kitchen with beautiful marble countertops

Maintenance Tips for Stone and Engineered Quartz Countertops

Natural stone and quartz countertops can add considerably value to your home, as well as make your bathroom, kitchen, and even outdoor spaces beautiful and functional. The most durable of all countertop materials, stone also generally requires little or no maintenance. That said, you can still inflict damage on stone if you do not exercise reasonable care. Here are some maintenance tips for stone and engineered quartz countertops.

General guidelines

You need to take specific steps to care for different kinds of stone countertops, but there are general guidelines as well.

• Blot any liquid spills as soon as possible, and ensure all residue is removed and dried. This is especially important when it is some type of acid such as wine or vinegar, and it can cause considerable surface damage to even sealed natural stones if you leave it there long enough.

• Do not step or sit on natural stone or quartz countertops as much as possible, and avoid putting anything heavy at the edges, especially if you have an extended overhand. The lack of support in these areas may lead to cracks or even breaks in the stone, particularly where there are micro fissures present. This is less likely to happen with quartz countertops, but it can still happen.

• Heat damage is a real danger to any type of countertop material, including stone. The exception may be granite, which is heatproof. However, the seal is not. To be on the safe side, do not place anything hot directly on the countertop surface. Use a heat pad or trivet for hot pots and slow cookers, and have a handy hook for just-used hairdryers and similar implements.

• You can safely chop or cut directly on quartz and granite countertops without damaging the stone. However, pointed implements can gouge the stone and maybe even chip tiny pieces off. You should always use a chopping board to prevent accidentally striking the surface with the pointed end of a knife or tines of a fork.

• You need to reapply the seal of natural stones every so often. The frequency will depend on the stone and use. Light colored and marble countertops may require more frequent applications than darker colored and granite countertops. Perform a water bead test to check.

Marble countertops

cleaning marble countertopsMost people love the look and feel of classic marble countertops, whether it is the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else. They choose it even though they know it requires more maintenance than either granite or quartz countertops because it is more porous and softer. You will need to seal marble once a year or so to keep it looking pristine, as etching and staining is a real danger.
You want to avoid acids, abrasives and harsh chemicals meeting marble countertops during daily cleaning. These include ammonia, glass cleaners, vinegar, and scrubbing sponges. Instead, mix a small amount of dish-washing detergent with water in a clean spray bottle. Give your marble countertops a quick spray of this solution and wipe it down with a soft cloth on a daily basis.

Stain removal

Unfortunately, marble countertops stain quite easily. You need to be on the alert for any type of spill or source of stains. Metal containers can leave rust rings on your surface that can be quite difficult to remove. You can buy a prepared poultice, or make your own to absorb it.
For a homemade poultice, mix hydrogen peroxide and enough baking soda to yield a thick, spreadable paste. Spread a ¼-inch thick layer of the poultice over the stain and seal it in with cling wrap and masking tape. Leave it alone for a minimum of 24 hours before removing the cling wrap.

Allow the paste to harden completely before scraping it off with a plastic palette knife or old credit card. Repeat the treatment until all traces of the stain are gone. Give the countertop a thorough cleaning and apply an impregnating sealer.
On the other hand, if you have scratches or etches, you will need a marble polishing powder. Make sure you use gentle rubbing motions and carefully follow instructions. You also have to reapply sealer after treatment.

Granite Countertops

cleaning a granite countertopGranite became very popular for use in the home as kitchen or bathroom countertops after the 1950s, and continues to lead the way today. This is mainly due to its natural and unique beauty as well as durability and scratch resistance. In addition, granite countertops have antibacterial properties that make it safe for use in the kitchen and bathroom. With the proper sealer, it is also mostly stain resistant.
It is important to keep your granite countertops clean with a daily regimen, but it is quite a simple process. You can use the dishwashing solution described above to keep the counters in top condition. You should not use any harsh chemical or abrasive cleaners or abrasives to avoid making the surface look dull from microscopic surface scratches.

Stain removal

If stubborn stains somehow appear on granite countertops, such as from coffee or red wine, use a commercial or homemade poultice to remove it. The homemade poultice described above for removing rust stains on marble can do the job admirably.

Quartz Countertops

cleaning a quartz countertopMany interior designers and homeowners are increasingly turning to engineered quartz for kitchen countertops, mainly because they are readily available and come in a wider range of colors and designs than natural stones. Quartz countertops are also more durable, scratch resistant, and nonporous.

They do tend to cost more than natural stones, but since it does not require a sealer, it comes out even in the end. Among the leading brands of quartz countertops are Cambria, Silestone, Caesarstone, and MSI. The problem with quartz countertops is the color has a tendency to fade with extended exposure to strong sunlight, so it is not ideal for outdoor use unless you choose light colors. It is also not heat proof, so you definitely need to protect it from hot pans and slow cookers.
That said, it is easy to keep your quartz countertops clean. You can use most non-abrasive commercial cleaners, including glass cleaners, or the same type of cleaning solution described above for marble and granite. You should still avoid scouring pads and similar cleaning tools to keep the finish from looking dull.

Stain removal

You normally don’t have to worry about the usual type of stains from liquid such as oil, wine and vinegar. If you get surface stains from paint drops and nail polish, a plastic implement with a flat edge is often enough to scrape it off. However, it is nearly impossible to get out permanent ink stains such as that from a permanent marker, so make sure to keep those away from your quartz countertops.

Hire a pro to put in stone countertops

Natural stone or quartz countertops are desirable for any home. Find a reputable contractor such as KNC Granite to give you a hand. We have a large array of granite and marble slabs from which to choose at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland. Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We will walk you through how we can meet your budget and still give you quality countertops for your home.
We do not only supply top-quality granite stones, however. And also 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.

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