What are the Long-Term Effects of Sunlight on Granite Countertops?

What are the Long-Term Effects of Sunlight on Granite Countertops?
And, just as importantly: Can you do anything to protect your beautiful natural-stone features, even if they are situated just under a west-facing window? It’s summertime, and the sun is out in full force. While a healthy dose of sunlight provides many benefits for us and our environment, it doesn’t tend to do many favors for natural fibers and materials, especially after prolonged exposure. While granite is an ideal stone for a countertop because it can hold up to extreme, acute stressors like hot pots and sharp knives, chronic exposure to ultraviolet light can be a different story. Let’s take a moment to discuss the long-term effects of sunlight and what you can do to protect your home’s countertops.

Do Granite Countertops Fade in Sunlight?

Direct sunlight can cause varying types of damage to your granite countertops, but, perhaps confusingly, this damage doesn’t always make a lot of sense. We might expect the sun to fade granite, especially pigmented types. After all, that’s what happens to darker fabrics in the summer! However, sun and UV damage can cause both fading and darkening on granite countertops. Natural stones that have been treated with resins may be at a higher risk of damage. An application of resin can strengthen stone, reducing chances for mechanical damage, but it can make the stone more susceptible to fading or darkening. Why does this happen? Let’s talk about what UV light is and why it can affect your stone. UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation, and it’s found in sunlight. Radiation is powerful and can trigger chemical reactions in the surfaces it touches. In many cases, the types of chemical reactions that follow UV exposure can have a weakening effect, which can result in a material getting softer or breaking down entirely. UV light affects polymers, or specific types of strung-together molecules, in a very destructive way. We see polymers in many materials, such as plastics, silicones, resins, polyesters and epoxies. Over time, if your granite countertop has a resin or epoxy component or coating, that material can break down, resulting in dull, dark or faded spots on your countertop. It’s easy to hope that this will not affect your home if you don’t receive that much sun, or if your countertops are inside. Glass windows and skylights reduce some of the UV rays in the sun, but not all, and even mild amounts of sunlight can cause damage over time.

How Can I Protect My Granite Countertops from Sun Damage?

You’ve invested significantly into your granite countertops. You want them to look good for years. Fortunately, a few precautions will help reduce the risk in your home. For example, if you have blinds over the sunnier windows in your home or near your natural-stone features, simply shutting them in the middle of the day can prevent a lot of sun exposure. If you don’t have that option or your countertops are outside (e.g., in an outdoor kitchen), you can purchase a cover for your countertops.

Can I Treat or Repair Granite Countertops with Sun Damage?

Perhaps the damage has already happened, or you’ve inherited a beautiful countertop that’s just in need of a little TLC. If your stone does not have the resin application, a professional stone restoration specialist will be able to re-polish the surface to restore the stone’s natural hue. If your stone does have that resin coating, your professional will also know what to do. Granite is durable, but — just like you and your skin — it will need protection during the height of the summer to make sure that it doesn’t sustain long-term damage. Taking care of your granite with a low-maintenance stone-cleaning routine can help. Making sure that you have access to stone-care professionals and stone-care expertise can also go a long way toward reducing stress for both you and your stone surfaces. Call our friendly team of stone care experts with three-generations of expertise today at 1-800-475-7866 to learn more about what our premium products can do for you and your granite surfaces.

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