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Caring for Natural Stone Countertops

Posted on: November 24, 2014

Your new natural marble or granite countertop absolutely shines in your kitchen. It adds elegance and style to your decor, and its durability makes natural stone one of the most practical types of countertop materials. But caring for your new countertop doesn’t end with installation. Depending on the type of natural stone countertop you’ve had installed, there are ways to care for it so it lasts for many years to come.

Marble and granite, though they are both natural stones that require maintenance, need to be cared for a little bit differently.

Caring for Marble Countertops

Marble is a timelessly beautiful stone that will always be in fashion and matches any décor. Marble is limestone that has transformed into a beautiful mosaic of colors and patterns through years of heat and pressure. Like most natural stones, it does show wear and tear over the years if not cared for properly. The first thing to remember when cleaning marble is that it isn’t granite. A lot of people confuse the two, but they are completely different stones and, therefore, need different approaches to maintenance and care. Marble is much softer than granite and so it shows wear and tear more easily. It’s more susceptible to stains from acidic substances, and you should remember to never clean it with vinegar and most household bathroom and kitchen cleaners.

If you want a deeper clean than what you can get with warm water and a soft cloth, your best bet is to purchase marble cleaner. If you want to do it yourself, you can use acetone on dark marble, hydrogen peroxide on light marble, or clear ammonia mixed with water. Whichever product you use, it’s wise to gently dry the surface with a soft cloth and never let it air dry, as marble is prone to water spots.

Countertop tip: It’s wise to re-seal your marble countertop every few years. Marble is porous and the sealer wears off over time. It won’t magically make your marble countertop bomb-proof, but it will resist moisture a lot longer.

Caring for Granite Countertops

Granite is a great alternative to marble. Granite is a natural stone formed underground in magma chambers. Its slow cooling process allows visible crystals to form, giving it a subtle sparkle and shine. It has the aesthetic appeal of marble but is so durable you can place hot pots directly on top of it, cut right on the surface without damaging it, and is less susceptible to nicks and cracks. Granite comes in a rainbow of colors and is most often characterized by a speckled look as opposed to the flowing veins of marble. You can find granite that resembles marble, but some prefer the real thing.

Granite can last for decades but still needs to be cared for properly. Abrasive debris like sand and dirt do the most damage to granite. Like marble, you should avoid acidic cleaners and juices that could scratch the surface. Warm water will do just fine, and if you want to use a cleanser, use a natural stone soap or a mild liquid detergent. Try to avoid ammonia, which can dull the surface of the stone.

Since your granite is in the kitchen, you might want to look into getting it re-sealed regularly. To keep the natural stone from getting cloudy or dull, seal it every few years, or if it’s a heavily used kitchen, every year.

Countertop Tip: Polished countertops will show fingerprints and smears more easily than honed or leather finished.

Caring for your natural stone will guarantee it to last for years looking shiny and new. Granite and marble are exquisite stones to have in your home but, unfortunately, will succumb to wear and tear if you don’t care for them. Take these tips to help ensure you’re caring for your natural stone countertops correctly, and you’ll enjoy them for years to come.

Need a Kitchen Designer in VA, MD, or DC?

If you’re looking for a kitchen design company to help you with the design stage of the remodel, they’ll be able recommend the best countertop material for your project. Jack Rosen serves Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Visit our showroom in Rockville or contact us to learn more about our custom kitchen design services!

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