Granite countertops are highly sought after and with good reason. They can add to a home’s value and are naturally beautiful. Granite is available in many colors so that you can find varieties to suit almost any kitchen decor. All that said, there are some questions about its ability to withstand high heat and its potential to crack when hot pans are placed on its surface.
How Resilient is Granite?
Granite is more durable than most other countertop materials and in most places, you can see its durability reflected in its price point. It is not a cheap material. Granite’s main selling point is its heat-resistance. It won’t burn or scorch the way wood or plastic might.
Granite is the product of high-pressure geological processes and temperatures that can range up to 2,400 degrees. Since you are unlikely to ever place something on top of your countertop that exceeds 2,400 degrees, you probably won’t be able to damage your granite countertop with a hot pan or two. However, that doesn’t mean that routinely resting hot objects on it is a good idea.
Granite is tougher and more stain-resistant than other popular countertop materials, other including high-end ones like marble. While a laminate countertop will discolor almost immediately after contact with a hot object, a granite one won’t; however, it won’t withstand it indefinitely. Placing pans onto a sealed granite countertop without some form of protection will eventually cause problems.
Along with being heat-resistant (though not heat-proof), granite doesn’t scratch easily. When properly sealed and maintained, it will last for years in pristine condition. When granite is properly sealed, you won’t need to reseal it more than once per decade but some granite will need an annual application of sealant.
How Heat and Temperature Variations Affect Granite Countertops
While direct heat might not affect the granite itself, it can very quickly damage the sealant that coats it. If it is not sealed, granite becomes vulnerable to stains from spilled food and beverages.
Direct flame can damage your countertop under certain specific circumstances. For example, a flame can cause granite to break if there was a crack or chip in the stone. Breaking might occur even if the crack or chip is too small to see with the naked eye. This type of break only occurs with direct flame and it is not likely that a hot baking dish will cause it.
Spills are not the only way that you can stain your granite, the sealer itself can cause stains in some cases. If you place an extremely hot object onto your countertop, you can burn the sealant. The sealant is made of wax, which burns if you get it hot enough. Burned sealant won’t damage the granite, but can leave an unsightly mark that will be very difficult to remove.
Granite can crack because of extreme temperature variations. If you were to place something very cold on your countertop then remove it and place something very hot in that same spot, it might develop a crack. The same thing would happen if you were to follow a very hot item with a frozen one. If you find yourself needing to place hot and cold objects on your countertop, it is best to let the granite cool down or warm up gradually in between extremes.
Protecting Your Granite Countertops
While granite is a heavy-duty material, it is not indestructible. Protect your investment by using hot pads and potholders when you have to place hot objects on your countertop. You should use these items only after taking the most important protective step of all: applying a sealant to the surface. Use a sealant specially formulated for granite.
With a potholder or hot pad in place, you don’t have to worry about placing hot pans on your countertop since the pans won’t directly come into contact with the sealer. If there is no sealer, there is no real risk of damaging the countertop with heat but you do run the risk of staining it. Sealant blocks the pores in the stone surface so that they don’t absorb liquid while also giving it a glass-like sheen.
Granite countertops are supposed to last for many years. The point of getting one is so that you don’t have to worry about replacing it for a very long time. If you would like to learn more about what goes into maintaining and protecting a granite countertop to ensure its longevity, message us via our form.