Your kitchen remodel is finally finished, and it’s everything you ever dreamed it could be. Your new granite countertops, cabinets, backsplash, and appliances all look perfect. There are some homeowners who will tell you that your kitchen will never look better than it does today. However, that’s not quite accurate. With the right care and attention, you can keep your granite looking new and your kitchen looking great for many years to come, helping it to retain both its beauty and value.
Granite countertops are durable, but not invulnerable. They’ll only stand up to regular wear-and-tear with the right precautions and forward-thinking upkeep. In this article, we’ll review some of the best practices for keeping your granite in great shape, as well as what you need to do to maintain it.
“Prefabricated” or “Slab” granite?
What’s the difference?
Ever wondered what these labels mean, or which type of granite is better? Be sure to check out this new blog post for a full breakdown.
Protect your granite
Here are a few general precautions you can take to protect the look and functionality of your granite. Make sure your family members and guests know about these rules, too. There’s nothing more horrifying than watching your uncle start chopping up lemons on your granite countertops.
Watch the heat!
Granite is known for being extremely durable. This includes its famous heat-resistance. However, just because it handles heat better than other types of countertops—like quartz, which is infamously not heat-resistant, doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to routinely test its durability. While placing a hot pan directly on the surface of the granite won’t leave instant burn marks, it may cause scratching on the surface.
After all, the trivets and hot pads are right there. You might as well use them.
Tell your guests and your kid’s friends that this isn’t an 80s sitcom: there’s no need for them to be sitting on the countertop edge. While granite is incredibly strong and durable, it’s edges are most vulnerable to damage from weight and pressure. Keep heavy objects off of the countertop surface. That includes you, trying to reach something in one of your taller cabinets or change out a lightbulb up above. Just get a stepladder and leave your countertops out of it.
Keep your cutting boards
In addition to its heat resistance, most homeowners know that granite countertops stand up to knife cuts pretty well. It’s certainly an option if you’re in a hurry to chop up those green onions for the party dip. However, as a general practice, don’t use your granite as a full-time substitute for a cutting board. Here’s why:
- Raw meat: If you stop and think about it, cutting and preparing meat on the countertop is pretty gross. Even worse, bacteria from the meat can get into the natural pores of the stone, making it harder to disinfect them after you’re done.
- Acidity: Anything with acidity can potentially damage or stain granite countertops. This means cutting limes, lemons, and grapefruits right on the countertop is a no-go.
- Knife damage: Using your knives on stone countertops can actually dull them rather quickly. If you’ve invested a good amount into high-quality knives, you’re better off using a board.
Use the right cleaning tools
To avoid unnecessary scratching from abrasive and harsh materials, make sure to use soft and clean cloths and sponges when cleaning up spills or doing your daily cleaning. For reasons that are probably obvious, never use steel wool to clean your granite.
It takes all of a few seconds to pull out a cutting board, and they’re generally easier to wash than the entire countertop surface before-and-after food prep. Our recommendation? Don’t cut right on your counters.
Clean your granite
It is extremely important that you give your granite countertops some attention each and every day. Daily cleaning is the best way to keep bacteria, stains, and spills from penetrating the seal and seeping into the natural pores of the stone.
The safest and most effective way to clean your granite is with water and a few drops of dish soap. You can mix these into a spray bottle, then spray directly onto your countertops. Wipe with a clean cloth, rinse with clean water, then dry with a separate cloth.
By taking the time to clean your countertops daily, you will prevent them from getting foggy and grimy with stains. Instead, you will be helping them keep that gorgeous glow for many, many days ahead.
Check out this quick video for more on how to properly clean your granite:
Maintain your granite
If you want to keep your granite looking new, you should set aside the time every so often to deep clean your countertops. There are several store bought cleaning products specifically designed for granite countertops. You won’t want to use these everyday, but they’re great for “freshening up” your countertops in advance of guests coming over. These cleaning products are also great for stain removal, in the event that you’ve spilled wine or something else that has discolored the granite. If you’re looking for more tips on stain removal, check out this DIY-friendly guide.
Your granite countertops will need to occasionally be resealed to keep their protective layer intact. The reapplication process depends on what the original seal was made of, so be sure to check with your countertop installer before proceeding. Water or solvent-based sealants that contain fluorocarbon aliphatic resin are going to be pricey, but may only need to be applied once or twice in the lifespan of your kitchen (think: every 10-15 years!). Lower-cost sealants may need to be reapplied every six months or so. It’s not a major chore, but it’s something worth remembering and thinking about ahead of time.
Resealing is essential. The weaker the seal, the more likely it is for stain-causing liquids to absorb into the stone instead of being repelled by the waterproofing seal layer.
We can help you keep your granite looking new
At Superior Stone & Cabinet, we know just about everything there is to know about granite, including how to best care for it and maintain it after installation. If you have any questions about your new granite countertops—or you’re thinking about upgrading to granite for your kitchen, just give us a call. We install granite countertops here in the Phoenix area.