Counter balancing your kitchen with natural stone benchtops
Why Natural Stone?
For years, many architects and kitchen designers steered their clients away from natural stone benchtops such as marble, limestone and soapstone because of their porous, fragile nature, but people have eased up in their attitudes about having a perfect kitchen. After some years of use, kitchen benchtops can start to have nicks along their edges where someone has accidentally banged a heavy pot or had their share of stains, particularly under the coffee maker. But neither scrape nor spot should bother you! They are evidence of time well spent, food made and enjoyed.
What’s involved in maintenance?
Most natural-stone benchtops should be sealed using a clear liquid silicone that can be bought at a hardware store. Sealing does not make the stone stain-proof, but it makes it more stain-resistant. Your fabricator typically seals the stone before it is delivered and installed, and then it’s sealed again after installation. It is recommended that you reseal your benchtops about once or twice a year depending on how much you use your kitchen. Soapstone and slate should be oiled with mineral oil several times a year, which will help them resist staining. You will know your benchtops are sealed and/or oiled properly when water beads on the surface.
The key to keeping your natural-stone benchtops looking their best is simple: Clean up spills as soon as you see them. The longer you let red wine, coffee, lemon juice, cranberry juice or salad dressing sit on your counter, the more it will penetrate and leave a stain. If you do end up with a stain (like coffee-stained marble), chances are it can be removed. The Natural Stone Institute lists solutions to many common stains. (You may be able to get rid of coffee stains by mixing a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in water with a few drops of ammonia and then applying it to the stain with a clean white rag.) Sometimes, however, a stain is bad enough that you need to call in the professionals. In some cases, stains may not come out totally, but you can usually make them less noticeable.
Still interested? Check out our range of natural stone today!