You have done your research, compared natural stone countertops, and landed on granite for its luxurious look, low-maintenance, and extreme durability. It can be surprising to find out that your granite, a hard slab of stone, isn’t as immune to damage and acidic substances as you originally thought.
It is natural to want to protect your countertop to keep them as gorgeous as the day they were installed for as long as possible. Want to know more about protecting your new countertops from everything from cracking to etching? Read through these common ways to damage granite and how to prevent them from occurring to your gorgeous countertops.
1. Haziness or Cloudiness
Cloudiness doesn’t normally occur from actual damage, but it’s typically the result of using the wrong cleaning product for your granite. The hazy appearance can be caused by abrasive or acidic cleaners eating into the surface or the product leaving a film behind.
Common offenders for leaving a film behind are water and dish soap. Prevent this hazy appearance by cleaning your countertops regularly with the proper granite-safe products. Then, wipe your countertops dry to prevent streaks and water spots for a sparkling finish.
2. Impact Damage
Granite is very durable and the ideal harder countertop material, but it can be damaged by heavy objects. Believe it or not, many homeowners chip the granite around the sink while washing heavy pots and pans. Thus, chips are most likely to occur near sinks or around edges. Your color choice is important because the color, pattern, or texture of your granite may help hide chips. Unfortunately, you can still feel them, so be cautious when lifting heavy items above and around your granite countertops.
3. Heat Damage
Granite is a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops, and heat damage can occur in both locations. Pots and pans straight off the stove or heated hair appliances, like curling irons and straighteners can pose a significant problem.
Sealants are necessary to prevent food and drinks from staining granite, but they are not as heat resistant as the granite itself. Repeated exposure to heat can leave black marks on the countertop and potentially lead to cracks. If you place hot items on a seam, the heat can damage or melt the adhesive, which can lead to expensive repairs. Prevent heat damage by always placing hot pads or trivets underneath hot pans to protect your countertops.
Under normal use, it is very unlikely that your granite countertop will crack. While more likely to occur during handling, fabrication, or installation stresses, a stress fracture or crack can happen anytime you put too much pressure on the stone. Setting hot objects, as discussed above, on your countertop or standing on it to reach something on a high shelf can cause cracks. Prevent damage by always using a step stool to reach areas above your countertop and using heat protection between hot items and the granite.
Compared to marble, granite is very resistant to stains. Any liquid that is allowed to soak into the stone, including water, can leave stains. Popular culprits for staining are fruit juices, oils, and wine. Prevent stains by regularly sealing your granite countertops so liquids cannot penetrate the granite.
When stains do occur, deal with them appropriately. By soaking a paper towel in bleach and placing it on the affected area, you can remove organic stains. For oil stains, a homemade paste of baking soda and acetone can deal with them.
When granite is exposed to acids in fruit juices, vinegar, wine, ammonia, or soda, a chemical reaction occurs between the acid and the stone. The acid dissolves some of the mineral content of the stone. Minor etching may only dull the surface, but significant etching can cause pits in the stone itself.
Prevent etching by:
- Using a proper sealant
- Using barriers between your countertops and acidic liquid
- Avoiding cleaners that contain acidic or corrosive ingredients
- Wiping up spills immediately no matter what liquid spilled
- Applying a granite countertop polish that guards against etching
Luckily, granite can only be scratched by materials harder than it. Often, what appears to be scratches are etches on the stone. Precious stones like diamonds, sapphire, and topaz can scratch granite. A simple solution for preventing scratches is avoiding sliding rings and other jewelry with the precious stones across the counter’s surface.
Because granite is such a reliable and hardy stone, it is easy to avoid damaging it. A lot of the common damage to granite can be prevented by using a granite-safe cleaner. Protect your countertops with trivets, hot pads, and sealants. Clean up your spills and avoid acidic and abrasive substances. Seal your countertops as frequently as every year or get them professionally sealed and polished. Treat your granite right, and it will be gleaming for years to come.
Out of the many natural stone countertops, granite is well-loved by many homeowners because of its luxurious appearance, extreme durability, and low maintenance nature. But know that this hard slab of stone is not totally immune to acidic substances and damage. Granite remains a reliable and hardy stone and it is easy to avoid the common damage it experiences. Check out this infographic.