Natural stone is a very robust material, but to keep it looking beautiful it does need to be treated with a little care. Just like any other material, a natural stone kitchen benchtop, bathroom vanity, floor or wall cladding will be subject to wear from physical and environmental conditions, or be exposed to substances that could alter its appearance. For many, these visible signs of wear or patina are welcomed as they bring character, but for those who would prefer their stone finish to appear unblemished, a more stringent care program is recommended.
What are the main stone types for kitchen benchtops?
Do they all require the same care?
Marble requires the most attention, followed by dolomite, granite and quartzite.
What makes marble more damage-prone?
Like all natural materials some types of stone are more prone to damage than others. The porous nature of unsealed marble means it absorbs liquids quickly, which can result in stains. It is also considered less resistant to scratches and chipping than other natural stones. That aside, marble is a popular choice for its unmatched beauty and high resistance to heat.
How does sealing stone help?
The sealant seeps into the stone and forms a protective layer that repels spills and stains. It’s crucial that any natural stone surface is sealed before use as it will mitigate the risk of permanent blemishes. There are many different types of sealant available, but we find that a natural sealant is a popular choice as it allows the stone to retain its natural colour, tone and texture.
How often should I seal my stone benchtops?
This really depends on how you clean your stone, how often and the type of cleaning products you use. Most supermarket cleaning products are acidic, which will decay and dissolve the sealant over time. The less acidity you expose your stone to, the longer the sealant will last. If you avoid these acidic cleaning products and regularly look after your stone, you should only have to reapply sealant every two to three years.
Can I do it myself?
Most stonemasons will do this for you when they are cutting and preparing your stone – it is in their best interest to make sure the stone is as protected as possible. For ongoing maintenance, you can definitely seal stone yourself. However, our advice would be to consult your stonemason beforehand to ensure you use the most appropriate sealant for the application.
How should I clean my stone benchtops?
Clean a sealed stone surface with a clean, soft cloth and a little water or with a small amount of pH-neutral cleaner. Always avoid acidic cleaning products.
Is it important to dry them?
Yes. If liquids are left on a stone surface for a prolonged period of time they could potentially penetrate the surface and leave a mark.
How should I deal with spills and stains?
Wipe up food and beverage spillages as soon as possible, otherwise they may compromise the effectiveness of the sealant and seep into the stone.
How should I deal with stains that have already penetrated the stone?
It is possible to remedy them, but you’ll need to call in a professional. If the stone is well-sealed, then any potential for stains will be limited. And if the worst does happen, the defect will be sitting quite close to the surface, which will make remedying it much easier.
Can I cut straight onto natural stone?
Yes, but it can blunt your knives so it’s not recommended.
Will hot items damage natural stone?
Most of the time it shouldn’t cause any damage, but it’s not recommended – especially if you have a white marble benchtop.
What about acidic foods such as lemon?
It’s best to avoid having your stone interact with acids of any kind, including lemons.
Can I replace chipped, damaged or stained portions of natural stone – and is it very expensive?
Stone can be re-honed and repaired by professionals. In terms of cost, it will depend greatly on the severity of the damage, but it’s likely to be considerably less than replacing the stone.
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