Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Low maintenance" kitchen materials: Stainless Steel and Granite?

Stainless steel and granite tend to be touted as very tough materials which will last a lifetime. And they probably are. That doesn't mean they are "low maintenance", though, if by that you mean what a normal person would mean - i.e. that they don't need to be cleaned and babied and titivated unnecessarily often, and have special care taken of them.

In fact stainless steel and granite do both need special care and cleaning.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel generally is prone to water spots, fingerprints, and dents. Water spots are sometimes permanent, fingerprints can generally be wiped off - but how many times a day are you willing to do that? Especially if you have small kids. Fridge doors are especially prone to dents. Some "stainless" finishes are much less fingerprint-prone than others, and there are cleaners which make the cleaning both easier and more long lasting. I recommend a search of the Kitchens forum on Gardenweb to find the most up-to-date recommendations from people who actually use their kitchens.


You would think that stone would be the toughest, most cleaning-resistant and least-maintenance material on the planet, right? Apparently not. Granite and other stones need to be sealed after installation and at regular intervals from then onwards. Some cleaning materials will damage them - you have to use the right stuff. High gloss surfaces show marks and fingerprints mercilessly. Some food items can damage or stain them. Very hot pans can cause them to crack. Crisp corners and edges can chip.

So, if you're planning to use these materials, do your homework and make sure you know what they will need in the way of maintenance, and that you'll be happy doing it. Otherwise, why pay all that money just to end up with work you didn't expect or intend?

No comments: