So you’ve picked out your new custom granite countertop, you’ve had it installed and it looks beautiful in your newly remodeled kitchen! However, on just your first day you spill that sauce from that new recipe you wanted to try from Pinterest! Oh no! Not to worry, your new granite countertops should come sealed for you!
Granite – like most stones – is a porous surface meaning that it can be stained and damaged from various liquid or chemical spills, acids especially, so it must be sealed every-so-often in order to maintain it’s appearance. So how do you know when your granite countertop needs resealing? What kind of care and maintenance should you expect when purchasing a natural stone surface for your kitchen renovation?
Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for Your Custom Granite Countertops
Do clean them daily.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but cleaning any countertop, especially a natural stone countertop, should be apart of any daily routine. Not only does it cut down on germs and keeps everything looking nice but when it comes to a natural stone such as granite it will also prevent staining. Do keep in mind that the more often you clean your countertops may also mean that you need to reseal them more often as well.
Do clean with a natural stone cleaner.
Using a natural stone cleaner will leave your countertops looking shiny and new and many of these products contain other additives that will further care for your stone and enhance the look, such as waxes to fill in minor scratches that may occur or sealer to further prevent staining. If you don’t have any natural stone cleaner or polish you can use a mild dish detergent, warm water and a terry cloth, just be sure that the soap that you are using isn’t highly fragranced and doesn’t have any abrasives.
Do not clean with ammonia, bleach, or abrasive products.
Ammonia, bleach, or other chemical cleaners (like sink or toilet bowl cleaner) can stain granite countertops leaving a stain that is difficult to get rid of, or worse, can be permanent. Acid based (vinegar) cleaners or citrus based (lemon, orange) cleaners can also stain your countertops and damage the finish. Never use powdered cleaners or any abrasive cleaners or pads as these can scratch the surface of your custom granite countertop. Also, regular soap should also be avoided for cleaning with as this will leave a film over the stone causing its appearance to become dull and greasy looking.
Do blot spills and other messes immediately.
Do not wipe! It may be a natural reaction to wipe up a spill, however, in doing so you run the risk of spreading the mess. If you blot the mess away you won’t spread it around, preventing the possibility of a larger stain. Cleaning up spills and messes immediately further reduces the chance that your counter will be left discolored.
Do not cut directly on your countertop.
Use a cutting board. While granite is a hard stone it can still be scratched, which will reduce the appearance of the stone. As well because granite is such a hard stone, cutting on it directly will also dull your knives more quickly.
Do use trivets and coasters.
Placing pots and pans that just came off the stove or out of the fridge or freezer can discolor and damage your new custom countertop, especially cold items because as they warm up condensation can form on the outside and cause water rings to collect and form at the base. Even water can stain natural stone countertops! The same can be said for beverages so using trivets, coasters, or even towels will help to minimize the potential damage that extreme temperatures can cause.
So what happens if you do happen to stain your countertop, is all hope lost? Well there is good news, you actually may not have to set a vase of silk flowers smack dab in the middle of your kitchen work space! Removing most stains from natural stone counters can actually be pretty easy.
Making a poultice is by far the easiest and cheapest method to getting rid of annoying stains. Form a paste using mild dishwashing liquid, water, and flour. Spread the poultice over the stained area, cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out too much, then leave overnight. The next morning you can scrape the poultice off, preferably with a wooden spatula to prevent scratching. You can also buy a clay-based poultice mixtures that are used in the exact same way. Any poultice runs the risk of making your stone counter hazy and dull looking and you can easily remedy that by following up with a granite polish.
Sealing Granite Countertops
There isn’t much of a consensus on how often granite and other natural stone countertops needs to be sealed. Some say as little as every 6 months or as much as 15 years! It’s our opinion that you should seal your countertops at least once every year. Some natural stone countertops will never need sealing, and some will need it more than others, like marble and limestone for instance. Now sealing isn’t the end-all, be-all savior to keeping stains at bay, but it is your best defense.
But how do you know when your countertops need sealing? Some say to do a lemon juice or water droplet test, and both have the potential for staining. All you need to do is to drop a few lemon juice or water droplets in an inconspicuous area of the counter and watch. If the water or lemon juice beads up your counter does not need sealing. If it soaks in or turns dark very quickly then you should seal your countertop.
Remember to always read the specific directions and warnings on your favorite natural stone or granite sealer or cleaner.
Before you seal your countertops first be sure to clean and dry the area that needs sealing. Once you’re ready spray the granite or natural stone sealer onto the desired area and let it sit for about 30 minutes then wipe the area with a soft cloth. Repeat the water droplet test and if the water spreads and absorbs into the rock you’ll need to use another layer of sealant. Repeat the process until the water beads up and isn’t being absorbed into the counter.
If you have any questions about custom granite or other natural stone countertops feel free to call us or stop by either of our Louisville or Cincinnati / Newport, Kentucky locations and speak to any of our kitchen designers. If you liked this article please share, post, or retweet it to your favorite social media! As always happy remodeling!
Builders Surplus is a full service remodeling company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, which comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building supplies ranging from unused surplus, to first quality in stock, to high end custom order and everything in between. We also provide measurement and full installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designerswe would encourage you to do so. Happy Remodeling!