So you just got granite countertops and you’re not sure what you need to do to keep them looking their very best. Luckily I’ve got some tips and tricks that will keep your new countertops looking like they were just installed. Once you’ve learned the basics for how to take care of your new granite, it’s pretty easy to keep them looking nice. If you don’t follow these simple suggestions, you could end up with scratches, stains, pitting, or worse on your new countertops.
Don’t Use Acids or Leave Acidic Foods Sitting on Your Countertops
When acids or acidic foods are left to sit on your new stone countertops, they can cause a couple of different problems. The first thing that can happen is called erosion, which is when acids actually eat away a portion of your countertop leaving an indent in the shape of the spill. There’s no way to fix erosion on your stone countertops, so it’s best to avoid it happening in the first place.
The other consequence of acidic substances on your counters is what’s called etching. Etching is when an acid leaves a dull spot in the polish of your countertop. This is primarily a concern for polished stone countertops, but it’s a good rule of thumb not to let any acidic food come into contact with your countertops, no matter what finish they have.
These rules apply particularly to countertops that are made of limestone or marble. These stones are high in calcite, which is eaten away by acidic substances. These stones will readily erode at any contact with acidic substances, and especially in cases of prolonged exposure. While granite has less calcite in it, it’s still susceptible to etching, and acids can seep into the porous surface and slowly eat away at the granite from the inside.
Seal Your Countertops Annually
There seems to be a lot of conjecture around this point in particular. Many people seem to think that you don’t really need to seal your countertops, and other people think you need to do it every couple of weeks. In reality, you should seal them every six months to once a year. Most sealant will last for about a year before it needs to be redone.
Reapplying sealant to your countertops is imperative to maintaining sanitary countertops. The layers of sealant will help to keep any spilled liquids out of the porous surface of your stone countertops. This will help to prevent stains, and even make it easier to wipe up any spills. Sealant also helps polished countertops to retain their shine and stay looking great.
Don’t Put Pots & Pans Directly on Your Countertops
One of the draws of granite and other stone countertops is the fact that you can put hot items directly on the counter without leaving a nasty burn mark. While your new countertops are resistant to burns, they aren’t resistant to scratching. Many times when people put hot pots and pans down on stone countertops there’s grit that gets caught between the pan and the surface of the counter. This grit can cause scratching and pitting on the surface of your countertop, and once your counter is scratched it’s very difficult to get those scratches back out. There are some products that claim to be able to remove scratches from granite and other stones, but the best idea is just to avoid scratching it in the first place.
Don’t Use Your Countertops as a Cutting Board
You may be tempted to cut things directly on your new countertops. They’re super hard after all, so what could go wrong? For starters, this will completely ruin your knives. Unless you have some kind of ceremonial diamond blade that you use for cooking, granite countertops will dull your knives almost immediately and make it very difficult to put a good edge back on them. If you do use some kind of ceremonial diamond blade for your cooking, then you’re going to destroy your countertop, so I still don’t recommend it.
In addition to ruining your knives, you should never put raw meat on your stone countertops. Bacteria from raw meat can seep into the pores in your countertop and create an unsanitary surface that is incredibly difficult to sanitize again. If your counter comes in contact with any juices from raw meat or raw meat itself, it’s imperative that you wipe up any residue immediately before it has time to seep in.
If you follow these simple instructions, your countertops will stay beautiful and sanitary for years to come. Your new countertops are probably one of the most sturdy (and expensive) additions to your home, so make sure you do your due diligence and research how to keep them looking great. If you have any questions about things you should or shouldn’t do on your countertop, call your local granite distributor or the company that installed your countertops to get more information about how to care for your new stone.