Granite: Your Go-to Guide

by Lawton Brothers | Feb 22, 2021

Granite has long been the fan-favorite for countertops and installations both indoors and out. Considering its versatility, vast color options, and ease of maintenance, it’s easy to see how this has been the predominant choice for decades. Granite is a naturally produced igneous rock made up of compounded quartz, feldspar, and mica. As such, granite can be found in a multitude of colors and ‘patterns’ and is extremely durable. 

Pros and Cons

As a naturally occurring stone, granite is very dense and less likely to scratch and stain than softer stones. That being said, granite is not impervious to damage. If it is not sealed correctly, your countertops will be susceptible to acidic foods and beverages. Even with a proper seal, it is always best to clean up spills as soon as they are noticed to prevent long-term cosmetic damage.

Additionally, granite’s dense nature makes it resistant to scratches and heat; however, it can also cause it to crack or chip under blunt force. This means that any heavy-duty projects, vegetable chopping, and meat tenderizing should take place on a cutting board or other surface. 

Granite is cheap, compared to other stone options, and will range anywhere from $15-$140 per square foot. 

Maintenance

Most granite is porous – to some degree – and is susceptible to staining. This can easily be prevented by sealing your granite. Typically, only the lighter shades of granite will need sealing, but be sure to check before deciding on a slab. In any case, it is always best to clean up any spills as soon as they occur. This should be done with a soft sponge or cloth along with a cleaner specifically designed for granite. Try to avoid generic cleaning products when it’s time to hit the counters. Typical household cleaners and degreasers can contain acids and alkalis that will degrade the sealer and make the stone more susceptible to stains. If you don’t have a granite cleaner handy, you can always use a bit of dish soap and water. This, however, isn’t recommended over the long-term as the repeated use will cause buildup and dull your countertop’s shine. 

On a monthly basis, it may be worth polishing your granite to enhance the shine and protect it from damage. Naturally, this polish will wear off with normal cleaning and use and is not intended to act as a sealer. On an annual basis, check the seal on your countertops with the water drop test. It’s as easy as putting a few drops of water on the counter and checking the time! With a small puddle of water on the granite, start a timer and watch to see if the color of the counter darkens. If the space under the puddle darkens quickly (4 minutes or less), it is best to apply a sealer. If it takes more than 5 minutes, you won’t need to reseal or check again for another year. 

Before Buying

Of course, natural stone can’t be poured to fit your kitchen – it will need to be cut and will oftentimes have ‘seams’ where pieces of granite meet. Be sure to talk with your fabricator about positioning and noticeability of seams before making a final decision. You can also opt for entire slabs of granite rock, however, these options usually include rough edges and provide a more rustic/industrial feel. 

When looking for granite, try to avoid shopping for a color name as there are over 2,500 colors that each contain variations in pattern and color. Try to buy slabs from the same bundle and inspect each slab to ensure they match and are durable. Test a sample for acid and oil sensitivity to determine if the selection will need to be sealed.

While granite is extremely durable, it isn’t impervious to damage. Extreme temperature changes, blunt force, spills, and large amounts of weight in a single spot are all recipes for disaster. The most important tip to maintaining your granite is cleaning with the proper materials. 

If you’re in search of the right materials to care for your granite, give Lawton Brothers a call. Our trained professionals are prepared to answer any questions you may have about maintaining your facility. See how one of our free audits can help you today: 800.432.0813.

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