Stone surfaces such as countertops need regular care to retain their natural beauty. Daily use has the potential to put stone such as granite and marble under stress that can result in damage requiring professional repair. Exercising diligence and performing routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life of these surfaces, and homeowners need to be prepared to make this commitment before installing any kind of stone.
Keeping Counters Clean
Diligent cleaning keeps messes from building up on stone counters. Cleaners made from mild natural ingredients should be used on a regular basis along with a non-abrasive cloth to get rid of daily dirt and debris. Cleaners must be neutral; acids such as lemon juice or vinegar can eat into stone.
Anything that winds up on the counter can seep into the surface, a problem that is costly as well as unsightly. Leaving messes to clean up “later” may result in stains that require professional removal. This is why, despite the fact that standard kitchen knives don’t usually scratch stone, food preparation should always be done on a cutting board. Juices from foods may be acidic or oily, both of which can result in damaged or stained stone.
Stone is typically sealed upon installation to protect the surface from wear and tear. This seal should be refreshed once a year to maintain the appearance and integrity of the material. However, sealant alone isn’t enough to prevent mishaps. Additional measures must be taken to preserve stone, especially in areas that get a lot of use.
Using coasters under glasses prevents acidic liquids from coming into contact with stone countertops. Hot pans should always be set on mats or cooling pads. If something potentially abrasive must be placed on the counter, a mat must go down first to make sure that nothing gets scratched. Under no circumstances should anyone ever stand on the counter. This is not only dangerous but can also lead to cracking.
Spills should be cleaned up immediately so that they don’t seep into the stone and cause stains. Blotting with a paper towel gets rid of most of the initial mess without spreading it around. The rest of the spill can be taken care of with a mild soap and water solution before a final drying with a soft cloth.
Stone Repairs: Professional vs. DIY
Should a stone surface become cracked or otherwise damaged, it is possible for a homeowner to address the problem without professional help. However, doing so requires knowledge of the materials and steps involved in stone repair as well as the time to devote to what can be a difficult and delicate process.
Even a dedicated do-it-yourself handyman will likely need a professional to grind down and refinish a stone surface once it has been repaired. In light of this, it makes more sense to have the entire job done by someone with the expertise to preserve the appearance of the stone and make it look as though there was never any damage in the first place.
Professional installation by a knowledgeable company lays the foundation for long-lasting, beautiful stone surfaces throughout a home. Being smart about countertop care and use maintains the beauty of the initial installation and ensures that countertops and other stone accents last for many years to come.
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