There are so many countertops available on the market, but you love granite and want to know if it's durable and easy to maintain. We've gathered the answers for you from expert home building sources and have it for you here.
Granite, a natural stone mined from quarries, is extremely durable as a countertop material. The double bonus is that granite countertops also require relatively minimal maintenance and will last for many years.
We're going to take a look at the best way to care for your granite and also answer some of your questions about why granite is so durable. By the end of this post, you should feel confident you have the answers you were seeking.
Maintaining Durable Granite Countertops
If you have granite countertops or are considering granite countertops, you might want to understand what to expect when it comes to maintenance. This list is a quick overview of what it takes. We'll look at each step in a moment.
- Pick a good granite
- Make sure the installer gives it a good finish and sealer
- Wipe up any spills from your granite
- Clean your granite with a good granite cleaner
- Seal your granite when needed
Pick A Good Slab Of Granite
If you have the opportunity to pick your slab of granite, you can look for smoothness of the surface. Granite has natural pits and pores because it is porous, but the fewer of these natural inclusions, the less problem you'll have with liquids soaking into the surface of the stone. A higher-quality granite may cost a bit more per square foot, but you will have less overall maintenance in the future.
Make Sure The Installer or Granite Shop Seals The Granite
This is standard practice, but it never hurts to ask. Typically the granite shop will seal the granite at the shop. Occasionally the installer will seal it. Either way, you want to ask questions about the sealer because the better the first seal is, the less likely it will be to seal within the first five years or so after installation.
Wipe Up Any Spills From Your Granite
Because granite is porous, liquids can seep into the surface. Dark liquids like red wine and juices can discolor your granite. Acidic liquids like citrus juice can dull the sealer if they sit for too long. This doesn't mean the moment they hit the surface; your granite is in jeopardy. Not at all, but do use common sense and wipe up spilled liquids as soon as you're aware of them.
Clean Your Granite With A Good Cleaner
Microfiber cleaning cloths are great for cleaning up surfaces like granite. You never need to worry about scratches.
Invest in a daily cleaner made specifically for granite. These spray cleaners are just like other household all-purpose cleaners, except they're made specifically for stone surfaces. Try to get in the habit of cleaning up your countertops after each meal. This will keep the seal and polish bright and shiny on your granite.
This is a fantastic eco-friendly cleaner for your stone surfaces. Click here for this on Amazon.
Seal Your Granite When Needed
After your granite is a few years old, or if you've moved into a home with existing granite countertops, you may need to reseal it. There's a handy water test you can do to see if it's time. If the water sits on the surface for more than about 15 minutes, your granite is okay. If it sinks in sooner and changes the color of the stone. It's time to reseal. There are many re-sealers available on the market for homeowners to do it themselves.
A sealer like this Stone Pro will protect your granite going into the future. Click here for this on Amazon.
Why Is Granite So Durable?
Granite is a combination of quartz and feldspar that have been joined together under pressure from the earth. Igneous rock forms by the cooling of magma deep inside the earth. So think about it. Granite forms when rock melts then cools; therefore, a hot pot or pan is never going to scald it.
How Strong Is Granite?
There's a test for a rock or minerals' hardness called the Mohs Hardness Scale. This was developed in 1812 by the German scientist, Freidrich Mohs. He took ten different rocks and minerals, starting with the softest talc at number 1, and ending with the hardest diamond at number 10. All rocks and minerals grade on this scale.
Granite has a Mohs hardness score of 7, making it a tough cookie in the strength department.
Is It Normal For Granite To Have Cracks?
Granite is a natural substance, so it will have some little imperfections from piece to piece. However, a real crack is not something you want in your granite countertop. Even a hairline fracture is an issue, as that fracture will eventually spread and widen and damage the integrity of your countertop.
What is expected is porosity. You may see small pits or pores on the surface of your stone. This is normal. You may also see a fissure of a different color running through your countertop. But a crack doesn't create a space on the surface of the granite. If you get down and look at the granite from the side, an aperture won't change the appearance of the surface like a true crack will.
How To Clean Granite Countertops To Make Them Last
Because granite has some natural porosity, it serves you to do a little maintenance from time to time. When first installed, the granite should have an excellent polish. Over time, pills or wear and tear compromise the polish. This is why it's so important to clean your granite daily. Wipe any spills of damaging liquid immediately to ensure a clean surface.
A good granite cleaner like this one from Weiman and a microfiber cloth is perfect for keeping your granite looking like the day you installed it. Click here to buy this product on Amazon.
How Often Do You Need To Seal Granite?
If your granite's polish is strong and shiny, chances are you don't need to seal it. But over time, the shine dulls, and liquids penetrate the surface of the stone. One way to keep it looking nice is the use of a sealer. Depending on the state of your granite, it could need resealing yearly or not for 3-5 years. For more information on sealing granite, please check out our more detailed blog post here.
Easy to use sealers are readily available. Click here for this one on Amazon.
How Long Do Granite Countertops Last?
Granite is mined from deep in the earth and lasts for many years. Unless it breaks or cracks, your countertops should outlast your kitchen. Granite easily lasts up to or more than a hundred years.
Do Granite Countertops Scratch Easily?
Remember that Mohs hardness scale of seven? Well, that means your countertops don't scratch easily. You can even cut vegetables directly on the surface without worrying about scratches; however, you may need to worry about your knives getting dull. Anything made with diamond dust will scratch your granite (specialty knives, drill bits, diamond files). Diamond jewelry can also put scratches in your granite.
Is Granite Heat Resistant?
Granite's popularity for kitchen countertops stems from its ease of use. When you're pulling hot pans out of the oven, it's super convenient not to worry about burning your countertop. And with granite, the fear is alleviated. Granite can withstand a lot of heat, which makes it a perfect material for kitchen countertops. You can take a hot baking sheet directly out of the oven and place it on your granite. But, like anything, it's always a good idea to use a trivet when dealing with hot pans.
Can You Use A Knife On Granite Countertops?
The short answer is yes. You can use a knife on granite countertops. However, there are risks. If you're cutting acidic foods like lemons or other citrus fruits, you risk dulling the shine of your granite. And because granite is so hard, you risk dulling your knives, too. And good knives are something you want to take care of. It's always a great idea to use a cutting board, but if you're in a pinch, your granite will be fine.
Are Granite Countertops Going Out Of Style?
Granite hasn't lost its popularity yet; however, other materials are on the rise. As more and more people clamored for granite, its availability trickled down to builder-grade homes, and it lost a bit of its luxury feel. Some granite, notably lighter colors that look like marble, remain popular, but the darker shades in browns and tans are losing their luster among style-makers.
What many new home renovators are asking for is quartz. This engineered material takes the best of natural stone and makes it even more durable with a less porous surface than granite. But if you pick a light-colored granite that matches today's color trends, you shouldn't worry about it losing its appeal anytime soon.
What Can You Do With Old Granite?
One good thing about granite is its natural properties. Though we hate the thought of filling landfills, the granite came out of the earth, to begin with. That said, there are other options for your secondhand countertops.
First, you can donate it. There are secondhand building material spots that take donations. Perhaps the best known of these is Habitat For Humanity. They will happily take large pieces of granite that can be restructured into something new. You can also check out sites like Freecycle to see if someone needs your granite. Facebook Marketplace is another spot to try and rehome items like countertops.
Second, you can repurpose it. Have a stonecutter make small tabletops or cutting boards. Donate rectangular pieces to printmakers for use as ink pads, or to leatherworkers who need hard surfaces for stamping. Maybe you know someone who could make coasters out of it.
Third, get crafty. Smash it up into chunks and create a mosaic for your garden. With so many beautiful colors, you could incorporate it into a stepping stone or sundial. Sprinkle it in your stone walkway. Granite is gorgeous, so why not let your old granite find new life in your outside world rather than send it to the landfill.
Granite continues to be a beautiful material for household countertops, regardless of trends. It's incredibly durable, extremely long-lasting, and relatively low-maintenance. It holds its value for resale, and there are choices for every decor. You can feel confident in your choice when you pick granite.
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