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Granite countertops are beautiful. These natural stone surfaces come in a wide range of colors and patterns, are extremely durable, and add a luxury “feel” to your home, while also improving resale value. If you are considering buying a home with granite countertops—or adding them to your home—what considerations should you keep in mind?
If you are having granite installed, it is best to personally pick the slab you want from a granite fabricator. Photos of “similar” slabs will not give you the true character, coloring, or the veining of your particular piece. As a naturally formed stone, the look of granite can vary wildly. What you select from a catalog or an online image may not coincide with what is delivered.
Your options are nearly limitless. Slabs come in light/white granite, dark granite, and many shades in between. Granite’s natural veining is part of the beauty of the material. However, any seams required for cutting and installing sections will be visible. Going with a darker color will diminish the appearance of the granite installation seams, but natural granite will never “match up,” so the seams will always be an obvious part of the countertop.
Use only neutral pH cleaners on your granite, and avoid acidic or alkaline cleaners. Usually, a dishcloth dampened with a simple combination of dish soap and water will be fine. Also, avoid using products containing bleach and abrasive cleansers on any granite surface. Organic materials left on a granite worktop for extended periods can seep into the granite and stain it. Pay particular attention to subjecting the surface to alcohol, vinegar, citrus juices, and cooking oil, which, if permitted to seep into the surface, will discolor it.
Selecting darker colors may help, but will not eliminate the problem. The best solution is to clean up any spills or residue from food quickly (by blotting, rather than wiping) and to maintain a resealing schedule.
Granite countertops do need occasional resealing, usually annually, in order to maintain a non-porous surface. You can have them sealed professional, or do it yourself. Since staining is the primary issue that causes granite countertops to need replacing, it is imperative to maintain a regular resealing schedule.
Do not worry about hot (right off the stove) pans. They will not leave a mark on granite countertops unless there is grease or some other organic material on the pan that may seep into the granite. Temperature is not a concern.
One of the biggest “cons” of these super-tough surfaces is the ease with which you can break a special crystal bowl, china plate, or wine glass. Barely tap one of these delicate items on granite and kiss it goodbye.
Most granite countertops will last decades, not just a few years. Your granite kitchen countertops will probably outlast the house, and with proper care, will do so beautifully. It is possible to damage granite countertops, but you really have to abuse them in unusual ways. If you hit the edge hard enough to chip it, you should save the piece(s) and see if a professional can epoxy it back in place.