Granite 101: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Care For It
Granite is an amazing igneous rock mined from the earth. At one time, your granite countertop was molten lava, can you believe it?
Granite is known for its classic elegance, durability, character, and strength and is composed of many melted minerals that cooled into a solid. Blocks of granite are mined from quarries and sliced into slabs. Peak Stone Company purchases those slabs on your behalf and fabricates them to match your cabinet layout. Granite is mined all over the world, but South Africa, Brazil, China, Finland, India, and North America produce granite with the most striking patterns we see in homes today. Let’s talk about some of granite’s features, and how to care for it.
First, one of the awesome things about granite is that while some varieties can have consistency in pattern, others can vary quite a bit from block to block. There are even some varieties that can look different between slabs cut from the same block. Every slab is uniquely yours, and we never make you commit blindly to your project without seeing your slab. We’re not going to make you decide from a small granite sample without the opportunity to see your slab in person.
We recommend viewing the slabs that will be installed in your space so you can see and feel the entire stone to rule out any surprises on the day of your install. Please be aware there are natural imperfections that can be found in natural stone, which lends to character of the stone. Sometimes it appears as a fissure or pit (little pin-sized holes), other times it appears as an uneven area or rough spot that can’t be polished to a mirror finish like the rest of the stone. At Peak Stone, you will always know what stone you’re getting. As your local custom countertop fabricator, our Stone Consultants will arrange a time for you to view the granite slabs we have sourced for you in the warehouse. Yes! You will be getting the full television experience of hand selecting your stone right here in Indy!
Granite usually has that “granular” or spotted look as part of the pattern composition. If you are looking for a solid pattern with hardly any graining, you may be a better candidate for quartz. Please reach out so we can talk about your project and determine the stone that is the best fit for you!
Granite slabs can range between 115-138” wide by 55-80″ tall. This variety in sizing comes in handy if you have a very wide island that goes beyond the maximum finished dimensions of engineered quartz slabs. We have many stone suppliers to source from, and your Stone Consultant will seek out material in your preferred color palette and dimensions that will work best for your project.
Granite pricing typically starts at a lower price point than engineered quartz . It averages about 15% less than quartz at the entry level, but pricing is ultimately determined by how large your slab is, how much the stone brokers charge for your material, consideration of the entire scope of your install and what services or fixtures you will require from us.
Stain Resistance and Upkeep
The past few years natural stone has been given some bad press when compared to engineered stone surfaces like quartz. Don’t fall victim to clever marketing that refers to granite staining and upkeep. There is no countertop in existence that can completely escape staining or damage.
When natural stone is properly sealed, you have excellent stain resistance, but it will not make it stain proof! Impregnated sealers, just like the resin in quartz, absorbs into the pores of natural stone. Impregnated sealers become a permanent part of your stone and buy time for you to clean up without treating every spill as a dire emergency.
Some darker granite varieties have pores that are so small or tightly compacted that they do not require sealing. However, sealing most granite varieties is a recommended practice. Most stone sealers available at big box stores cannot get as deep into the stone as the sealers we use. Sealing is required every year with those superficial type of sealers, but natural tops fabricated by Peak Stone are treated with an impregnated 15-year stone sealer that comes with a matching performance warranty at no extra cost to you. This eliminates your need for yearly upkeep and provides great resistance to liquid spills. We want to protect the stone as much as you do!
Please clean up spills in a reasonable amount of time. Do not let a spill sit on your countertop for hours or days before cleaning it. As you can see, we say the same thing about engineered quartz. If you do miss a spill and some material settled into your stone, it may have just dried up and is camping out in the pores. Remember, your sealer is impregnated deep into your stone, so we may still be able to help you get it out.
Call your Stone Consultant, let them know what material got in there, and they’ll coach you through an easy technique that could rehydrate, soften, and draw the material out. If it doesn’t come out after we talk you through our troubleshooting process, we may need to get our pros involved with a repair trip to apply a poultice or use another stone-preserving technique to draw it out.
Granite is known for heat resistance. It was magma once! Your burning question is probably, “Can I put a hot pot on it?” We are always going to recommend using a hot pad or trivet with any stone top. Yes, even IF your Aunt Edna has put hot pans on her granite for years and they’re fine, we’re going to tell you not to risk it because granite can suffer from thermal stress and crack. It is very rare, but it can happen. If you don’t listen, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.
Cleaning your Granite
A soft cloth with soap (without bleach) and warm water is recommended for everyday cleaning.
We advise using a stone cleaner on your granite tops for deeper cleaning jobs. We ask that you be conscious and read the labels of all cleaning products to confirm they’re safe for granite before using them. If the bottle doesn’t list granite, it is wise to avoid it. You want to protect your sealer for as long as you can, because it protects your stone.
Some disinfecting wipes are generally safe to use on granite if you follow the directions on the label. You can also use 91% isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle to disinfect. Wet your top with alcohol and allow it to sit for ninety seconds and then wipe it dry with a soft cloth. Never use bleach, ammonia, peroxide, or vinegar to clean or disinfect your granite tops. Granite is generally resistant to most food acids, but you do not want to compromise the integrity of your sealer.
If you get hard water scaling around your faucet, CLR makes a bath & kitchen cleaner that can remove the deposits without damaging your counters. If that doesn’t remove it, we can coach you through alternate methods.
Do not use solvents on your top, it can negatively affect your sealer.
Please wipe away oven cleaners and rinse the area with water if they come across your top to prevent damage.
Other Granite 101 Guidelines
Granite tops are scratch resistant but are not scratch proof. Please avoid cutting directly on your countertop. Besides dulling your knives, you could catch some of the minerals in the granite and cause them to flake up (rare but can happen). Use a cutting board to be safe.
Granite countertops that come in a honed or suede/leathered finish will age, mellow, and develop a beautiful patina over time. Most homeowners with these matte finishes welcome the aging process, but patination is something to consider when you are making your decision.
Never sit or stand on a countertop because it can cause a stress crack or fracture. If you need to change a light bulb, don’t risk it, use a step ladder.
If you chip your countertop, please save the chip if you can so it can be included in the repair. Granite chips can be easily repaired, and the fact that the stone has pores lends to a much sounder repair than quartz because the epoxy has a little more “tooth” to grab. While the material will be stable and look better cosmetically, after any repair is performed, that portion of stone will never be as it was when the material was first installed.
Time to celebrate! You have completed Granite 101! Every stone type is unique and Peak Stone Consultants are not only knowledgeable, but they’re always eager to educate you on how to care for your stone. When in doubt for any stone top, please contact us before trying anything you’re unsure about. Advice is always free, repairs come with a charge!