Granite countertops are among the most beautiful natural stone countertop options available. They’re stunning, equally at home in traditional and contemporary kitchens, and practically impervious to damage. Because granite is a volcanic rock, it’s been used for thousands of years as a surface, building material, and carving stone. Today, it’s one of the top choices for high-end kitchens and those concerned with green, eco-friendly building practices. But is it actually heat-proof?
How Do Extreme Temperatures Affect Volcanic Rock?
Granite is one of the toughest countertop options available, and it can last a lifetime — if you don’t crack it. When it comes to pulling pans out of the stove and putting them on your granite countertops, you might think that you’re in the clear — after all, how can a 350-degree pie pan damage stone that was once molten lava? The truth is, it can’t. Your granite itself will be fine. But because granite is slightly porous, granite countertops must be sealed with man-made, non-volcanic sealant to prevent staining and to create an easily cleanable surface that can be disinfected. As a result, overheating the sealant can cause problems.
What Problems Can Damaged Sealant Cause?
Cracked Sealant: Pulling a hot pan out of the oven and setting it on a cool countertop can “shock” the sealant into cracking. It’s the same theory behind putting a glass or ceramic dish straight from the oven into the refrigerator or vice versa; it’s not a smart choice. Cracked sealant can allow stains and contaminants to seep into the granite underneath, causing permanent stains and preventing you from truly disinfecting the surface (an especially big concern when you use the area to prep food like raw meats).
Blackened Spots: You might get away with setting hot pans on your countertops a few times, but repeated exposure to high temperatures can result in dark, scorched or blackened rings, lines, or spots on your countertops. This happens when the temperature of your pan is so high that it actually scorches the sealant molecules. Blackened spots also weaken the sealant prematurely and can lead to damage and other issues down the road.
Just How Careful Do I Have To Be?
Granite will take far more abuse than its synthetic counterparts, so don’t be afraid of an occasional oversight ruining it forever. It’s tough, versatile, and hardy enough to withstand regular use and an occasional hot pan touching it. But don’t expect it to keep shining beautifully with continual abuse. Aim for using hot pads anytime you put a hot dish on your countertop, and have damaged granite professionally evaluated and repaired as soon as you realize there’s a problem.
Still considering your options? For all your granite, natural stone and tile needs for the holiday season, stop by or contact Mees! We’d love to help you find the perfect solution for your home!