It is often true of artwork that special care needs to be taken in order to preserve the natural beauty of the piece. While this is true regarding most things of value, countertops fabricated from natural stone such as granite, marble and others share a natural durability which is unmatched by any human made invention. Not even stainless steel can claim to be as durable and easily maintained as granite. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however.
Granite is essentially the hardest material on earth that can be commonly found throughout kitchens, bathrooms and as a variety of building components in residential and commercial applications. When granite is used as a countertop, shelf, or fireplace surround very little care is necessary to maintain the inherent beauty and finish. Granite is, for all intents and purposes impervious to the every day rigors of life.
Although some fabricators will recommend sealing a granite countertop, this is largely for the peace of mind of the consumer and not for any special protection needed for the granite material. Other types of natural stone countertops should be sealed due to the specific stone’s porosity. The best rule of thumb is to follow the recommendations of the stone fabricator. The only usual needed care to maintain granite or marble countertops is to wipe the stone down with warm water and possibly a non-abrasive liquid soap. The one exception, which is true of any material, is when granite or marble is used for flooring.
With regards to flooring materials, continuous wear and tear which floors are subjected to every day will not damage the stone itself, but can dull the finish. Sand, dirt and almost all abrasives will cause any surface, including carpet and wood, to become worn unless regularly cleaned. The nature of granite just allows the flooring to be more durable than other floor types.
As proof of this, many high traffic government buildings and large commercial businesses, such as hotels erected in the early half of the 1900s, used granite for countertops, flooring and more. Today these materials are still just as beautiful as was when installed. For this increased durability and natural one-of-a-kind beauty, granite flooring is often more expensive than the average carpet or even genuine hardwood flooring. The investment is also usually higher due to the specialized skill and machinery necessary to craft natural stone with attention to detail.