As an owner of natural-stone countertops, there’s one thing you should always keep in mind: all natural-stone materials installed in your home are bound to change to some degree. Your stone counters will look better with proper care, but it’s still possible to damage them if you aren’t careful. Cracks are among the many things that can happen to natural-stone surfaces, and in some cases they can naturally occur.
Cracking and Breaking in Nature
At rock quarries around the world, workers and masons look for existing cracks and fissures when they plan to extract blocks that will eventually be cut into slabs and tiles. The assessment of the cracks will determine how they should approach extraction. In some cases, a large fissure will allow easier cutting. In others, it may cause the block to split into uneven pieces. Once blocks are extracted, a further determination will be made as to how they should be cut to disguise the more prominent natural cracks, which are boundaries of crystalline materials pushing against each other.
Natural-Stone Slabs Aren’t Perfect
With granite countertops, the sum of their imperfections is what makes them look stunning. Granite slabs and tiles tend to be filled with cracks and fissures that blend with the colorful veining during the finishing process. These cracks are more noticeable with surfaces that have been finished with a brushing process, and they’re ideal when you’re going for a rustic look.
Preventing Cracks from Getting Larger
If you can see one crack or fissure on your natural-stone countertops, you should assume there are more you cannot see, and it’s in your best interest to prevent them from finding each other and merging. Constant heat and moisture exposure has the potential of triggering more, particularly for softer stones. You should consider contacting a stone restoration specialist for an on-site evaluation. Placing a hot pot or a baking sheet coming right out of the oven onto a stone countertop should always be avoided, and the same goes for a hot curling iron in the bathroom.
The Risk of Unsealed Countertops
Natural-stone fissures can be unpredictable, particularly when the surface lacks a protective seal. For example, overly acidic substances can trigger a chemical reaction if they seep through the pores. This may not happen immediately, but the reaction could result in a widening of the fissure, which is why frequent applications of granite sealer to your countertops can prevent future cracks. It’s also important to maintain a proper seal and caulking around sinks and backsplashes. If water enters or gets behind the stone, it can expand the plywood sub-top and cause stress on the stone. Since the areas nearest sinks and backsplashes are the weakest points in the stone, water damage in these areas will have the greatest impact on pre-existing fissures and fine cracks.
If you’re installing new natural-stone or quartz countertops in your home, you can purchase a protection plan from Granite Gold®, which covers accidental damage such as stains, chips, etching, hard water marks, scratches, and much more. You can choose to purchase with your installer for a 5-year plan or visit a local Home Depot for the 10-year plan. If accidental damage occurs to your stone counters, we send someone out to repair it at no additional cost. To learn more about our protection plan, or for tips on how to clean natural stone such as granite, marble, travertine, and slate, reach out to the Stone Care Experts today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).
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