Natural stone countertops add a touch of beauty to a kitchen or bathroom. However, if you do not properly care for the stone, it will not maintain its beauty for long. While it is not hard to keep the stone looking great, you must be consistent and use the proper products. Here are a few tips that will help you.
Natural stone is porous. This means that it can absorb anything that spills on it. Be sure to wipe up any spills as soon as they occur to keep the liquid from staining the stone or settling into the pores where it can cause damage. If at all possible use only water to clean the countertop. Any cleaning solution you use should be neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline. It is also important to avoid abrasive cleaners. Regular dish soap can leave a residue that will result in a build up like what you would get in a shower stall and a glass cleaner will leave the stone looking dull. You need to use a product that is designed for stone countertops. Ask the sales person where you bought it what to use and where to buy it.
How often you need to seal the countertop depends on from which material it is made. While a marble or limestone counter needs to be sealed every three months, you can get away with two treatments for one made of granite. Use the product that the manufacturer recommends or something with similar composition and rub it into the stone with a cotton cloth.
Regardless of the strength of the stone, it can be damaged. It is much easier to prevent damage than it is to try and repair it. To avoid cracking, etching, or staining, be sure to use coasters, trays, and/or trivets. Perfumes, oils, and dyes can mark or discolor the stone. Hot pans or dishes may also leave a mark or even cause the stone to crack.
Any time you notice a problem with your natural stone countertop it is best to contact someone with experience in dealing with the material. This person can tell you the best way to make a repair yourself or if it requires professional help.
You paid good money for the counter. If you take a bit of time to keep it maintained it will remain beautiful for many years. In fact, it is possible that it will still look great long after you no longer live there or decide it is time for a complete remodel.