Countertop Care & Maintenance

You made a smart CHOICE!

Your Countertop demonstrates your lifestyle, naturally becomes an extension of you, a reflection of your personality, individuality and style. Stone countertops are very durable, resilient and age beautifully in addition to the excellent investment in your property.

WE WILL describe below a few good to know tips about the Stone Selection, PROPER Care and Maintenance.

Choosing the best countertop for your project is a big deal. Beware of all the conflicting advice about granite countertop care floating around out there. That's the first lesson!

The right choice of stone must harmonize with your design. It will enhance your style, improve the function of your kitchen or bath, provide years of enjoyment and add significant value to your home. However, it can be a challenge to sort out all the features, benefits, performance, cleaning and maintenance of the various counter top materials.

Our goal is to provide the most in-depth, unbiased and accurate information you'll need for your countertop project and help create the design of your dreams.

Major Countertop Considerations:

  • Current design and home decor
  • Color, pattern, texture and finish
  • Countertop edges
  • Desired performance and durability
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Materials and installation costs

Accurately assessing how your countertop will be used can be just as important as picking that perfect color when matching your needs to the right countertop material. Performance characteristics vary considerably across surface materials. Granite, Marble or any other stone is not manufactured by any one.  It is made by nature without the recipe. This is why the same family of natural stone can show a marked difference in stain / scratch resistance. Understanding the true performance / durability (etch, scratch, heat, burn, stain-resistance) will help you get the right selection.

Granite it is a silicate-based stone with the highest rate of stain/scratch resistance. Granite is very dense and won't absorb a thing or stain at all, especially when polished. Polishing helps decrease absorption rates for any stone.

You want a stone that won't etch or stain for the kitchen. That is Granite. Granite is the stone of choice for use in the kitchen where all kinds of substances will come in contact with the countertop.

Marble, Travertine and Limestone is a calcite-based stones. The nature can make the mix stone of silicate/calcite. The surface will corrode or "etch" when exposed to acids like lemon juice, coffee, alcohol, salad dressing, etc. This is why these stones are typically not recommended in the kitchen.

To get unbiased understanding of stone properties make the simple stone tests, to avoid a mystery surprise and possible disappointment. You will see what kind of stone you have, if it could be problematic, how to clean and care for it and if a sealing granite countertop is necessary. The Lemon Juice and Oil Test will tell you both how absorbent your stone is and what type of stone it is.

Perform the Lemon Juice and Oil Test

The reason for the lemon juice is to determine if your stone can handle contact with acidic substances. Perform this test on samples chipped off the exact slab you are considering for installation.

  1. Take a small sample of stone.
  2. Drip enough lemon juice to form a dime-sized puddle.
  3. Do the same with vegetable/olive oil.
  4. Look at the surface of the stone through the puddles and note the time.
  5. If you see the surface under the puddles darken right away, this stone is very absorbent and should not be used in the kitchen.
  6. If the stone does darken, but it takes 4-5 minutes, then applying a granite sealer will make this stone manageable in the kitchen. It will be reasonably stain resistant.
  7. If it takes 10-15 minutes to darken a sealer should still be applied. Make sure it absorbs well and doesn't dry on the top.
  8. If the stone never darkens or it takes over 30 minutes, then you have a near stain-proof winner. It would not take a sealer even if you tried.
  9. Wipe the sample clean and look at the spot where the lemon juice was. Is it dull compared to the shiny polish on the rest of the sample? Did you notice the lemon juice fizzing/bubbling when on the surface? If so, it contains calcite and should not be used in the kitchen.

Perform the Water Drop Test

The Water Drop Test should be performed to determine the Countertop sealing requirements.

  1. Drip a puddle of water on your countertop, note the time and observe.
  2. If the puddle darkens quickly, then sealing granite countertop is required multiple coats annually. Spills should be wiped up quickly.
  3.  If it takes 4 or 5 minutes to darken - a few coats of a sealer should be applied, but re-sealing every 3-5 years. Stains won't be a big issue unless something sits for a few hours.
  4. If it darkens in 10 to 15 minutes then apply a one coat sealer only and should be many years before re-sealing is necessary.
  5. If the puddle doesn't darken or takes  over 30 minutes, then you have a bullet proof stone that is next to impossible to stain. Sealing granite countertops in this category is really not necessary.

Recommended Stone Application

Kitchen Countertops - Granite and Quartz countertops are the best choice for a kitchen. The differences between Granite and Quartz are so insignificant that you should simply install the color and pattern you like best whether Granite or Quartz.

Soapstone and a solid surface like a Corian are very good too.

Bathroom Countertops - Marble is fine for most bathrooms.

Wet Bar, Utility or Laundry - Think of these areas like a kitchen. They are exposed to a lot of acids (alcohol, sodas, and fruit juice) and harsh detergents, cleaners. Marble, Travertine and Limestone should be excluded.

Quartz is fine for a wet bar, but could be a problem in a utility room where exposure to common chemicals (bleach) could permanently damage the surface.

Soapstone counter tops will actually be the most chemically resistant. Granite will perform well too.

Outdoor Kitchen - Outdoor kitchens have the same concerns as indoor, so marble is not the best choice due to etching. Quartz counter tops can yellow with prolonged sun exposure.

Granite countertops will be the best choice for the long term durability and low maintenance.

Countertop Durability & Maintenance

Your countertop will give you years of functionality, but in order to retain its beauty, some maintenance required.

As a general rule, granite sealer should be applied to all natural stones. Sealer coating is improving the stain resistance. A sealer will slow down the natural rate at which a stone absorbs a liquid by filling the pores.  But sealing has nothing to do with etching and will not completely protect against the glass rings and water stains on a calcite-based stone. Applying granite sealer is a simple procedure and it shouldn’t be a factor when deciding whether to install granite or quartz counter tops.

The stone care industry offers new & advanced Marble / Granite sealers developed by using the cutting-edge nano-technology and specialized molecules to penetrate deeper forming a permanent bond and barrier that actually repels oil and water. When sealing Granite countertops, Marble, Travertine or other natural stone you want superior long-lasting stain resistance. And that's what you get with the top shelf sealers produced by Stone Care Pro and SenGuard. There are now next-generation sealers on the market like SenGuard Permanent Bond Sealer which represent a big jump forward with chemical properties that form permanent bonds with the stone and actually repel liquids to make stains nearly impossible.

We can reference the www.countertopspecialty.com as a great supplier of advanced product for the stone care.

Do Not Use Household Cleaners

General cleaners not formulated for the natural stone are not recommended. These can breakdown the protective sealer. Many cleaning products contain lemon, vinegar, bleach or ammonia and can etch away the polish, discolor the surface, or even scratch calcite-based stone.

Follow simple recommendation to keep your Countertop looking great:

  • Clean up spills with absorbent cloth immediately to minimize damage to your stone
  • Never use cleaners that contain acids (bowl cleaners, tile & tab cleaners)
  • Never clean with bleach or ammonia
  • Never use abrasive cleaners
  • Use trivets or mats under hot dishes and cookware

The Shine or Polish on the surface of stone is created by intense friction using diamond abrasives. It's a mechanical process. Chemicals - acids like liquor, vinegar, coffee, sodas can damage the polish on certain calcite-based stones like marble, travertine and limestone. It's a reaction between the calcium carbonate and the acid. It's called "etching" and it's the primary reason such stones are not recommended for kitchen countertops. It is physical damage to the surface of the stone. Most cases of etching are mild to moderate and can be repaired using a special marble polishing etch remover.

However, if the etching damage is severe enough the only option is to call in a professional to re-polish the surface.

What Our Clients Say

This is strange, but I discovered the pleasure from cooking. I found the regular cup of coffee has an enhanced taste since the time Stone Art Canada nicely transformed my kitchen with this magnificent stone.

Debbie Keats
2014, Etobicoke

Our Key Services

  •  Kitchen Countertops
  •  Vanities
  •  Tub Surrounds
  •  Fireplaces
  •  Reception Desks
  •  Bar Tops
  •  Granite, Quartz, Marble