Protect Your Outdoor Worktops, Come What May
There’s a tendency to think that stone worktops look after themselves. But while they are often the strongest, most dependable material you can find, they still need care and maintenance. Especially when you’re cooking, cutting and pouring drinks around them.
This month, we’ve had more time to double down on a few home treatments for our own stone worktops. And they’ve never looked better. We wanted to share some tips and practical advice for your outdoor kitchen too, so your stone stays in great shape.
Only use natural cleaning agents for siliceous stones
Many people assume that acids or alkalis – such as bleach, vinegar or lemon juice – work well on any stone. This isn’t true. They’re abrasive on marble, limestone and travertine, wearing down and dulling the surface.
Stick to a mild alkali for siliceous stones – in other words, the tougher materials like granite, quartz and slate. You don’t need much. Just a splash of vinegar and a quick wipe down will suffice. Otherwise, use a damp cloth. If your worktop has been properly sealed, you can mop up spills before they seep in.
Dry thoroughly to avoid mould – and use bleach if you must
Stick to a routine of cleaning, wiping and drying the stone worktop, and you’ll face a much lower risk of mould or mildew. It’s a rare occurrence in the outdoors, but it can happen if the worktops are not in a covered, well-ventilated area. Dry your stone immediately after cleaning. If you’re using a stone soap (a specialist treatment agent), rinse the surface and wipe up any residual suds.
A mild bleach mixture should only be applied if there are noticeable mould marks. Ammonia works too – just make sure there is a 50/50 split between the water and the cleaning agent. Pour and gently rub. Wipe again. The mould should come off fairly quickly.
Remove shallow scratches with buffing and sealant
You won’t be able to deal with deep scratches yourself – that’s the role of a professional. However, small nicks and cuts to the surface can be handled with everyday items and natural stone sealant. Techniques differ slightly depending on the material.
In all cases, clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any stray particles. If you’re handling granite, carefully buff the scratch with 300-grit sandpaper or #0000 steel wool before applying two coats of granite sealer, 48 hours apart. Limestone and marble require finer-grit buffers, but the process is essentially the same. You’ll want to cover the scratch with mineral oil before sealing – this blends it into the surrounding area.
Lay a heat mat down when you’re cooking
Of course, the easiest way to protect your worktops is through preventative measures. You may reserve one section of your worktop for hot pans, pots and plates, for instance. Natural stone is very good at handling heat, but as the years go by, consistent high temperatures can leave marks behind.
Heat mats and trivets are particularly useful for hot plates, cast iron griddles and teppanyaki tabletop appliances. Non-slip silicone varieties (as opposed to stainless steel) can prevent even further damage from scratches.
Soon enough, you’ll have a stone care routine to keep your investment looking fresh and vibrant. After decades in stonemasonry, RC Coppin know how valuable a worktop may be to your décor. We want to help you preserve any new purchase so it continues to look its best with sustained use.
Our team can answer any question regarding the upkeep of your stone. Get in touch today – we’d be more than happy to help.