Granite Countertops What Do I Need To Know About Natural Stone
A granite countertop can be a great addition to many kitchens. These polished stone counters come in a wide range of colors and have an elegant and rich appearance. Granite is not the right countertop choice for everyone, though. There are things that you need to know about granite to help you make the right choice for your home.
Not every stone that is labeled “granite” is actually granite. There is such a thing in the building industry as “commercial granite,” or hard, dense stones that contain quartz, mica and feldspar, which are labeled as granite. True granite is an igneous rock formed of molten lava. Other stones include Gabbros, or what are known commercially as “black granites” and stones known as “Marrinace,” which are actually cut from the bottoms of river beds. Not every commercial granite is equal in porosity and strength; darker stones tend to be denser and need less sealing than lighter stones.
GRANITE WILL HAVE VARIATION
Whether the stone you choose is a true granite or a commercial granite, it will have variation. All natural stone products are produced in nature, which can lead to fluctuation in color, pattern, veining and fissures.
Expect color to vary from slab to slab and even within one slab. Always inspect the stone you are purchasing for color; never go off of a sample, as what you receive may look different. Small surface pits and fissures are common in granite; polishing the surface of the stone will hide most of these. Granite that is honed or given a flat finish might show more surface texture variation.
GRANITE IS POROUS
All natural stone is porous to some degree. Some dark granites such as Absolute Black absorb extremely small amounts of liquid, while some light colored stones like London White absorb a large amount. To prevent granite from absorbing any liquid, which can potentially discolor it or remove its finish, seal it on a regular basis. Test your granite regularly by leaving a small amount of water on it for an hour, then wiping it away. If the stone darkened where the water sat, seal it with an impregnating sealer right away. If the stone did not darken, it did not absorb liquid and it does not require sealing at this time.
In addition to sealing your granite, be prepared to care for it regularly. Wipe up spills as soon as they are seen. Lemon juice or tomatoes can eat away at the surface of the stone if left too long. Never use vinegar or cleaners that contain acids or alkaline on your granite. Use plain water, water with gentle soap or a granite cleaner each time you clean it. Disinfecting granite wipes are available to help safely maintain your stone; do not use harsh cleaners at any time. Granite will not scratch or burn, it will, however, dull your knives. Always use a cutting board on your granite counter.