“How do I clean my countertop?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we get once a countertop has been installed. But, prior to this conversation, we always educate our clients about the unique cleaning and maintenance requirements of various countertop surfaces.
Maybe you’re about to begin your kitchen remodel, or perhaps you’re building a new home and you’re beginning to consider which countertop material to purchase. It’s a big decision! And though aesthetics will play a major role in which surface you choose, care and maintenance is something you should consider!
Natural stones come from the earth in massive blocks and are then cut into slabs. They are some of the most beautiful surfaces in the whole world, and make a kitchen look absolutely stunning! These stones have clad walls, tables, desks, and kitchens for literally thousands of years. Marbles, Quartzites, and Granites.
However, natural stones are “porous”, meaning they have small crevices and holes. These features make natural stones susceptible to staining, burning, and harboring harmful bacteria. So, these surfaces require greater care and maintenance.
For example, marble (especially white marble) is especially susceptible to stains from red wine, coffee, and other strong substances. Granite, though tougher to stain, is very porous and harbors bacteria easily.
So, if you choose natural stone, you need to have it sealed regularly, at least yearly! This is a quick 10-minute process with an inexpensive sealer ($10-20). And be careful to wipe up spills immediately! Always use a cutting board when prepping foods, and we recommend one even when pouring wine or coffee.
Many designers shy away from telling their clients to use natural stone because of these downfalls. However, we often have clients who simply love the warmth and uniqueness of natural stone (we do too!!). So, as long as everyone understands the risks and is willing to care for the stone, then we say go for it!
Quartz has quickly become the #1 option for new kitchens in all the markets where we do business. It’s a combination of natural stone (quartz crystals) and resin (less than 7% in good manufacturers). It is non-porous, so it does not stain or harbor bacteria.
Our clients love quartz because it makes choosing a countertop easier! Since it’s man-made, every slab is exactly the same. So, you don’t necessarily have to see a full slab before choosing a stone. This consistency streamlines the process of choosing a surface for your kitchen countertops.
The ease of maintaining quartz is a key deciding factor for many of our clients. Being 4-6 times harder than granite, and not susceptible to staining or harboring bacteria equals a very low-maintenance product. You can clean quartz with any granite cleaner, surface cleaner, or household cleaner, which makes it super simple to clean day to day, and eliminates the hassle of sealing and protecting.
Other Man-Made Surfaces
A few manufacturers are producing surfaces that are unbelievably durable and can be used in interior or exterior applications. These surfaces can withstand incredible amounts of heat, pressure, and never stain or fade. These require basically no maintenance and can be cleaned with absolutely anything (even acid, they say…but, we wouldn’t recommend it for obvious health reasons!).
Countertop surface preferences have changed over the years, and quartz has risen to dominate the kitchen remodeling world. We love quartz countertops, but we also love helping clients choose a natural stone they love! We’re also big fans of the newer products that allow us to use slabs for outdoor kitchens.
Maintenance and cleaning requirements vary for each product, so make sure you consider maintenance as you choose a surface for your kitchen.
We hope you find the perfect solution for your home!