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 instructions.

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.