Granite countertops are a great addition to any kitchen or bathroom. They will help increase the value of your home and will add a sophisticated air to any residence. Granite is expensive, however, so you will want to be sure that you know how to properly maintain, clean, and polish your investment.
How to Maintain your Granite Countertops:
Maintenance is key to preserving the natural beauty of your stone counter tops. Granite has small pores throughout and will absorb spilled liquids. This can lead to staining if you are not careful. The best thing that you can do to ensure your granite has a long life is to periodically apply a solvent based granite sealant.
When applying the sealant be sure to follow the instructions closely. A sealant will not stop all absorption, but it will give you additional time to wipe up a spill. If you do spill something on your countertop, be sure to wipe it up immediately. Once you’ve sealed your granite it should be good for up to two years. One way to check if your stone needs to be resealed is to place a bit of water on the surface. If any is absorbed it’s time to reapply the sealant.
Be especially quick about wiping up spills of acidic liquids such as sodas, coffee, and wines. The acid in these liquids can eat through the solvent based sealers and stain your stone. Cooking oils and butter may also stain your countertops.
Granite is a hard stone, but it is still susceptible to scratching. Be sure to use coasters for glasses and pads for pots and pans. Whenever you do use a pad or coaster make sure to check for grit or dust before placing it on your countertop’s surface. If grit gets trapped between the stone and coaster, it may cause scratching.
Never use your granite countertop as a cutting surface. Knives and other sharp tools may scratch or chip your stone. Also, be sure to not put too much weight on your countertop. Granite is hard, but not very flexible. It is susceptible to cracking or breaking if too much pressure is put on it.
How to Clean your Granite Countertops:
When cleaning your granite countertops, it is best to use room temperature or lukewarm water. Soaps can be used but if you use them too often soap scum and residues may build up and be difficult to remove. Soaps can also damage the polish on your stone if used too aggressively. Avoid any acidic or basic cleaners. These can erode or remove your sealant. When wiping your countertops be sure to use a sponge or a very soft and clean cloth to avoid scratching.
How to Polish your Granite Countertops:
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your countertops may become dull or scratched. This can be resolved by careful polishing. First you’ll need to purchase a quality granite polish. Next, thoroughly clean your counter with water and a sponge. Be sure to allow it time to dry completely to avoid streaks. Next, use a clean piece of terry cloth to buff your stone using the polish that you purchased. Be sure to follow all instructions on your polish bottle carefully.
If you have deep scratches you might want to consider using a mechanical buffer instead of polishing by hand. If you do decide to use a powered buffer be sure to go slowly. Check your progress occasionally to be sure that you are not buffing too vigorously and scratching your granite countertops.