The most important work surface in the home, the kitchen countertop is built to accommodate food preparation, regular cleaning, pesky stains, and more. But despite their durability, countertops can suffer from costly damage whether they're made of laminate, marble, granite, or any other material. Here are ways people unintentionally damage their countertops, with tips on how to keep yours in tip-top shape for years to come.
1. Many hard surfaces crack under pressure. Placing heavy objects near unsupported edges or joints can cause cracks, ruptures, and fractures. You had better think twice before purchasing that extra-heavy microwave or standing on the countertop to reach a high shelf!
2. Heavy duty cleaning products containing bleach or ammonia can cause stone and granite countertops to lose their luster. To prevent them from fading, stick with soap and hot water for daily cleanups.
3. Check the manufacturer's recommendations before you put toaster ovens, slow cookers, and other heat-generating appliances on your countertop, because temperature changes can cause some materials to crack. Rather place a trivet or cutting board between the appliance and the counter.
4. Because marble countertops are made of calcium carbonate, which is chemically a base, they're especially sensitive to anything acidic. One simple splash of vinegar, wine, lemon juice, or tomato sauce will cause dull spots, known as etches, on the surface. If you spill anything acidic on your marble countertop, clean it up right away with water, then neutralize the stain by sprinkling baking soda onto it.
5. Pools of water, especially hard tap water, can cause stains and white crusty buildup if left on the kitchen counter. After wiping up the spilled water, be sure to completely dry the countertop with a towel to prevent future problems.
6. Chopping, slicing, and dicing directly on the kitchen countertop is not good. Fine scratches can disrupt the waterproof sealant on most countertops, making them more susceptible to damage down the road.
7. Splitting or peeling edges are common problems on laminate countertops. Reduce the stress on your counters by never leaning on the edges.
8. Placing a hot pot directly on a countertop can cause discoloration or cracking. Use trivets or pot holders as a barrier, or risk creating a burn mark you’ll forever regret.
9. Everyone wants a sunny kitchen, but direct sunlight can cause laminate countertops to fade. Sunlight can also fade some sealants used on granite and wood countertops. Pull down a shade during peak daylight hours to minimize long-term damage.
10. Do not always prepare food in the same spot. Over time, that section of the counter will suffer from scratches, etches, and other signs of wear and tear. Try migrating to different parts of the counter regularly.