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  • Writer's pictureKathy Hanley

What Type of Countertop is Right for You?

Below are some comments and questions from customers at our kitchen and bath design showroom.

“My friend said I should get quartz because it is way easier to take care of than granite.”

“I don’t want granite because it has to be sealed.”

“Quartz is harder than granite therefore, more durable.”

“Which is more expensive, granite or quartz?”

My first question is “what type of countertop do you have now?" Oh! You have granite!? Do you find it hard to take care of? Have you sealed your granite? Was it difficult?

The answer is always, no. If you’ve been there/done that with granite and you want something new, it’s okay to get quartz countertops without criticizing granite or other natural stones.

Wonderful, beautiful, durable, hardworking granite has graced kitchens for a long time. Our fabrication shop, Stone Specialists, that we purchased in 2004 was started in 1995. We’ve personally installed upwards of 4,000 granite kitchens, bathroom vanities, desks, bars, outdoor kitchens and more in that time.

Years ago, we gave a bottle of sealer to each customer and, also sold sealer at the front desk of our shop/showroom. That dropped off when hardware, retail and grocery stores sold many types of sealer on their shelves.

And now, I don’t think many homeowners buy or use sealer anymore. But they could for a little piece of mind. Spray on the sealer or apply with a soft cloth and wipe off. If there is a slight haze, buff some more. If there is a heavy haze, use a small amount of sealer to reactivate it and buff again. Note: I have done this for others but never to my own countertops.

I did have a small stain scare once, however. I was too lazy to clean up the bar area after a large family gathering. Instead, I went to bed. In the morning when I plucked the sticky jar of maraschino cherries from the granite that the kids were digging in, it left a perfect pink ring on the Luna Pearl countertop. I continued to clean up from the party, sprayed Windex on the surface and wiped up. I sprayed a little more Windex and let it sit on the pink ring and took the 100 empty red wine bottles to the recycling bin. (Slight exaggeration, but keep in mind this is an Irish Hanley gathering). Sprayed and wiped, sprayed and wiped and lo and behold no more pink ring on the granite.

On a regular basis I clean my countertops with a wet kitchen dishrag. Sometimes, I use Windex and paper towel to remove any spots I may have missed or to remove the smear the dishrag left behind (indication that the dishrag needs to go into the laundry).

As a side note: I use liquid Soft Scrub on our Master Bath porcelain sinks and on the granite vanity. Recently, my husband who ha

s installed a good portion of those 4,000 granite tops in the last 17 years, said that I can’t use Soft Scrub on granite (actually our vanity might be quartzite).

Either I don’t clean very often, my husband doesn’t really know what I do around the house or our house is too large and he’s never been near when I’m cleaning (definitely, not the latter).

There is probably someone else out there that will say Windex is bad, and Soft Scrub is bad. And, it might be the case for some natural stones. Nonetheless, granite is not hard to take care of. Also, it is not hard to seal.

As far as durability goes, both granite and quartz are super durable. I’ve painted my nails on my kitchen counter and wiped up the mis-strokes with nail polish remover. Have we been called after a dish fell from an upper cabinet and chipped the edge of the granite? Yes. And, quartz? Yes. Chips around the sink opening from pots and pans? Yes to both granite and quartz. But truthfully not that often for either material.

The internet is large place with tons of useful websites and information. Can you trust this information? Who knows? But you can definitely trust our expert guest, Katie LeCloux. Who will be talking with us soon. Watch for the video interview with Katie, a geologist and product representative from Terrazzo and Marble.

Katie will dig deep (pun intended) into countertop material. We will learn more about the pros and cons of material selections, composition of natural stone and quartz, today’s current trends like unique surface finishes, and lots of other truthful information. Follow Katie on Instagram at tandm_katie. #designadvisor #kitchendesigner #athomestyle

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