With so many countertop styles and finishes now available, it may take some time to decide which is the right fit for your kitchen or bathroom remodel depending on your design aesthetic, budget and lifestyle needs when it comes to maintenance. Granite used to be the #1 choice for homeowners, but these days the choices of quartz (engineered stone), soapstone and marble widen the options. Each comes with their own unique needs, however, when it comes to after care and maintenance.
A home remodel is a big financial investment and countertops are a big line item in any remodeling budget. Once your project is complete and the dust has settled, we’re here to help with care advice so your beautiful new kitchen or bathroom countertops stay that way for you to enjoy for years to come.
Care and Maintenance of Quartz (Engineered Stone)
Not one but two islands with Silestone quartz countertops in “Calacatta Gold” from EuroStoneCraft in this home remodel in Herndon, VA. See more of this project here.
Now one of the most popular and go-to choices when it comes to home remodeling, quartz countertops are hard to beat from not only a design perspective, but also because quartz countertops are virtually maintenance free – score! Whether you have Silestone, Cambria, Caesarstone or Zodiaq countertops, maintenance is much the same. Note: quartz countertops do not require sealing and should never be sealed.
For polished quartz countertops, use a mild household cleaner. In case of stubborn spills or stains, soak the area for up to 10 minutes with one of the same cleaners and vigorously wipe away with a non scratch Scotch Brite® pad.
A few ‘Dos and Don’ts’ When It comes to Quartz Countertop Care
- avoid excessive force or pressure that could mar or chip or the surface
- do use trivets/pot stands when placing hot items on your countertops to avoid thermal shock and burning of the resin in all quartz countertops
- do not use or expose quartz products to products including, but not limited to, bleach, oven cleaners, Comet®,Soft Scrub®, SOS®, products with pumice, batteries, paint removers, furniture strippers, tarnish or silver cleaners, etc.
- do not apply any sealers, penetrants or topical treatments to quartz countertops under any circumstances. These types of products will wear off and cause the gloss to appear dull or inconsistent
Care and Maintenance of Soapstone Countertops
Image Courtesy Helen Norman
Unique and beautiful, soapstone is very dense and non-porous. Soapstone countertops do not require sealing and are almost impervious to staining. The only maintenance required for soapstone countertops is the application of stone/carnauba wax or mineral oil to enhance the natural darkening process of the soapstone. When you apply stone wax or oil, it is mainly for oxidizing and enhancing the stone and it does not act as a sealer. Once the stone wax or mineral oil is applied, the stone will turn into a very dark charcoal gray, sometimes black. Oftentimes, varieties of soapstone will keep a hint of green.
Soapstone is so dense, it is immune to scorches so a pot lifted right from the stove can be placed on it without harm. Any household cleaner can be used to clean soapstone counter surfaces. However, harsher solvents may remove any wax or oil treatments, resulting in additional maintenance.
One downside of soapstone countertops is the stone is soft and may scratch. For some homeowners, this adds even more uniqueness and a desirable patina. If it really does bother you, most scratches can be hidden by reapplying stone wax lightly. For deep scratches, some sanding may be required. For best results, use 120 grit sandpaper or steel wool and sand the scratch in a circular motion until the scratch is almost gone. Then, using 220-grit sandpaper do the same thing, this time using water. Clean the countertop and reapply stone wax in stages until you reach the final color.
Care and Maintenance of Granite Countertops
Cosmos “River White” granite from EuroStoneCraft are perfect in this home remodel in Vienna, VA. See more of this local kitchen remodel here.
Many countertop installers use products such as CrystaSeal or other high quality specially formulated sealers on granite countertops. This is usually applied both before and after the installation of the granite countertop. If a high quality product like this isn’t used, the countertop will need to be resealed frequently.
The frequency with which granite countertops need to be resealed may increase depending on the type of cleaning products you use. Read more below about the best way to clean granite countertops to prolong the life of the sealer.
Cleaning Granite Countertops is simple. In general, cleaning granite countertops is easy as granite is relatively maintenance-free and does not stain. However, since granite is a natural stone and somewhat porous, it should not be exposed to any type of liquid for a prolonged period of time. Avoid exposing your stone surface to oils, citric acids, oven cleaners, paint remover or any other harsh chemicals.
Common care for granite involves only periodic washing with clean, potable water and a neutral (PH7) detergent soap or cleaners specially made for stone cleaning. Rinse thoroughly with clean, potable water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner solution. Dry all granite countertops or vanity tops with a soft cloth and allow to thoroughly air dry.
A luxurious spa-like retreat. This bathroom vanity was paired with a natural marble countertop in “Calacatta Carrara” (from Cosmos Granite & Marble). See more of this home remodel in Reston, VA here.
Beautiful to look at and resulting in a high end, luxe finish, marble is hard to refuse. However, in addition to the increased cost, marble is not as maintenance-free as other countertop finishes. It is more prone to scratching and staining if it is not cared for properly. Many common foods and beverages contain acids which could etch or stain the surface of a marble countertop. Spills of any type should be immediately wiped up and the area should be washed. Washing should be done with clean, soft cloths and lukewarm water. Occasionally, a mild detergent or cleaners specially made for marble may be used.
Never use products that contain lemon, vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other acids on a marble countertop. Do not use scouring powders or creams as these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. It is recommended that marble countertops are resealed more frequently than granite.
To clean marble countertops, use clean potable water and neutral PH balanced detergent, or specially-formulated for marble cleaning products.
Need tips for other items in your home like stainless steel care, kitchen or bathroom cabinet maintenance or hardwood wood floor maintenance? Read A Quick Guide to Home Remodeling After Care and Maintenance or check out our home remodeling Resources Page.
As one of the best home remodeling companies in the area, we’ve got every aspect of your home remodel covered! Ready to start a conversation about what’s possible in your home? Give us a call! We offer FREE home remodeling consultations and there is never any obligation. Get in touch here.