Worktop Maintenance: Seven Top Tips for Stone UpkeepRebecca Hinshelwood
One of the primary reasons that many customers choose stone for their kitchen worktops and islands is the durability of the material. Whether granite, quartz or marble, a stone surface is a high strength and low maintenance choice for a busy household. However, low maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean zero maintenance. Like anything, stone gives out what you put in, so there are a few key things that you can do to keep your stone worktop looking its best.
1. Sealing and Resealing
Completely natural surfaces like granite and marble will be sealed before installation in your kitchen. This prevents the porous nature of the material getting in the way of your busy kitchen activity! For older worktops, you may want to consider a process of resealing to rejuvenate your worktop. This maintenance should be undertaken by a professional to ensure that no damage is done during the process. Quartz is slightly different in its makeup as it is a manufactured stone, mixing a majority of natural quartz with a small proportion of polymer resin, making its durability considerably more intrinsic.
2. Conscientious Cleaning
For all stones, warm water should be sufficient to clean spillages. Abrasive cleaning products are not necessary. Despite the strength provided by the sealing process, marble and granite should avoid prolonged contact with acidic or oily liquids. It is best, for this reason, to attend to spillages promptly so that any chance of seeping beyond the seal is reduced. As quartz is not porous it is more resistant to staining – but remain cautious if dealing with high alkaline products such as oven cleaners or bleach.
3. When to Scrub
One of the most beautiful aspects of your stone worktop is the flawless surface, so be conscientious if the surface needs to be scrubbed. Hardened food residue should be carefully scraped off the surface using a palette knife or similar. Further scrubbing should only be undertaken with a fine grade 0000 steel wool which is great for all stone varieties.
4. Keeping the Shine
Fine steel wool is also great for removing minor scratches to the surface shine of polished granite, marble or quartz. It’s a useful maintenance product to have in the cupboard when you have a stone kitchen worktop. Even better is to avoid scratching the surface in the first place. This means resisting the urge to chop food directly on the surface. Yes, marble and granite are naturally hardwearing – but with a sharp enough knife the surface can still be scratched, or conversely your knife damaged.
5. Less is More
Because of the production process of quartz stone worktops, you should find that your cleaning cupboard can enjoy a de-clutter of products and sprays. This is great to gain more space, reduce your weekly shop bill and reduce the chemicals that you come into contact with. For polished marble and granite surfaces, think more about the drying of the surface than the cleaning of it. Similar to glass, a buffed and dried surface will offer maximum reflectivity and flawlessness.
6. Heat Precautions
All stone surfaces are heat resistant. Quartz can take contact with direct heat, but even this has its limits so it is still worth using a trivet to prevent contact with extreme heat. Similarly, marble and granite can eventually crystallise and discolour because of prolonged contact with heat. This is really down to kitchen habits: the fact that you will tend to place extremely hot items in the same place again and again. With foresight, you could consider integrated studs within a worktop area next to your oven to prevent this repeated contact
7. Dealing with Chips
With enough of an impact, or repeated impacts in the same place over years, any stone could be chipped. It’s a rare occurrence, but in this circumstance the key is to gather all parts of the chipped material. Having done this, it is possible for the chip to be repaired. The best repair job will also include an additional sealing process for granite or marble, so a professional fix is worthwhile to avoid future damage.