(Family Features) Stone countertops and floors, such as granite, marble and other natural stone, can add unrivaled beauty to the home, but require careful maintenance. Here are the proper tips to keep your investment protected so it can be enjoyed for years to come.
The advantages of stone go beyond just its beautiful appearance and the investment in improving a home's value. Natural stone is resistant to scratching, more sanitary than other surfaces, durable, and easy to maintain. But easy does not mean maintenance-free. There are steps homeowners need to take in order to protect their investment.
"Preserving the beauty of natural stone requires proper care and attention," said Lenny Sciarrino, a third-generation stone-care expert and co-founder of Granite Gold brand stone-care products. "In fact, many ordinary cleaners are harsh and abrasive, which will have damaging effects on natural stone surfaces."
Cleaning, sealing and polishing are the three essential steps required to keep natural stone looking as beautiful as the day it was installed.
- Clean often. Even if your surface appears clean, it should be cleaned daily and after every meal preparation. Avoid common cleaners and abrasives, which can break down the protective seal. The result could be costly repairs or even replacement. It's also important to use a cleaner, such as Granite Gold Daily Cleaner, that is pH balanced, non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for use on all food-preparation surfaces.
- Check the integrity of the seal. There is a common misperception that natural stone surfaces can be damaged by too much sealing. However, frequent sealing maintains maximum surface protection, which provides superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil build-up. Check the integrity of the seal of your granite with an at-home water test. Pour enough water on your stone to create a circle 3 inches in diameter then repeat in several different locations. Let the water sit for 30 minutes before wiping it away and checking for any dark marks or rings. These indicate the water is penetrating the stone and it's time to reseal.
- Polish regularly. Polishing your stone after cleaning brings out its natural beauty and reinforces the protective seal, which provides ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. Polishing is particularly important on stone shower walls and tub surrounds to help prevent soap scum build-up. Polishing stone floors is not recommended as it will make the walking surface slick and dangerous.