Natural stone is known for its beauty and elegance and has been used in homes and construction for centuries. Each slab is a unique masterpiece so its color and characteristics will vary from lot to lot. While a small sample can give you an idea of what to expect, it will never capture the true depth of a stone’s color or character or how it will enhance the natural beauty of your home.
There are many different types of stones including granite, quartzite, marble, soapstone, and countless gradations between them. We always recommend viewing your stone in person in order to receive care and maintenance information most pertinent to the stone you choose, however there are some general recommendations that can apply in a number of settings.
Sealing your granite, quartzite, and marble countertops is important to maintain and enhance its natural beauty and integrity. However, it will not make your countertops stain or etch proof as they are still a naturally porous product. Sealing your countertops will, however, provide a level of protection to allow time to clean up spills before they start to set in. Spills should still be wiped up in a timely manner. You will need to re-seal your stone every 1-5 years as needed (depending on the color and conditions on site). To test whether it is time to re-seal your countertops, sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface. Your surface is well sealed if the water beads up and stays like that for 10-20 minutes and does not darken the stone after 30 minutes. If the stone is darkening, it is absorbing the water and additional sealer is required.
In contrast, soapstone is virtually non-porous and does not need to be sealed, but will naturally darken with age, giving it a beautiful patina. This effect can be expedited with the use of mineral oil or soapstone wax to enhance the dark tones and veining that soapstone is known for.
Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner, stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. We recommend that you avoid ammonia or bleach based cleaners. Similar to any item cleaned in your home, an excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Products containing lemon, vinegar, or other acids may dull or etch calcerous stones like marbles, quartzites, or travertines. Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones. Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydroflouric acid which attacks silicates in addition to other minerals and can damage all stones, including granite and quartzite.
In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon of water). Frequent use or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of some stone types.
We recommend that you DO NOT place hot pots and/or dishes directly on your stone. Extreme changes in temperature can cause thermal shocking resulting in crackling/clouding of the finish or the actual cracking of your countertop.
The scratch resistance of natural stone can vary greatly from one material to the next. Harder stones like granite and quartzite are likely to dull knives or other kitchen tools, while marbles and soapstones are relatively soft and can be scratched by even gentle use. We recommend the use of cutting boards and that you avoid dragging objects across the surface of your stone.