Your kitchen countertop may serve as a work surface, a food preparation surface, a storage surface and even as an eating surface, so the material that your countertop is made from needs to be durable, easily maintained and pretty to look at. Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops because of its toughness and beauty. The way you maintain your granite countertop depends in part on how the granite is finished.
There are three primary finishes for granite kitchen countertops. Granite countertops that have a glossy, mirror-like surface are referred to as having a polished finish. Countertops that have a light gloss, but not a matte finish are said to have a satin finish. Granite countertops that have a smooth surface, but no reflective gloss have a honed finish. Honed granite countertops do not go through the final buffing stage that is common to the polished and satin finish styles.
Honed granite is favored over polished granite in applications where the surface is likely to be slippery when wet, such as floors and kitchen countertops. Honed granite is extremely hard due to the amount of quartz and feldspar in its composition, but keep in mind that different types of granite may contain different levels of quartz and feldspar which may affect its hardness. Honed granite stands up well to heat and weight and resists scratching, scorching, and chipping. It is susceptible to staining, however, particularly from oil-based substances.
Honed granite that is sold commercially for kitchen countertops may be treated with a penetrating sealer to help prevent stains from forming. Honed granite countertops are still porous and even sealers won't prevent a stain from occurring if the staining material is allowed to sit directly on the countertop for an extended period of time. Completely wipe up liquid spills with a soft, damp cloth. Oily or greasy spills may be cleaned with warm, soapy water. Buff the area dry with a soft cloth after cleaning. You can removed dried food by carefully scraping with a razor blade. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners, acidic cleansers, abrasive cleaners and implements such as steel wool.
Prevention is the best form of maintenance for your honed granite kitchen countertops. Use coasters, trivets and hot pads to protect the surface from grit that may be on the bottom of your pans, skillets or other dishes. Use cutting boards when preparing food. Your knives may not scratch your granite countertop, but your countertop will definitely dull your knives.
Clean your honed granite countertop using products that are specifically labeled as being safe for natural stone. Different types of granite may have different levels of porousness. You may need to reseal your countertops from time to time by applying a granite sealer. You can test your granite countertop for porousness by dripping a few drops of water on the surface and allowing it to remain there for approximately 15 minutes. If the surface of the honed granite did not appear darker after you wipe the water dry, it is properly sealed and does not need to be resealed.
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