Do you know how to use your granite countertop? Maybe that sounds like a strange question because who uses a countertop? They just sit there and you put things on them. Your countertops are a working part of your kitchen; they may look like they're sitting there, but your countertop appliances, mixing bowls, and other items can interact with the surface of the countertop. You need to know how to clean them and maintain the countertops, of course, but you also need to know how your everyday usage can change them.
Impacts and Scrapes
Granite sounds like tough stone -- after all, entire buildings are made of it. Yet, it's not so strong that it can't ever be damaged. Countertops can sustain a lot of damage if you're not careful. Never drop things on the countertop, because impacts can chip the surface. Also, never scrape anything along the countertop. If you want to move a small appliance out from the corner, pick it up. Pulling it along, especially if it doesn't have padded "feet," can leave scratches in the top of the countertop.
Heat and Cold Damage
Stone is, of course, a natural material, and as such it is susceptible to cracking from excess heat. You never want to leave hot pans directly on the countertop. Always use trivets, and never drag the trivet and pan along the surface of the countertop. For outdoor kitchens with granite countertops, below-freezing temperatures pose a risk. This is especially true if the temperature keeps rising above and falling below freezing, resulting in ice melting and refreezing on the stone. Keep outdoor countertops sealed properly and cover them if needed. Try to keep them dry.
Direct Contact With Food
The sight of chefs tempering chocolate directly on marble slabs has had the unfortunate side effect of making people think stone countertops are great places for food. As in placing the food directly on the countertop. This might not seem so gross if you're talking about an unpeeled orange. But raw meat, unwashed produce, or eggs are not appropriate at all. Not only are the countertops not sterile enough to be safe food prep surfaces, but those foods can also leave behind bacteria and germs, which can transfer to other foods, your plates, and your hands. Use proper food prep surfaces, like cutting boards and dishes.
Granite is a sturdy material for countertops, but you do have to treat it properly. If you're interested in switching to granite countertops, or if you have granite already and need it resealed, have a countertop or kitchen design company, such as Artisan Granite & Marble, take a look at your kitchen.