Granite is formed from millions of years of volcanic activity. This resulted in unique and beautiful patterns and designs that would give your kitchen a premium look. Its elegance will give any counter a much needed aesthetic boost.
Granite, being a natural stone, is not cheap compared to synthetic material. It costs time and money to acquire and install so it is just fitting to take care of it properly. Granite can actually last a very long time if maintained properly.
Proper and consistent maintenance protects your precious granite countertops from wear and tear caused by physical and chemical abuse in the kitchen since it prevents prolonged exposure to chemical deposits. Constant cleaning and polishing also keep your granite countertops looking pretty and shiny. To some people, aesthetics may be the main reason they chose granite over any other material.
Things to Consider Before Polishing Granite
Granite is made of natural stone and therefore may be reactive to some chemical substances. Rough cleaning agents such as strong acids and alkalines and abrasive equipment may actually result in permanent damage. Make sure to do your research before polishing your granite countertops. If you are not confident that you can carry out this task on your own, please seek professional help.
To those of you out there who consider yourselves quite a handy person, granite polishing can be a very satisfying and enjoyable task. Since most of the polishing cost actually goes to labor, DIY will actually save you a ton of money.
How To Polish Granite Countertops
There are 2 main methods of polishing your granite countertops. The manufacturer may indicate which method is appropriate for the one you have at home. Both methods actually each have their own sort of cult following both in the professional and the DIY fields. Let’s find out the pros and cons of each and help you which one suits you best.
Dry polishing involves working with polishing pads. Diamond embedded polishing pads are a popular selection. This is especially useful in scenarios where the granite cannot be removed or transported. It can provide your countertops with an added gleam without having to take it apart.
A few materials and equipment are needed to carry out this task. First, you would want to make sure that you wear protective equipment. Gloves will protect your hands from any scratches and cuts. You will be working with powder which may aerate and irritate your eyes. The proper eyewear is also vital. Powder polishing agents are not suitable for inhalation. Make sure you secure your airways, mouth, and nose, from this by wearing a protective mask.
You start by attaching the polishing pads to an electric grinder, if compatible, or a buffing tool. You would want to start at a lower grit polishing pad working your way up. This is usually started at around 300 grit and may go up to 3,000 grit. Make sure you consult your manufacturer on which one is best for your particular countertop.
You will then proceed in gentle circular motions covering one section at a time. Lower grit pads will shave and grind off any unwanted scratches and dings while higher grit pads will give you the pop and shine you need.
As always, if you lack the skill or confidence to carry this out, please seek professional help.
Wet polishing steps are very similar to dry polishing except that for wet polishing, you are using a polishing agent. Please note that there are several commercially available polishing agents in the market. What you would be looking for in the label are the granite-safe varieties. Granite is a natural stone and may have adverse reactions to chemicals that are not suited for it.
You will still need the same safety equipment as this still involves a power tool and loose material both from the polishing cream, the pads, and the granite itself. So protective eyewear, gloves, and a face mask are essential in carrying out the job. It is important to note that the cream contains slightly abrasive material. Please make sure you avoid handling it with your bare hands.
Always start from the lower grit pads and gently proceed in slow circular motions. Apply light even pressure. It is vital that you check your work before proceeding to a higher grit. It will be difficult to smooth out a half hazard job with a higher grit pad. So check your work from time to time.
After Polish Care
So far you’ve done a great job in polishing your granite countertop yourself or the professionals have just finished the task. This has left your granite countertop with a popping shine and it looks amazing. It looks just as bright and shiny as the day you first brought it home from the stone yard.
Polishing can be a tedious process. It can also be expensive if done by professionals. You might also consider it as an investment. There are steps that you can take to make sure that polishing only happens a few times and far between.
As mentioned in this article multiple times, granite is a natural stone and reacts to chemicals. Every time food and beverages are handled at the countertop you will want to wipe off the residue ASAP. Prolonged exposure to acids and alkalines will cause them to seep into the stone and cause discoloration and possibly other forms of damage. The 1 to 2 minutes it takes to wipe off your countertops will do wonders for you in the long run. Not to mention save you tons in maintenance and repairs.
Similar to the job wax does for the exterior of your car, granite sealant acts as a protective layer. It is a physical and chemical barrier from the daily changes and abuse that countertops go through. Regularly applying the sealant on granite will help prolong its life. And you even don’t have to do it very often. Applying sealant every 1 to 2 years is considered a healthy interval.
Regular maintenance and some TLC will help your granite countertops last a very long time. With proper care, they may even last a lifetime. Having granite countertops on your kitchen surely upgrades the overall look and feel of the area. Take the extra few seconds to a couple of minutes to do some quick cleaning every after use. A little effort will go a long way.
Polishing granite countertops may not be fun, but they do look amazing. Our White Spring project is living proof.
Granite Selection is a manufacturer and seller of natural stone countertops for kitchens and bathrooms in the Chicagoland area. We are located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and will service around a 70-mile radius. Give us a call at (888) 906 3317 for your granite and other natural stone needs. Schedule a free consultation today.
Paul Batashev is the owner and CEO of Granite Selection. The company began in 2011 Pay Less for Granite and has been transforming homes since 2011 with its expertise as a kitchen countertop company and manufacturer of fine custom granite countertops.