Understanding how to polish granite countertops can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your kitchen and bathrooms. Many people often turn to professionals to help them achieve the best possible look for their granite surfaces. The good news is that a little elbow grease and basic maintenance might be all you need to keep yours looking like-new for years to come.
Do you know how to polish your granite? Follow these steps to make polishing your countertops easier and more effective.
The Granite Countertop Creation Process
Granite countertops go through a pretty simple creation process, as granite is a natural stone that manufacturers obtain from special quarries. Here’s what you should know:
- The slabs are very rough forms that look little like final, polished granite.
- Milling machines cut the countertops into seven- to nine-foot slabs.
- You can view those slabs in showrooms to choose your granite counter.
- You select the slab that best matches your ideal design for your kitchen.
- The slab then goes to a fabrication specialist who uses a template from the measurements for your project to cut the stone into its final shape.
Granite countertops are made from hard stone and typically have a lot of veining, color variations, and other elements that make no two slabs exactly alike. This makes viewing the products in a showroom essential to choosing the perfect variations for your kitchen or bathroom countertop.
How Granite Differs from Other Stone Types
Granite offers variations that are unlike any other type of countertop. It has more natural, neutral tones than marble, slate, and soapstone, and is also highly durable. It offers several benefits compared to other types, too, including:
- Being able to withstand higher heat ranges
- Offering a budget-friendly option for stunning countertops
- Being naturally water-resistant
- Providing a highly durable surface option
- Offering natural antibacterial features
The slabs are also resistant to cracks and chips, making them perfect for high-traffic areas like busy kitchens and bathrooms. Many homeowners find granite countertops to be long-lasting, eye-catching additions to their spaces.
How is Granite Protected?
Granite’s natural porousness can vary depending on the type of countertop you choose, and thus needs a sealant to keep out moisture, bacteria, and protect against everyday wear and tear. You can generally expect to reapply granite sealant every one to five years. By comparison, homeowners reseal marble countertops once every three to six months on average.
5 Tips for Polishing Your Granite Counters
To keep your granite looking like new throughout its lifetime, follow these simple steps:
1. Take a look at the damage level.
If you have relatively minor damage to your granite countertops, like tiny surface scratches or patches that seem less-shiny than the rest of the surface, you can likely handle repairs and polishing yourself. If you see significant damage — such as large gouges or chips — though, you may want to skip the DIY and turn to a professional to make sure you don’t miss anything crucial.
2. Choose your polishing powder.
You can choose dry application powder or wet application powder, depending on which products will work best for your countertop. A few facts:
- You will need to use a specific type of polish depending on the color of your stone.
- Take a look at the instructions on the box.
- Dry polishing powder is often used for severely damaged countertops.
- Wet polishing powder, on the other hand, can help polish away minor damage.
- The heavier the grit, the more it will scrape your granite surface.
- Consult the manufacturer regarding which type is recommended for your surface.
Make sure you have the right equipment before you begin, too. For example, some polishing powders will require a specific application polishing pad.
3. Clean the damaged area of your countertop.
Make sure your granite surface is clean before you start to reduce the risk of further damage to your surface. Mild soap and water is all you need, but be sure to get all the soap up and completely dry the countertop before starting.
4. Follow the directions provided for your product.
Read the directions carefully. Some may suggest that you use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your counters. Others may require the use of power tools, especially if your countertop has a great deal of damage. Make sure you swap polishing pads any time the one you’re using becomes damaged.
5. Apply sealant when you’re done.
After polishing, you’ll want to protect your stone countertop by adding sealant. Check the package directions to learn how long you need to avoid using the countertop while it dries, and be sure to keep family members and pets out of the room to avoid damaging the counter while it’s curing.
Basic polishing can help clean off water spots, maintain the overall look of your countertops, and ensure that it looks as good as new throughout its lifetime.
7 Things NOT to Do With Granite
When you have granite counters, you need to take some steps to help keep them looking their best. You may want to:
- Avoid abrasive chemicals
Hold off on using common household cleaners until you check to ensure the solutions do not contain abrasive substances. Choose specific granite cleaners for your surfaces instead. Check disinfectant sprays to determine whether they can be used on your surface, or check them on a small corner of the counter before getting started.
- Use a cutting board
Avoid using knives and cutting directly on your counters. Instead, use a cutting board to help protect your investment against scratches and gouges.
- Clean up quickly
Keep messes off of the surface. Do not place makeup or nail polish directly on top of the counter in the bathroom, for example. Instead, put down a rag or cutting board to help and protect your granite from staining and liquids.
- Practice regular care
Avoid potential hazards, especially when they’re easy to prevent. Soap scum can quickly build up, for example, while water pouring over the granite from the sink can cause damage over time. Cooking oil and dish soap can also cause damage, so it’s best to regularly wipe down and try your granite surfaces.
- Maintain, maintain, maintain
Just like granite flooring or other stones, your granite countertops need regular maintenance and attention. If you put it off for too long, you may find yourself with a much more serious problem on your hands.
- Heat damage
Avoid setting hot pans directly on the counter. This can melt or damage the sealant and cause serious damage to your surface, and can be avoided by using hot pads or trivets for protection.
- Keep scratchy surfaces away
Avoid using abrasive sponges or materials on the counter. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or paper towel when cleaning.
Keeping your granite looking its best is an ongoing process. Fortunately, you can polish, seal, and protect your countertops on your own to help keep them looking like new from the day they’re installed. Do you want to get granite in your home? Contact A&S Home Interiors today to speak with an expert about what bringing granite countertops to your home would look like, or to schedule a professional appointment.