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How to Clean Granite Countertops and Worktops

Granite is an incredibly tough material that is able to last for decades when used for countertops and worktops. However, it isn’t invulnerable to damage, and even using the wrong kind of cleaning agent can have negative consequences. You’ll naturally want to keep your granite countertops looking their best. That doesn’t just mean cleaning– it also means knowing how to clean effectively.

Here are the three steps you need to take.

Step 1: Use the Correct Products

Don’t make the mistake of using abrasive materials or acidic chemicals when you’re cleaning your granite countertops. Granite might be tough, but the wrong products can do far more harm than good.

Luckily enough, there are plenty of specialist granite cleaners available. All you’ll need to do is find one, read the instructions, spray it across your granite countertops, and then wipe it off. Of course, you don’t need to use a specialist granite cleaner every time you use your countertops. A simple micro-fibre cloth and a small amount of water are good enough for everyday use – specialist cleaners only need to be used once or twice each week.

Step 2: Use a Sealer

Granite is a natural product, so it does come with some natural flaws. The most problematic property of granite is that it is slightly porous. It might seem odd to think of that hard, smooth surface as porous, but it contains tiny mineral channels that can be penetrated and stained.

The best way to prevent this from happening is by using a granite sealer. Just make sure you find one with a water-based formula. You’ll have to reseal every year or so, but this will go a long way towards keeping your granite countertops and worktops in like-new condition.

Step 3: Commit to Regular Cleaning

People often think that stone countertops and worktops are resilient enough towards staining and discolouration that they only need to be cleaned once in a blue moon, but this just isn’t the case. As with most other surfaces, the best way to keep granite looking its best is by committing to a regular cleaning schedule.

Taking the time to wipe down your granite countertops and worktops after each use and using a specialist cleaner on a regular basis will pay off in the long run, so make sure you develop a cleaning schedule and stick to it as closely as possible.

Dekton

If you’re looking for worktop materials, you’ve probably encountered granite and quartz. What you might not be aware of is that there is now a whole new product that can unite the benefits of those two materials.

That product is Dekton.

Dekton is made using the same raw materials that make up glass, porcelain, and quartz surfaces. Creating a sophisticated blend of those materials through a state of the art process, Dekton creates something in hours that would have taken mother nature millennia, but it’s also quite distinct from other manmade products.

Those traditional manmade materials tend to use 7% resin to hold themselves together, but Dekton has innovated beyond that method to ensure that it cannot be damaged by the common household chemicals, such as bleach, drain cleaners, and oven degreasers, that are the perennial antagonists of other stone slabs.

What you’re left with is a highly resilient stone that is available in 15 different colours, three thicknesses, and three finishes across three different collections: Solid Collection, Natural Collection and Tech Collection. You can have Dekton almost any way you want it.

Further advantages that come with Dekton include:

  • UV Resistance: When quartz is struck by UV light it tends to discolour, which can leave oddly-coloured patches across the surface. This is not a problem with Dekton, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Incredibly Scratch-Resistant: With Dekton, you never need to worry about slipping with a knife and causing a deep gouge in the surface of your worktop. In fact, Dekton boasts the most scratch resistant surface on the market.
  • Stain Proof: Some stones, such as marble, are very easy to stain, others, such as granite, are relatively stain-resistant. Dekton accepts nothing less than a completely stain-proof surface. Even the darkest of red wines and coffees can be easily wiped away without any worries of leaving a mark.
  • Highly Resistant to Fire and Heat: When you subject Dekton to extreme temperatures, it can stand up to the heat without taking burns, scorches, or cracks. When you’re carrying a hot pan, just place it right down on your counter without a care.
  • Highly Resistant to Abrasion: Granite used to be unrivalled when it came to resisting abrasion, but Dekton has toppled it from the top spot. Other surfaces might develop wear over time, but even Dekton placed in high traffic areas will last for years without ever requiring resurfacing or refinishing.

Marble Countertops: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Marble has been synonymous with luxury projects since the days of the Ancient Greeks. Thousands of years later, it’s still one of the most opulent materials available for areas throughout the house, including kitchen countertops.

Marble countertops can be made from several varieties of this stone. The most popular variety would almost certainly be Carrara marble, which possesses the classic white colouration that people tend to associate with the material as a whole. Other varieties include Calcutta and Danby. Beyond the actual variety of marble, you’ll be able to choose between polished marble, which leaves a mirror-like sheen, and honed marble, which provides a satiny finish.

So, you’ll enjoy a fair degree of flexibility when you opt for marble countertops, but you’ll still need to work out whether marble is the best material to meet your needs. To help yourself come to the right decision, just take a look through our list of pros and cons.

Why Should You Pick Marble Countertops?

Marble is a beautiful stone that brings a touch of class and distinction to almost any interior design style. That kind of timeless beauty remains one of the most compelling reasons to go for marble countertops, especially since its appearance tends to add light to kitchens.

Though the material can be stained, you’ll find that cleaning it is quite easy. All that will be required is a quick wipe-down with some water and gentle soap. Best of all, marble’s luxury status doesn’t necessarily come with a luxury price-tag. This can be an extremely expensive material, but only when buyers desire the rarest varieties.

Why Shouldn’t You Pick Marble Countertops?

Marble does need to be installed by a professional, so it isn’t a perfect material for DIY-ers. It can also be scratched and chipped more easily than engineered stones, such as quartz; this softness is one of the reasons marble has been so prized among sculptors across the centuries.

Overall, you’ll find it tough to keep your marble countertops in ‘like-new’ condition. Etching, which leaves dull spots after marble comes into prolonged contact with acidic food and drinks, is a particular problem. That said, such flaws tend to add to the character of marble for many homeowners.

 

Marble countertops look wonderful and probably aren’t as expensive as you’d imagine. However, they’re also easier to damage than other countertops, and you won’t be able to keep them looking pristine throughout their entire life.

Curious About Quartz? The New Kitchen Countertop Trend

Homeowners often decide on either granite or marble for their countertops, and then they find out about the disadvantages each material carries.

 

Marble, for example, is prized for the sense of luxury and warmth that it evokes, but it is also porous, meaning that it requires frequent sealing and can stain and scratch easily. Not many people know that one of the reasons marble is so often seen in the bathroom is that it will only be stepped on by bare feet; it just isn’t tough enough for other applications, especially countertops.

Granite is a slightly better choice since it is a little bit tougher. Of course, it does come with weaknesses of its own. Granite can be scratched easily, needs to be sealed at installation and then resealed regularly, and can chip and crack more easily than engineered stone.

With these facts in mind, it isn’t hard to see why well-informed homeowners tend to reconsider their original choices in favour of an engineered stone, and quartz is the perfect option. When we refer to it as ‘engineered’, we mean that it has been made in a factory; quartz countertops are actually made from a mixture of mined quartz and special resin.

This process means that manufacturers are able to work around the flaws that develop in natural stones, such as granite and marble. This used to mean that the slabs produced looked slightly artificial, but advances have ensured that modern quartz can be made to look almost any way you want it; in fact, you can replicate the appearance of both granite and marble.

While you enjoy the look that originally attracted you to marble or granite, you’ll also benefit from a number of important advantages over both materials. For starters, quartz is less expensive than granite, and it’s usually less expensive than marble. Countertop costs can really add up if you don’t watch out, so there’s no reason to spend more than you need to when it comes to materials.

Quartz countertops are also going to stay looking their best for longer, and without any need for routine maintenance work. Stronger than either granite or marble, quartz is also non-porous, meaning that it never requires sealing and cannot be stained by spilled drinks and food. Bacteria won’t be able to gain a foothold, and all you’re going to need to clean up your countertops is some soapy water.

Boasting the looks of marble or granite without the problems of either, it should come as no surprise to learn that quartz is the new kitchen countertop trend.

 

2016 Kitchen Countertop Trends

Few rooms demand as much consideration during remodelling as the kitchen.

These rooms need to be comfortable enough for everyday dining, stylish enough to work as one of your main entertaining spaces, and constructed with fittings durable enough to withstand plenty of foot traffic and lots of work.

One of the most important areas to get right is the countertop. After all, your countertops will tend to set the tone for the rest of the room, and you’re going to end up using them pretty much every day you live in the property. With so many factors to consider, choosing a countertop can be tricky.

If you need a little inspiration, just take a look at some of the top trends that have emerged during 2016.

Natural and Engineered Stone 

Stone countertops have shown an increase in popularity during 2016, and you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose.

The biggest distinction between your various options will be whether you opt for a natural stone, such as marble, granite, or soapstone or slate, or an engineered stone, such as quartz, Silestone, Caesarstone, or IceStone. The former varieties will possess a more authentic appearance, and each option carries its own unique advantages:

  • Marble: Provides a sense of polished refinement and a cool, minimalist aesthetic. You’ll find it perfect for rolling dough and baking, though it does take stains and scratches more easily than other natural stones.
  • Granite: Incredibly durable, this is one of the most common countertop materials. It’s still pricey, but costs have noticeably decreased over the years.
  • Soapstone & Slate: These low-maintenance stones are incredibly durable, but you will have fewer colour and design options from which to choose.

Manufactured stones won’t look quite as natural as these, but they will be available in more colours and resist stains and cracks more successfully. No matter your choice, you’ll find that stone countertops are long-lasting and able to fit around any design style you could wish to foster.

Thinner is Better

You might think that thicker countertops would be preferable, but this hasn’t been the case during 2016. The trend towards kitchens possessing open floor plans and simpler designs have helped make thinner countertops a more desirable option, and using one of the stones listed above means that you won’t have to sacrifice durability.

Neutral Colour Palettes

During 2016, we’ve been seeing a lot of greys, blacks, and whites used for countertops. That might sound a little dull, but using neutrals means being able to shift styles later on without changing the countertops. In the meantime, you can add colour across other areas, such as the range hood, backsplash, cabinet, and exposed appliances.

Best Material for Countertops

The countertop you select for your kitchen will set the tone for the whole room, so choosing the right material is crucial. Not only will the style of your kitchen be affected, you’ll need to take into account the unique properties of every option that you have before you.

Marble remains one of the most popular options thanks to its elegant beauty. It can also be worked much more easily than materials such as granite, so there are more design options to choose from. If you’d like fancy edges or intricate designs, marble will be your go-to kitchen countertop material. It’s also naturally cool, heat resistant, and easy to find in a variety of styles and colours.

However, though quite durable for a softer stone, marble is also quite porous. This means that scratches and stains will be easier to make. Marble reacts particularly poorly to acidic foods; sealing can make a difference, but it won’t stop staining completely. Furthermore, you’ll need to seal on a regular basis, and repairs can be difficult if any cracks occur. Perhaps most importantly, especially considering these drawbacks, marble tends to be one of the more expensive options when you’re considering the best material for kitchen countertops.

Ultimately, marble is best used by people who are prepared to make the added effort needed for maintenance in order to enjoy the material to its fullest. For people who don’t quite think it’s worth the hassle, granite and quartz are available as effective alternatives.

Granite is extremely durable as well as elegant, and it works well with modern, minimalist designs. Not only heat-resistant, it is also remarkably stain-resistant; if you install a granite countertop today, it should look just as good in ten years’ time. Quartz is another great alternative since it doesn’t need to be sealed in order to attain that level of durability. This is widely considered to be the most durable of countertop materials that are currently available, so it should last a lifetime if you deign to treat it properly. Quartz is even a little safer than other options since it takes a long time for bacteria to take hold and thrive upon its service.

Marble, quartz, and granite are all excellent materials to use for kitchen countertops, and adopting them is likely to improve both the style of your kitchen and the value of your home. It only remains up to you to decide which option best fits your needs.