How fragile are granite countertops?
Can you put anything hot on them? Do they crack or stain easily?
Granite countertops are not fragile. I've never had a stain in mine after 5 years of use and I've set hot pots on them with no problems. I've never heard of a granite countertop cracking from use. Cracks do happen sometimes during installation if the guys screw it up and drop or somehow twist the long pieces of granite.
You'll get a lot of differing opinions on this. Different granites behave differently - some are much more prone to staining, chipping, cracking, etc. than others. When I went to choose granite for my kitchen, the yards had samples of various materials that you could take home and test for staining. I chose a light colored granite with a lot of movement (speckles, etc.) in my kitchen, and although I was a bit worried about stains, they haven't been a problem. Sealing the granite regularly helps with that. My granite does seem to chip rather easily (I've knocked bits out of it in high-traffic areas, like near the dishwasher, etc.) but because of the color and movement you can't see the chips. Cracking hasn't been an issue and I do sit hot things on my granite, although many people say you shouldn't.
re: mucho gordo
Can't help you with seal or reseal.If you go to sites on the subject that include granite for floors,fireplace mantels or splash backs the information will be (?) divided about sealing.
To check a specific piece for after market sealing in a very discreet place ; acetone on a q-tip rubbed somewhere you can live with will tell you.
going on 12 years with our granite kitchen, as we bought it. no idea if it was sealed or not. It's dark green and gray with flecks of white. we haven't sealed, we just sponge it down. every once in a while I add a bit of bleach since I use it for kneading bread and rolling pastry. never had a problem with any kind of stain or any kind of hot pot on it. no chips.
Hola Madrid -
We seem to be on the same page.
No seal, no mess, no clean-up problems.
Baking: Yes, flour can leave traces on jet black granite when I knead. One wipe with a large wet sponge usually does the job: My wife will tell me if I missed any flour dust.
We have coastal property in Brasil, and found a remarkable white and gold striations granite up in Ceara state. Measured our dining table for 10 and had the fabricators make a granite slab with bull nosed edging that was then lowered down over onto the table.
The fruit shown on the granite is Cashew nut fruit, which develops the nut at the bottom of each fruit. The fruit can be eaten or juiced and tastes like a cross between a pear and mint. If you ever get the chance, it is worth sampling. The tree grow prolifically in the Fortaleza, and Porto Das Dunas area.
Verified indestructible, as we rent out that one unit year round. 7 years rental now to families and children = No problems.
There is also a pure white granite there with chartreuse flecks available, but more porous, and easier to stain, or so we were told.
There are amazing varieties of Brasilian granite !
I don't consider granite countertops to be fragile at all. I sealed mine when I put it in four years ago and haven't sealed it since. No staining, no cracking.
Granite is actually quite robust as a counter surface. It doesn't stain easily and in fact most granites will not stain (marble on the other hand is a different issue). Granite, because it's all stone and not particularly hydroscopic, takes a great deal of heat, certianly the temperature of a hot pot out of the oven or off the stove top isn't going to be enough heat to cause thermal expansion and cracks. If it's not installed properly, that is supported well around the edges, it could crack from excessive weight or pounding, that will also depend on the thickness you had installed, obviously the thicker the stone the more abuse it can take in that regard.
Many exotic granites have fishers in them that are filled with resin and a ground stone mixture, these are typically mounted on a mesh backing which allows for the use of such stones in a kitchen or bath. These would be the most likely to be fragile, but even these are quite robust.
I think there's granite and then there's granite .............................. as other posters have responded, different types and grades have different properties. I'll add that thickness will also affect performance. EX: thin granite 12" X 12" tiles are more prone to cracking problems than large 3cm thick slabs. Proper installation is imperative. It is also wise to personally inspect each piece of granite before fabrication for porosity, cracks, etc. which is why buying from a Big Box store is dicey.
Dropping a hot, heavy pot (think LC or cast iron) on thin, porous tiles will likely result in cracking. Dropping the same hot heavy LC pot on my very thick 12 ft slabs has never produced so much as a scratch (it did, however, dent the floor!)
I have put 550 degree pizza stones directly onto the granite counter -- cracked the pizza stone, granite was fine. Ten years later, after some serious cooking in this kitchen, there are no problems at all with the granite. I have never resealed it and there are no stains -- maybe being dark green with a lot of swirls and movement has something to do with it. I would make this choice again in a heartbeat.