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December 14, 2013

How To Clean & Maintain Granite Countertops

Thanks for joining us, guys. I’m Greg Fox, owner of Fox Granite Countertops. And today, for our video blog series, we’re covering the maintenance and cleaning of your countertops.
We all love granite– it’s beautiful. We install it. You’re so happy. The idea is 5 to 10 to 15 years later, you will be just as happy with how it looks. So there’s a couple things that we do on our end. And it’s good for you to do, once we hand you the ball and install them to make sure that it looks the same down the road.

The first thing that we’re going to do, and one of the questions you’ll have is, how do I maintain my countertops for the next god knows how many years? Well we’re going to start off by giving you the highest rated seal on the market called the DuPont Bulletproof Sealer. It’s supposedly a 15-year sealer. Me, I’m conservative. So if something says 15– and I believe it– I still probably want to come back through the five years after we apply the sealer. And I would probably want my customer to reapply a sealer.

At that point, you’re welcome to call us and say, hey Greg, I’d rather pay you to come by and reapply the same quality sealer. Or if you want to Home Depot and buy the most expensive sealer they have there for about $40 for a quart, you can buy one of those. You take it back to your house, you apply it in any number of ways. You take a rag, you soak it. You wipe it down, you let it sit for five minutes. You wipe it off, it’s a done deal. Apply two or three coats at once. And with that sealer, I would come back every year or so. It’s not a 15-year sealer. That’s to keep stains away.

Another question we had was, how do I know if there’s damage, and what I do about it? You want to catch damage before it happens. So water is a great indicator of whether you have a countertop that has the potential to be damaged by stuff that’s more permanent, like oil, red wine, salsa. We do the water test at my house. Which is a couple of drops of water– couple beads. And I just put it on the countertop. I let it soak in. And if that water changes color over about two minutes, then you have an area on your countertop that needs to be resealed. That means that sealer’s not protecting. Nothing should be sucked into your countertop. So that change of color is the water being sucked into it.

Also what a lot of people do is they’ll put the beads on there. If it doesn’t soak in after two minutes, they’ll actually take a little fan or they’ll go up to the countertop and actually blow the water down the countertop. And if you blow those beads all the way down a couple of feet, you know your countertop is holding the water tight above the surface. The funny thing about countertops– I know we’re getting kind of technical and this might be really long for you guys, but I want you to know the facts. Just because one area needs more sealer, it doesn’t mean the other areas do. So you have to go to a couple different sectors of your kitchen and do this test.

I would do it on my own before a stain happens because once a stain like oil or like we said, wine gets in, that can be removed. But it’s costly. You have to pay us to do it. And it takes time.
So take water, which will not damage your countertops– it will get sucked in if there’s a problem and it will eventually dissipate. And always test your countertops every six months to a year.

Another question that you all had about maintaining your countertops was, what do I use for a cleaner? How do I keep it shiny? Great question. What you don’t use is bleach. You don’t use anything abrasive. You don’t use anything with grit on it that would take off the sheen. What you do use is only a countertop cleaner that specifically says natural stone, or more importantly, granite. You can find this at H-E-B, your local supermarket. You can also find it at the Home Depot or Lowe’s. Buy that daily cleaner. That’s what you’ll use every day to spray on or wipe off . excess dirt and food. And once a week or once every two weeks, you buy a polisher. A polisher’s a separate thing from your cleaner. That polisher does one job, which is make it shine.

In the process of cleaning the countertops, that daily cleaner is going to deposit a little bit of chemicals. It’s unavoidable. It’s going to stain the countertops. Those chemicals create a little of a haze. And you want to take that polisher to take that haze off so it’s nice and shiny. So you do the right cleaner, the right polisher, and then test your countertops ahead of time to catch potential areas that need to be resealed by you guys. You will do preventive measures to make sure these countertops look exactly the same, 15 to 30 years down the road. Which they can and they will.

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