The style and quality of granite countertops makes them fit right into dream home visions, so much so that you might be surprised if an upscale house didn't have them. No synthetic alternative can compare with the natural beauty of a slab of polished stone plucked from the heart of the earth. Granite is generally quite durable and will keep its lustre for a long time when it is properly treated, but it's not entirely without drawbacks. These drawbacks can be mitigated with very occasional minor maintenance and a bit of awareness.
How to protect granite
The first important thing to remember about granite is that it is a porous material. Its entire surface is pocked with microscopic nooks and crannies in which stains can set and bacteria can grow. Because of this, granite must be properly sealed. To avoid getting burned by a lazy supplier/installer, ask if they have a warranty on their product in case the sealant job turns out to be inadequate in repelling stains. Granite surfaces will naturally need to be resealed every few years depending on the quality of the treatment and the process is fairly simple, but getting the job done right will make sure you'll have no trouble with stained or contaminated countertops in the near future.
Avoiding problems with granite surfaces
Checking the integrity of the sealant is as simple as dripping some water on the counter and seeing whether or not it gets absorbed into the stone. Ideally, you should see the water beading up on the surface but if not, it's time to get them treated. To preserve the protective coating, try to avoid exposing granite countertops to harsh chemicals such as ammonia or bleach as prolonged or repetitive exposure will cause the seal to degrade over time. Failing to do so may allow bacteria to gather and multiply in the pores of the granite, spreading to any food that it comes into contact with. Improperly treated granite is also susceptible to staining and acidic substances that corrode the stone over time causing it to lose its shine, so if you know your stone countertops are not properly sealed use coasters under your drinks and make sure you clean up spills as quickly as possible. Another important thing to keep in mind is that although granite is strong, it can be prone to cracking if you drop something heavy on it near a corner or edge. The best way to avoid these problems is to ensure you properly maintain granite surfaces.
Fitting granite countertops into your decor
Unlike many countertops that are manufactured, no two pieces of granite are exactly the same. They form from natural processes that won't reasonably occur the same way twice so every single slab has it's own unique pattern, shading, and character. Granite also comes in many different colors so you'll always be able to find the stone that suits your theme and nicely accents it's surroundings. Contact a granite countertop supplier/installer for information, and browse their catalogue to see if they have the style of stone that would fit right into your perfect home.
Innovative Kitchens and Bath has been serving Vancouver island for over 15 years. Offering a huge full design showroom, with the newest leading edge products you are sure to find what you are looking for. Custom is their specialty, being only limited by your imagination. Stop in and meet their team, the coffee is always on!