Granite Countertops: A Practical FAQ for Homeowners

If you are considering new countertops in your kitchen or bathroom, one of the choices you have is granite. Most people, when thinking of granite, will think of two different things: the look of granite and the cost of granite. Yes, granite is a beautiful addition to any home and yes, it is a bit on the expensive side. However, granite is also an exceptional value for your money, and that should also be considered before buying. Speaking of buying, if you are like most homeowners considering granite, you likely have some questions. Below are some of the most common questions and answers about granite in your home:

Is Granite Really a Natural Stone?

Yes!  Though you will see a number of manmade materials on the market when you shop for countertops, granite is one of the natural products available. Granite is a type of igneous rock that forms under the surface of the earth over thousands of years. The composition of granite is made of mica, quartz, feldspar and additional minerals that come together to bring the unique look of granite. Granite is mined from the ground, polished and shaped in order to become the countertop you find on the market.

Is Granite Indestructible?

There is a common misconception that granite countertops cannot be damaged. They can. However, the odds of damaging granite under normal circumstances are slim to none. What can happen to granite to damage it? It is possible, for instance, that you could chip a granite countertop by dropping something  heavy on it. Granite also is naturally porous. This means, if you spill something and allow it to sit on granite, it can soak in, permanently staining the stone.

Why is Granite Such a Good Material for a Countertop?

With the exception of sapphire, ruby and of course, diamond, granite is the hardest natural stone on earth. Once it has been processed and polished, it will remain glossy for hundreds of years. You will find that granite will not scratch, heat will have no ill-effect on granite, and it is available in an almost unlimited number of colors and designs. Granite is also extremely easy to clean and adds resale value to your home.

How Do I Care for Granite Countertops?

When you own a granite countertop, you will want to make sure that you are performing daily and weekly maintenance in order to ensure that you keep your countertops looking their best. One rule that you will want to keep in mind about granite is that you should not use any cleanser on granite that you would not use on your own hands. You should also make sure that you are cleaning up spills immediately, that you are cleaning with a cleanser that doesn’t have acid or oil in it. Acid can eat through your granite over time and oil can leave a sheen on your granite that will take away from its natural look. You should also make sure to clean up any acidic foods, like orange juice, soda or even chocolate.

What About Sealing Granite?

Speaking of caring for granite, you will also need to make sure you are properly sealing your granite. This will help to protect the stone from liquids, since it is porous, and acids, which can eat away at the granite. Depending on the color of your granite and the quality of the sealing material, you will need to re-seal your countertops every one to five years. Lighter colored granite will usually need to be sealed every one to three years; darker colors will need to be sealed every three to five years. You may be able to go longer if you make an investment into a higher quality sealant, too. For instance, you can find sealant for granite that will be able to protect your countertops for 10 or even 15 years.

Will My Granite Countertop Have Pits in the Surface?

Granite naturally has tiny pits on the surface thanks to the crystalline structure that it is made of. Typically, you will only see these pits on a sample, not on a larger piece. The reason for this is because the larger pieces that are installed as countertops will have a polished surface. In other words, the polishing has eliminated the pits. You might also find that granite has some natural fissures in it. Some people believe that their granite has cracked when they see this, but it is just a natural defect that occurs when heat and pressure collided together thousands of years ago. These defects are what gives granite its natural beauty.

These are just the most common questions that are asked about granite countertops. You likely have questions that are not listed above. If you do, make sure to reach out to an expert on granite before making a purchase. This way, you can have confidence that granite is the right countertop material for you.

 

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