Countertops come in many different materials which require specific care. However, there are many things you can do to make sure that your countertop, whether granite, marble, quartz, etc., stays beautiful. Avoid prolonged exposure to heat, as it can cause discoloration and cracking, wipe up spills as soon as possible to avoid absorption, avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals or abrasives, and avoid applying excess weight, force, or pressure, which can cause cracking. It is always recommended you contact the fabricator of your countertop for specific instructions.
Granite is the one of the hardest of common natural stone countertops you can buy. It is temperature and scratch resistant, and when properly cared for lasts for decades. Granite can be porous, so wipe up spills, especially acids (such as wine) and oils, as soon as possible to avoid staining. To insure that your granite stays durable and stain-resistant, it should be sealed regularly. Generally, granite should be re-sealed every six months.
Granite is generally very resilient, is able to stand up to high temperatures, and is unlikely to scratch or chip with normal use. That being said, it is still best to avoid using knives directly on the surface, putting hot pots and pans directly on the surface, etc.; while damage is much less likely to occur than other materials, granite is not indestructible. While there are cleaners specifically for granite, water and a small amount of mild soap is generally sufficient for cleaning. It is important to make sure that you thoroughly rinse granite which has been cleaned with soap to avoid residue. You should also make sure to dry after cleaning, as leaving moisture behind has a chance of making your granite appear hazy or dull.
Marble, Limestone, and Travertine
Marble, and Travertine belong to the same family of natural stone, Limestone. While it is a beautiful, high-end material, it is also much softer than granite, and more porous, therefore it is susceptible to staining. Do not let glasses, dishes, or anything which might leave moisture stand on the countertop for any length of time. If there is a spill, wipe it up immediately. High temperatures (such as hot pots and pans) will damage these materials, as will using knives directly on the surface. Limestone is susceptible to chipping and cracking if exposed to heavy weight, force, and pressure. Like granite, you can clean marble with soap and water, but there are special cleaners available. If you use soap and water, be sure to remove all soap to avoid residue, and dry thoroughly, as leaving moisture on the surface will damage it. It is a good idea to seal Marble/Limestone/Travertine every 3-6 months; it varies based upon granite type, color, etc.
Quartz a natural stone present in granite. Pure quartz countertops are made using a mixture of the stone, and about 7% resin. This makes it more stain and scratch resistant than granite, although you should always use cutting boards and clean up spills to insure that your countertop stays scratch and stain free. However, the same resin content means that you cannot expose these countertops to high temperatures. It can be cleaned with mild soap and water, or other cleaners approved for quartz. Unlike granite or limestone, quartz never needs to be sealed because of the resin content.