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Protecting the investment of granite countertops

Installing granite countertops is one of the wisest decisions that a homeowner can make, because it adds so much value to the home. Many people choose granite slabs as a material in their kitchens because it is the most durable stone behind diamonds.  Homeowner can increase their asking price when they sell the home if they have invested in granite countertop installation because of the durability and beauty. A homeowner can expect to keep their granite countertops for years to come, as long as they have taken the right steps to install and maintain them.   The longevity of granite countertops makes the pricey investment worthwhile, so maintenance is important. No stone is completely indestructible, so even the best kitchen countertops have to be treated with special care. Different granite slabs are composed of different minerals because of their natural origins, so manufacturers can provide special instructions for each purchase. Granite slabs receive a polished finish or honed finish. The honed finish is not recommended for kitchen use. A polished finish is easier to maintain with regular care, including proper cleaning and the use of sealers to prevent stains. Granite countertops are sealed during the initial installation, and they should be resealed at least once every year to maintain the investment.    Granite kitchen countertops with a polished finish need daily attention as to what is placed on the surface. Granite countertops are very hard and can withstand a hot liquid being spilled on them, but polished surfaces are a more delicate. No granite countertop should be used as a regular cutting surface. Home cooks should also avoid acidic foods such as lemon juice, vinegar and soft drinks, because they can etch the surface. Harsh cleaning products or abrasive cleansers should also be avoided; a small amount of warm water with a ph balanced dishwashing liquid should be used instead. Cooks should also avoid dragging pots, pans or appliances across the stone, because the different minerals might crack slightly. Dragging something across the granite countertop might scratch the polished surface, which in turn allows more stains. In addition to annual resealing, regular polishing will also keep the granite finish gleaming. Granite fabricators can recommend a sealant to use. A stone sealer should not penetrate the stone, as it will create a cloudy surface that will have to be removed by stripping the entire countertop with harsh solvents. If a minor damage should occur on the granite countertop, it can be resolved by the homeowner. A grey or black mark left by a hot pan can be polished out using fine steel wool, or glue can be scrapes off with a credit card or single sided razor blade. If the granite is chipped or cracked, a professional should be called in to perform invisible repairs.