The Easy Mistake That Could Crack Your Granite Countertops

Granite is a classic choice for a kitchen countertop due to its many benefits. Not only is it a beautiful natural stone, but it's also much stronger and resistant to wear than marble. This makes it a low-fuss pick, allowing you to use your kitchen without worrying about damaging it. It's much more stain-resistant than other materials, so you don't have to worry as much about spilling wine or food, and it's heat resistant, so putting a hot pot directly on its surface shouldn't leave behind a telltale mark. It's also very strong, so it won't become knicked or chipped easily. However, just because granite is resistant doesn't mean it's bulletproof. There is one thing you should never do if you have granite countertops, and that's standing on them. 

While not many people hop on their countertops to recreate a scene from "Coyote Ugly," there are plenty of plausible scenarios that would require you to put your full weight on the counter. For instance, maybe you're trying to grab a bowl from the highest cabinet shelf. Maybe you decided to kneel on it as you wiped down the upper cabinet doors, or perhaps you sat on the island counter as your significant other worked on food prep next to you. Whatever the case, you want to avoid doing this again in the future or else it can lead to costly cracks. 

Why granite countertops can break under body weight

Granite is the hardest countertop option you can pick, so how can your body weight create a fissure? While it's unlikely it will crack down the middle, your countertops have several weak points on them, and it's these areas that can experience cracking. The first is wherever there is a seam. Depending on your kitchen size and shape, your fabricator most likely had to fit several granite slabs together to create one cohesive look. Where the slabs meet is where the seam is. The slabs are held together by adhesive in the form of epoxy resin, which means it's a naturally weak point in the design. If you happen to step or sit near the seam, you risk creating a crack in the counter. 

Another weak area is wherever there are cutouts, such as for the sink or an integrated cooktop. These areas are weakened due to removing a chunk of the stone. They can easily break along the thinner sections of stone, such as the thin outline between the sink edge and the wall. By standing or sitting near these cutouts, you're putting strain on an already compromised area. Your pressure might be all it needs to crack. So, if you want to keep your granite countertops in pristine condition, avoid putting your full body weight on them for whatever reason.

How to avoid cracking your granite countertop

The easiest thing you can do to avoid cracking your granite countertop is to avoid standing or sitting on it. However, if there is something stored on a top shelf that you need to remove frequently, you can fix this by doing one of two things. The first is quite obvious: Simply move that item to a more accessible shelf. When it comes to the highest, hardest-to-reach kitchen cabinets, those should be earmarked for rarely used items, such as holiday plates or specialty baking items you seldom need. If you use certain things frequently, make sure to put them on lower shelving. The second is to integrate a kitchen ladder into your design. Opting for a streamlined wooden and metal design makes such a ladder attractive enough to keep on display, and makes it easier to grab items on higher shelves.

The same logic applies to the granite on your kitchen island — and especially its overhang. This overhang is usually about a foot long and allows people to pull up a stool and sit comfortably at the counter. However, since this part of the granite slab isn't resting securely on the edges of the island's base and is instead suspended in air, you want to avoid putting anything heavy on it. This can include a hefty package you just got from the front stoop, storage boxes you just brought up from the basement, or a little kid searching for a kitchen perch.