After spending the money to get a fancy stone countertop in your kitchen, the last thing you want to have happen is a crack in the surface. Disaster! What can you do to avoid it?
Unfortunately, some cracking is almost inevitable. Or put more accurately: some change in the material is going to be inevitable, just like the way wood can warp with time. Rather than curse the mutating qualities of natural materials, you can follow some basic steps to minimize any cracks in the stone and make sure your countertops last a good long time.
It’s worth looking at part of the process of making and installing a stone countertop that helps stop cracks from happening in the first place. That process is called rodding. Rodding is the insertion of a metal rod into a countertop, running the length of it. Think of it as a sort of structural support for the stone, particularly at narrow points. As you can imagine, these narrow points can weaken without the rodding, thus forming cracks. Unfortunately, moisture can get in and rust the rodding, causing it to expand and crack the granite. Newer rodding is made of fiberglass to help mitigate this.
Sealing it up
So how can you prevent it or at least delay cracks from appearing? First and foremost, make sure it’s sealed. Granite is porous, so you want to limit the opportunity for any water or other liquids to get deep into the stone, furthering any fissures. Sealing also prevents the growth of bacteria under the surface.
Cleaning it right
You’ll also want to make sure you’re using appropriate (not too acidic) cleaners for the surface. Hot water will do the trick most of the time, but you can also buy a special granite cleaner that won’t harm the surface. Cleaning the counter not only helps with its appearance, but it also prevents any possibly damaging organic material from getting into the stone.
Watch your seals
The caulk seal of an under-mounted sink can loosen or otherwise break down with time. This can bring moisture into a potentially unsealed part of the stone counter. Keep an eye on that seal and keep it maintained, perhaps even reapplying the caulk regularly.
Stop them from growing
Just like household pests, if you see one crack in your counter, odds are good that there are others out of sight. What you don’t want to happen is for them to meet up and grow, like streams combining into a powerful river. Constant heat and moisture are the usual triggers for this, such as putting a hot pan right on the stone.
Just like you’ll want to regularly use a cutting board with your knives, use trivets and other protective measures for setting things on the counter surface.
Glue it together
Sometimes you need to bring in the experts to deal with cracks. The do it yourself answer is to use an epoxy glue that matches the surface of the counter. This can be a messy and tricky process, so you might want to instead refer to a stone counter professional such as the installer to manage this.