When it comes to selecting the appropriate material for kitchen countertops, island tops, table tops, and bar tops; bathroom vanity tops and shower walls; granite is an excellent choice. There are hundreds of granite species to choose from, all are quite hard (Mohs hardness scale) because of there mineral makeup of quartz and silicon dioxide, and are much more resistant to alkaline and acidic encounters than marble.
Some of the more popular misconceptions about granite are: to purchase granite instead of marble, because granite is indestructible; beware: both granite and marble will crack if not installed properly, the underside of the granite section located in front of the kitchen sink should always be reinforced with steel (rods/bars) to prevent breakage, it’s always best, to fabricate the granites’ outside edges to be rounded, next best, would be to bevel the granite outside edges, the least desirable granite edge would be square outside edges, because they will chip over time (especially the inner granite edges above the under mount sink, due to pots and pans, dinnerware and silverware).
Most people think granite can not be scratched because it is so hard, they are 100% wrong, granite does scratch and the scratches can be eliminated by a resurfacing process (honing/sanding); but, the re-polishing process in the field has not been perfected yet. To re-polish the granite to its original factory finish (color, clarity, and gloss) in the field is extremely difficult and most of the time impossible because of physics and chemistry. Current technology for polishing granite in the field yields approximately 60% to 90% of the factory finish, depending upon the granite’s species, and the personnel’s equipment and experience.
Concerning granite floors: we do not recommend using granite because of the aforementioned refinishing issues and exorbitant expense. Marble flooring is a good choice, the refinishing (resurfacing) process for removing scratches, stains, etchings and dull spots; then, restoring the factory finish (color, clarity, and gloss) to the marble’s surface in the field, is a proven technology. We sell marble refinishing kits which are all inclusive, easy to use, and economical.
Many people think granite does not stain easily, however this is a major misconception. All granite species are porous and their porosity varies from species to species. Using harsh cleaners, abrasive pads and powders over time will dull the granite’s finish. Food and beverage spills, especially greasy foods and cooking oil will stain the granite’s surface. Many times, consumers are told by their sales person or installer that their granite was sealed at the factory or fabrication shop prior to installation. Beware: most granite factories and granite fabricators do not use a premium grade, deep penetrating (impregnating) granite sealer. We have tested over the past five years, granite sealers that supposedly come with a lifetime warranty. The test results are not favorable for two primary reasons: their chemistry does not allow the granite surface to breath, which will have a detrimental effect over time with the granites’ clarity; secondly, these granite sealers change the granite’s appearance (giving the granite an artificial look).
Here’s some good news about granite: granite is so easy and economical to maintain. Using a granite cleaner routinely is a must, a credible granite cleaner should be formulated as follows: be neutral on the PH scale, so it won’t have a negative effect on the granite’s color, clarity, or gloss; be able to break through surface deposits and disinfect, have a pleasant smell. We recommend twice a year for kitchen granite countertops, island tops, table tops, and bar tops; bathroom granite vanity tops and shower walls, applying a premium granite sealer followed by the application of a premium granite paste polish. This process is so simple and fast to do, just like washing and waxing your car. For those of you, whose granite kitchen countertops are dull and dingy, maybe showing their age, don’t worry. Granite does not show its age, it took over a billion years for granite to be formed, and 99% of the time what is making your granite look dull and dingy is a surface film that has built up over time from not using a proper cleaning and spreading food and beverage spills over the granite’s surface because these spills were not removed completely from the granite’s surface initially.
Another contributing factor might be the application of an inferior granite sealer. Many of our competitors sealers don’t have the ability to penetrate deeply into the granite’s subsurface and these inferior granite sealers contain a high concentration of polymer solids that stay on the granite’s surface. These polymer solids attach themselves to the granite surface and are extremely difficult to remove, plus they create a cloudy film which distorts the granites’ color, clarity, and gloss. We sell a granite maintenance kit which is all inclusive, really quick and super easy to perform; a typical kitchen with granite countertops takes about 1 hour of actual work time to clean, seal, and polish (you need to allow a minimum of 30 minutes for the granite sealer to penetrate) prior to polishing the granite; also, allow another 15 minutes of work time if you have a granite island in addition to your granite countertops.
In conclusion, remember to use common sense around your granite: don’t cut anything on your granite; don’t use harsh cleaners or abrasive powders on your granite; dedicate a section of a kitchen granite counter top as a food preparation area and have this food prep area covered with “butcher block” or plexiglass for example; be sure to pickup food and beverage spills as soon as they happen. Purchasing your granite was expensive, be sure to protect your investment and keep your granite looking brand new and beautiful (year round) by using proper granite maintenance products which clean, seal, and polish your granite. We welcome responses to our articles and will try to answer comments and questions in a timely fashion.