24

Apr

Pros And Cons Of Black Granite Countertops

Black granite countertops have their own following. They look mysterious, edgy, and wonderful. Now, are they the same as any other granite countertop or do you need to know more? You do need to know a few things so here it goes.

What Is Black Granite?

Granite is already dark in color, but there’s a new material on the block and it’s putting all of the other dark countertops to shame. Black granite is essentially granite, but darker in color.

As far as composition is concerned, black granite consists of gabbro, basalt, diabase, norite, and even a slight percentage of quartz. The strength and feel of black granite is just like the parent stone.

Black granite is available in two finishes:

  • Honed black granite which has a more matte appearance
  • Polished black granite which has a glossy, glass-like shine

Now that you know what black granite is, here are some pros and cons that can determine whether this specific granite color is worth buying or not.

Pros Of Black Granite Countertops

It’s Dark In Color

This one goes without saying. The color of this material can be a good or bad thing depending on what the buyer prefers. There are a lot of people who prefer dark-colored countertops because they look ethereal and just so mysterious with a thick layer of unparalleled beauty.

Granite is already a well-loved material in the kitchen and if there’s a dark variety in it, then you better believe that people will more than pounce on it to get their hands on this dark, beautiful rock.

However, there are also a ton of people who don’t like dark colors, especially in kitchen countertops and that could be due to several reasons. Whether they think that dark countertops make their space look crowded or simply don’t fit their preferences, dark countertops don’t appeal to them, which is why they tend to go for something fresh and light or colorful and charming.

It’s Versatile

Like any granite color, black granite can be fabricated in almost any shape, edge design, and look. Some kitchen countertop materials are already pre-fabricated in certain designs and that just kicks creativity and personalization out of the window. Well, black granite will not disappoint you. It’s a stone that can be customized to your heart’s desire and you can get just about any design made on it.

Not only this, if you don’t want to use black granite for kitchen countertops, you can certainly use it for other things around the house. There are just a lot of customization options.

Durability At Its Peak

This is granite. It is not a fragile man-made material, that’s going to break on the slightest of impacts. The properties of granite shine just as bright in this dark material. Black granite will outlast anything and everything. It is super strong, durable, and just an overall amazing material if you’re looking for something that won’t get scratched, cracked, or chipped. It doesn’t need to be treated with kid’s gloves and you’ll be surprised by the longevity of this material.

Granite is seriously impressive when it comes to durability and you’ll want nothing else but granite countertops as soon as you get a glimpse of their sheer strength.

Great Stain Resistance

Black granite is a great material when it comes to stain resistance. It doesn’t let the spill turn into a permanent stain although you have to be vigilant about getting it sealed.

Stains usually occur when the surface of the countertop is porous such as granite. This can allow the rock to suck in any liquid or fluid pooling on the surface. Over time, this action can lead to hideous blotches and stains forming on the surface of the countertops.

With black granite countertops, as long as you seal them once every few years, you’re in the safe zone.

Easy Breezy Maintenance

Black granite is a breeze to maintain. There is no need for regular polishing and varnishing. The only thing you need on a regular basis for maintenance is a good countertop cleaner and you’re good to go.

If you don’t want to spend money on a store-bought cleaner either, then you can make one at home too. You just need a pH-balanced detergent and some water. Mix the two in a spray bottle and use this solution with a wet washcloth for everyday cleaning.

However, it’s better to use a cleaner specially made for granite countertops because it will ensure that the material doesn’t fade.

Cons Of Black Granite Countertops

It’s Expensive

Black granite is strong, durable, and very popular, but all of these things come with a hefty price tag. Black granite, just like any other granite color, is an expensive countertop material. In some cases, black granite is pricier than other granite colors.

The thing is that black granite is seldom found as compared to other granite colors. As its availability is sparse, it can cause retailers to price it even higher.

So, yes. In some places, you might find black granite slabs to be double the price of other regular granite colors. That fact in itself is mind-boggling.

Gets Dirty Fast

The thing with dark colors, especially black, is that dirt and debris show up prominently. This is very off-putting for a lot of people. If you’ve ever owned a black car, then you would know how hard it is to keep it clean because you can see dirt piling on it, from a mile away. The same is the case with black granite countertops.

If you are not cleaning them regularly, then dirt and dust will stick out like a sore thumb and it just doesn’t look that great at all.

Prone To Smudges

Black is a color that doesn’t take smudges and fingerprints well. You are going to have to deal with unwanted fingerprints and hand smudges on the usually spotless countertop surface and that can look pretty unpleasant. Black is a color that shows any and every imperfection in a blaringly obvious spotlight and fingerprints and hand smudges are no exception.

It’s nothing that will make you go bonkers but it’s still a very unpleasant sight, especially if the black granite is under natural light. It will make all of the smudges more obvious.

The Color Is At A Disadvantage

As mentioned previously, black granite is very controversial because of its dark color. There is a clear division in the masses and while half of them adore this stone, the other half doesn’t as much.

A black countertop is usually considered to be harsh and it can make the kitchen look dark and crowded, especially if there isn’t any natural light coming in. This can be frustrating for a lot of people. Also, the dark black color can divide the kitchen into harsh increments instead of making it look fluid and cohesive throughout.

Conclusion

Black granite is taking up the top seat in the realm of countertops and for a good reason. Now that you know what makes or breaks this material, you can decide if you want it in your kitchen or not. To know more about any granite color, get in touch with granite contractors Potomac.

09

Mar

Do Granite Countertops Emit Radiation? Is It Harmful?

Granite countertops are really popular and they’ve been around for a long time. However, recently, there has been news flying around that these natural stone countertops are radioactive. Is there any truth to granite countertops being radioactive? Here’s what you need to know about it.

Radiation & Its Harmful Effects

The Earth is full of radioactive metals and substances. Uranium, plutonium, thorium, and even lead is found in the many layers of our planet. These metals can be extremely harmful to human health and if it’s mixed with resources like water, sand, and air, then the results can be detrimental.

Radioactive substances and metals are extremely unstable and they tend to emit certain rays to stabilize. Those rays are commonly known as radioactive rays or simply radiation. These rays can penetrate through almost anything and everything and the scary part is that it is not felt by humans or animals.

Radioactive rays can have a multitude of side effects and those include:

  • Abnormal changes or deformation
  • Miscarriages or still-birth in pregnant women
  • Defects of the face
  • Abnormal changes in the cell structure
  • Cancer and other vigorous disorders
  • Stomach issues like ulcers and chronic pain

Radioactive rays are a combination of certain rays and each of them has severe effects when it comes to human health. Radioactive rays consist of:

  • Alpha rays (positively charged or have an abundance of protons)
  • Beta rays (negatively charged or have an abundance of electrons)
  • Gamma rays (neutral rays with no charge)

Granite Countertops & Radiation

Granite is essentially an igneous rock that is made by solidifying molten rocks when cooled. These rocks can endure high temperatures and pressures that’s why they are used for various purposes like flooring and countertops.

However, there has been speculation and certain cases that granite is, in fact, not at all good for your health. This has caused a considerable blow to the rock’s reputation because emissions from granite sound downright terrifying. This was brought to light when granite was included in the conversation about radon emissions. Some tests and theories even found out that there are lethal emissions coming from the stone and this caused a whole debacle to take place and people were genuinely concerned.

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless and odorless. Radon is produced when uranium breaks down chemically as it surfaces on the ground. Since, natural stones are also quarried from the ground, these rocks, especially granite can likely contain trace amounts of radon and can be emitted in plain sight.

Uranium that seeps out of the ground is sporadically found in certain areas. This implies that whenever there is granite, there won’t necessarily be a seep of radioactive metals, but where there is uranium and granite in close vicinity, then it’s possible that granite can get “poisoned” by the seeping uranium. Because of this, radon can penetrate in the rock.

Since granite is a natural stone, it’s also porous, so any fluid, whether it’s a liquid or gas, can easily find its way into the rock, without a lot of effort. This is also another supporting factor that granite can emit harmful radiation because of its characteristic porous nature and that is frightening, if you think about it.

Are All Granite Countertops Radioactive?

Things can blow out of proportion very quickly, especially if it’s something horrific like radon emission, or something coupled with the prefix “radioactive”. Does this mean that all granite countertops are capable of emitting radiation? Well, that’s not exactly true. While it can be a possibility that granite may contain minute quantities of radioactive substances, it is not always going to emit radiation.

A case-by-case approach is more suitable to support this claim. These allegations, related to granite and radioactivity, are not new. They have been around for a long time and even though some people might believe the fact, at face value, a lot of individuals want studies and proof to be able to understand the situation.

A very common theme that some studies have shown over the years regarding granite and radiation, is the veining of the countertop. Granite has very distinct and beautiful veining on the surface and while most of it can be molten rocks, mixed with mica, it is believed that these traces of random lines might also contain uranium, thorium, and plutonium, all of which can decay into radon causing lung cancer. The thicker and more prominent the veins are, the higher the possibility of radiation.

Radiation From Granite Countertops Is Negligible

However, this study needs a bit more support from research and observations before it can be deemed correct. It is a known fact that radiation emitted from granite doesn’t contribute to the annual world radiation percentage and it’s extremely minute. Instead, it has been found that radon found in the soil is far more lethal to human health than that found in natural stone countertops.

This allegation is also used as a marketing gimmick by other competing countertop material retails and manufacturers because undoubtedly, granite is the king of countertop materials and its popularity can’t be toppled over that easily. So, retailers and manufacturers use the next best tactic: creating rumors that might frighten people.

Can You Test For Granite Radiation?

While granite doesn’t contain a lot of radiation-causing metals or substances, it’s still important that you test your countertops for radon emissions. This can be done pretty easily. You can either call in a professional radon testing technician for your countertops, or you can also get radon testers from your local health stores. Although the former option is recommended more because the results will be precise and more believable.

Usually, the radon test is done either in the kitchen or in neighboring rooms and the air is tested for radon. The device uses calibration and highly meticulous measuring capability to sense the presence of radon. It is recommended to all granite countertop owners that they should get their countertops tested, if there is even a blip of worry in their minds so that once the results are in their hands, they can either breathe a sigh of relief or get down to business to decrease the elevated levels of radon in the countertops as well as in the air.

What To Do?

So, you tested your countertops for radon and the results show elevated levels. Aside from being alarmed, a burning question in your mind might be: Well, how do I get rid of radon? No, you won’t have to remove your countertops, so if that’s what you were wondering, then you can stop fretting over it.

There are devices available that act as filters for radon and they can be installed in the kitchen or other rooms and the gas can be eliminated by this nifty contraption. The device essentially removes radon from the air. So, it kind of works like an air purifier, but specialized for lethal radioactive emissions.

Conclusion

Although it is possible that there could be trace quantities of uranium and other radioactive elements in granite, but to label it as “destructive” and “deadly” is a bit far-fetched. Still, if you want to be careful, ask granite contractors Rockville for granite slabs that don’t emit any radiation when choosing granite slabs for your kitchen island or countertops. And in case you want to avoid granite, you can go for quartz countertops.

08

Oct

10 Kitchen Island Design Tips

An extra working station in the kitchen never hurts anyone, and an island is a perfect companion if you’re a busy bee in the kitchen. When considering a kitchen island that should match your quartz or granite countertops, you will some help to nail down the design of it. These tips are going to help you out.

Don’t Crowd The Space

One of the most important factors to consider when going for a kitchen island is to ensure that there is a sufficient perimeter of space to work around the island. It shouldn’t feel cramped or crowded because that’s only going to hinder your performance and productivity in the kitchen.

The place where you decide to put a kitchen island should be big enough to have a lot of space around it so that you can walk freely without bumping into things because that’s the worst thing and you don’t want to neglect this aspect when designing the perfect kitchen island for your space.

The Utility Of The Island

The next crucial thing to go over is the general functionality of the kitchen island. A kitchen island is a very versatile article and it can be used for a lot of things. You can use it as an extra working space. You can also use it as a place to set all of your appliances. Also, you can use it as a breakfast bar to sit down and eat your meals, or if the island is big enough, it can be used as a dining area for you and your family. In this way, you’ll be saving a lot of space and you won’t need to get a separate dining table for your house.

So, there are plenty of uses for a kitchen island and the question you need to ask yourself is: What am I going to use it for? If you know how you’re going to use the kitchen island in your space then it’s less likely to be a waste of space and you’ll find it practical as well.

It Should Be Proportionate

The size of the kitchen island also matters a lot when you’re designing one for your space. There are specific dimensions that are perfect for a kitchen island and it looks stunning as well. Usually, the height of the kitchen island should be shorter than your countertops or almost the same. It shouldn’t be too much, otherwise, the kitchen will not look proportionate at all.

As for the length and width, something in the range of two to three meters and one to two meters, respectively, is perfect. Anything bigger or smaller than this range can dampen the look of the kitchen and you don’t want that. But you must keep the dimensions of your kitchen in mind because a small kitchen island for one kitchen could be big for another.

The Material You Choose

Kitchen islands are made from the same materials countertops are made out of, so you need to think about the selection wisely. Firstly, you need to opt for a material that not only compliment the rest of the kitchen, but it’s also easy to maintain and clean.

If you have a certain material for your kitchen countertops, then you can go for a similar or a contrasting material for the island.

Which Color To Go For?

The color of the kitchen island is also a crucial thing to decide. The great thing about kitchen islands is that you can play with bold colors pretty freely. Something about a kitchen island makes everything look so balanced and muted, that even if you go for a bold and stark color, it won’t look as harsh and you can easily get away with this color selection.

Try to play with a bit of color when going for a kitchen island because it’s going to add a wonderful edge of boldness to the entire kitchen and make it look unique.

Have A Seating Plan

It doesn’t matter if you’re not using the kitchen island as a dining table or breakfast bar, it’s still a good idea to have a couple of seating options in the kitchen. You need to have some stools placed along the kitchen island because this addition is going to complete the entire look and make the island look a lot more put-together.

If you’ve seen home exhibit magazines before, then seats with a kitchen island look very promising and they add a welcoming and warm vibe to the entire kitchen without making it look cramped and cluttered.

Make It A Convenience

A kitchen island should be there to make things easier for you. So, when you’re designing one for your kitchen, don’t forget about adding electrical sockets and power outlets for the appliances. These things can easily slip through your mind, but they’re one of the most important additions to a kitchen island especially if you’re using the island as a place for all of your appliances.

Think about how many appliances are going to be propped on top of the island and how many power outlets you’ll need. You will thank yourself in the future for thinking ahead of time.

Avoiding Seams

When designing an island and choosing the material, try to go for a singular slab of stone, so that seams are a non-issue. Seams are inevitable in countertops, but with kitchen islands, you can easily avoid them because the installation of stone countertops on an island is a lot easier than that on countertops with sinks and other grooves.

This is going to make the cleaning process a lot easier and with no seams, you don’t need to worry about the surface of the kitchen island looking choppy because it won’t have the same result if you opt for a single slab. Even if your kitchen island has a sink, choosing the right installer will result in no or very few seams.

Drawers

Extra storage is a must for everyone and what better way to make a kitchen island more functional than to include big drawers? Drawers can be a lifesaver and they’re great for organizing things as well. You can have a designated place for all of the utensils and cutlery. And if you want to play it safe, then you can also get bigger drawers installed for your appliances that don’t get a lot of use in the kitchen. This addition is going to ensure that everything stays safe and secured in a place and you know exactly where everything is.

What To Put On The Island?

If you’re still worried about the material selection, then you can use the things you put on top of the island as a guide. It’s important to pinpoint exactly what you’re going to be putting on top of a kitchen island so that the right material will not get damaged by overuse.

If you’re putting heavy appliances, then quartz is perfect to go for. If you’re going to use the island as an extra countertop than granite, soapstone, and quartzite are also good choices.

Conclusion

A kitchen island is a must-have if your budget and kitchen space allow it. These tips are going to help you design the perfect kitchen island that’s not only going to be multifunctional but will also make your kitchen look complete. Get in touch with granite contractors Rockville for the installation of your kitchen island.

09

Aug

Are Granite Countertops Overrated?

Granite is considered to be the most popular choice for kitchen countertops, out of all natural stones, and for particularly good reasons. This is because granite countertops are beautiful to look at, they’re extremely long-lasting and granite is a classic option that never goes out of style. Due to this popularity, some think of it as overrated? Let’s know if they are.

The Affordability Of Granite Countertops

Granite is a material that’s considered to be reasonably priced, most of the time. As far as the material is concerned, it’s not as expensive. So, what’s the hold-up? If people love granite so much and the price is not an issue, then why don’t they go for it? Well, the main reason is the price of maintaining this material.

Even though granite, as a material, isn’t expensive at all, it has a lot of maintenance costs and post-installation costs that can put a dent in your wallet. It’s mainly the reason why people don’t go for it.

The Maintenance Of Granite Countertops

The maintenance of granite is nothing less than a pain in the neck. Even though it’s not a demanding material if you’re talking day-to-day because it can be easily wiped down with a wet washcloth and some soap and you’re done for the day. But that doesn’t mean that its annual maintenance is as easy.

Granite is a natural stone, so it’s going to have a lot of pores on its surface. Now, at first glance, these pores might seem harmless, but you don’t want to leave them be. These pores are quick to absorb any trace of liquid or moisture on the surface of the stone and that can greatly damage the countertop over time.

This is why sealing these countertops is very important because if you’re spending a good amount of money on granite, then you definitely want to do everything in your power to preserve the look of it for as long as possible. You also want to keep it away from harsh and acidic cleaners, because that’s just asking for an accident.

The Appearance Of Granite Countertops

Granite is one of the most beautiful natural stones out there. The look of granite is so ethereal and beautiful and it is one of its kind. Granite is usually a darker stone, but it’s also available in lighter colors.

The main feature of this stone is the speckles of grains and veining spread throughout the surface. In certain lights, this constellation of grains can shimmer and it looks absolutely beautiful. People who want a beautiful material for their kitchen countertops adore granite.

The Variety Of Granite Countertops

Granite is not just a beautiful material. It’s also available in a huge variety considering that it’s a natural material. Most people would think that granite has a smaller range of patterns and colors, but the design catalog will show you otherwise. There are lighter-colored variants, dark stones, and even rare colors like blue, gray, and purple that are artsy and mesmerizing in their own way.

The signature veining can be light, dark, thick, and thin in various stones and all of these things combined form the beauty of granite that’s unmatched in the world of kitchen countertops.

Things To Know About Granite Countertops

Here are some additional things to know about granite countertops, to show whether they’re overrated or not.

They’re Natural

Granite is a natural material. It’s dug up from the Earth in huge pieces, then these huge pieces are taken to factories where they’re cut into more manageable and countertop-sized slabs. It can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. Granite being a natural stone has a very beautiful look, that doesn’t need to be altered and it can be installed as it is.

As a downside, however, granite needs to be sealed otherwise the surface will be covered in splotches and stains.

Good Heat Resistance

Granite is one of the few stones that are highly heat resistant. You might have heard a lot that you’re not supposed to put hot pots and foods directly on the surface of the countertop because that can blitz the surface and lead to hideous heat stains.

Well, you don’t need to worry about these stains when granite is concerned. Granite can naturally withstand high temperatures, reaching up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and it won’t crack or chip easily with heat.

However, if the heat is high enough, it can stain the surface and even crack the slab.

Installation Is Hard

Installation of granite is a tedious process because of two main reasons. Firstly, granite is an extremely heavy material and if you’re getting slabs, then they’re going to be hard to carry around and manage during granite countertop installation.

Secondly, if you’re getting granite tiles installed, then they’re a breeze to manage and handle, but seams are going to be a huge issue. Seams are the inconsistencies or gaps in the tiles and smaller slabs that can look very unappealing.

Seams are very hard to get rid of and the slabs/tiles need to be placed meticulously to ensure that the pattern is consistent on the top, like a perfect puzzle.

A Sanitary Material

Granite is a very sanitary material given that it’s sealed in the first place. A lot of the time, porous stones and materials are hotspots for bacteria and small organisms can thrive in these small crevices.

This is not ideal especially if you’re using the countertop to deal with edible items. Juices and moisture leaking from fruits, vegetables, and even meats can penetrate the pores of the material and that can be very unappetizing to think about.

If the countertops are sealed, however, this is not going to be a problem and you can say goodbye to bacteria for good.

Adds Value To Your Home

Granite might be an expensive material, but a lot of the time, it’s considered an investment for your home. Confused? Well, granite is a very popular and sought-after material, and if you’re trying to sell your home, then the addition of granite countertops in your kitchen might just get you a killer deal on the property.

Potential buyers will love the fact that the kitchen comes with granite countertops already installed, so they won’t hesitate to offer you a price higher than your initial demand.

They Can Crack

This fact might come as a shock to you because granite is marketed to be extremely durable and strong, but yes, it’s not invincible and it can crack and chip.

The most fragile parts of a granite countertop are the edges and the sides. This is where cracks can be the most evident. Cracks can occur if you’re bumping into the slab too hard or are standing on top of the counters. Countertops are not meant to hold the weight of a normal person and you shouldn’t test their limits. It’s best that you don’t put too much force on countertops.

Conclusion

Granite countertops are great and all, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the first choice for most people. Some may feel they are overrated and that’s fine.

However, if we look at its benefits and drawbacks, granite is popular for a reason (well, many reasons). Even though it can crack and requires sealing, it’s durable, stain-resistant, withstands heat, and lasts for decades. This justifies its popularity. Get more information on granite countertops by contacting a granite contractor Potomac.

31

Mar

Water On Granite Countertops: Can You Leave Water On Granite Countertops?

If you are asking, can you leave water on granite countertops? Yes, you can, but it comes with repercussions.

If your countertops are properly sealed, you can get away with having water on the surfaces for some time, as the countertops won’t absorb water, but when you leave the water on the surfaces for a long time, there is the risk of it getting to the deeper layers of the countertops and staining them.

The situation is worse when you have hard water on your premises as the hard water leaves a white, filmy residue that is hard to remove.

What should you do about water stains?

To restore your countertops, you need to remove the water stains. How you go about it depends on the type of stains you have. To help you out, here are ways to remove these stains:

Removing light stains on a daily basis

You need to use a mild detergent and water on a sponge to remove these stains. If you have the budget, use a commercial cleaning product designed specially for granite cleaning.

When buying the commercial cleaner, ensure that it’s suitable for granite and it’s not acidic, as this can damage the sealant and stone.

Buying the best sealer is one thing and an entire animal using it. To be on the safe side and get perfect results, use the product as per the directions given by the manufacturer.

To have an easy time, clean the stains as soon as you notice them, which means less work on your part.

Light hard water stains

Have you noticed light spots around your sink or basin? These are light hard water stains, and you should move with haste and remove them. For the best outcome, remove them using a mild detergent and brush them with soft bristles. You can also use a toothbrush.

To lift the mineral deposits, put a cleanser on the stain, then gently scrub it with a brush. Once you are done, rinse it off with clean water and dry it with a towel.

You can also use a designated cleaning agent and let it sit on the stain for about 30 minutes to loosen the minerals. After this, scrub the surfaces gently with a soft brush and rinse it dry once the stain is gone.

Slightly stubborn hard water stains.

If the detergent and brush aren’t removing the water stains, use a home remedy such as baking soda. Start with creating a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water until you form a paste. You should then apply the paste to the hard water stain then gently scrub it with a soft bristle brush, then once you are done, rinse the fresh water and dry with a towel.

Removing water rings around the base of your faucet

If you have got hard water running through your system, you will sometimes have water rings around the base. These rings are often hard to remove, so you need to use tough removal products, often plastic scraper or razor blade.

To remove the water ring using a plastic putty knife, ensure that the edge is flat against your granite surface. You should then remove the mineral deposits by pushing the blade against them by applying gentle pressure.

If doing it correctly, the buildup should start flaking off, and you should wipe it off with a sponge, rinse it with clean water, and dry it with a towel.

If you try using the putty knife, but it doesn’t remove the deposits, use a sharp, clean razor blade. Keep the razor blade level with the granite surface, then slowly and gently loosen the mineral deposits.

Of course, take care not to cut your fingers or the granite surface as you are doing the cleaning.

There you have it

You can leave water on your countertops, but it will come with repercussions. To prevent the stains from resulting, move with haste and remove the water as soon as you notice it.

To reduce the absorption rate of the countertops, work with your granite contractor Rockville and install a high-quality sealant on the surface of the stone.

15

Nov

6 Steps On How To Polish Granite Countertops

Polished granite gives your kitchen a sleek, subtle look. Unfortunately, polished countertops are expensive hence not many homeowners can afford them. Luckily, you can install rough countertops then polish them later on. Interested in learning how to polish granite countertops? Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Clean the countertops

Everything begins here as you can’t polish dirty countertops. Thankfully, cleaning the countertops is easy. You need warm water and a mild detergent. Mix the two, then apply them on the surfaces using a soft cloth.

Once you are done with cleaning, dry the surfaces with a microfiber cloth. You should never leave the surfaces wet or damp as you put the surfaces at the risk of staining.

Step 2: Make or buy the polish.

You can get the polish in two ways: you can make it or buy it. To make the polish, get a small bowl, baking soda, warm water, and fork. Mix 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water until you get a smooth thick paste. Ensure the paste is smooth before using it.

If you aren’t a dab hand at DIY projects or you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own polish, buy the polish from your local retail store. When making the purchase, ensure the polish is suitable for granite. As a rule of thumb, avoid general-purpose polishing products as they have been shown to damage granite.

Step 3: Apply polish.

Once you have your polish, your next step should be to apply the polish on your countertops. Place a thin, even coating of the paste on the surfaces. If using baking soda paste, place small dollops of it across the countertops using a spoon.

If using retail granite polish, spray it lightly over your countertops and let it sit there for at least 2 minutes.

Step 4: Buff the countertops

After applying the polish, use a clean, soft cloth and work the polish into the granite. Start from one corner and work your way evenly over the countertop. Rub the polish into the countertops in small circles, making sure you buff the edges as well.

You should note that you should always use a soft cloth for buffing as using a more abrasive cloth will scratch the granite and damage it.

Step 6: Wipe off excess polish

It’s normal to have an excess polish, and the excess streaks can easily ruin the polished surface’s appearance. To remove the excess polish, use a soft cloth and dampen it lightly with warm water.

Use the cloth to wipe down your countertop and eliminate any remaining baking soda paste or retail granite polish.

If you find excess water on the countertops after wiping it down, dry it off using another cloth.

In most cases, your countertops will polish up nicely, but if your countertops have deep scratches, the above remedies won’t get the work done. In such a case, you have no way out other than to hire a professional to polish the surfaces for you.

The professionals use specialized tools, and they can either wet or dry polish the countertops.

Tips on retaining the shine

Polishing the countertops isn’t enough—you need to take care of them to retain the shine. How do you do this? Here are tips for doing it:

Clean spills as soon as they happen: Leaving liquids on the countertops for a long time causes the granite to develop dark, shadow-like marks that mess with the countertops’ look.

You should note that even bright-colored beverages can stain the countertops, so don’t take any risk. As soon as there are spills on the countertops, get rid of them. When wiping the spills, use a soft cloth as a rough one will damage them.

Buff the countertops: To create a nice shine and temporarily reduce the staining risk, buff the countertops with cooking oil. To do it, apply cooking oil to a clean cloth, then make circular motions across the surface. For best results, granite contractors Potomac recommend you do this periodically, such as daily or once a week.

It doesn’t matter the type of oil you use. You can use olive oil, vegetable oil, or even avocado oil. It’s all up to you.

31

Jul

How Long Do Granite Countertops Last? Find It Here

One of the reasons homeowners are attracted to granite is because it’s durable. Since it’s made from tough materials, it’s resistant to scratching and heat.

Homeowners know granite is durable, but how long do granite countertops last?  When properly maintained, granite can last for a long time. Experts say the countertops can last for more than 100 years.

Comparing granite to other countertop materials

So how does granite compare to the other countertop materials?

  • Natural stone and granite: 100+ years
  • Cultured marble: 20 years
  • Laminate: 20-30 years
  • Concrete countertops: 20 years
  • Tile: 100+ years

How can you ensure the countertops last for as long as possible?

As mentioned above, you need to do the right things for the countertops to last for a long time. Some of the things you should do include:

Choose the right color.

Did you know the color of the stone has a great impact on the durability of the countertops? When you choose the wrong color for your lifestyle, you will be bored with it fast, or it will get stained, forcing you to replace it. The most popular colors to choose from are:

Black: Black is sleek, elegant, and never gets out of style. Black can also give your kitchen the impression of space.

White: Looking to give your kitchen a modern and contemporary look? White is the way to go. For a great look that you will proud of for years, pair it with white appliances and sinks.

Red: It’s said to be the color of daring and energetic. Many homeowners shy away from it so that you won’t find it in many homes. It’s rare to come across pure red, but it’s easy to bump into red granite featuring white, blue, or light-colored highlights that you can use to make a powerful statement.

Green: For a traditional and earthy look, green is the right color to go with. You can also pair green with bursts of grey and brown to create an old-fashioned, comforting vibe that makes your kitchen one of the most relaxing places to be.

Seal the countertops

Another way to make your countertops last for a long time is to seal them. Granite is naturally porous, so air can pass through it. At the time of installation, you should seal the stone so no liquids can go through and cause stains.

To maintain the sealing properties, make it a habit to seal the counters at least once every one or two years.

You can do the sealing yourself or hire an expert to help you out. Regardless of who does the work, ensure you use a high-quality sealing product.

Clean the countertops regularly

Can you imagine a simple act as cleaning the countertops can give your surfaces a long life? Every day, clean granite with warm water and a soft rag. You also should consider investing in a disinfectant cleaner designed specifically for granite surfaces.

You should avoid regular cleaning products on granite as they tend to be too abrasive, and they can easily break down the sealants, exposing your countertops to stains and damage.

Protect the surfaces from damage

Even if the surfaces are tough, when you hit them with heavy material, they will crack, and you have to replace the entire slab. You don’t want this, do you? To protect the surfaces, don’t hit them with a heavy object.

When preparing your food, always use a cutting board.

Ensure the countertops are properly installed

Everything begins here. If your countertops aren’t properly installed, it’s a matter of time before they break. To prevent this, ensure you use extra beams and other support systems necessary to hold up granite.

This calls for you to hire experienced granite contractors Rockville. While they will be a little bit expensive, they will properly install the countertops, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Use the countertops properly.

You will have the most properly installed countertops, but they will crack or suffer from other forms of damage if you misuse them. To avoid damage, don’t stand, sit, or use the countertops for any other purpose other than what they are designed to do.

09

May

Can You Put Hot Pans On Granite Countertops?

If you know the history of granite countertops, you know that they are made from igneous rock through a process involving high temperatures and pressure. Due to this, you must be asking, can you put hot pans on granite?

Since it’s made from igneous rock, granite can withstand the heat, so a brief encounter with a hot pot won’t hurt them. While this is the case, regular exposure of the countertops to the heat will weaken the sealant putting the countertops at the risk of getting damaged.

To answer your question, yes, you can put hot pans on granite, but you shouldn’t do it too often as you will end up causing damage.

Protecting the countertops from damage

As we have seen, the countertops will get damaged if you place hot pans on them. So to protect them from damage, avoid placing the hot pots and pans directly on the surfaces. Instead, have a trivet or countertop cover in place.

If you have to place the pots and pans on the countertops, let them first cool down. Letting them cool for a few minutes is enough. Before placing them on the surfaces, wipe the underside to remove any black or burn marks that might be present.

Even if you are using an electric stove, wipe the surfaces to remove any materials that might have spilled or boiled over.

Restoring damaged countertops

In the event you destroy the countertops, you shouldn’t worry much as you can restore the damaged pieces. You do this using pastes and liquids. Buy the products from a local store and apply them by yourself—you don’t need to hire a professional to help you out.

If there are burn marks from the hot pans, you can easily rub them away with cleaning creams and solutions. You should note that while the products will remove the top marks, they aren’t effective at removing deeper marks.

In such a case, you don’t have a way out other than to consult a granite contractor. The contractor will advise you whether to apply a sealer or simply replace the countertops.

Other ways of keeping your countertops in top shape

Other than using trivets and pads when placing hot items on the countertops, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep the countertops in top shape. Some of these things include:

Don’t cut meat directly on the countertops.

The meat won’t destroy granite, but what is left behind is what is harmful. The meat might be containing salmonella and other bacteria that might find its way into the microscopic crevices of the countertops.

Also, when many homeowners handle meat, they have the urge to cleanse the countertop surfaces. Sometimes they use harsh chemicals that end up damaging the surfaces.

Get rid of the spills as soon as they happen.

When you are preparing food, it’s common for accidents to happen. Oils and acids can splatter all over the countertops, putting them at the risk of staining. To avoid this, you should clean the spills as soon as they happen.

When you notice spillage, use a mild cleanser or hot, soapy water and get rid of it as soon as possible. You should never let the spill sit on the countertops for long as it can etch the seal and stain the countertop.

Don’t sit or stand on the countertops.

Since the countertops are known to be tough, some homeowners have the impression that they can stand or sit on the countertops without any repercussions. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Granite has plenty of fissures and striations that are vulnerable to cracking when you apply a lot of force on them. To keep your countertops free of damage, don’t climb or stand on them when reaching out to things, changing bulbs, painting, or engaging in any other activity.

Instead, use a sturdy stool or ladder to get the work done.

Conclusion

To reiterate, you can place hot pans on granite, but don’t make it a habit as you will damage the seal or even the countertops themselves. Granite installers Rockville recommend you always use trivets, hot pads, potholders, and other protective materials to keep the countertops in top shape.

09

Mar

FAQs About Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are one of the most popular countertop types in the market. While they have been around for a long time, few people know much about them. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the countertops:

Should you use the countertops in the kitchen?

Granite is perfect for use in the kitchen. Since the material is tough, it doesn’t etch, scratch, or warp; therefore, you don’t need to do much to keep it in top condition. The only thing you should do is to seal it during the installation and at least once a year thereafter.

Can granite get damaged?

One of the prime reasons people go for the countertops is because they are tough. While this is the case, it doesn’t mean they can’t get damaged. If you don’t take good care of them, they are bound to get damaged. For example, if you hit the countertops with a hard object, the countertops will develop a crack.

The countertops will also get damaged if you place hot objects on the surfaces.

Does granite stain?

When you seal the countertops properly, they don’t stain; however, if you poorly stain them or leave them unstained, they are bound to get stained. So, to prevent stains from developing, you should ensure that the surfaces are sealed by a professional.

You should note that even if your surfaces are properly sealed, they will develop stains if you leave liquids on them for a long time. To avoid this, make it a habit of wiping off the liquids as soon as they happen.

Are the countertops expensive?

Just like any other good quality product, the countertops don’t come cheap. While this is the case, there are several things you can do to reduce the cost. When you decide to install the countertops, don’t rush to buying them. Take time to visit different stores and see what they have to offer.

Compare the prices and the quality and buy from the store selling the highest quality products at the least cost. You should note that if you come across a company selling the products at a cost that is below the standard market prices, you will most likely be getting scammed.

To avoid this, only buy from a reputable company. Luckily, you can tell how reliable the company is by reading their online reviews.

Does granite harbor bacteria?

In addition to being used in residential properties, it’s also heavily used in the food and medical industry due to its sanitary qualities. As long as you regularly clean and care for the granite, there are zero chances that it will harbor bacteria and cause illness.

Is it wise to cut on granite?

Due to its tough nature, you might have the impression that you can go ahead and cut on the countertops, but this would be wrong. While it’s tough, the knives, especially the hot ones, can get into the countertops causing minor scratches. If you repeatedly cut on the countertops, you leave too many marks that give the countertops a cheap look.

To preserve the look of the countertops, always use a cutting board anytime you are looking to cut anything. You also should avoid placing hot pots and pans on the countertops.

Do the countertops need to be cleaned?

You should clean the countertops just like you clean marble countertops and any other countertop pieces you might be having in your home. For ideal results, use dish soap, powdered soap, and all-purpose cleaners. Never use abrasive products as they will damage the surfaces.

When should you replace the countertops?

Granite is designed to last for years, but you can opt to replace it due to many reasons. One of the reasons is if you are no longer excited by the current look of the countertops. You also should consider replacing the countertops if you are looking to improve the design and look of your house.

It’s also wise to replace the countertops if they are too old. Regardless of the reason, you are looking to undertake countertop replacement, ensure that an expert granite contractor Potomac does the work. Just like with the countertops store, ensure that the contractor is reputable and has been providing the service for a long time.

09

Jul

Granite Countertops: More than Just a Kitchen Centerpiece

Countertops are usually installed in kitchens and bathrooms. There are also different countertop materials available such as quartz countertops and granite countertops among a few. With so many choices to choose from, it can be overwhelming to select the right one that will suit your needs. For one thing, you should be familiar with the popular types of countertops available in the market nowadays.

Common countertop materials

There are different types of countertop materials commonly used in homes and commercial establishments. Among these include the following:

Natural stone

Under natural stones are quarried stone materials such as marble and granite. The former is also a popular countertop and flooring material that has naturally-elegant patterns that do not need painting. It also requires high maintenance levels and frequent sealing to ensure its high-quality appearance for a long time.

The latter, on the other hand, was once a countertop for well-off families. But over the years, it has become more common in many households and is also one of the most popular. Granite kitchen countertops come in different colors and designs that will suit your personal preference. It is also heat-resistant, but make sure to have it sealed and cleaned regularly.

Engineered stone

Another popular countertop material is the engineered stone countertops. It is made mostly from quartz material. It is also known in other names as Cambria, Zodiaq, and Silestone among a few, all of which do not require frequent sealing. It can be expensive yet can make your kitchen or bathroom attractive.

Ceramic

Tiles can also be a great countertop material, but one of the most popular ones is made from ceramic. You can choose from a wide variety of colors, patterns, and designs, and make sure to choose tiles that are suitable for as countertops and floors. It may also need regular resealing to ensure its quality appearance all the time.

Where you can use granite countertops

Most likely you have already heard about countertops made from granite. Or perhaps you have one at home installed by professional granite countertop installers. However, countertops including granite or other materials can also be used in different ways aside from kitchen and bathroom purpose.

For one thing, granite counters have an attractive appearance and can make a difference to any home. However, granite does not only look good in the bathroom and the kitchen. Here are some other locations in your home where you can install countertops.

Laundry area

If you have or planning to have a laundry area in your home, you can consider installing a granite counter there. For one, it can serve as additional counter space. You can even add storage cabinets underneath for more storage space. Instead of placing newly-folded laundry and other cleaning products on the floor, you can utilize the countertop instead.

Home office/study room

You can use a table made from granite as your office or study table. You can also create a countertop with built-in cabinets or storage area underneath that can serve as additional shelving space.

Dining table

Instead of the usual granite countertop, you can have a dining table built from granite or add a granite slab as a table top. You can also from a variety of designs and patterns that will suit your needs.

Flooring

Some floor tiles are made from granite which you can opt to use for your home. You can even mix and match granite tiles to add a unique appeal to your home flooring. Make sure to clean and vacuum the floor regularly to ensure its shiny and long-lasting quality and appearance.

Home décor and accessories

A simple square slab of granite can make a room look interestingly different. For example, you can use it as additional shelving area for bathrooms or the living room. You can also mount a small slab of granite and put on brackets or frames for an instant piece of art on your living room or kitchen walls.

The future of granite

While there are a lot of innovations in terms of countertop materials, granite companies will continue to serve customers for the next years to come. Stainless steel and laminate countertops are continuing to make waves in the countertop industry. Yet, the appeal of granite and other traditional countertop materials won’t go out of style anytime soon.

Finding reliable countertop suppliers near you

For your countertop needs, make sure to deal only with professional and trustworthy countertop replacement companies in Rockville. Contact one and avail free consultation services today.