Granite is one of the hardest materials on earth and is composed primarily of quartz, feldspar and mica. Other minerals may be present in the stone creating its unique colours, textures and patterns. Granites can be pink to gray in colour, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy.
Granite is igneous rock, taken from the Latin word ‘igneus’ meaning of fire as the formation of granite involves molten magma cooling after being expelled from a lava flow or volcanic eruption.
This hardwearing stone is used as a material for granite worktops as it is more resistant to scratches, acids, stains and heat than marble. It is long-lasting, durable and available in a wide variety of colours, textures and unique crystal patterns that can help create a warm and inviting environment to a kitchen or bathroom.
Whereas granite is more durable and hardwearing, marble works beautifully especially in the bathroom and it is generally seen as a warmer, more inviting stone surface, where the veining patterns that appear can be used to create exquisite designs.
Marble is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock. Metamorphism causes variable recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. Marble is sensitive to acidic foods such as vinegar, lemon, tomatoes, wine, as well as some tile cleaners, mildew removers and other materials and chemicals commonly found in the kitchen or bathroom (especially cleaning products) and their use on marble will dull a polished finish.
What special care do stone worktops require?
Whilst stone such as granite worktops and quartz worktops are extremely durable ithey do need to be maintained and marble surfaces should be sealed once or twice a year but owing to their porosity, they are not the best material for kitchen counter tops and work surfaces. They are however, very common in the bathroom, more so than granite.
Granites should be sealed once a year, and there are some suppliers that can seal the stone using an anti-bacterial sealant which gives that added health factor in reducing the number of bacteria in the kitchen.
It must be noted that using a sealer does not make the stone un-stainable. Many people think that granite is invincible and will never scratch nor stain. The sealant simply fills the pores in the stone and in doing so, makes the staining process slower, thus giving you more time to clean a spill before a stain sets in. Otherwise, good care advice would be to clean regularly, and don’t use acidic or abrasive cleaners that will dull the finish over time.
Whilst stone is extremely durable it does need to be maintained and whilst it can be difficult to scratch it can still be damaged. As stated, cleaning after use with a non-bleach cleaner will keep the worktops in good condition, and hot pans shouldn’t be placed directly on a stone surface as they can crack or damage the worktop in time.
As with most kitchen surfaces, care should be taken to protect them from potentially damaging activities. It is far more sensible to have a wooden chopping board to place hot pans on as a £10-20 piece of wood will be easier on the budget to replace with wear and tear, placing hot pans on it etc, than several feet of granite or quartz.
Can I cut directly on my granite worktop?
Only if you want to ruin your good knives and risk getting scratches should you use the granite worktops or quartz worktop as a chopping board.
It isn’t easy to damage stone surface such as granite, but it must be understood, that they are not invincible and can be damaged. Best advice would be always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board. You wouldn’t regard a chopping board as a fixture and fitting so by all means go crazy with the chopping and cutting, safe in the knowledge that your worktop has a barrier protecting it from scratches. It is far easier to come to terms with damaging a chopping board, than it is the worktop.
For those who simply want the best, even chopping boards, most stone masons will be more than happy to offer a slab of the same material as your work surface, cut down to size for use as a granite or quart chopping board.
Can granite and quartz worktops be repaired?
Reasonable damage can be repaired such as small cracks or chips so you may not need to perform a costly replacement.
It must be said that if the stone is chipped, you should always try to save the piece that is chipped off. There are some repair kits on the market to repair stone kitchen surfaces but any filled or repaired chip will never be completely invisible. There are also some companies that offer a professional granite repair service so damaging your granite worktop may not necessarily be the end of the world you think it is at the time.
Ultimate Kitchens have a fantastic range of kitchens, appliances, lighting and some of the best granite worktops available on the market to suit most budgets. See in store, or call 01925 255500 for more details on our ‘free design visit’.
About Ultimate Kitchens – Ultimate have a vast showroom just off Junction 9 of the M62 and althou within easy reach of Chester, Ellesmere Port, Manchester, Warrington and many other places in the North West, we also offer a ‘free planning and design home visit’ to all of the North West. For more info on Kitchens Manchester, Chester, Ellesmere Port or other NW locations, simply call and book an appointment for some of the best in UK Kitchen Design.