Countertops | Best Pick Reports
Sealing. While natural
stone varies in its ability to resist stains, all types of natural
stone should be sealed by the installers. Sealers will only protect
against stains if they are properly maintained and periodically
reapplied. Different types of stone require different sealers. Some may
need to be applied more frequently than others.
Cleaning. To minimize
damage to stone and sealer, contractors tend to recommend
detergent-based, nonabrasive, pH-balanced cleaners. Avoid vinegar,
bleach, ammonia, and acidic substances, which could corrode or discolor
the stone. Please consult with your contractor for specific cleaning
Heat resistance. Every type
of natural stone has limited resistance to heat; extreme temperatures
could cause stress fractures. Anything that exceeds the boiling
temperature of water should not be placed directly onto the stone.
Scratch prevention. While
some surfaces are less susceptible to scratches than others, cutting
boards are highly recommended for all countertops. Very hard stone,
such as granite, can potentially damage your knife.
Stain removal. Properly
maintained sealing will prevent most stains in a stone countertop.
However, because granite and marble are porous materials, occasional
stains may be unavoidable. The first attempt to remove a stain should
be with soap and water. However, difficult stains may need to be
removed with a poultice, which is a mixture of an absorbent substance
and a stain-removing chemical. Consult the countertop installer for
advice before administering a poultice. The cause of the stain and the
color of the stone must be considered when selecting the appropriate
chemicals. Using the incorrect chemicals may be ineffective and could
cause even more damage to the countertop.