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By Dara Summers

Granite countertops are popular because of their beauty and durability. If they are cleaned regularly and well maintained, they will keep their polished look for many years. However, sometimes grease and soap residue build up, causing the surface to become dull and faded. Scratches and extended exposure to sunlight can also cause dullness. There are ways that you can restore the look of your granite.

Granite-Polishing Powder
If you have dullness caused by light and surface etching, granite-polishing powder may be able to remove it. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your countertops before you use it, because the powder is somewhat abrasive. Normally, abrasive substances should not be used on granite. However, granite-polishing powder can remove shallow scratches, stains, and residue.

If the manufacturer approves the use of the powder, mix it with water to create a paste. Then wipe it into the countertop with burlap or a felt pad. Note that some polishes are designed specifically for light or dark stone, so be sure to choose the right one for your surfaces.

Acetone
Often kitchen countertops, particularly near the stove and sink, become dull from grease, oil, or soap. That is why regular cleaning with water and gentle dish soap are important. If the problem has gotten past the point of regular cleaning, you can use acetone, which acts as a solvent to dissolve oily stains. Scrub the surface with the acetone, using a soft cloth, and then rinse with warm water, and dry with a clean cloth.

Resealing
Granite countertops need to be regularly resealed. Most experts recommend that this be done at least once a year, or more if you notice that water is no longer beading on the surface. When you purchase your countertops, find out if your retailer has a maintenance plan that provides regular resealing.

If you choose to do the resealing yourself, check with the manufacturer or retailer to find out what product they recommend. Before applying the sealant, clean the surface. Apply the sealant with a rag or a spray bottle slowly and evenly. After it is fully dry, you can apply additional coats if you feel it is necessary. It is essential that you cover the surface in an even coat. After the sealant had dried completely, you can apply as many as three additional coats to provide the most effective protection.

Refinishing/Repolishing
If your countertop is badly faded, it may require professional treatment. Sometimes acidic substances cause deep etching that can only be removed by repolishing or refinishing. This requires specialized equipment, so you should call a stone restorer to do it. Contact the company that sold and/or installed your countertops to find out if they handle this, or can recommend someone who does.

Once your surfaces are restored to their previous luster, remember the importance of regular cleaning and care. If you have an outdoor kitchen with granite surfaces that are regularly exposed to sunlight, purchase a cover to protect it from the elements. These simple precautions will save you time and money.

About the Author:
Dara Summers is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Premier Surfaces, the premier source for Atlanta granite countertops and granite countertops in Alabama. Premier Surfaces is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality in both products and service. Visit Premier Surfaces at either of their Atlanta, Huntsville, or Birmingham granite showrooms or learn more about the company's selection of Birmingham granite at http://www.premiersurfaces.com/.

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