Whether you’re planning to do a full-kitchen renovation or a simple remodel, your countertops should not go ignored. This is the area (other than the floors) that is used the most. You use it to prepare food, hold kitchen items and to eat on. In the past, there were fewer variations of granite countertops to choose from. It’s gone from just a few local quarries to a wide array of styles, colors and cuts. Whichever type you decide to buy for your home, you’ll end up with a durable product that lasts years and years (with good care, of course). If you’re looking to make your kitchen décor pop, then granite stone is the material to consider.

Don’t Use an Under-Mount Sink

To help drive down the costs for your granite countertop, consider not using an under-mount sink. To accommodate this, the contractor would have to cut the granite slab in a way that fits that specific style of sink. More cutting will have to be done, which will drive up the cost for your counter. If you have an under-mount sink, consider having a different style installed. You’ll need to have this installed before you purchase the granite countertop.

Go with a Thick Slab

There are different thicknesses you can select for your granite counter. Obviously, the thinner pieces, which are typically ¾ inches are more flimsy and are more fragile. To add stability, they require laminate edges and supports. Sure, these are easier on your pockets, but in the long haul, it will lead to issues that could be more costly. Like repairing cracks and chips. Damage is definitely more likely to occur whenever the thickness is less than an inch. Instead, you should go with a countertop that is at least an inch thick. You will have to pay more now, but you’ll love the superior quality!

Look for Hairline Cracks

Don’t settle for a countertop that is less than perfect. Take a close look at your new slab to ensure there are no hairline cracks. Some people shrug these off or don’t look altogether. These hairline cracks can grow into larger fragments and potentially lead to greater damage. This is fairly common in thinner slabs that are less than an inch. If you notice these imperfections, ask the seller or fabricator how they can affect the counter and whether they can potentially cause harm.

Have It Custom Designed

There’s nothing like having customizations in your home design. The kitchen is the one area where you can show off your own personal sense of style. Granite countertops can be customized to your liking with customized edges. This is only available through certain fabricators, so make sure to ask beforehand. This is a feature that can really bring out the uniqueness of your kitchen. However, if you are fine with a standard cut, that can be easily obtained and just as appealing. Bevel edges happen to be a popular choice anyway.

Go with Seamless Counters

This is another feature that can raise the price tag, but for many people is well worth it. For some folks, seamless counters look better. Over time, seams tend to lose their appeal after becoming run down. They look great when your counters are first installed, but within five to ten years, you will want to replace it with a new one.

Maintaining Your Granite Counters

The key to ensuring your granite counters last for many years, you need to learn how to care for it. It’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t do, so that you don’t mistakenly do the wrong thing. There are many different concepts out there – some saying to use Windex, other’s saying you shouldn’t. Some saying you need a granite-only cleaner, while others say otherwise.

The Dos and Don’ts.

Deciphering truth from fiction is necessary. Here are the findings after doing a bit of research.

• Don’t use cleaners or sponges that are harsh or abrasive. This will potentially scratch the surface of the granite. This includes acidic cleaners, Windex, lime, lemon, vinegar, bleach and ammonia. These will cause the granite to become dull and will eventually cause the sealant to weaken. Keep in mind, the stronger the cleaner, the quicker your sealant will break down.
• Do ensure that you have your countertop sealed. Granite is a hard stone, but it can still become weak and stained by oils, spills and stains. Sealing the counter will help to prevent this. To test this out, simply pour a couple of drops of water on top. If it beads up, then you have a secure seal. However, if it’s soaked up after a few minutes, then it needs to be resealed.
• Do make sure to wipe up spills as quickly as possible, even when your counters have been sealed. Just because it’s been sealed, doesn’t mean it will last forever. Keeping the surface clean will help to maintain its longevity.
• Do use mild getle dish detergent with warm water and a wash cloth or a cloth made of microfiber whenever you’re wiping down your counter. These are soft enough to prevent scratches.

Disinfecting Your Granite Counters

When it comes to removing bacteria caused by food, drinks and unclean hands, you’ll need to disinfect your counters. This can be easily done using hot water and dish detergent. This should be used on a daily basis to sanitize the counters. You can also use a stronger disinfectant by mixing it together 50/50 with water. Mix in 91 percent isopropyl alcohol as well. Spray this on and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off with water and a clean dry cloth. Don’t use any ammonia-based cleaners or bleach. Some people choose to use green cleaning solutions, which can be just as effective.

Once you’ve selected the granite counter you want installed in your home, make sure to take great care of it with these tips!