Granite is a durable hard stone that is formed over time from volcanic magma. Granite has earned a reputation as a great building stone and is very popular in homes. It ranges in color, but is known for how beautiful it is, especially for countertops. Granite has become a major selling point when prospective home buyers are shopping for a new place to live. But caring for granite countertops is necessary to protect the investment.
Granite Countertop Pros:
Granite countertops are gorgeous additions to a home, with each piece like a unique work of art. Because granite is available in so many colors, homeowners have many options to choose from. Granite can be chosen to fit any decor or design scheme. Granite is also very durable and resists heat. This makes it great for kneading dough, making roll-out cookies, and other tasks that need a cool countertop for best results.
Granite Countertop Cons:
It’s a common misconception that granite countertops are effortless. In reality granite requires regular maintenance to keep it looking beautiful. Besides just cleaning, you’ll need to make sure the granite is sealed periodically to protect this investment. Stains can be extremely difficult to remove, but not impossible. Dealing with stains quickly will give the best results. Countertops may also be susceptible to cracking, although proper installation can alleviate these concerns.
To keep granite countertops clean, use a microfiber cloth to dust off the surface. Often a microfiber cleaning cloth, even a dry one, is all that is needed for basic cleaning. For times when spills or daily life happen, try to wipe down the granite countertop daily or as needed using only water. Once a week wipe your granite countertops down with a damp cloth and a stone cleaner formulated with a neutral PH. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your countertops, even if you think the stain or mess needs it. These types of cleaners can scratch, pit, and etch the surface of the stone permanently. For oily stains that have soaked into the granite, try a poultice made of a cup of flour or baking soda and 5 tablespoons of dish soap. Add water to make it the consistency of sour cream or yogurt. Place the solution directly on the stain and cover with plastic wrap overnight, before washing away the poultice. Be sure to gently rinse the countertops and dry thoroughly.
Sealing is a regular maintenance task for granite that cannot be ignored. There is a simple test that you can do to determine if your countertops need to be sealed again. Splash a little water on the surface of the countertop. Watch to see if the water sits on the countertop in small bead-like shapes or flows freely. Re-seal the countertop when water splashed on the surface no longer beads up. Be sure to perform this test on areas that get the most use. It’s important to examine your granite at least once a year. Inspect areas to make sure there is no cracking or shifting at the seams. Inspect for stains and scratches as well. If there are stains or damage, contact a stone-care professional for repair. Delaying repair or treatment can lead to larger and more expensive repairs or even the need for a total replacement. Many homeowners that don’t know about or forget to perform these extra seasonal tasks end up with costly repairs.
Although marble is a beautiful and durable stone surfaces that is often chosen as a countertop material, a lot of homeowners use marble in only select areas of the kitchen, like bars, islands, and baking areas.
Marble Countertops Pros:
Marble is tolerant of hot surfaces. It is a gorgeous material that automatically updates the look of any kitchen. Marble is a preferred surface for many bakers because of the ease of rolling out dough and pastries on it’s surface.
Marble Countertops Cons:
Marble is softer and more porous than granite. This makes it susceptible to scratches, pitting, cracks, stains, and even dulling of the shine. It may take a little more maintenance and upkeep to keep your marble looking nice.
Cleaning Marble Countertops:
Dust at least once a week with a soft microfiber cloth.
For wet cleaning, use a damp cloth and a pH-neutral cleaner designed for stone. Check with your countertop company for their recommendations.
Do not use regular cleaning products that can etch the stone surface over time. Never use abrasive cleaners that will damage and dull the finish. Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and even our trusty friend vinegar will damage marble.
Marble Countertop Regular Maintenance:
Seal the countertops regularly. Be sure to reseal when water fails to bead up when splashed on the surface. Sealing will prevent stains and damage. It will keep the marble countertops looking beautiful.
Solid surface countertops are created by pouring crushed up pieces of stone and acrylics into a mold. Sometimes called “synthetic stone”, they are becoming increasingly popular in new home construction and remodeling. Sold under various brand names including Corian, Avonite, and Silestone, these countertops offer a nice option for strength and looks.
Solid Surface Countertop Pros:
Solid surface countertops come in a huge variety of colors, making it easy for homeowners to find a style they like. Unlike laminate countertops, solid surface types are seamless. Mild abrasives can be used on these countertops.
Solid Surface Countertop Cons:
Solid surface countertops are not as natural looking as real stone countertops, but great advances are being made in their looks. These countertops can be just as expensive, if not more expensive than their real stone counterparts.
Solid Surface Countertop Cleaning:
To clean solid surface countertops, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down. For more dirty or stained areas, try a mild dish soap and water. Towel dry the surface.
Shiny surface countertops can use a liquid mildly abrasive cleaner, while non shiny (matte) finishes can use baking soda or another mild abrasive cleaner to remove tougher stains.
Solid Surface Countertop Maintenance:
No regular maintenance is required for solid surface countertops. Really difficult stains or spots may benefit from a solid-surface cleaning spray available at most home stores.
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