Granite countertops are equally valued for their durability, versatility, and beauty, but like any natural stone, they can be vulnerable to stains. If you are careful to protect your countertops from spills and harmful cleaning products, you may still make the mistake of using plumber's putty while replacing or renovating your faucet and sink. Even putty on the underside of your counters can cause staining on the surface. In all likelihood, the problem is a fixable one, though you may need to reinstall your new fixtures in the process.
Understanding the Stain Potential of Granite
Stone countertops are naturally porous, and when oil manages to get past the seal, it can quickly seep all the way through the slab. The stone is typically protected by a coat of clear sealant, but the underside and edges of the slab may not be as well protected, particularly after a few years of use. When oil does reach the granite itself, you'll recognize it as a dark, smudged stain that fails to disappear after several days.
Avoiding Plumber's Putty Around Your Faucet
Plumber's putty is a handy and versatile adhesive commonly used to create seals in fixtures and appliances. Unfortunately, this putty also contains oil to keep it soft and malleable. Many homeowners and even some plumbers mistakenly use plumber's putty to replace fixtures on granite countertops, not realizing that the oil will cause staining. If the damage is already done, however, it is usually possible to save the countertop while still being able to use your new fixture.
Drawing Out the Oils
Just like oil can seep through a slab, that porosity can also be used to extract oil. A professional countertop supplier can accomplish this through the use of a specially formulated poultice, which is applied to the area over the stain and allowed to sit for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. In many cases, these poultices are able to completely remove the stain, leaving your countertop looking as good as new.
Securing Your Sink Properly
Once the offending plumber's putty has been removed, you should be able to reinstall your fixture using a more stone-friendly method. The most popular of these is to tighten a washer on the underside of the slab, safeguarding against leaks without introducing oils and other unwelcome chemicals to your granite. If you have recently renovated your counters and are now faced with oily stains, call your local countertop contractors to fix the problem and ensure that your fixtures are properly sealed to the surface.