Granite Facts & Tips
Using these easy cleaning methods for all your countertops, will eliminate most potential problems without ever having to think too hard about it or worry that you may be causing damage to your countertop.
Granite is a very dense material and porous so it can get stained if a spill isn’t cleaned quickly. Sealing the surface with a sealant is therefore recommended to protect the granite from water patches and stains. This is provided to you with a 15-year sealer upon installation.
Granite is a remarkable material for kitchen countertops. Next to a diamond, granite is one of the hardest natural stones on earth. Polished granite will continue to remain with a high gloss essentially forever. Typical use of kitchen knives, cutlery, and cookware will leave no scratches. Heat has virtually no effect on granite, making it safer than artificial surfaces. Hot pots and pans will not dull granite’s shiny finish, but the use of trivets is recommended to keep your granite counter clean.
- Blot up spills immediately. Acidic substances like wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce and sodas can etch the polish or stain the surface. Cooking oils may also leave a stain if not wiped up.
- When cleaning surfaces use a sponge or soft cloth. It is preferred to use a special formulated stone cleaner.
- Use coasters under all glasses, bottles and cans. While a bottle sitting on your granite counter won’t leave a ring from the condensation, it will on marble. Even in the marble is sealed, if left for an extended amount of time is could leave a mark.
- Use trivets and hot pads under pots, pans and dinnerware. Yes, it is possible to take a hot pot off the stove and put it right on granite, or soapstone without any problems, but this is not true for all other surfaces. You must consider other issues as well such as, after removing a hot pan the surface will be very hot and may burn.
- Granite is very hard and can take tons of abuse with little damage, but it does contain some softer minerals that could be chipped or scratched. Grit that gets trapped between the pot and your countertop may scratch the surface, even granite. The likelihood is slim, but it is possible. And all other surfaces are softer than granite. If it does happen, don’t worry, most chips and scratches can be easily repaired, but it’s best to try and avoid them.
- With the use of cutting boards, again try avoiding any possibility of scratching the surface by using a cutting board which will also help protect your knives. Cutting on stone will dull and damage the edges of your knives’ quickly.
- DO NOT use generic cleaning products such as bleach, glass cleaners, degreasers or, ammonia, lemon or orange as cleaners. The products that you buy at your local store as well as natural cleaners contain acids, alkalis and other chemicals that can etch or damage the countertop surface or remove the granite sealer leaving the stone more vulnerable to staining.
- DO NOT let any spill sit too long on the surface of your countertop. Clean spills up (preferably by blotting) as soon as you can.
- DO NOT use bathroom, tub & tile, or grout cleaners. The powders and even the “soft” creams contain abrasives that will scratch and dull surfaces.
- DO NOT sit or stand on your countertops. Unlike laminate countertops, granite, marble and, quartz countertops are very hard, but they are not flexible. The countertops don’t have a plywood backing, so too much weight in one spot could cause a crack.
- DO NOT place toiletry products directly on your countertop surface. Hair products, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions and potions may stain or damage or etch the sealer leaving a ring. You can protect your countertop by placing these products on a decorative tray.
Daily: Truthfully, hot water and a sponge are enough to wipe up spills and debris and keep your countertops clean and tidy throughout the day. At the end of the day, a quick spray and wipe of the most heavily used areas with a STONE CLEANER will adequately clean, disinfect and protect your countertops.
Overall: Granite countertop maintenance is very easy. In fact, if all you ever did was seal your stone and wipe with a sponge and hot water your countertops would likely still look great 15 years from now. But you must follow the simple steps for granite countertop maintenance outlined above, and your countertops will always look gorgeous!
Natural Stone vs. Engineered Quartz
Granite : an igneous rock with grains large enough to be visible with the unaided eye. It forms from the slow crystallization of magma below Earth’s surface. Due to this granite has a higher heat resistance of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit and is composed mainly of quartz and feldspar with minor amounts of mica, amphiboles, and other minerals. This gives it a hardness ranking between 6.5 – 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Engineered Quartz : is a man-made engineered stone. Quartz countertops are formed by combining 80% – 90% ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with 10% – 20% resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard “granite-like” surface ranking it at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Due to this the countertops are extremely durable and less porous than natural stone. With the man-made resins though, quartz only has a heat tolerance of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Quartzite : a metamorphic rock is formed when quartz-rich sandstone or chert has been exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Such conditions fuse the quartz grains together forming a dense, hard, equigranular rock. Due to its formation similar to granite, quartzite has a heat tolerance of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit and ranks at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Dolomite : is formed when warm, shallow, marine environments where calcium carbonate mud accumulates in the form of shell debris, coral fragments, and carbonate precipitates and forms as dolostone or mixed dolostone/limestone sedimentary rocks. It is pressure resistant, heat resistant, and even wear resistant. This contributes to the resultant dolomite countertop durability. Dolomite is not marble, granite, or quartzite and has a heat tolerance of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, with a ranking on the Mohs scale of 5 – 6.
Marble : is a metamorphic rock formed when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Marble forms under such conditions because the calcite forming the limestone recrystallizes forming a denser rock consisting of roughly equigranular calcite crystals. Though marble ranks at a 3 on the Mohs scaled of hardness, its heat tolerance while not high as granite is still more tolerable than engineered quartz at 350 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soapstone : is a natural rock that is formed when igneous rocks in ancient ocean rift zones experience significant heat and pressure due to mountain formations and tectonic movement. The talc mineral in soapstone gives it that soft, smooth feel, it is also an anti-microbial material. Soapstone has a heat tolerance up to 770 Fahrenheit, and a Mohs scale hardness that ranges from 2.5 – 5, depending on the type of stone you get.
Fun Fact : For refence on hardness, diamonds are the hardest stone In the world and rank at a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.