5 things to know before buying a stone countertop
About to refresh your kitchen with a new slab? Check out these care and selection tips first.
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Florence Perchuk, who has been designing kitchens for 38 years, shares the secrets to caring for stone countertops.
Spills should be wiped up immediately
With her years of experience, Perchuk has seen stains from wine, cranberry juice, all citrus juices, salad dressings, vinegars and coffee.
"The key is to wipe a spill up as soon as you see it. I can't emphasize that enough. If you don't let the spills sit there, they won't penetrate," she says. "Also, oils are less of a problem, once the stone has been sealed, and kids with sticky fingers are no problem at all."
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A proper seal is when water beads form
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A supplier should seal the stone a few times as soon as it's installed.
"You'll know it's sealed properly when water beads and forms droplets on the surface," she says. "Then have it sealed again a year later — that should do the trick." And while you can seal it yourself, Perchuk says a professional will know the best sealer for your stone.
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There are big differences among stone types.
"Granite is good and strong. Marble is more porous than granite, but tougher than you'd think. French limestone has intense color, veining, and is more durable than the lighter limestone from Greece or the Baltic regions," Perchuk says.
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She also points out that slate and soapstone aren't the most practical choices. "They require more maintenance and constant mineral-oil treatments."
Always get a second opinion
"Don't take advice from a retailer who has a vested interest in selling one particular product," Perchuk says. "The same goes for everyday cleaners. StoneTech is a good one, but there are slews on the market."
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Don't assume black is the easiest to keep clean
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While a white kitchen may seem like the hardest color to keep clean, Perchuk says black is more work.
"It's the hardest to maintain in any stone or finish, polished or honed," she says. "You can seal and seal and seal, but you'll still see every finger-mark. There's nothing you can do."