An Introduction to Granite Countertops:
Granite is a super tough stone that is formed from volcanic magma. Over time, it’s earned a reputation as a great stone to build with. It ranges in color, and is known for how beautiful it is. This is especially true in kitchens, bathrooms, mini-bars and any other place you need a strong quality surface.
Granite countertops are gorgeous additions to a home, with each piece unique in its specific pattern. Because it’s available in so many types and colors, homeowners have many options to choose from. The material is also very durable and resists heat. This makes it great for kneading dough or any other tasks that need a cool countertop for best results.
However, with beautiful granite comes regular maintenance. As with any countertop, routine cleaning is obviously suggested. Now besides cleaning, you'll need to make sure the granite is sealed periodically. Exactly how often actually depends on the specific type of granite. Some types are more difficult to seal than others. The general rule of thumb here is anywhere between 3-5 years, but some could require it sooner. You should re-seal the countertop if splashed water on the surface no longer beads up into drops.
Stains, as always, can often be difficult to remove, but with some effort it’s not impossible. Countertops may also be susceptible to cracking. This will be explained in further detail later in the article, but for now we’ll just go over the basic necessities of maintaining your counters.
You can easily keep your granite countertops clean using a microfiber cloth to dust off the surface. Wipe down the granite countertop daily and as needed using water. Once a week wipe down with a cloth and a stone cleaner formulated with a neutral pH. Never use harsh chemicals to clean your granite though, or you’ll risk creating a worse situation than a dirty counter. Unsafe chemicals can scratch, stain, or etch the surface of the stone. For oily stains, try a mixture of flour and dishwashing liquid to lather in for a better clean. Add water to make it the consistency of yogurt. Place the solution directly on the stain and cover with plastic wrap overnight before washing it away. For more complex situations, there are specific components to use which we’ll elaborate on later in the article.
Remember it’s easy to see how great your new granite looks right after a renovation project. Don’t expect you can go without resealing it forever. Trust us, at our showroom in Nesconset we have plenty of granite to preserve.
Daily granite countertop care is as easy as cleaning with a gentle cleanser like an oil soap or mild dishwashing liquid. If needed you can use a synthetic scrubbing pad to clean your granite counter. With the proper maintenance, granite countertops stay new-looking for a long time. Here are easy steps to follow:
- Wipe up spills immediately after they occur. Granite looks impenetrable, but can stain.
- Use mild soap and water to clean the surface after wiping.
- Wipe away the soap with a wet towel.
- Use a soft cloth to dry the area, leaving it just as it was before the spill.
These simple steps may seem obvious but people often avoid them when it matters the most.
Unfortunately, almost every kitchen will eventually experience a stain or two even on your granite counter. How to remove the stain will depend on what caused the it in the first place.
For the majority of stains on your granite, there is a common treatment that is used almost across the board. A cup of flour, along with 1-2 tablespoons of mild dishwashing soap mixed together with water will create a thick paste. Apply this paste to the entire stained area. Then cover the area with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out too much, and leave it overnight. The following morning just remove the plastic wrap and scrape off the paste with a wooden or plastic utensil (to avoid scratching the granite.) This is a trusted method for removing MOST stains from granite surfaces. However, for out of the ordinary stains call for slightly different solutions.
For oil based stains, the previous method will suffice with one exception. Instead of 1-2 T of dishwashing soap, use the same amount of mild hydrogen peroxide.
Organic stains caused by liquids like coffee or tea are a little trickier. Locate 12% hydrogen peroxide and add in 2-3 drops of ammonia. This should give u a composite to wipe with a soft cloth.
If you find an ink stain on your grain, you may think your hopeless. However, after reading this, you'll know just how to take care of business. For ink on DARK granite, use a lacquer thinner or acetone and wipe it off with a wash cloth. For LIGHT granite ink stains, once again turn to hydrogen peroxide.
Lastly, we’ll leave you with your best bet for that dreaded wine stain you found hours or even days after it happened. This predicament will require you to go out and buy some molding plaster if it’s not already in the garage. Once the plaster is in the house, create a thick mixture of molding plaster and bleach, until it becomes a pasty substance. Rub in the paste to the wine stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Remove, rinse, and repeat if necessary.
If you experience any unexpected cracks or scratches on your granite, there is something you can do about it. Depending on the type of stone and the depth of the crack, there are several solutions to choose from. There are two types of super glue, liquid and gel. If the crack is on horizontal granite, you should be able to use the liquid, glue to fill the gap. If the crack or deep scratch is on a vertical piece of granite, use the gel to prevent the glue from running down the side to the floor.
Applying the glue is important, because if it’s done the wrong way, it won’t look good, and will not have the longevity you’re looking for. When applying the glue, think layers. First use just enough to fill the base of the crack, and allow it to dry completely.
Another useful tip which has been passed on from several contractors is to always clean spills as soon as they occur. Spills, especially those with acidic liquids in them will tend to stain worse if left out.
It might be a good idea to takes notes or print out this information to have at hand the next time you’re in a sticky situation with a spill. To learn more about your granite or other materials in your kitchen, give our showroom a call and we’ll be happy to help out however we can. You can reach us at (631) 360-3818.