Granite has been one of the most popular material choices for beautiful kitchen and bathroom countertops for over 40 years now. Since granite is a natural stone, its surface has gorgeous and rich deeply seated color variations and is known for its stunning veining patterns throughout that gives the granite a luxurious and elegant look and feel.
Can Water Damage Granite Countertops?
It is crucial to remember that granite, though strong and resilient, is not indestructible, and proper care and maintenance of this natural stone is necessary to keep its natural luster and shine. So, does water damage granite countertops?
Understanding the Natural Stone Makeup of Granite is Key
No two slabs of granite are exactly the same. This is due to the somewhat porous nature of this natural stone’s makeup allowing it to soak up small amounts of moisture from rainfall, melting snow and exposure to nearby water over time when still in its natural environment.
The Scientific Weathering Process of Granite Explained
To better understand why granite requires some care and maintenance to remain beautiful and retain its resilient properties, we must first understand the scientific weathering process of granite while still in its natural environment.
Granite in nature is exposed to the elements, and this stone experiences both physical weathering effects over time and frost weathering.
Frost weathering occurs when water gets into those inner cracks and fissures of this natural stone that will then freeze and thaw causing the stone to expand and contract as weather and outdoor temperature changes through the years.
In time, this can cause the granite to crack and deteriorate if the damage is severe enough and sustained for long periods of time.
Granite Countertops Require Initial & Maintenance Sealing
When sealed properly before use, granite is able to tolerate hot pans laid on its surface, and this material also resists surface scratches better than softer materials like marble, laminates and other types of popular countertop materials.
How Chemical Weathering Can Impact Granite Surfaces
Many household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals or acidic substances that can harm granite countertops and cause damage.
Common Substances Known to Damage Granite Surfaces
There are a number of different substances that are known to damage granite surfaces like kitchen countertops, backsplashes and bathroom counter/vanity surfaces. Use caution with the following granite damaging substances:
- Harsh chemicals
- Red wine
- Berries like blueberries, blackberries, etc.
- Acidic or citric juices like tomato, grape, pineapple, orange,
- Coffee or teas
- Carbonated sodas
- Staining condiments like mustard, ketchup
- Toothpaste on granite bathroom surfaces
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Makeup & other staining toiletries
- Cooking oils or other staining substances or spills
How Water Can Stain & Damage Granite After Sealing
Although once granite is initially coated with the proper sealant while in the factory process stage, water spills and other substances can still damage the sealant and eventually stain the granite if these spills are not cleaned up quickly with a gentle cleanser and cleaning process.
To avoid water and other granite surface stains, be sure to avoid leaving cold or hot glasses and cups directly on a granite surface for too long of a time. Use coasters, and wipe up water and other liquid spills quickly.
How To Gently Clean Water Stains from Granite Counters
Sometimes, even with the proper precautions, water stains might be found on your granite surfaces like countertops from time to time. These should be gently cleaned with a mild detergent safe for granite counters using a soft cloth or gentle scouring pad.
Use this process for stubborn water stain clean up:
- Clean countertops daily with mild cleanser approved for granite
- Use a soft-bristled brush with gentle strokes for deeper stains
- Make a gentle poultice paste of backing soda a water
- Apply above paste to stain & cover with plastic wrap taped down for 24 hours until dry
- Remove paste gently with a damp soft cloth
- Dry area gently with a soft cloth
- Repeat if the stain is still visible
Watch for signs that your granite countertops need to be resealed.
Use extra caution when using or working with staining foods, beverages, personal care items, and harsh cleaning products while near your granite surfaces.