Despite the recent wave of new materials making their way into kitchens across the country, granite remains one of the more popular options in kitchen counters. New trends in kitchen design are focusing on natural materials, and a new wave of homeowners is looking at granite – particularly with a honed finish – to complete their designs.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misconceptions and misinformation amongst homeowners who are choosing granite as well. Many of these stones are not actual granite – the igneous rock made of silica, mica, quartz, and feldspar – but are actually commercial granites, or stones sold as granite. This group of stones includes quartzites, dolomites, and gabbros, all of which have specific maintenance needs.
Many homeowners may not realize that these stones need special care and maintenance to keep them looking their best. This is especially true of homeowners purchasing honed stones, as one misconception is that honed stone requires less care than polished.
Granite and natural stone maintenance is not difficult, and any homeowner can take it on, provided they understand what’s involved.
Upon selecting the stone, the water and lemon test should be performed on a sample to determine how much care the stone needs. A small amount of water and lemon juice should be put on the stone for roughly 10 minutes, and then wiped away. If the stone has changed appearance, then it is susceptible to these materials and needs extra care.
All stones should be washed with a PH neutral cleanser containing no acids or alkalines, and all spills should be wiped up as soon as they are seen to avoid staining, particularly in porous stones that darken on contact with water.
For porous stones and those that etch on contact with acids, an impregnating sealer should be applied on a regular basis. Water should bead up off of the surface of a well sealed stone; when it stops beading, it’s time to reseal the stone.
While not every stone will require this degree of care, many do. Knowing how to take care of them properly will help homeowners enjoy their new stone for years to come.