Now that you have your granite slab picked out and the fabrication process is underway, you may be wondering: “How do I take care of my new counter tops?” Granite maintenance may seem like a daunting task, but fear not. Taking care of your granite counters can be a breeze if you follow these simple guidelines.
In this quick article, we’ll discuss the potential benefits of sealing your granite as well as basic cleaning advice. Your new granite countertop is an investment that will exponentially increase the value of your home, so the knowledge to keep it looking as new as the day you bought it is critical.
You should never use bleach or any abrasive, acidic chemicals on your granite. These chemicals will affect the polished, finished look, ultimately making your stone look worse. Instead, stick to warm, soapy water to effectively clean your stone. However, if you want to disinfect and clean your counters, then bleach can be used (only if it has been diluted in water prior to its use) or even an anti-bacterial Windex. When cleaning up those chemicals, paper towels or soft clothes will do just fine on your granite surfaces. Again, never use anything abrasive as you could very likely scratch the stone’s surface.
We recommend that you seal your granite in order to preserve its lifespan and resist stains. Depending on which granite you’ve purchased, the absorbency rate will vary. This means that more coats may be needed for optimal protection. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers in regards to sealing your granite counters:
- How often do I need to seal? This will depend on usage, but as a rule of thumb once every year or two would be sufficient. Of course, if newer coats are needed before that year is up, don’t be afraid to reapply. Different granites and sealers will result in varied amounts of time between reseals.
- Standard Sealers vs. Sealing Impregnators? Impregnators will keep acidic substances out of the stone, but not on top of the surface. This kind of sealer will be able penetrate the stone and actually coat the minerals beneath the surface, providing optimal protection. Penetrating sealers work to restrict water, oil, and even dirt from entering the stone. Whereas standard sealers provide the surface protection as well as a stronger resistance to stains.
- Can I just impregnate my stone, then? Impregnators are simply another cautionary step to prolong your stone’s lifespan. Homeowners still need to maintain the natural stone with proper stone care products, on an annual basis, to ensure the stone lasts as long as possible. This means that both impregnator sealers and surface level sealers are both needed if you’re looking for ideal protection.
- Is it hard to seal my granite? Not at all! With a solvent-based sealer, your entire sealing process should be around 10-15 minutes. Spray the sealer on your stone, thoroughly wipe it on top of your granite, and let stand for about 10 minutes. Once you let it dry, use a paper towel to wipe off the haze and you’re all done!
- How will I know when it’s time to reseal? This will totally depend on how often you use your counters, how much traffic they see, as well as the type of granite. Granite slabs will vary in how porous they are, so this will be a case-by-case situation. That’s why using a simple and quick water test, you’ll be able to know if you need to reseal or not.
The Water Test
This simple test will reveal if your stone needs a new coat of sealer and it only takes about 15-30 minutes. First, pour about ¼ cup of water on top of your counter. Using a timer, note how long it takes for the water to be completely absorbed. If the water is immediately absorbed, then the old seal has completely worn off and a new coat or two is needed. If the water takes around five minutes to be absorbed, then another layer of sealer will be required but you’ll only need to reapply every 3-5 years. If the absorption time is around 10 minutes, then only one new layer of sealer will be needed and it’ll be many years before you’ll need to reapply. Finally, if you witness no absorption at all, then your stone does not require another layer of sealant.
Having new granite counters installed in your home is critical investment, especially in an age where granite counters have become the norm. Whether it be in new apartment complexes or a homeowner’s 15 year old home, adding granite to your property will increase the resale value. If you don’t want the value to decline, then take care of your granite by using sealers and providing regular upkeep. If you have any questions, feel free to call any of our specialists at Granite Liquidators.
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