Below are some of the most common countertop resources questions before and after installation and how to care for you investment.
Caring for your natural stone
The natural stone you have purchased is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful service. Simple care will help preserve your stone’s beauty for generations to come. Stone surfaces are very easy to maintain. Clean stone floors with warm water and a mild liquid soap. Never use acid cleansers or abrasive chemicals on stone. Natural stone should be sealed after installation and every one to two years thereafter, depending on its application.
Natural stone can be classified into two general categories according to its composition: siliceous stone and calcareous stone. Knowing the difference is critical for proper cleaning and care.
Granite is a siliceous stone that is comprised mainly of silica and quartz-like particles. Because of its composition, granite is very durable and easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions. Cleaning and care tips:
- Use warm water and natural cleaning agents such as:
- Anti-bacterial dishwashing detergent or any natural stone cleaner
- Using too much cleaner can leave a film or streaks
- Rinse thoroughly to avoid film and streaks
- Dry with a soft cloth
- IMPORTANT: don’t use wax or bleach based products or abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers, scouring powders and pads or ‘soft scrub’ cleansers.
Marble, Limestone, Travertine, and Onyx:
These are calcareous stones that are composed mainly of calcium carbonate. These softer stones are sensitive to acidic products. Anything with over three percent acidity can etch and dull the surface. This can include coffee, tomato sauce, citrus fruits and wine. Cleaning and care tips:
- Always use coasters
- Place a mat under objects that may scratch the surface such as pans or utensils
- Clean with a mild detergent and warm water
- Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, high alkaline or other acids
- Do not use strong detergents or corrosive liquids
- Blot spills right away with a paper towel. Don’t wipe the area; it will spread the spill. Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times
- Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth
- If etching has occurred, call Annandale Monument & Countertops at (888) 786-5100 for advice or to schedule an appointment for our restoration service
This type of sealer is a coating that covers the surface of the stone. It doesn't seep into the stone like other sealers can. You can opt for permanent topical sealers or strippable sealers. Permanent sealers are very difficult to remove once they are applied. Strippable sealers are meant to be removed and re-applied regularly.
This sealer lets the natural beauty of your polished or honed countertop shine through. It does not add any extra shine to your countertop. Some sealers are water-based and others are solvent-based. Either way, be sure to select a penetrating sealer that is rated to protect your countertop or several years. Though most high-quality sealers protect your counter for several years, natural stone experts recommend sealing every year or two.
Stone Enhancer Sealer
Stone enhancers do everything a penetrating sealer does but adds a cosmetic factor to the job. Enhancers darken the stone and bring out the natural colors and patterns in the stone, much the same way wetting a stone does. They brighten up older countertops and keep newer countertops as beautiful as the day they were installed. Select a sealer that is rated to protect countertops for several years. Most stone experts suggest resealing annually or every two years.
Always consult manufacturer directions for proper use of a specific product. Here are the general usage guidelines.
- Give the countertop a deep cleaning
- Dry it thoroughly
- Apply sealer with a soft cloth
- Work in small areas
- Allow the sealer to dry on the counter for 24 hours (or as the manufacturer recommends)
- Apply a second coat of sealer
- Topical sealers may have additional instructions
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions
Your granite countertops will look great for generations if you carefully follow a maintenance schedule to keep them at their best.