6 Things You Should Know About Granite Countertops
Want a Granite Countertop?
A few years ago, you could only find them in expensive and high end kitchens. Today, granite countertops are by far the most popular natural stone countertops. In fact, when it comes to adding value to your home, there are very few investments that are as beneficial as these countertops. Are you thinking of installing them in your home? Here are 6 things you should know about the granite countertops.
1. Watch out for stains
Granite is a natural stone. This means that it has some porosity. When a liquid, like wine, olive oil or juice, is spilled onto the counter and you fail to address the spill for a couple of hours, it will stain. The longer the liquid sits on the countertop, the higher the chances of it getting stained. However, manufacturers have found a way around this - they seal the countertops. Regardless, you should note that sealing does not guarantee that your granite countertop won’t stain. So what do you do? For starters, get the countertop from a well-established source. Go for a renowned brand. There you'll know you’re getting a high quality product. But don't just stop there. Have the granite sealed regularly, at least twice in a year. In addition, make sure you read the label when you're buying the sealant. There are different types of sealants, from 1-year sealants all the way to 25-year sealants. If you go for a cheaper bottle, you're countertop will be sealed for a shorter time. And do the obvious when there's a spill- clean it up.
2. Granite Countertops and emitting Radon Gas
You've probably heard the rumors by now. They started doing rounds way back in 2008. People have been saying that granite emits radon gas. Customers began worrying about their health. Well, like most rumors, this one was proved to be false. The rumors are simply meant to scare customers. That’s what you call unhealthy competition.
Here's the truth: granite is a completely natural stone. All natural products, especially stone, minerals, and sand, contain trace amounts of some radioactive elements. These are what are known as NORMs (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Mineral). They produce measurable amounts of radiation, and sometimes radon gas. Any gas fumes your granite countertop emits are so miniscule in quantity that you'd go for decades without even noticing them. It's like getting heat from a birthday candle. Let's not even focus on the chances of you noticing the gas and get to the health implications- there are none. NORMs in the same league with granite include clay bricks, concrete products, most non-plastic plates and dishes and even the phosphate fertilizers you use in your garden. If the radiation and gases emitted could affect people's health, no one would be living in concrete houses, and you wouldn't be eating from your favorite ceramic plate. That's right- the extremely low gas fumes from granite countertops do not cause any harm to your health. They pose no real threat.
3. How to Clean your Granite Countertop
Use a mild solution of water and soap to remove dirt and grime. You can even use the special cleaner recommended by your countertop provider. But do not clean your countertop with the oils, lemon juice, or any acidic substances that your friend may have recommended. It's true that granite doesn’t etch or dull easily, but why take the chance? And take special care when acidic substances like coffee, tomato sauce, or wine, spill on your countertop. Clean up immediately using a soft cloth.
4. Your Countertop is not your Worktable
So don't put your toolbox on it. This is especially when you’re doing kitchen repairs. The granite countertops are designed to withstand kitchen food preparations and cooking activities. There's no concern when it comes to that. Granite is tough stone with high durability. You can do a lot of rough cooking but your countertop will be just fine. You can also put hot pots and pans on top of it without damaging it. Additionally, it doesn’t scratch easily because of the seal. However, when you're doing heavy duty-repair work in the kitchen, be cautious when dragging and dropping your tools on it. If you have to, you can add a thick covering, like a blanket, to the countertop.
5. You're spoilt for Choice
When it comes to selecting a granite countertop color, you'll be flooded with options and variations. In fact, the specific colors are so vast that you start off by splitting them into 4 categories: print or veining patterns, light and dark colors. Once you have an idea of what you want for your kitchen ambience, you can proceed to make our selection.
6. Mount your Sink
Most people overlook this. The sinks are under-mounted to the bottom of their granite countertops. Other companies just use bondo and glue the sinks there. You should have a solid, stable mounting. For instance, you can use a metal sink setter that bolts to the inside of the cabinets. The sink setter will hold the sink in place and keep it from collapsing when you overload it with pots and pans. Of course this does not mean you keep putting excess weight on your sink simply because it has a strong mounting.
Your local granite countertops fabricator should be in a position to offer you more maintenance tips as you purchase your countertop. So, don’t forget to ask.