All kitchen countertops require proper care and maintenance to improve their durability, prevent damage, and extend their life. However, how you clean and protect a kitchen countertop depends on the materials from which it is made.
From luxurious marble to rustic wood, kitchen countertops should be looked after so they continue to deliver practicality and style. This helpful guide will show you how to maintain your kitchen countertop and how to avoid scratching, staining, and other damage from occurring.
How to Protect Your Kitchen Countertops
Even heat-resistant countertops can become scorched and scratched when in direct contact with hot objects. As a result, avoid taking pots and pans from the stove and placing them straight onto any countertop, regardless of the material and their heat-resistant properties. Similarly, heavy or sharp objects can also damage a countertop when not handled with care.
Using trivets is a tried and tested way of protecting all kitchen countertops so they maintain their good condition and extend their lifespan. Not only will trivets prevent hot objects from touching the countertop, but they will also minimize the chance of impact damage.
Additionally, a trivet can be an attractive feature on most countertops. Bamboo trivets work well with a marble or quartz countertop, while a colourful ceramic trivet can be used to brighten up a wood countertop.
How Do You Protect Marble Kitchen Countertops?
Marble is one of the most naturally beautiful materials used for kitchen countertops. It has enough striking qualities to make it the standout feature of any kitchen design. But with beauty comes a downside – marble is prone to scratches, stains, and other damage that can have a negative effect on its appearance and longevity.
That said, there are several ways to futureproof your marble countertop and improve its durability for years to come.
Seal Your Marble Countertop Regularly
One of the best ways to maintain a marble countertop is to seal it regularly. Applying a marble sealer provides a protective layer and prevents marble countertops from scratches, stains, etching, chipping, and other damage.
A wide variety of marble sealers are available, and they can be applied by professionals and novices alike. Marble sealers include:
- Penetrating sealers: These absorb into the marble’s pores for a protective barrier against stains, moisture, and damage.
- Topical sealers: These add a protective layer to the surface of the marble countertop and are a common choice in kitchens with heavy use.
- Laminate sealers: Designed to provide a layer of protective skin over the marble countertop, laminate sealers come in large rolls that can be cut to size and directly applied to the countertop surface. When laminate sealers show signs of wear and tear they can be easily replaced so your marble countertops always look brand new.
- Water-based sealers: Low in volatile organic compounds (VOC), these are an environmentally friendly and safer option that offer robust protection against damage.
- Solvent-based sealers: Highly durable and long-lasting, solvent-based sealers offer extreme protection and are ideal for use on outdoor marble surfaces that are exposed to the elements.
- Matte or gloss sealers: Marble sealers are available as both matte and gloss finishes to suit all types of marble countertops.
You’ve chosen your marble sealer, now it’s time to apply it to the marble countertop surface. The following steps will guide you through the application process:
1. Clean the surface
Before you start applying a marble sealer, you must prepare your countertop surface by cleaning it properly. Firstly, remove utensils, appliances, and other objects then, using a lint-free cloth, wipe the countertop with acetone to remove residue, oils, and dirt. Allow the marble to air-dry to get rid of any moisture. Do not clean marble countertops with water as it can absorb into the stone.
2. Mask off vulnerable areas
Before you apply your marble sealer you’ll want to safeguard your kitchen cabinets, walls, and appliances with masking tape which can be cleanly removed. Place along the edges of your countertops to protect other surfaces and walls from any spillages. Additionally, use old sheets or rags to stop the sealant from spilling onto the floor.
3. Apply the first coat
Focusing on one section at a time, pour a small amount of sealer onto the countertop then brush evenly over the surface, working into the marble. It’s important to avoid using too much sealer at once to prevent the countertop from becoming too wet. When the first coat is dry, wipe away any excess sealer before proceeding to the next stage.
4. Apply the second coat
Simply follow the same process used for applying the first coat, wait for the sealer to dry, and then move on to the final step.
5. Buff your sealed marble countertop
For a pristine finish on your marble countertop, take a soft, clean towel or cloth to help remove any excess sealer. Wipe the countertop in a gentle, circular motion, for maximum effect, replacing the cloth with a new one if it becomes too wet. You could also save time by attaching a cloth to a buffer tool on a cordless drill set at suitable speed.
6. Wait 24 hours
When you’ve buffed your marble countertop you should wait 24 hours for the sealer to cure and completely dry out. Avoid placing objects on the countertop that could damage the surface while you wait for the sealer to fully set.
Use Protective Items
There are several items you can use to protect your marble countertop from general wear and tear. Make sure you have a selection of chopping boards, trivets, coasters, and containers readily available to avoid damage from heavy or sharp objects.
You should always use a large chopping board when cutting vegetables and fruit as acidic foods can permanently damage marble. This will also stop you from scratching or chipping your countertop which occurs when cutting directly on the countertop.
Similarly, hot objects such as pots and pans should never be directly placed onto a marble countertop. This can cause damage and dull the colour of the marble. Therefore, always use a trivet or potholder underneath a hot pan.
Similarly, a simple coaster will stop moisture and condensation from your cup or glass from forming on the countertop surface and developing into stains and rings. Lastly, wiping away spills quickly from the surface will stop stains from forming.
Choose a Matte Finish Marble Countertop
Honed marble in a matte finish does not show scratches, stains, chipping, and etching as much as polished, glossy marble.
When honed marble countertops are regularly buffed, stains and scratches even start to blend in with the marble veining and become part of the overall design. With glossy finishes, stains and scratches stand out more and take longer to repair.
How Do You Protect Wood Kitchen Countertops?
Some countertops perform differently from others when exposed to heat. For instance, marble, quartz, stone, and other solid surfaces are all heat resistant. On the other hand, wood and laminate countertops are not heat resistant and should be treated differently.
For these reasons, it’s important to take extra care when placing hot items on a wooden or laminate surface to avoid the possibility of long-term damage. Instead, use one of the many heat-safe solutions readily available like a trivet or heat pad so that hot items are not in direct contact with the surface of the countertop.
Heat pads and trivets made of ceramic, bamboo, cork, and other heat-resistant materials will do a perfect job of protecting your wood or laminate surface so that you don’t cause any damage.
Your Kitchen Countertop Cleaning Checklist
To clean a kitchen countertop properly, you’ll need the correct cleaning materials. There’s more to it than simply grabbing some soap and cloth and wiping away at will.
As kitchen countertops come in a variety of materials, you’ll need to know which cleaning products to use for each different surface to avoid the possibility of staining or damage.
The following tips will help you when you next clean your kitchen countertop.
Use a soft, damp cloth and ph-neutral cleaner or mild soap and water.
Wipe, rinse, the use a clean cloth or towel to dry clean.
Wipe clean with soapy water and a microfibre cloth. Rinse the cloth in clean water as you go.
Finally, dry and buff the granite with a dry microfibre cloth.
Simply use normal soap, water, and a microfibre cloth to wipe clean.
Do not use scouring pads or scrubbing brushes that could scratch the surface.
Soapy water and a microfibre cloth are perfect for daily cleaning, though you can also clean quartz with glass cleaner or ammonia. Simply apply then wipe clean with a fresh cloth.
Avoid using bleach and multi-purpose detergents with harsh chemicals.
Instead, use a damp microfibre cloth with warm, soapy water then wipe away with a clean cloth.
Use a neutral cleaner like dishwashing liquid, warm water, and a microfibre cloth, rinsing regularly as you go.
Once dried, polish the counter with a dry cloth.
Need Advice on How to Protect Your Kitchen Countertops?
Our experienced team at KNB can answer any query about kitchen countertop maintenance, or even talk you through the process of kitchen design. Contact us today to discuss all your kitchen needs.