What do I cover granite countertops with since I'm renting?
May 25, 2016 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I need the equivalent of plastic couch covers or tinfoiling your stove for counters. I'd like to use the counters with the covers on. Appearance is unimportant. Usability of the counters is.

Before I rented a place with granite countertops, I thought they were supposed to be tough and easy to clean. Now I see they're delicate: they can chip or stain and they need to be resealed annually. I'd like to clean and seal them once, then cover them with something that lets me use the counters as counters until I stop leasing this place.
posted by derbyshire to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Uh, ours have always been tough and easy to clean everywhere we've rented. We have abused them rather shamelessly, and lived in the same place for years. They still look great - our landlord last year asked us what we did to keep them so nice. My response - Lysol once a week, whether it needed it or not. :)
posted by arnicae at 4:20 PM on May 25, 2016

Plastic film and cutting boards? Cover all the counters with the plastic film to keep clean etc, and put down cutting boards as a kind of prophylactic counter surface? I've done this in rental places, to keep white melamine (white melamine!) counters unmarked by tea splashes or careless tomato cutting. You could omit the plastic film, and just use the cutting boards as the counter.
posted by glitter at 4:20 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've had two different granite surfaces in my kitchen since 2005 and they have been sealed exactly once, when they were installed. I clean them by wiping them down with a soapy sponge, then I spray them with some lemon spray I get at Target and wipe them down with paper towels. I regularly put pots on the counters right out of the oven, no hot pads.

One countertop is black (but in the sunlight looks chocolate brown) and the other is various shades of tan, brown, and white.

Are you sure they're actually granite? I mean, it's volcanic stone. It's pretty durable.
posted by cooker girl at 4:28 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

You can buy 4'x8' sheets of Formica at Lowe's for about $50.
posted by deadweightloss at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2016

I also have eleven year old granite. I also don't take any particular care of it, and installed it because it was rugged and hard to damage.

The only damage I've done to it is small chips around the sink, probably mostly because cast iron beats granite in the kitchen game of Rock Paper Scissors. Don't hit it with a cast iron pot, and you'll probably be ok.
posted by instamatic at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I doubt seriously you HAVE to seal them. They've never been sealed in the 3 years we've lived in our apartment. I just use Mrs. Meyers cleaner on mine and hot water and that works fine.

Honestly, they've not fragile.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2016

Or you can cover them with lexan that will be future cutting boards when you move.
posted by mightshould at 4:41 PM on May 25, 2016

Now I see they're delicate: they can chip or stain and they need to be resealed annually.

I own a kitchen with granite countertops and this has not at all been my experience. I spray them with counter cleaning poison every once in a while and they have stayed fine. I have been in this place for ten years.

But! To your question. I suggest getting a lot of flexible cutting boards. and using a lot of the rest of the counter space to fill up with appliances (where you might otherwise tuck them away). Suggest against something slippery. Suggest against something big and heavy (the chipping thing is real). Just get the largest flexible cutting boards you can and get a lot of them.
posted by jessamyn at 4:45 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

For a long time I was using a surface that was not countertop as a countertop, and I basically tiled it with the biggest cutting boards I could find, which were these 15x20" acrylic ones. They have little siliconey feet, which gives them some bounce and keeps them from moving around. There is also a version that is 11x15

If it was me, I'd use these on each side of the sink to protect from dropped stuff, and mostly do my cutting and chopping there, but not bother with covering the entire thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:13 PM on May 25, 2016

My granite has been sealed twice- once on instal and once 8 years ago. I still looks like.... Granite. I use Method Daily Granite on them. I seriously wouldn't worry about damaging the granite. I even set hot pots on mine!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:44 PM on May 25, 2016

I have a huge glass cutting board with little felt feet on my countertop, and it's deep enough that it just butts up against the knife block. I use a regular cutting board on top of it because it's terrible for knife blades. I don't know the brand or what it cost, but a few of those, or the acrylic ones Lyn Never mentioned would do it.
posted by mgar at 6:10 PM on May 25, 2016

Here to say I've had granite in two houses, the first for 8 or 9 years, sealed upon installation but never again. I think we had one or two little chips on the granite backsplash, at the corner, nothing you'd notice. The first granite would darken a little when wet, e.g. under a dish drainer, but the color returned to normal when it dried out. I even kept a leaky oil jug on the counter & it didn't stain.
posted by mr vino at 7:01 PM on May 25, 2016

I'd completely cover the counter surface with laminated single layer bamboo sheets. Hold the pieces in place with glass top dots. When you move you can cut the large pieces up into cutting boards.
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 PM on May 25, 2016

If you must cover them with something, make sure there's a large enough air gap that things can stay dry and not get gross. If anything will damage them, icky standing water is a great contender.
posted by teremala at 7:52 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

Has your landlord said something to you about these counters? Enjoy the granite. It is literally rock and they will be fine.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:07 PM on May 25, 2016

This sounds like something to bring up to your landlord. Granite shouldn't chip or stain easily and you shouldn't have to live with a plastic sheet over your counters. If they need to be re-sealed or repaired in some way, that's why you rent -- so someone else has to upkeep the place and you don't.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:04 PM on May 25, 2016

Joining in the chorus of "it's really hard to hurt granite counters." There are three things that can do it: dropping something heavy to chip it; leaving your cast-iron pot on it long enough that the rust ring starts to penetrate the seal; leaving pools of oil on it long enough that it starts to penetrate the seal.

1 and 2 can be avoided by using the slightest amount of caution with cast-iron cookware. 3 will probably happen to you, but you don't need to freak out over a grease stain, since it's not permanent. Clean and dry the surface, and leave something absorbent like a paper towel on top of it for a few days and it'll come out.

Our was sealed when it was put in, 8 years ago, and has never had anything more than Simple Green applied to it since.
posted by Mayor West at 6:43 AM on May 26, 2016

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