Care and Maintenance for your Countertops

 

 

Cleaning and Caring for Granite / Marble Countertops

 

Probably the biggest fear people have of natural stone is its maintenance. Truthfully, natural stone requires about the same level of care and maintenance as any countertop or floor, and certainly no more than natural wood products like tables and chairs.

The best care you can give your natural stone is preventative care. Preventing stains or scratching before they happen is far easier than getting rid of them after the fact.

Granite countertops are surprisingly resilient to stains, and practically impossible to scratch. But, as a preventative measure, wipe up any spills on the countertops within a reasonable amount of time. Don't let liquid sit on countertops overnight. Granite is most prone to staining by oil and acid, so blot these spills up soon after they happen, and then clean the stone with mild soap and water.

Marble countertops and tabletops are easily stained by acidic foods like fruit, tomato sauce, coffee, and wine. Blot, do not wipe, any spills up immediately, and then clean with mild soap and hot water. Do not set hot pans directly onto marble. And place a mat or pad between marble and anything which might scratch it, like a pan or utensils. Use coasters between marble and any glasses, especially ones containing acidic compounds like fruit juices, wine, or coffee.

On floors, the best preventative measure is regular cleaning. The movement of dirt and grit as it is ground into marble or granite tiles can wear away the finish. So the regular use of a dust mop can help keep dirt off the floor and preserve the finish. Use mats at all entry points to further ensure the long life of your floor's beautiful finish. Wet mop regularly with very hot water, and change the rinse water frequently. If the floor is particularly dirty, the use of a neutral stone cleaner or a mild dish detergent (one that is not oil-based) is perfectly acceptable.

In bathrooms, marble and granite tend to attract soap scum, just like manmade tile. Keep a squeegee handy for shower walls, and rinse vanities and natural stone sinks with hot, clean water regularly. Then towel them dry.

The use of sealers is also a powerful preventative measure. For countertops, ask your dealer if a sealant was applied before installation. If not, get his recommendation for a high-quality, food-grade sealer and apply it according to the manufacturer's directions. You will need to reapply this sealer periodically. The frequency of applications will depend on the sealer, and on the type of stone you have. Penetrating sealers are also available for flooring and bath areas. Likewise, the application of additional coats of sealer will depend on the type of stone, the frequency of use, and the manufacturer's recommendations.

If stains and scratches do occur, there are many things you can do on your own to remove them. On granite countertops, remove oil-based stains with acetone, mineral spirits, or bleach or ammonia diluted in water. (NEVER mix ammonia and bleach!) Food stains like coffee, tea, or fruit juices can usually be removed with hydrogen peroxide, combined with a few drops of ammonia. On marble countertops, avoid harsh cleaners and acidic cleaners, including vinegar.

For stubborn soap scum in the bath, ammonia can be used sparingly. Ammonia will, over time, dull the finish on marble, so use it with caution, and only when the soap scum cannot be removed with a mild, neutral detergent and hot water.


Water spots and rings occur because of minerals in water, and can be removed by buffing the spots gently with steel wool. Likewise, small nicks and scratches can often be removed the same way. Larger scratches, nicks, and pesky stains may require professional help, which can be located by calling your local stone dealer.

Remember the following list of DOs and DON'Ts:

DO use preventative cleaning measures to keep your stone pristine

DO use sealers, applied and reapplied according to manufacturer's directions

DO blot up spills quickly, especially on marble, and then wash with mild soapy water

DON'T use any kind of acidic cleaner on marble, limestone, or travertine

DON'T use harsh bathroom cleaners or grout cleaners on any natural stone

DON'T be afraid to call your stone dealer for suggestions on maintenance, care, and cleaning

DON'T worry, if you get a significant stain or scratch, that your entire natural stone investment is ruined. Virtually anything can be fixed with professional help.

And above all, DON'T let the fear of maintenance for natural stone scare you into avoiding it. There is no substitute for natural stone when it comes to beauty, practicality, and value. Keeping your natural stone beautiful is something you will enjoy, and no one ever regretted having chosen natural stone over its alternatives.

 

CARE & MAINTENANCE FOR QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS

 

Since quartz in non-porous there is no on-going maintenance for your countertop other than basic cleaning.

 

STAINING

Since quartz is a non-porous surface, stains sit on the surface instead of soaking in. There is no sealing required!

 

CLEANING

Warm, soapy water and mild household cleaner are suitable for cleaning your quartz countertops. Avoid cleaning agents such as paint thinner, nail polish remover and oil soaps. Use a sponge or a soft cloth to clean your quartz countertop to prevent etching the surface polish.

 

SCRATCHES

Quartz is incredibly hard (rating a 7 on Moh’s Hardness Scale) and is therefore highly resistant to scratches. However, we do recommend the use of a cutting board.

 

HEAT

Although quartz material has great heat resistance, we still do NOT recommend placing heat sources directly on the countertops. Use trivets or hot pads under any heated cookware such as pots, pans or other sources of continuous heat (griddles, crock pots, etc…).

Subjecting quartz to continuous heat can damage the polish and crack the counters.

 

Care and Maintenance of Custom Wood Countertops, Butcher Block Countertops, and Kitchen Island Tops

 

Wood is a natural material that is subject to changes in moisture and temperature. In other words, it moves and changes ever so slightly when exposed to humidity, heat or cold. Properly sealed and maintained wood tops are durable, beautiful and easy to use, but it is important to carefully follow the installation and care and maintenance instructions for your specific type of finish.

If you follow these directions carefully your custom countertop will be easy to maintain, will look great, and will last for many years.

Note: If you have a top finished with a Waterlox® Finish, you do not have to maintain your top in any way other than to retreat exposed wood caused by damage or intentional cut outs for sinks or faucets etc.

Waterlox® Finish

Tung Oil/Citrus Finish

 

Tops with a Waterlox Finish

 

These tops receive a minimum of four coats on the visible side of the top and three coats on sides that are not visible. Six coats are typical for tops with cut-outs for sinks or cook tops and for satin finish tops. Waterlox® is waterproof. It is also heat and stain-resistant for a tough, hard finish.

 

DO NOT use bleach based cleaning products on the Waterlox® Finish. Bleach and ammonia are the only chemicals we have found that will harm this finish. Be aware that some dishwasher detergents, such as Liquid Cascade, have bleach in them. If this type of detergent comes in contact with the Waterlox® Finish, it should be wiped up immediately. If allowed to sit, it can harm the finish. See Nicks, Scratches, etc. below for information on how to repair this type of problem

 

DO NOT cut, drill or change your top in any way without refinishing all exposed surfaces thoroughly. 

 

DO NOT place these tops near excessive heat (such as stove or dishwasher) without proper insulation between heat source and the edge of the top. 

 

DO NOT expose tops to excessive heat, cold or moisture! Never put in a microwave or dishwasher or use as a hot pad. Never place on stove burners.

 

DO NOT chop directly on this surface. This finish is safe for contact with food, but use a cutting board to protect your surface from knife marks.


Cleaning your top:

Wash your top with mild soap and water and then rinse. Disinfect with a weak solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, if desired. Be sure to dry the top thoroughly.


Problem Solving:

Nicks, Scratches, etc; Touch ups can be done at any time. Lightly sand the area and applying more Waterlox® to the top. Sanding down to bare wood is typically not required.

Color Variations: Dark streaks can occur in wood. These are caused by a natural discoloring of the wood due to mineral deposits in the tree. Other color variations are natural characteristics of the wood. This is not a flaw or problem. It is normal and adds to the individuality of your top.


 

Tops with a Tung Oil/Citrus Finish

 

These tops receive four coats of finish on all surfaces of the top to ensure a well-oiled finish. Since the Tung Oil/Citrus finish penetrates into the wood, the finish can last 3-6 months or more before it needs to be reapplied. This finish is water and stain-resistant as long as the surface is maintained properly.

 

DO NOT use any chemicals or harsh detergents on the Tung Oil/Citrus Finish. If chemicals or harsh detergents comes in contact with the finish, it should be wiped up immediately. If allowed to sit, it can harm the finish. See Nicks, Scratches, etc. below for information on how to repair this type of problem

 

DO NOT cut, drill or change your top in any way without refinishing all exposed surfaces thoroughly. 

 

DO NOT place these tops near excessive heat (such as stove or dishwasher) without proper insulation between heat source and the edge of the top

 

DO NOT expose tops to excessive heat, cold or moisture! Never put in a microwave or dishwasher or use as a hot pad. Never place on stove burners.

 

DO renew the Tung Oil/Citrus Finish on a regular basis. All exposed surfaces of the top should be oiled. Depending upon use and household conditions, a thin layer of Tung Oil/Citrus finish should be applied once every three to six months or more as needed on an ongoing basis.


Cleaning your top:

Scrape off any heavy food particles. Wash your top with mild soap and water, and then rinse. Disinfect with a weal solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, if desired. Be sure to dry the top thoroughly. Cutting boards should be stored resting on a side, not flat.


How to oil your top:

Since the Tung Oil/Citrus finish penetrates into the wood, the finish can last as long as 3-6 months or more. Simply dribbling a few drops of water onto the surface of the wood top will tell you whether it is time to reapply the finish. If the water beads up, the top is still protected; if the water soaks into the surface, it's time to renew your finish.

To renew your finish, repair any gouges or cuts by sanding lightly, then clean the surface thoroughly, and dry it.

After the top has dried completely, apply a thin layer of the Tung Oil/Citrus finish to all exposed surfaces with a sponge or brush.

Let the finish soak into the wood for 45 minutes, then take a disposable sanding pad and sand the wet surface thoroughly.

Take a clean rag and wipe off every bit of the remaining finish.

Take another clean rag, and using plenty of elbow grease, rub the surface until all of the finish is completely rubbed into the wood.

Let the wood top set overnight before using.


Problem Solving:

Nicks, Scratches, etc; Touch ups can be done at any time. Lightly sand the area and applying more Tung Oil/Citrus finish to the top. Sanding down to bare wood is typically not required.

Color Variations: Dark streaks can occur in wood. These are caused by a natural discoloring of the wood due to mineral deposits in the tree. Other color variations are natural characteristics of the wood. This is not a flaw or problem. It is normal and adds to the individuality of your top