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How to care for your granite countertops

Granite countertops require special care so that they continue looking beautiful for many years. Although granite is quite resistant to scratches, to properly maintain this type of countertop material, it’s advisable to follow a few simple procedures.

  1. Spills have a tendency to soak into the surface, so to avoid deep staining wipe up spills immediately.
  2. For stone surfaces a neutral cleaner, such as stone soap or mild dishwashing liquid and warm water, is safe to use.
  3. When cleaning with a soap solution, use a soft, clean cloth and then rinse the surface thoroughly. Finish off by drying with a soft, clean cloth.
  4. If you do happen to stain the surface, removal depends on the type of stain. First, try removing it with this paste: mix together a cup of flour, 1-2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, and water. Place the paste over the stain, cover in plastic wrap, and leave overnight. In the morning, use a wooden utensil to scrape away the paste and give it a rinse. This should work except for stains made from grease, oil, or milk. In these cases, instead of dishwashing liquid use hydrogen peroxide in the paste, or ammonia.
  5. For organic stains resulting from coffee, tea, or fruit, a mixture of 12% hydrogen peroxide combined with a few drops of ammonia should work wonders.

What is granite? The Earth’s oldest building material

Granite — The Earth’s Oldest Building Material

Granite is—quite literally—as old as the earth. It is formed from liquid magma, the molten rock still found at the core of the planet, cooled slowly to form a substance approaching the hardness and durability of diamond. Granite is an igneous rock, the name reflecting its fiery beginnings. The chemical composition of granite is similar to that of lava. However, granite owes its hardness and density to the fact that it has been solidified deep within the earth, under extreme pressure. Over the eons, seismic activity has changed the crust of the planet, forcing veins of granite to the surface. Glaciers scraped off layers of dirt, sand and rock to expose granite formations. Typically revealed by outcrops, the deposits have been discovered on all the continents.

Composition

“Granites are formed of an aggregate of crystals which are molded together without any interspace between them or which enclose one another. The magnificent crystallinity of granite is a striking characteristic.” Geology of Granite, E. Raguin, London, 1965 p.3

It is accurate to speak of “granites,” because many varieties of the stone exist. While they differ in color, texture and crystalline structure, the granites have three essential minerals in common:

  • Feldspar (50% or greater)
  • Quartz (25-40%)
  • Mica (3-10%)

These minerals occur in different proportions, giving each granite its own color, texture and structural characteristics. In addition, hornblende, magnetite, hematite, pyrite, zircon, garnet, corundum and other minerals may be present in smaller amounts, adding to the unique coloration and texture of each granite deposit. In supplying granite for all large building or complex of buildings, it is essential that the stone be consistent in color and texture. To assure this, each granite color must be quarried from the same deposit. With natural material like granite, a certain amount of “movement” or grain in the stone must be expected. Many people find this flow and blending of colors to be the most compelling reason for using granite.

Thinking of using granite countertops in your kitchen?

Kitchen granite countertops in tiles or slabs provide a unique and long-term home remodeling solution. This remains one of the toughest, most sophisticated natural stone choices on the market. Best of all, no two slabs are alike – you will therefore be creating a unique-looking, luxurious kitchen. You can also be sure that with good care, the splendid looks of your granite kitchen countertops will not fade over time.

What are the main benefits of this product and why is it so popular?

1. Value Set In Stone

It is a given that kitchen granite countertops will add to the value of your property. This makes it a sound investment. It adds such elegance to a kitchen, that it will more than pay for itself by the time you erect that For Sale sign outside. If you have funds from a home improvement loan available, this may be a sensible way to spend it.

2. Affordable Aesthetic Appeal

Granite is a natural material that is freely available. It has been around for centuries, yet the trend towards home use has only taken hold in the last forty years or so. While it may seem expensive compared to other options, it can be one of the best investments a homeowner can make. If you take the durability into account, this truly becomes one of the more affordable home improvement options. It is a practical and attractive solution for kitchen cabinets.

3. Nature’s Unique Designs

The slabs come with subtle elements of color and variety that no man-made product can duplicate fully. It makes a individualistic design statement in your home and adds character to kitchens. You will note that the colors change constantly, as the light in the room changes. The color, specks and other patterns are all the way through the stone, not just a layer on top as with most man-made alternatives. These characteristics are different in every piece of stone.

An amazing array of colors is available. This is in part due to the fact that the material is quarried from all over the world. Each area’s stone has its unique qualities. Shading varies from light to all the rich, warm and deep tones. The kitchen granite countertops can be coordinated with almost any sink finish and accessory type, from ceramic to copper and stainless steel. This is not simply a new fad. It has been around for ages and has a solid track record, so to speak.

4. Banish Bacteria

Due to its texture, this is one of the most sanitary materials for a kitchen. As it isn’t porous, it won’t be prone to harboring bacteria and other kitchen no-no’s. Mold and mildew won’t get a grip here. Of course, if you make use of granite tiles, you will still have grout lines that are prone to mildew problems and staining.

5. Cleaning Is A Cinch

Maintenance is fairly simple, provided you use some common sense. Daily cleaning will involve little more than a quick wipe with a soft cloth or some paper towels. Use ordinary soapy water. Due to the dense grain the stone isn’t very porous and staining therefore isn’t a major problem. Once it has been sealed or polished, it is resistant to moisture. The sealing needs to be repeated every 1 to 3 years. Learn to clean as you go along. It is just so much simpler and safer to wipe a mess immediately.

6. Family-Friendly Kitchen

In almost all respects this is an option that is fine with kids in the home. There is very little that they can do that will damage your counters. Perhaps you should just ask them not to hang from the more vulnerable edges, as this may cause a problem in the long run.

7. Room For Repairs

This stone has another feature that makes it popular. If you do have an area that is damaged, it can be repaired. Just don’t attempt this yourself. Speak to your supplier, describing the flaw, and get expert advice.

8. Hard To Resist

The hard surface can’t be scratched, except by more granite or diamonds. This is where its practicality for kitchen use comes in. You can’t afford to tip-toe around cabinets and work stations. You need to be able to do your job without fear of damaging the kitchen granite countertops. Granite gives you this reassurance. The fact that it won’t become scratched is one of the main reasons why it retains its shiny appearance for so many years.

9. Turn Up The Heat

These surfaces cope admirably with temperature changes and won’t blister or crack. They can even resist frying pan heat. No hot griddle will leave a reminder on your new countertops. Even so, it is advisable to still use pads or trivets when working with hot items.

10. Cooks Love It

Cooks love working on granite kitchen countertops. You can even cut on them without damaging the surface. And you will be amazed by how well your dough suddenly turns out. The cold surface is perfect for handling pastry.