Countertops 101

While we’re still on the topic of kitchens, I received a pretty informative newsletter about countertops from BOWA Home Advisor the other day that I thought I’d share with everyone:

Do Your Countertops Need a Little TLC?

For most homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of their home, and having surfaces that will last and remain beautiful over time is a priority. Today’s countertops go beyond functionality and serve as an aesthetic focal point in many kitchens. Listed below are some tips on how to keep these surfaces in tip-top shape.

Keep your countertops spotless and beautiful!

Keeping Natural Stone Beautiful

Granite, marble, limestone, travertine, and slate are all part of the natural stone family. For routine cleaning, a mixture of dish soap and water is recommended. While granite is the hardest and most durable of these surfaces, care should still be taken, as all natural stone can stain and etch. Staining can occur when oil-based substances, such as cooking oil, remain on the surface. Acidic substances including citrus fruits, tomatoes, red wine, and vinegar, can cause a cloudy appearance in the stone, known as etching. Etched stone can be repaired by either grinding or restoring the surface, but it is recommended this is done by a skilled professional. Avoid using chemical products to try and remove etching, as they can further damage the stone.

Other Types of Surfaces

  • Quartz: Natural quartz countertops are non-porous and therefore don’t require resealing. Quartz is a heat, stain, and scratch resistant material, but care should still exercised. Avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on the surface, or hairline cracks can appear. Also, a hot pad or trivet is recommended when using cooking units such as a crockpot or electric skillet. For daily cleaning, dish soap and water is suggested.
  • Wood and Butcher Blocks: Applying a coat of mineral oil every few weeks to these wood surfaces will help them remain beautiful. For regular cleaning, use a mild detergent and then thoroughly wipe the surface with a dry towel or absorbent cloth. It’s important to not allow moisture to remain on the surface, as this can cause the block to expand and the wood to soften. Wood absorbs food odors more readily than other surfaces, so periodically deodorize with lemon juice, letting the juice sit for 15 minutes and then wiping dry.
  • Stainless Steel: Water and a mild detergent are suggested for routine cleaning. One drawback of stainless steel is fingerprints that are left behind on the surface can easily show. A glass cleaner, olive oil, and white or cider vinegar can help keep your steel smudge-free. Vinegar can also bring back the luster of stainless steel should it start to look dull.

If you are unsure about which type of products to use on your surface, or if you have other maintenance or repair questions, it’s best to consult your fabricator or an industry professional to avoid damaging, or further damaging the surface. Proper care and cleaning methods will help to ensure your kitchen surfaces look their best for years to come. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, a design build expert can help you choose which type of countertop best fits your needs and lifestyle.

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