Granite is one of the trendiest countertop surfaces for kitchens. If you don’t have one, your next-door neighbor probably does.
Granite countertops are easy to clean and maintain, stylish, and sophisticated. This is one reason why they’re relatively more expensive than other countertop surfaces. They add a touch of elegance and uniqueness to your kitchen that is unlike any other countertop.
Designing your kitchen with granite countertops is one of the easiest ways to add luster and brilliance to a dull space. You will love working over the smooth and finely polished granite surface. If you’ve recently remodeled your kitchen using granite, it probably looks too good to cook in now.
Every time you see your child drop a veggie on the freshly cleaned counter, your blood definitely boils. However, what probably irks you the most is when someone moves a hot pan off the stove. Prolonged exposure to heat could be deadly for granite countertop surfaces.
Most people assume that placing hot pans and dishes over granite can chip or crack it. Does that render granite surfaces useless, considering your cookware engages with heat half the time in the kitchen? Or is the “heat fear” about granite simply a myth?
Let’s find out!
What Sets Granite Countertops Apart?
Granite is a super-cool stone that is extracted from igneous stone deposits. The process begins with molten magma that flows into rock structures and gradually cools down. Granite is then quarried from these igneous stone deposits as a rough and textured stone.
After grounding, the stone is finely polished to give it a lustrous, shiny finish. Granite contains several minerals that lend it an attractive and unique appearance as a countertop. Mica, for example, has black or brownish veining, while feldspar granite has pink or red hues.
You will always run into many different ranges of colors and patterns in granite. And, choosing the right stone appearance and color is all the fun. Granite countertops have many advantages and the following are a few major ones.
Granite countertop surfaces are naturally tougher and sturdier than other materials like wood, glass, or Formica. Granite has amazing resistance to wear-and-tear. With the right care, it can be one of your best kitchen investments.
As a hard material, it is especially resistant to scratches. You can cut anything on it without worrying about any abrasions. For this reason, you won’t ever have to take out your cutting board or worry about the stains on a granite countertop.
Eco-friendly Counter Top
As mentioned above, granite is a naturally occurring stone; hence, it is one of the best countertop choices for eco-friendly homeowners. During installation, you can also add a sealant for additional durability. The sealant contains very few chemicals, so you will not need chemical-based cleaners to keep your countertop neat and tidy. All you’ll need is a damp cloth and some soap.
Granite is also a recyclable material, so you won’t be simply disposing of it into a landfill. It can always be recycled and reused for construction projects like pavers and tiles.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
Granite has commendable stain resistance. You might need harsh chemical cleaners for other countertop materials. However, granite only requires a bit of warm water and dish soap for everyday cleaning. Once in a while, you can also spray some rubbing alcohol to disinfect your countertop. However, this really is all the maintenance you’ll be needing.
In fact, using harsh or overly acidic cleaners like vinegar, ammonia, or bleach can deteriorate the surface. By changing the pH, the natural stone surface will lose its luster and durability. Therefore, you should only stick to a micro-fiber cloth and some soap.
This benefit is why homeowners absolutely love granite. As a naturally hard and durable stone, granite is resistant to extreme temperatures. It saves you from the worry of finding a safe place to set down your hot pans and dishes.
Granite is not weakened or damaged due to heat exposure, which makes it safe for use near your cook-top. Many people think that heat will damage, crack, or warp the granite surface. The impact from a heavy object may chip the surface, but when it comes to heat, nothing short of a blowtorch can ruin granite.
But, then why is it known for weakening against heat?
How Much Heat Can Granite Withstand?
Granite is certainly resistant to heat; however, it’s not advisable to use excessive heat. Putting a hot pan of around 1200 Degrees Fahrenheit won’t incur any damage. However, exposing a granite surface to extreme heat over a prolonged period of time will certainly harm it.
Over time, the surface will begin to lose its texture. Yes, granite offers a heat-resistant surface, but compared to other countertop materials, it is less resistant to continuous heat exposure. This is because granite countertops are essentially known for their toughness and durability more than its heat-resistance.
Cooking on the stovetop or baking in the oven will not produce any pans or pots that could destroy the granite surface. That way, you’re fine. However, placing scalding hot pans over a granite surface can take off the delicate coat of sealing over it. Once this is off, your countertop will become even more vulnerable to stains and scratches.
Granite surfaces absorb the heat from the hot pots and pans you place over them. For example, if you place a hot dish right out of the oven over granite, it will cool faster. This is because the surface will absorb the heat emanating from the hot dish.
Nonetheless, it is not advised to use granite countertops for heat purposes. Instead, you can use a heat coaster or mats to protect your kitchen countertop from hot dishes and pots.
Extreme Temperature Change – The Main Culprit
More than heat, granite is susceptible to the sudden changes in temperatures. Under direct exposure, it can destroy the sealant over your countertop’s surface. If you use an outside kitchen, your countertop is vulnerable to extreme weather changes.
Exposure to the sweltering heat in the summers and the shift to cold winters can discolor and damage the surface. However, it’s not all bad news. Some excellent high-density granite countertops are built to withstand outdoor conditions and extreme shifts in temperature.
How to Repair Granite Countertops
If you can notice discolored spots, cracks, or scratches over the granite countertop, then it probably needs a repair. Try not to use the counter extensively before the damage is resolved. Here are some easy ways to remedy the damage and turn your granite surface into a brand new countertop.
Protecting the Sealant
Discolored spots mostly develop and linger over the coat of the sealant. If you’ve been overusing one spot of the kitchen for placing hot pots and pans, you will definitely notice discoloration and damage. However, because the marks or scratches are restricted to the sealant layer and are not on the granite’s surface, you can easily get rid of them.
To repair the damage done, simply apply a gentle restorative liquid over the affected spot on the granite counter. Rub in the product lightly to slough off the discoloration and reveal a luster finish. Once you’ve finished rubbing, wipe away the paste or liquid.
Removing Stains with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural exfoliant and disinfectant that is terrific for removing the affected layers of a granite counter. If your counter has been the recipient of stubborn stains like wine, coffee, fruit juices, or vinegar, then a baking soda paste can do the trick.
It is gentle enough to not disturb the pH mantle of the stone and perfectly clean away the stain. Start by washing the spot with some dish soap and water. Next, slather on the baking soda and water paste and cover the area with a plastic wrap until dried.
You might have to leave it for 24 hours for the baking soda to pull up the stain completely. Thoroughly wash the area the next day with soap and water, and get it polished. For additional cleaning, you can also use some rubbing alcohol mixed with detergent to get rid of tough stains.
However, since granite surfaces may weaken when exposed to harsh chemicals, you should make sure to only use gentle cleansers. As long as the sealing is intact, granite surfaces are one of the most durable countertops to work with.
Repairing Granite Cracks
If you’ve noticed a crack on your granite countertop, then it could either be a hairline or a separated crack. Hairline cracks don’t have a lip or a gap. They can’t be noticed easily either. However, these cracks will appear around sinks or over thin sections of granite. Separated cracks have a visible gap and can be felt when you touch the granite surface. They usually occur due to heavy impact and will require repair.
Cracks are usually filled with a color-matched epoxy that glues the pieces back up or an acrylic. However, repairing cracks is certainly not a DIY project and it’s best to consult a professional for this purpose.
Protection from Heat
To be on the safe side, never put a hot pan directly over the counter. Always place a heat mat or a trivet made from silicone, ceramic, bamboo, or cork underneath the hot pan.
Granite countertops are super-handy, durable, and attractive to work on. They are both heat and stain-resistant. However, a granite surface can’t withstand prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures. Hence, if you’re investing in a granite countertop, allow your dishes to cool down before placing them on the counter.
With the right care and maintenance, granite countertops can give your kitchen a stellar and luxurious look!
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