Your new kitchen counters look beautiful, don’t they? You can keep them that way by using best practices and avoiding common blunders that cause blemishes like stains, cracks and scratches.
Below we’ve listed the most common mistakes that homeowners make with their high-end counters. If you can avoid these errors, you can keep them looking their best for years to come.
1. Using Abrasive Cleaning Materials
Abrasive cleaning products and scouring pads can scratch stone countertops. Most natural stone countertops don’t need to be cleaned with anything other than warm water mixed with dish soap. Use a sponge or soft microfiber cloth to wipe down your counters.
If your countertops are stained, don’t turn to abrasive cleaning products for help. Apply a poultice to the stone to absorb the stain without scratching the surface. You can purchase a poultice from a stone supplier, or you can make your own poultice.
To make your own poultice, flour and hydrogen peroxide together to create a thick paste, then spread the baking soda over the stain. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the paste, then tape the plastic wrap in place with masking tape. Leave the poultice on the countertop overnight, then wipe it away. If the stain is still there, repeat the process.
2. Not Sealing Your Counters
Natural stone is a porous material that will absorb liquids like cooking oil, red wine and soy sauce, if it hasn’t been sealed. Stone sealer is designed to close pores in the stone.
Countertops need to be sealed every 6 months or one year, depending on the type of sealer being used and the type of stone being sealed. Buy your sealer from a countertop supplier, and read the instructions to determine how often your countertops need to be sealed.
Not sure whether your countertops need to be sealed or not? Place a tablespoon of water on the surface and leave it there for 15 minutes, then wipe the water away. If a wet spot remains, this is an indication your counters need to be resealed.
You can learn more about sealing your counters on our website. If your countertops are made of quartz or soapstone, they don’t need to be sealed!
3. Putting On Too Much Weight
Stone is strong, but when placed under too much stress, it will break. If you’re putting too much weight on your counters, you could cause a crack, fracture or chip. Avoid setting anything heavy on an unsupported edge.
Don’t put anything like a heavy microwave or countertop oven on a part of your counters that is unsupported. This applies to all types of counters, including quartz.
If you do break your countertops, talk to your countertop supplier for help.
4. Heating It Up
High heat can cause your counters to crack. Never place a hot pot directly on your counters. Use trivets to protect your counters from high heat. Remember to protect your counters from appliances that emit high heat as well. Place your slow cooker on a trivet to prevent your counters from cracking.
5. Using Your Counters As a Cutting Board
Just as you can scratch your counters with abrasive cleaning materials, you can also scratch your counters with sharp knives. Never use your counters as a cutting board. Use a cutting board for that! Teach your kids and other members of your family to do the same.
On a related note, if you always cut and prepare foods in the same places on your counters, that section of your counter will get worn faster than others, and may need to be sealed more often than unused parts of your counters. Use particular care when preparing foods in these vulnerable sections, and if it’s practical, make a point of rotating your work space to keep the wear even.
6. Not Wiping Up Spills Right Away
Acidic foods and beverages like vinegar, lemon juice and tomato sauce are acidic, which means they can slowly etch into your counters, wearing away the sealer and causing the counters to become stained. Get in the habit of wiping spills as soon as possible to protect your counters from acidic juices and foods that can do damage.
7. Dragging Heavy Items Across Your Counters
Stone can scratch – especially soft stones like marble. Never drag a heavy pot or countertop appliance across your counters. Pick it up! If you need to slide something heavy across your counters, put it on a hot pad first to make sliding easier and to protect your counters from sharp edges.