Here's How You Keep Your Natural Stone Countertops Looking Their Best

You did the research, spent the time comparing options, and fell in love with natural stone countertops. It could be marble, granite, Jerusalem stone, soapstone, limestone, or slate, among many others. Often, these countertops are a statement piece within the kitchen.

Made of solid natural stone, these countertops don't have any resins or volatile organic compounds in them like manufactured products, according to International Granite & Stone. Overall, they are highly durable and long-lasting, adding unique patterns and striations to any space. Most often, they will cost a bit more, though pricing and features differ based on the material itself.

One thing is key, though. You'll need to spend a bit of time ensuring you maintain them properly. Natural stone countertops are not always difficult or expensive to keep looking good, but the more you stay on top of these tasks, the better they will add value to your home and beauty to your life for years to come.

To seal or not to seal

Natural stone can be porous, which means it may absorb the liquids that come in contact with it. One way to avoid this is to have the countertop sealed. Some stone is pre-sealed, which means companies add a layer of protective sealant over the top of the surface to minimize the risk of staining and damage. That's common, for example, in granite countertops. If you've just purchased your stone, ask if there's a pre-sealant present and what type of updates you need to make over time. If so, you may not need (and shouldn't) add an additional sealant to it on a constant basis, says CounterTop Guides.

When pre-sealed at a factory, a resin product that helps to fill in the very small fissures and cracks that are a natural part of the stone is applied to the surface. This doesn't take away from the look or feel of the granite but can enhance durability.

Other countertops need to be sealed, according to HGTV, including any natural stone that you've purchased that hasn't been factory-sealed. This commonly includes quartzite, marble, and some granites.

Other steps for natural stone countertop care

While sealing is important (be sure to check your warranty to find out if it's necessary), there are other things that may be even more essential to keeping these countertops looking their best.

Natural Stone Care & Restoration Co. shares a few steps to take, including only cleaning countertops with a stone-safe product and avoiding any acidic or abrasive cleaner. Don't use glass cleaner or wipes either, as these can either damage the surface or remove some of the sealant.

If tomato sauce or fruit punch happens to get on the surface of the stone, be sure to act quickly to remove it. Soak up any fluid possible before it can seep into the stone. Be careful with heat, too. A hot pot placed on the countertop could lead to damage, especially on marble. You also don't want to cut directly on these surfaces as that can create damage to the stone itself.