About four years ago, I bit the bullet and redesigned my kitchen. It is fab-u-lous! Exactly what I’ve always dreamed of. I hired a high-end kitchen designer who boasts a successful business in Ridgewood to do my cabinetry, made the investment in high-end stainless-steel appliances and took a trip to a vast granite warehouse (I thought I was actually at the quarry) to select my gorgeous granite.
Each night, I tidy up as best as I can and still look at it in awe. But, the other night as I was about to turn off the lights, I looked over my shoulder as I left the room and there it was - that awful white crusty residue around my faucet base. I was shocked and really disappointed. I’ve seen that familiar residue on other items in my northern New Jersey home and thought. Well, now my counter’s ruined.
The Initial Investment
When I began the discussion about remodeling the kitchen I knew there would be a significant investment as well as return on that investment. To give you some insights, here in Northern New Jersey, you could be looking at an investment of $35,000 to $100,000++ (depending, of course, on your selections) for the entire project. Ok, I realize not everyone is working with a $100,000++ budget, but regardless of what’s available in your pocketbook, the stone counters will most definitely take up a lot of that cache.
Before I made the purchase I did a quick estimate on line to determine the cost of installing granite countertops. I used my kitchen countertop lengths consisting of an 8′, 4′ and 3′ runs to determine the square footage. I used $69./sq.ft. because that seems to be the average cost (uninstalled) of a middle of the road granite. Without installation the total was going to be approximately $7750. Yikes – granite isn’t inexpensive.
Is The Romance Over?
I bit the granite bullet for far more than my budget allowed, but I absolutely love the finished product. I feel very proud of my design concept and accomplishment. I’ve been using my kitchen every day with great pride and joy because when one remodels their kitchen it’s like winning Miss America. You feel wonderful and excited about your new space and spend as much time there as you possibly can. It’s all the newness I guess.
After my startling granite residue observation, I started to take a look at how all the products and items were fairing through my kitchen’s daily wear and tear. What shocked me most was everything looked practically new with the exception of the surface around the faucet. Further inspection and I discovered the smooth shiny granite now looked hard, crusty and felt rough to the touch. There was white filmy grit all around the faucet base. I felt my new-kitchen bubble burst and wondered “did I make a mistake buying granite?” The answer was “no” I didn’t make a mistake. After checking in with some friends, I realized it was not the granite, but the hard water in my home leaving deposits on my countertop.
How Can I Fix It?
After seeking some insights, I immediately took to the internet to find a solution. There was a plethora of DIY ideas and tons of ‘cleaners’ available. However, when I considered the cost of my granite and the other lovely attributes I just installed, I have to admit I was a little miffed because I didn’t feel that I should be doing a deep clean or scraping my stone with a razor in only a short time.
Most of the DIY methods included lemons, baking soda, alcohol, peroxide and/or vinegar. I found the worse the stain the worse (more caustic) the recommended solution. There’s even a suggestion about making a poultice – what in the world is a poultice?!
While a stone or granite counter is extremely durable and can take a beating, we need to consider that granite is a porous stone and will absorb water naturally. The sediments from the hard water are left behind on the stone causing those rough, white stains. I finally did get my counters looking new again but not because of scraping or cleaning. I was as surprised as anyone when I learned that the best investment for my newly designed kitchen was something that didn’t even reside in the kitchen but in my basement. It was and is a water softening system. This product, for me in northern New Jersey, has been the best ‘kitchen’ investment I’ve made.
After having the water softening system installed and knowing it is extracting the hard water sediments (magnesium and calcium specifically) from my water, I am already seeing and feeling a difference. Everything in my home that is exposed to the water is just like new and stain free.
~ Cindy Dittfield, writer for Passaic Bergen Water Softening