countertop, say no to acidic and abrasive products. The same rule applies to acidic foods as well. For example, placing acidic foods like lemons and oranges directly on the surface can expose it to the acids in such foods. These acids, though mild, can still penetrate through the seal of the natural stone and cause damage on prolonged exposure. Bleach, ammonia and vinegar are some other materials that you should avoid using on the stone surface.
Protect from oil. Another important tip for long-term maintenance of your granite countertop is to avoid direct contact with oil. Make sure that you clean it immediately if you happen to spill oil over the area. Never leave oily containers directly over the countertop because they can be as bad as spills. Constant contact with oil can cause discoloration of the stone and the countertop may end up looking forlorn over a period of time.
Be extra careful while cooking. Besides following a regular care and maintenance routine, be careful while cooking if you want to preserve the aesthetic value of your granite countertop. Use a chopping board instead of cutting and chopping directly on the countertop’s surface. Do not place meats on the surface because bacteria can enter the pores and damage granite. Use trivets under hot pots and pans because heat can be as damaging for natural stones as spills and scratches are. A granite countertop is an investment for your kitchen and you should go an extra mile to preserve its beauty over the years. A little care and good maintenance can go a long way and keep the surface looking as good as new. Besides following up a cleaning and care routine, get a periodic professional inspection for the countertop and seek repairs or replacement when required.
Photo by Francesca Tosolini