Granite is an intrusive igneous rock that has solidified deep below the Earth’s crust, crystallising in the mineral-rich magma. The natural stone can be a variety of colours including, grey, white, pink and red. Granite is admired for its strength, high resistance to scratching, acid, heat and low porosity. The versatility and durability of granite means it is used for a wide variety of purposes from splashbacks and countertops to exterior floor tiles and wall cladding.
Different colors of granite
TYPICAL USES OF GRANITE
Kitchen countertop: The high abrasion and acid resistance of granite makes it an ideal choice for kitchen countertops as it stands up to everyday use. Combined with an appealing design, the natural stone’s long life span serves as a valuable investment for homeowners.
Floors: Granite’s distinct range of colours available and its high resistance to scratching and acid etching and natural resistance to staining is why it is often used for bathroom and kitchen floors in homes and throughout commercial buildings.
Polished: The surface has a mirror gloss with sharp reflections. Although dense, polished granite is still porous, which means water and oil-based staining is a common problem for this finish if spills are left on the surface.
Honed: The non-reflective, smooth finish of a honed granite surface can be a great addition to a bathroom floor or kitchen countertop but there are aspects to consider. Fingerprints, dust marks and stains show up more on honed surfaces than other finishes.
Patios and other outdoor areas: Granite is a commonly used stone for outdoor areas such as paving because of its low water absorption rate and high acid and scratch resistance. Water and oil may not cause deep stains as long as spills are wiped up as soon as possible. For outdoor entertainers or areas where they will be high traffic granite is a bold, yet practical choice of material.
Walls: Granite’s structural durability and design versatility makes it a popular choice for outdoor wall cladding, stackstone and blockwork for homes and commercial buildings. The dense natural stone is generally less porous than other surfaces. This makes it a great choice for exterior walls as its water uptake is quite low, meaning structural damage and staining from water ingress is usually less common than other porous materials. Granite's range of colors and finishes that can be applied results in an adaptable design feature, able to complement a variety of different materials for structures such as high rise office buildings, hotels and homes
Flamed: After a surface has been sawn a high temperature flame is applied. The surface is left with a rough textured finish. Flamed finishes are typically used as outdoor paving because it improves the slip-resistance of floors. This type of finish causes a granite surface to become more porous making it susceptible to water and oil-based staining and efflorescence.
Bush-hammered: The surface has a coarse, textured finish created by hammering. Like flamed granite, a bush-hammered finish also improves the slip-resistance of the stone which is why it is widely used on floors. It can however, increase the water absorption rate making it more vulnerable to water and oil-based stains and efflorescence
Common Problems of Granite
Although different types of granite may range in porosity any stain left on the surface will eventually be absorbed into the material. The type of finish on a granite surface can also impact on the level of staining. Flamed and bush-hammered granite are more likely to be stained than other finishes. This is because in order to give the stone that rough look pieces of the surface are removed by flame or hammering, allowing liquids an easier path into the granite.
Dry-Treat™ has a number of products that can protect against staining and remove those difficult deep stains.
- STAIN-PROOF™ Original™ provides superior water and oil repellency, which will help prevent staining from food and liquid spills on all granite surfaces. The invisible, impregnating sealer permanently bonds to the pores of granite through a chemical reaction. This means a treated surface will not be affected by traffic, exposure to UV radiation or commercial cleaning processes.
- Oxy-Klenza™, part of Dry-Treat’s HANAFINN™ range is perfectly suited for removing stubborn stains. The powerful, oxygen based cleaner can be made into a closed poultice which can remove stains that have had time to sink into dense stones such as granite. Refer to our maintenance guide for how to apply a closed poultice to a stain.
There are thousands of species of fungi that can be classified as mold. Molds are highly resilient organisms which can survive in almost any environment but damp or humid areas are where it thrives. This means that mold can be grow on your natural stone indoors and outdoors. The fungi can not only ruin your granite surface but it also has health risks. The effects of exposure can range from mild eye and skin irritation to severe lung infections.
Although mold can live in a range of climates, it cannot survive without water. Applying an impregnating sealer like STAIN-PROOF Original™ to your granite can significantly reduce the amount of water absorbed, inhibiting the growth of mold, moss, mildew and other biofilms.
Picture framing can occur when grouting a paver that has not been pre-sealed. The water inside grout contains cement and other minerals. When this water penetrates into the edge of the paver, the minerals set inside the granite. This leaves a permanent stain, identified by the distinctive dark frame seen around the edge of a material.
Picture framing can also appear over time. Grout is extremely porous which means it will absorb more water than the granite itself. This impure water will permeate around the edge of the paver numerous times. When the surface dries, the water evaporates leaving behind minerals which are permanently set inside the granite, making it impossible to remove.
Once picture framing has occurred there is no way to remove it, so prevention is vital. Sealing your granite surface with a Dry-Treat impregnating such as STAIN-PROOF Original™ provides a deep, water-repelling barrier. This will significantly reduce water being absorbed into the grout and material, lowering the risk of picture framing.
Protecting your granite surfaces
For protection against stains, efflorescence and the enhancement of granite surfaces:
STAIN-PROOF™ Plus - 2 coats
To protect natural stone countertop we recommend using STAIN-PROOF PLUS™. The impregnating sealer is specially designed for dense stone countertops. The superior depth of penetration means your surface will have permanent water and oil repellence.
For natural look:
STAIN-PROOF™ Original - 2 coats
For protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence we recommend using STAIN-PROOF™ Original. The sealer’s deep penetration into the pores of your material will provide superior water and oil repellency. This will stop food and liquid spills from causing permanent staining and significantly reduce the formation of efflorescence. STAIN-PROOF™ Original creates a chemical bond inside the pores, permanently becoming part of your material.
META-CRÈME™ - 1 coat
For indoor applications, we recommend using META CRÈME™ for protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence. The ultra-low VOC sealer chemically bonds to the lining of a material’s pore structure, providing permanent protection. META CRÈME™ deeply penetrates into the pores which creates an excellent water and oil repelling barrier. This sealer is easier to apply, requiring only 1 coat, and is suitable for smooth surfaces.
For enhanced look
INTENSIFIA™ - 2 coats
For superior color enhancement of a surface whilst providing protection against water and oil-based stains, we recommend using INTENSIFIA™.
Maintaining your granite surfaces
For everyday and heavy-duty cleaning of your granite surfaces:
Maintenance is an important part of owning a natural stone or other hard porous surface. Being diligent about the condition of your surface can minimize the need for regular, heavy-duty cleaning. There are a few simple actions that can be taken such as:
- Wiping up spills as soon as possible.
- Regularly washing down areas such as pool surrounds with fresh water after use.
- Frequently removing leaves, branches and other plant matter from patios. If left for long enough, some leaves will bleed tannins, staining the surface.
- Using walk on/walk off mats and vacuuming can reduce the amount of grit on a surface
For outdoor cleaning:
For regular outdoor cleaning of organic stains such as grease, motor oil, mold, plant and animal waste Oxy-Klenza™ can be used. Oxy-Klenza™ is a powerful triple action outdoor cleaner and stain remover for natural stone and other hard porous surfaces. The oxygen, alkaline and detergent based cleaner breaks down organic stains and soiling.
For indoor cleaning:
For regular indoor cleaning of organic stains such as oil, mold and food grime Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ can be used. The powerful active enzyme cleaner concentrate is specially designed for natural stone and other hard surfaces.
For countertop cleaning:
Rejuvenata™ for countertops
Countertops are a key feature of any kitchen. It can be a space for food preparation, dining and even acting as a second table. For this reason porous natural stone countertops usually need to be cleaned daily.
Rejuvenata™ spray for countertops is a pH neutral cleaner specially designed for natural stone countertops. The everyday cleaner is food safe and contains a tiny amount of invisible sealer to increase protection from staining. Rejuvenata™ spray’s mild, natural citrus scent provides a refreshing aroma.
For efflorescence, rust mark, limescale, and grout haze:
Inorganic stains can ruin the appearance of a surface and can be extremely difficult to remove. The longer mineral deposits such as efflorescence, limescale, rust and grout haze are left on the surface, the harder they will be to remove.
Eff-Erayza™, the ultimate safe acid can be used to remove these mineral deposits from non-acid sensitive surfaces. The powerful cleaner performs like a strong acid without the harmful chemicals. Unlike muriatic acid cleaners Eff-Erayza™ is much safer to use. The natural mineral and acid-based cleaner out-performs phosphoric acids, loosening and dissolving unsightly deposits from the surface.