Granite worktops are all the rage in many countries. Whether they are being used in kitchens or in bathrooms, or if the granite is being used as flooring or on the stairs, it adds another dimension to the space. Available in various colours and hues, granite is a versatile stone and can be coordinated with any type of décor – be it a retro bathroom, or a traditional cottage-style kitchen.
Granite rocks are a composition of feldspar, quartz, mica and amphibole minerals. They are hard and tough, and come in colours such as black, maroon/red, variations of brown and pinkish red, and many shades in between. It is never a smooth single colour; there are many shades of the same or other colours. This is what gives it its unique identity, and is also the reason why it adapts easily to different colour schemes. The smooth finish, the interesting hues and the durability of the stone make it one of the most popular materials for installing worktops all over the world.
Granite needs to be taken care of
As with all other substances, granite needs to be taken care of and looked after with love and affection. Kitchens will always have spills in them; but, if a few guidelines are followed, it will be easy to minimise the damage.
If you spill anything on your worktop, then blot it immediately with a paper towel or with a soft cloth. Do not wipe the area until you have cleaned the blotch completely. Once this has been done, flush the stain with warm water and a very mild detergent. Make sure that you do not leave any detergent residue behind. Dry the counter with a soft cloth.
Granite should never be washed with abrasive powders. These will leave scratch marks on the counter, and which will also spoil the polish of the stone. For daily cleaning, just use a mild dish-washing liquid and a mild cloth. Often, just a quick swab with a wet cloth and drying it thereafter is all that’s needed to keep the counter looking good for years.
Granite is a fairly porous stone; hence, it is imperative that all spills are removed as soon as possible before they go deep into the stone. Liquids, such as tea and coffee, wine and liquor, should be blotted immediately before they cause long-lasting damage.
If there are any stubborn stains, then use a “stone poultice” – available in most DIY stores. It removes deep-set stains from all types of stone, but it does take away the polish from the solid material, to some extent.
Prevention is better that the cure
Prevention is always better than cure, and the saying holds true within domestic environments as well. You can prevent your granite tops from getting marked, by covering them with a solvent-based sealer – also known as an impregnator.
Most new granite tops come complete with a sealing process, which lasts for almost ten years. This prevents, to some extent, the liquids such as oil and water from entering into the stone, by delaying the seeping process. Occasionally, if you are expecting to do a lot of work on the worktop, and spills are likely to occur, cover the top with plastic or laminated table mats, which cost much less and can be cleaned easily.
Reseal the worktops
If you feel that the granite seal is not as effective as before, you can easily reseal the worktops. Clean the surface with a mild detergent and let it dry thoroughly. Spread the sealer on to the counter with either a paper towel or a soft cloth. Let it penetrate for about 5 to 10 minutes; then, blot off the excess with a paper towel. Let the sealer set onto the granite overnight, and then repeat the process the next day.
Many sealers require only a single coat; check the manufacturer’s instructions before you use it. Do not use the counter for a minimum of 12 hours post covering it with the sealant.
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