New granite countertops that don't require sealing
Put down a hot skillet, scale a fish, shatter a glass; your granite countertop can take it. But forget to wipe a little spilled red wine or fail to rinse a peanut-butter-slathered knife before setting it down, and your precious stone can stain.
Untreated granite—impervious to heat, bacteria, and chipping—is notoriously vulnerable to discoloration from dark or oily foods. But not anymore. A new stain-resistant granite called Stonemark debuts this summer. Before the polished stone even reaches the home center (let alone your kitchen) it's impregnated with a water-based solution that's guaranteed to ward against unsightly marks for 15 years.
Until now, the best defense against staining has been to catch spills before they penetrate the porous stone. Periodic treatments with a surface sealer extend that response time and make cleanup easier, but homeowners often fail to keep up with the maintenance, says Fred Hueston, director of the National Training Center for Stone and Masonry Trades. "Granite is one of the most expensive countertop materials," says Hueston. "You don't expect to have to treat it."
Stonemark is currently sold at 500 Home Depot stores in 12 states; stay tuned for more locales. It comes in 60 colors and looks and feels the same as other granite. And at $50 to $90 a square foot installed, it costs about the same, too. Visit stonemark.com for details.