Granite, a natural stone available in a wide array of colors and color variations, is the countertop of choice in many high-end kitchens. Because granite is natural rock material, homeowners may believe it is impervious to heat and be tempted to set hot pans, directly from the stove, onto their expensive granite surface. This is not always a good idea.
Granite, especially dark granite, retains heat. Moving a hot pan from the burner onto the counter can heat up the granite’s surface. This poses a possibility of injury. Should someone accidentally touch the granite after removing the pan, the person can suffer a burn. Because the granite does not change color when extremely hot, there is nothing to warn a person about the potentially dangerously hot countertop.
Setting a warm or hot pan directly onto the counter can stain the granite if the bottom of the pan is dirty. Some granite is more porous compared to others, therefore more susceptible to absorbing the material on the bottom of the pan and staining. While you might assume the pan’s bottom is clean, when cooking on a stove, the reaction of the metals in the pan to the hot burners can sometimes leave a residue.
Before placing a hot pan on the granite surface, consider basic facts of science. When a cold hard surface comes in sudden contact with heat, the rapid shift of the molecules in the hard surface can result in cracking. Placing a warm pan on the granite may not damage the surface, yet a pan straight from the burner has the potential of causing immediate damage to the countertop.
While a granite countertop will generally withstand a warm pan, it is prudent to allow the pan to cool to warm before placing on the countertop. Even if the hot pan does not immediately crack the granite countertop, as in a thermal shock situation, overtime continual exposure to hot pans can cause the granite countertop to begin cracking.
Before placing a warm or hot pan on the granite countertop, refer to your manufacturer’s warranty and recommendations. While you may feel the countertop can withstand a warm or hot pan, don’t do something that might void a warranty. Darker granite countertops tend to be more susceptible to the adverse reactions caused from placing hot pans directly on the granite’s surface. Be on the safe side and use a hot pad to absorb the heat and protect your investment.