Chances are you have kitchen countertops made of marble, granite, or engineered quartz. This is a popular and smart move as they are all beautiful, durable, and valuable additions to the home. Stone kitchen countertops are also low maintenance in general, so they are easy on the homeowner.
However, any type of material can still sustain damage if you try hard enough. With a little common sense, you can keep them in pristine condition. The way to do it differs slightly depending on the type of stone you have, but some general guidelines apply.
Basic guidelines for stone kitchen countertops
Heat is usually not a problem with natural stone. Granite, for instance, is heat resistant to more than 1000 degrees Centigrade. Marble also gives you a run for your money in the heat department. Unfortunately, natural stones are porous, so you probably need an impregnating sealer for them, and the sealer is not heat resistant. To keep your granite and marble countertops in good heart, use a heat pad or trivet to keep direct heat to a minimum.
Engineered quartz is not intrinsically heat resistant because of the resins and pigments in its composition. The quartz is safe enough, but the heat can melt the plastic and other materials in the engineered stone and leave permanent marks in it.
Stone slabs for kitchen countertops come in two standard thicknesses: 2 cm and 3 cm. Generally, remodelers choose 3 cm slabs for kitchen countertops, and this is durable enough for most kitchens. However, it is not a good idea to sit or step on areas of the countertops that do not have any support, such as the overhang. This can lead to breaks, chips, cracks, and fissures in the stone.
Avoid stepping or sitting on stone kitchen countertops, especially near the edges where there may be less support. Micro fissures are common in natural stone, and even engineered stone may develop it over time. Placing heavy weights on these areas may cause the stone to crack.
You can slice directly on granite and engineered stone without causing any appreciable damage. However, it is best to be safe, so use a chopping board instead. These are also easier to clean, and you want to keep food safety a priority.
You may need to reapply sealer to your granite and marble countertops on a regular basis. Regular use can wear them down in certain areas. You can check it by applying few dribbles of water on the surface. If the water beads, the seal is intact. If it does not, you need to reapply sealer. Generally, you will have to reapply sealer more frequently with light-colored kitchen countertops than dark-colored ones.
Cleaning granite countertops is very easy. All you need is a daily wipe down with mild non-alkaline and non-abrasive detergent such as that used for dishes. Make sure you apply this with a soft sponge or cloth, and do a thorough rinse and drying afterwards. Leaving any type of soap on the granite can leave a residue that will dull the stone.
You can also ensure the food safety of granite by disinfecting it on a weekly basis. You can spray on isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide over the surface and leave it for a few seconds before wiping it off with a soft cloth.
Granite tends to be stain-resistant, but stains can still appear occasionally. If you have stubborn stains that have set in to your granite countertops, such as that from coffee or red wine, you can remove it by drawing it out. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply a thick layer over the stain. Isolate it with cling wrap and leave it for at least 24 hours.
When completely dry, remove the plastic and scrape off the paste with a plastic card. Wipe the area clean and inspect if the stain is gone. If it is not, repeat the process until it is. Apply a sealer on the area afterwards.
Marble countertops are a little bit more finicky than granite, mainly because marble is softer, more porous, and susceptible to acids. In many cases, marble for kitchen countertops may not be the best idea. However, homeowners are willing to take the extra trouble to have such a beautiful stone in the home.
The good news is keeping it clean is actually much easier than you would think. As long as you keep anything abrasive, acidic, or other strong chemicals away from it, you should be fine. Avoid anything with ammonia and vinegar, for instance. All it really needs is a good wipe down with a mild dish detergent solution, soft cloth, and clean water.
You may need to reapply sealer about once a year. Perform a water bead test before reapplying sealer to avoid wasting money. Impregnating sealer needs to get into the pores of the stone. If the previous sealer is intact, it will not get in and you will just wipe it off.
Stains are more common with marble than with granite, so you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to cleaning up stains as they occur. You can use the same poultice and process described for granite above to remove most stains. However, if you are dealing with etches and scratches, you need polishing powder to fill them out. It does not take any special skill or equipment to use it. All you need to do is follow the instructions, and you should be fine. Apply a sealer in the area after using the polishing powder.
Quartz countertops are currently the top favorite for kitchen countertops, and it is no wonder. It is readily available, beautiful, durable, and requires practically no maintenance. It does not require a sealer, and keeping it clean only requires a daily wipe down with water and a clean cloth. Quartz countertops are generally food safe, and some of the top brands even include bacteriostatic components in its composition.
The only problem with quartz countertops is it is heat sensitive. Never place anything very hot directly on it, or expose it to strong sunlight for long periods. This will discolor the stone, and there is no way to repair it. You should also avoid using anything abrasive on quartz countertops as this can dull the finish.
If you get surface stains on quartz countertops’, such as nail polish, you can usually scrape it off with an old credit card. However, you cannot remove permanent ink from them, so make sure to keep those well away.
Stone kitchen countertops are the most practical thing for your kitchen as they are very easy to maintain. You just need to make sure you get them from a reliable countertop specialist. KNC Granite is the most reliable countertop specialist in the cities of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Washington DC, Alexandria VA, and Arlington VA.
We have a showroom in Lanham, Maryland where you can check out their inventory granite and marble slabs. Also we have a large collection of quartz countertops from the top brands in the business, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and DuPont Zodiaq, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. We also specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.