If you are planning a major kitchen remodeling project, before choosing your final countertops, consider the maintenance requirements of each material. Each style of countertop requires different care. You may prefer a low-maintenance work surface. Or you may decide you can put in the extra time to keep an elegant countertop looking nice. Here is what you can expect to do to take care of the most popular countertop materials.
This stone is very porous so care should be used in the cleaning solutions selected. Start by wiping the counter with a soft cloth and warm water. Dry the surface with another soft cloth. Marble can develop water spots if left wet. For tough spots, use a mild dish soap or an ammonia/water mixture. Always wipe off the surface with a damp cloth after using chemicals on the marble.
Acidic materials, such as wine and tomato sauce, can leave stains which can etch the marble. Stains should be cleaned up immediately. If the stain has set, create a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the stain. Allow the paste to dry, them wipe it up with a damp cloth. Commercial marble stain removers are available that are safe for your countertop.
This material is also very porous but not as prone to staining as marble. Try cleaning the surface first with a damp cloth and mild dish soap. Wipe the surface again with a damp cloth then dry. Water spots will appear dark but will disappear when the countertop dries completely.
Acidic foods will etch granite surfaces, but they tend not to be as apparent as on marble. Such spills should be cleaned up quickly, though, to prevent permanent staining and etching. The same baking soda mixture made for marble will work to remove any traces of acidic stains. There are also commercial granite cleaners available to keep the countertop looking nice.
This is another popular surface made from a hard architectural stone called soaprock. This countertop is more resistant to acidic stains than other natural stones. A damp cloth with a mild dish soap will clean up most spills and stains. Mild abrasives can be used and the surface can be wet-sanded lightly to remove scratches. Wiping the surface with mineral oil will add some protection against spills and also deepen the natural gray appearance of the material.
These surfaces are made from recycled paper or wood mixed with plastic resins. The key to keeping these surfaces clean is regular sealing with mineral oil. Wipe the surface with a dry cloth, or use a damp cloth with a small amount of mild dish soap for tough spots. Do not use abrasive cleansers on composite surfaces.
Vinegar and water will remove acidic stains. These surfaces can actually be sanded to remove scratches. Oil the surface after sanding to restore the smooth finish.
Don't just pick a countertop based on its appearance. Consider the daily cleaning and maintenance. Each of these materials, available from a company like Precision Builders, will be a beautiful addition to your kitchen, if you are willing to take care of them the right way.