Granite countertops are both beautiful and durable, which allows them to be a real work horse in the kitchen. Proper maintenance is key to ensuring they remain beautiful for many years. The following mistakes can ruin your investment, or at least add additional cost and work to repair.
#1: Skipping a sealant application
Granite may seem hard, but the surface of the stone is actually quite porous. This means that it is possible to stain the counters if you aren't careful. The simplest way to avoid this in the kitchen — an area prone to spills — is to seal the countertops immediately after installation. A good sealant is absorbed into the pores, creating an invisible barrier to anything that could cause a stain. This initial treatment won't last forever, though. You will need to reapply the sealant every two years, since the surface of the application will wear off after regular use. Reapplication can be done as a DIY job, or you can have a professional seal the counters to ensure it is done correctly and thoroughly.
#2: Using the wrong cleansers
Acids and abrasives, in particular, are very damaging to your granite countertop. Acids can eat into the stone, so avoid any cleansers that contain vinegar or similar acidic compounds. This means no glass cleaners or other cleaners that contain a solvent. Abrasive cleaners, including abrasive items like steel wool, will etch and scratch the surface and the finish of the granite. Instead, opt for cleansers made specifically for granite or stone countertops. These will be water-based cleansers that contain a mild detergent. In a pinch, you can use plain water with a drop or two of liquid dish soap. Use non-abrasive sponges or towels to wipe the counters down.
#3: Ignoring stains
Granite can stain, which is generally more obvious if you have a lighter colored stone countertop. Dark-colored items, particularly those that are acidic like wine and tomato sauce, are the main stain culprits. Don't ignore any spills, especially of these items, on the counter. Use a clean towel to immediately soak up the spill — often this will prevent any staining. If a small stain is present, use a granite cleaning poultice. Commercial versions usually consist of washing soda or special absorbent clay. They are packed over the stain, where they draw out the stain and moisture from the stone. You then sweep them off the counter and clean as usual.
For more help, contact a granite contractor in your area like Plastic Line Mfg Inc.