Granite is a natural stone that makes a statement piece in any kitchen. Not only does it look amazing in any setting and add some value to your household, but it is also highly durable. But while granite can stand the test of time better than synthetic countertops, there are a couple of things that can dull its beauty or damage the counter for life.
If you want to keep the granite countertop looking brand new, here are six things you should avoid exposing the counter to:
Back in the early 2000s, there was a myth that you didn’t need to use chopping boards on a granite counter, since granite is such a resilient and durable stone. Unfortunately, that is not correct. Even the strongest stone will break if it is placed beneath stress. Granite counters are the same and will often get scratched, cut, or chipped when used as a cutting board. The abrasions will dull the surface of the counter, making it look older and less appealing.
This means that you should avoid using sharp cooking utensils and other objects directly on the granite. Protect the surface of the granite countertop with cutting boards. This is better for both the counter and the knives that would otherwise be striking the hard surface and getting dulled.
Similar to the above point, granite counters are not impervious to microscopic damage. Furthermore, even with sealant, igneous stone does have some pores that bacteria from raw food and other sources could potentially contaminate.
While placing raw meat directly on a granite counter will not hurt the stone itself, whatever was on that food prior to cleaning and cooking could remain behind and get into other ingredients or cooked food. Since most household cleaners can damage the sealant and discolor the granite, it is best to use cutting boards, since the cleaners will work more effectively on the boards and protect the counter from bacteria.
Anything that contains an acid, whether that is a cleaning solution or something as simple as vinegar, orange juice and other citrus fruits, soft drinks, or even beauty products like nail polish and perfume can whittle away at the sealant on the granite and get into the stone, resulting in dulling, staining, and discoloration.
Protect your counter when working with acidic liquids and materials by using coasters, cutting boards, and being attentive to spills.
Granite is hard igneous rock made from the heat of a volcano, so it can indeed briefly handle pots and pans straight from the oven. However, if the counter is continuously exposed to prolonged periods of intense heat, the sealants will grow weaker. As the sealant gets weaker, the counter becomes prone to stains and other damages.
So while it may be okay to momentarily set a hot pan on the counter while you rifle around for a potholder or trivet, you shouldn’t make it a habit.
Sitting or Standing People
While it might be tempting to let someone sit on the counter or let your child stand up on the counter to reach a high cupboard, you best not. Granite is strong, but it is not built to resist the weight of neither children nor adults. Natural stone contains striations, veins, and fissures that result in vulnerabilities. Sitting or standing will eventually cause cracking in the stone.
Similarly, you should never let your child take a bath in the undermount kitchen sink, since the weight could, again, crack the stone.
There will come a time when you spill something on the counter. Kids will spill juices, and you might do the same. As noted earlier, granite is porous. Even with sealant, if you let pigmented liquids—juices, wines, sports drinks, and so on—sit for a long period, you risk staining.
Granite continues to be an appealing and trustworthy material for kitchen counter tops. With proper maintenance and care, a granite counter top will last your household for many years. If you are remodeling your kitchen or moving into a new home and want some updates, consider a beautiful granite counter to bring the kitchen altogether.
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