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Congratulations! You made an excellent choice in countertop materials. If cleaned and treated properly your granite counter will maintain a like-new appearance for not just years but decades. However, the most important word in that sentence remains the word “IF,” as it is just as easy to create an expensive problem by either failing to care for your investment, or diligently servicing it inappropriately. If I have created a cause for concern, my apologies, but a few quick items can save you thousands down the road, at no additional expense or time.
SEALING – Granite is a porous surface. Unless you know your counter was resonated before being fabricated (ask the fabrication house), it will need to be sealed periodically. This process is very easy. Needs only be done every 2 years or so, regardless of sealer manufactures claims that their sealer will last decades or lifetimes, those claims are typically not based on the counter top every being used, and employ chemistry which can be reversed in the presence of an acid – such as exist in many of the fruit juices and fruits we cut on our counters each day. (Ever read one of those warranties – how long are you likely to maintain the original container or proof of purchase?)
Failing to seal, leaves your counter open to staining, typically by cooking oils and greases, and yes even human skin oils as we lean against the edges. This appears as a darkening stain on the stone. While easy to clean off a sealed surface, these stains can become time consuming and expensive to remove once they occur. Removal can take multiple applications of our poultice, with each application lasting 24 hours, meaning your counter is out of service making this time consuming and expensive.
On the other hand, sealing is down every other year, and can be completed in less than 30 minutes, at a material cost that is less than what you would spend at dinner with your significant other.
The most difficult element is remembering you need to seal your counter. Our recommendation – place a post-it note on the inside surface of your cabinet. For this reason, MARBLELIFE offers MARBLELIFE STONE SEALER in a pour one and GRANITE COUNTER SEALER in pump spray application. In either case it is formulated to be a wipe on – wait 2 minutes – wipe off process. Our sealer is so effective you can literally seal something as porous as toilet paper. (Go ahead try it – apply it let it dry on a towel over night and tomorrow you can roll a bead of water endlessly cross that sealed piece of paper – great summer project with the kids).
Cleaning is easy. We all know how to wipe down a counter, but most people do not realize that what we use may create a problem downstream.
Glass cleaners for example are not recommended for granite. Glass cleaners contain microwaxes designed to fill in cracks in mirrors and windows to provide a clear see-through appearance, but on granite over time those same waxes pile up until you have a wax surface which appears dull and traps dirt. This is often perceived as a loss in gloss, when in fact, one needs to strip the cleaning residue from the counter.
Do not use a solvent base cleaner. More and more granite is being resonated, which means that a polyester resin in literally vacuumed through the slab. This was done in order to allow more brittle stones to survive the transportation across the ocean without being damaged, but has an excellent secondary benefit of sealing the slab. Unfortunately, there are no standards or requirements to disclose that a slab has been resonated. If it has that resin is susceptible to attack from solvents. Once removed the surface can appear rough and pitted with many granites. A get calls a couple times of year from people you have left a can of solvent on a counter, and now have a white circle or area where the resin has been removed. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done in these circumstances. Grinding can result in a cupped stone and reapplications tend to lack strength given how thin a layer is missing.
What is needed is a surfactant based cleaner capable of breaking water tension to allow the cleaner to penetrate the porous surface and flush out oil deposits. MARBLELIFE GRANITE & QUARTZ CLEANER is just such a product, developed to facilitate our professional restoration and care crews to get on and off jobs as quickly as possible without doing damage but leaving a clean oil free surface. (Want to be amazed apply to oil to a mirror, then spray on our cleaner and with a wipe you have a streak free oil free surface.)
MAINTAIN GLOSS – Gloss is not created with a coating or topical treatment to granite (unless someone is seeking to cover a flaw). Instead it results from the surface being ground, honed and polished to a mirror consistency that will allow light to bounce off it true without scattering. Its not what you put ON that delivers gloss but rather keeping everything OFF. Waxes, oils, dirt and debris spoil the surfaces mirror reflectivity. The good news is all you need is the right cleaner – MARBLELIFE GRANITE & QUARTZ CLEANER.
It is rare that we encounter a spoiled surface due to a nefarious act. It is much more common that problems are created by someone with the highest of intentions, but insufficient knowledge. As such, if you have someone come in to care for your granite, marble and tile, specify what cleaners you want used by name. MARBLELIFE stands behind our products. We have 40 offices staffed with more than 100 trained craftsman addressing restoration jobs every day. 1 in 5 residential jobs is the result of an unintended error with an inappropriate cleaner. When it doubt call MARBLELIFE we are only to happy to assist you in selecting an appropriate product to prevent a restoration, or to assist you in overcoming or correcting an existing situation.
Our best advice, is to select the appropriate products for your granite, tile and marble surfaces. Keep in mind, just because it says its safe, does not mean that steady use will not have ill effects. MARBLELIFE is so sure of our products, we offer our maintenance customers a guarantee that if we are maintaining their property and they are using our products they will NEVER need to restore it again. If maintaining a quality appearance is important to you, and you have a high traffic property, call us to discuss a maintenance program. If you are carrying for a single residence call us for guidance and answers to your questions on how to care for your particular surface.
Call MARBLELIFE at (888) 524-3372 or visit us online to secure your FREE ESTIMATE at www.MARBLELIFE.com or to www.MARBLELIFEPRODUCTS.com to secure the care products appropriate to your surface, and your desire for an easy effective cleaning solution.