Granite is one of the most durable countertop materials you can install in your kitchen, and while the price is considerably higher than other finish materials, the cost is reflected in its ability to shrug off things that would cause damage to other cheaper products. While a wooden or plastic countertop will burn or melt if you place something hot on it, granite will remain just as pristine as it was on the day it was installed.
Pots and Pans
With normal pots and pans, when you take them off the stove you need to place them on top of a protector of some kind, known as a potholder. This is to protect the countertop surface from burning or melting, as in the case of vinyl, laminate or wood.
With granite you can place the pots and pans directly onto the countertop, even if the contents are still boiling and fresh off the stove.
If you have used a topical sealer on your granite to add a polished sheen to the surface, you will need to check with the manufacturer of the sealer to determine if the heat will do anything to the sealer. While granite itself is impervious to heat from hot things in the kitchen, many granite countertops have been sealed with a topical sealer, and while most of them are made to withstand such problems, you should double-check to ensure no damage will occur.
While the granite itself is resistant to the heat and will not be damaged directly, if you have used a wax sealer you could run the risk of burning the wax onto the surface of the granite. While not completely detrimental to the health of your granite countertop, burnt wax sealer is difficult to remove.
If you have covered your granite with wax sealer, you should avoid direct contact with hot items.
Direct flame is the only type of heat that can affect granite, and then only if there are natural flaws in the granite, such as hairline cracks that are invisible to the naked eye. Thermal heat from direct flames can cause the granite to crack and chip, but the chance of your countertop coming into direct contact with an open flame for an extended period of time is almost nil.
For the average hot item, such as a casserole dish, pan, manual espresso machine or skillet, your countertop is completely safe.