Granite, Marble, Soapstone Countertops - Buyers Guide

Caring For Granite

How do you care for your new natural stone countertops?


First of all, granite is an extremely durable surface and easy to care for. Sealing shouldn't take more than about 30 minutes about once per year.

So, be sure to get your suppliers advice on caring for your new granite and marble countertops as they should be cleaned regularly with a pH neutral cleaner, sealed with a penetrating or impregnating sealant about once a year (in most cases) and polished regularly to keep it beautiful.  On the other hand, beware of salesman pushing stone sealer or lifetime products with guarantees!  Most of these are "regular" sealer with a guarantee to come back and re-treat it if it is ever stained. They never come with a guarantee to prevent staining. Some stones are extremely dense and impermeable and do not need a sealer - Black Galaxy is an example.  Sealer will only build up on the surface and cause clouding, requiring eventual stripping with harsh solvents.  If a granite countertop becomes cloudy in appearance it's a reasonable bet that it is due to buildup of "something" on the surface.

I also recommend using a granite countertop polish, as needed, to really keep the granite looking stunning.  It is a lot like a car wax - apply, let haze and buff off.  It also makes spills bead-up on the surface, providing an additional layer of protection.

Although granite is very hard and most of the minerals are harder than steel, it can be scratched.  If that happens it is usually best to cover up the scratch with a stone "darkener".  Scratches can be polished out but that involves actually removing some of the stone and this can create a very slight "dish" in the stone which will show up in reflections.  Polished stone is as flat as a mirror and changes in the surface will show up as distortions and these are often more noticeable than minor scratches.  At the moment there is no truly effective scratch filler on the market, but I hope someone makes a breakthrough soon.

Granite was once a molten rock and it can handle a LOT of heat - much more than engineered stone and other countertop materials.  Go ahead and put your hot pans directly on the stone but try to keep them several inches away from cutouts (cooktops etc).  I still encourage customers to be careful with pots and pans however, mainly because they can cause scratches it they are dragged across the surface and there is a piece of grit underneath.  Also some metals will leave a black or grey mark on the stone.  If you need to remove something like this, or something which has glued itself to the stone, don't be afraid to use a single sided razor blade or steel wool to polish the surface of a granite.  Don't do this with limestones or marbles, however, they will scratch more easily.  Heritage Stonecraft carries a line of cleaners and sealers that we use in our production line and sealing the stone is a FREE part of every installation we do.

BUT - don't let any of this scare you.  I know many people that simple wipe down their granite countertops with a mild soap solution and take care not to let any of it build up on the surface, and their granite looks as good 10 years later as the day it was installed.