Granite is one of the most long-lasting stones that you can install in your kitchen, but unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever, no matter how well you care for it. Most granite will need yearly resealing and surface polishing, but after 10 to 15 years of daily use, you might find that your granite stays grungy no matter what you do.
Before you panic and start selling plasma to pay for new countertops, there are a few things you can do to try and breathe new life into your existing granite.
What can I do to help my countertops?
If you don’t know if you need to reseal, it’s pretty easy to check. Simply take a tablespoon or so of water and pour it onto your countertop in a few places. If, when you check on it in a few minutes, the water has absorbed into the granite, it’s time to reseal.
To reseal your countertops, start by cleaning the countertops really well with soap and water or your granite cleaner of choice. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the back of the resealing solution. Be sure to select a granite sealer that is heat resistant, scratch resistant, UV resistant, and non-yellowing. You will need to plan for not using your countertops for about 48 hours as the sealant cures and forms a protective barrier against spills and other mishaps.
You should do a surface polish at least once a year or every few months if you use your countertops a lot. Look for a granite polishing spray at your local home improvement store and follow the directions on the back. It’s important that you clean your granite really well with soap and water and then reseal it before polishing. The whole process may take a day from start to finish since each step (clean, reseal, polish) needs to dry completely in between.
When you get your countertops straight from the manufacturer, they have been professionally polished using special tools and abrasives. This deep polish takes all of the nicks and surface-level scratches out of the rough granite and smooths it down until it shines. With proper care, this initial deep polish should last for many, many years.
Unfortunately, even when you take good care of your countertops, they might become dingy and scratched over time, and no amount of surface polishing and resealing will seem to make a difference. If you can’t seem to get your countertops looking like new anymore, you may need to do a deep polish.
Deep polishing granite countertops by yourself is doable and can save you a lot of money. When you’re deep polishing, you’re essentially scrubbing off the scratched-up top layer of granite and exposing the fresh granite underneath. Whether you choose to polish using the dry, wet, or cream method, you need to make sure that you prepare adequately and read your granite manufacturer’s recommendations before getting started.
What other options do I have?
If a deep polish didn’t work, and you still don’t feel like buying new granite countertops, there are a few other options out there.
Chips and Cracks
First, if you have some deep chips or cracks in your granite, you might not be able to smooth things out even if you do a deep polish. If this is the case, you have a few options:
- Chips or cracks: If you have some deep chips or cracks, you may be able to fill them with a color-matched epoxy. You can get this from any home improvement store, but you may have a better result by asking a local granite company to do the repair for you.
- Paint: This may seem like an unconventional choice, but if you can’t get your granite to gleam and your pocketbook isn’t ready to dish out the dough for new countertops, painting could be a potential option for you. Be sure to use a high-quality oil-based paint if you choose to go this route.
- Laminate: Once again, you may feel like putting laminate over granite would be a travesty (and normally we would agree with you), but if you’re in a bind, this could be an option. Laminate is infinitely cheaper than new countertops, and if you do it carefully, it can yield a nice result. You may be able to buy individual sheets of laminate and laminate adhesive from a local hardware store or cabinet maker, and then it’s just a matter of smoothing your existing countertops and applying the new surface. Before you attempt this on your own, however, beware of the edge detail. If your existing countertops have anything other than a straight edge, you should look into another option.
- Replacement: If you have the extra cash laying around, and you just can’t get your existing countertops to look beautiful, you may have to replace them altogether. Granite needs to be replaced about every 15 years, so if you are approaching that milestone, you might want to start budgeting to replace them.
What can I do to make my granite last longer?
While there isn’t anything you can do to stop general wear and tear, there are some things you can do to slow down the wear on your countertops.
- Professionally reseal every 2-4 years.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Don’t use an abrasive cleaner. Instead, use soap and water whenever you need to clean.
- Reseal small patches once a month and the whole thing once a year.