When it comes to choosing a natural-stone surface for kitchen and bathroom counters, homeowners pick granite for more than aesthetic reasons. Some people believe marble looks better than granite, but granite is stronger and more resilient than marble because it’s less porous, thus making it more attractive for countertops. However, it’s still prone to etching.
Understanding Etching on Granite
Since granite is a metamorphic rock, homeowners should expect it to change over time. The nice colors and patterns of granite are the result of geological processes that alter its appearance, many of them chemical reactions. Etching is a chemical reaction that happens to be a more extreme and permanent version of staining. While stains appear to be right on the surface, etching marks look like an optical effect floating just beneath the top.
What Causes Etching?
As previously mentioned, etching is a chemical reaction. It may look like a watermark in the beginning, but it will eventually appear to lower itself as it makes the surface duller. Acidic substances that score far from the neutral pH scale, particularly those found in the kitchen, are the main culprits of granite etching. The alkaline levels of acidic substances such as wine, tomato juice, vinegar, and many common household cleaners will break down the protective seal of granite countertops, thus seeping through the pores and causing a chemical reaction. In the bathroom, many hygiene products and cosmetics may also result in etching.
How to Prevent Etching
Maintaining a strong seal on your granite counters is the best protection against etching. There are other measures you can take as well, but this is the most important. You should never use household cleaners you get from the supermarket to clean granite. Use only a stone-safe granite cleaner. Even if your kitchen counter is a busy food preparation surface, you should be able to prevent staining and etching as long as you quickly wipe all spills and frequently apply natural-stone sealant.
Getting Rid of Etching Marks
Spotting the difference between staining and etching isn’t always easy. A stain that’s right on the surface may look deeper, particularly if the countertop has been polished. For instance, if it’s an oil stain, you can try removal with a mixture of acetone and baking soda. The goal is to make it into a paste with the consistency of pancake batter and spread over the stained area. Leave the paste for 24 hours, then proceed to rinse it with water. If this treatment doesn’t lift the stain, it may be a very persistent stain, or it could be etching and will need to be looked at by a professional stone restoration specialist.
If you need a high-quality granite sealer to protect your countertops, try Granite Gold Sealer®. At Granite Gold®, we offer a wide array of products that are safe to use on granite, marble, travertine, and all other types of natural stone. To learn more, give us a call today at 1-800-475-STONE.
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