Choosing and Caring For Your Granite Countertops

Published July 19, 2012

If you are in the market for a new kitchen or bathroom countertop you may want to look at granite as one of your options. A popular favorite amongst homeowners for years, granite has proven itself to be one of the most durable and beautiful countertop choices. It can be a little pricey but in the long run will be a fabulous investment in your home.

Mike Stulken, of North Shore Stone Works, is an expert when it comes to choosing and caring for your granite. He offers the following advice for soon-to-be purchasers in terms of choosing the right granite for your project and its care over time.

When choosing granite, Stulken has found that most consumers use colour as the main determinant. There is always a decision between uniform, plain granite and the more expressive patterned variety. Patterned granite is more of a challenge with layout to match vein direction whereas the plain offers an easier installation.

Size also matters. One must consider whether the slab colour chosen can accommodate the size of the space and the counter lengths required to achieve optimal seam locations. There is also the issue of strength. Some granites are stronger than others and this can impact the requirement for support on islands and peninsulas with overhangs.

Thickness is another issue. It seems that more and more counters are now being produced with 3cm material (solid thickness all the way through the counter). This avoids an unsightly laminated edge and displays the full thickness of the stone on the sink cut.

One should also consider how porous the granite is. Some types are more porous than others and will require more sealing treatments to establish good protection.

It’s also important to note that some granite varieties are factory resined which adds protection to the stone and in some cases adds to the strength. Other stones have fiberglass mesh on the back which has been factory installed and this is an indication that the stone is more fragile.

The consumer should also take into account that all stones can be honed to achieve a matte finish and lighten the colour. This usually adds $5-6/square foot to the cost. Other finishes include a satin or flamed finish, which have more surface texture. However, not all stones can be flamed.

To care for your granite it is important to have it sealed on a regular basis. Some of the more porous stones should have multiple sealings done after installation with a high quality stone sealer over three or four consecutive days.

The sealing process may be done by the homeowner as a general rule once a year. Be sure to obtain proper instructions on this process from your granite supplier and installer.

Lastly, remove any stains such as wine by using a concentrated hydrogen peroxide poultice. Stulken recommends folding a paper towel into 8-ply thickness and dosing it with hydrogen peroxide and covering it with saran wrap over the stain. Tape the edges and let sit for 24 hours. Remove plastic wrap and let dry. This should pull the stain out.

For more information contact North Shore Stone Works at (604) 985-0213 through their website at