Does Granite Emit Radon? Granite Countertop Experts Answer

There is no denying granite countertops are one of the best countertop materials in the market. Unfortunately, homeowners worry about radon, so you will hear them asking, does granite emit radon?

What is radon?

If this is the first time hearing the term, radon is a naturally occurring gas commonly found in basements. Radon is radioactive, and when you are exposed to elevated levels of it for a long time, you risk suffering from lung cancer.

How dangerous is radon?

Unlike carbon monoxide (produced by home furnaces, vehicles, and water heaters) that kills fast, radon doesn’t kill immediately—the effects take years to be apparent. As mentioned above, when you are exposed to radon for a long time, you are at more risk of developing lung cancer.

Does granite emit radon?

Several scientific studies show that granite does emit radon, but the levels emitted are usually too low to affect you. When you are researching about granite, you might come across plenty of information warning you about radon levels in granite, but there is scientific evidence that the levels are harmless. If you are in doubt, consider hiring a certified radon inspector to test the countertops.

Will food absorb radon?

There is the worry of food prepared directly on the granite surfaces absorbing radioactive energy. You should note that radioactive elements such as uranium will only get into the food if they get dissolved in water.

Since granite is insoluble, there is no way the radioactive elements will get into water then into food.

You might argue that radioactive energy given off at the granite surface will get into the food that is directly in contact with the surfaces. Still, there is evidence that, like other energetic rays, the radioactive energy changes to heat and/or non-radioactive particles.

Since these processes happen extremely fast, radiation doesn’t get into the food.

Taking care of granite countertops

Instead of worrying your countertops will spread radon, you should take good care of your kitchen countertops, so they last for a long time. How do you do this? Here are expert tips on how to go about it:

Seal the countertops

Granite is porous, so to protect it from stains and spills, you should seal it at the time of installation and at least once every year. To get the most results, use a high-quality sealing product. The sealer should penetrate the granite to seal any groove or spaces in the stone, instead of sitting on the surface.

You can seal the surfaces by yourself, but for best results, let an expert handle it for you.

Properly clean the surfaces.

Like other surfaces, you need to keep granite surfaces clean at all times. When doing the cleaning, be cautious of the cleaning products you are using. While granite is tough, avoid acidic cleaners and sponges that can scratch and wear down the sealant.

When it comes to soap, use a pH neutral soap that won’t cause any harm. Stay away from vinegar or Windex as they can etch the surfaces.

To keep the surfaces free of dirt and grime, wipe them regularly with warm water and a few drops of dish or antibacterial detergent. Once you done, rinse the surfaces thoroughly with clean water and dry them with a soft cloth.

When spills happen, blot them with a paper towel or soft cloth immediately. Don’t wipe spilled liquids such as milk or juice as they can spread around the countertops.

Watch what you place on the countertops.

It’s true granite surfaces are tough, but you should be ultra-cautious of what you place on them. As a rule of thumb, don’t place hot pots or pans on granite as they will damage the surfaces.

While granite can withstand high temperatures, extreme or constant temperature changes can harm the stone. When cooking, granite contractors Durham recommend you always have trivets and coasters on the counters at all time. When you have to place the pans down, place them there.

Granite surfaces are known to be tough, but when you place a lot of weight on them, you risk breaking them. To avoid damaging your stone, never stand on it. You also should never place heavy appliances such as an oven on it.

6 Questions To Ask Granite Countertop Installers

Granite countertops installation isn’t cheap, so you want to ensure the project is handled by the right granite countertop installers. The best way to ascertain you are working with the right professional is to ask the right questions. Some of the questions to ask include:

What professional credentials do you have?

You want to work with a professional that is a member of a professional body. The reason for this is because most companies that put effort into being members of professionals bodies strive to provide their clients with the best services.

The companies are also often knowledgeable on the latest and best practices, so you can be sure they will install your countertops as per the latest technology.

During the interview, ensure the contractor doesn’t merely pay their dues as a member of the organization but rarely participates in the organization activities. You want a professional who is active in the relevant organization activities.

How long will you take to complete the project?

While the duration of the project will depend on the expansiveness of the project, you should be wary of a company that projects the installation to last a few days as it might not provide you with good services.

At the same time, you should be cautious of a company that says it will complete the project in months. Such a company might not be having other engagements, and there must be a reason for this.

In a strong economy, good contractors are booked out 6-8 weeks, so when you come across a company that simply isn’t in a hurry to complete the project, it might be providing poor services hence the lack of clients.

Take time to find a company that is busy and gives you a realistic completion date. The contractors shouldn’t complete the project too fast, and at the same time, they shouldn’t be too slow.

Does your company offer a warranty?

As mentioned, installing kitchen countertops isn’t a cheap project, so you want to be sure your materials won’t get damaged, or when they are, you will be compensated. For peace of mind, you should work with a contractor offering a warranty.

Are you using modern equipment?

You might have the impression the type of equipment the contractors use in their work is none of your business, but this isn’t the case. When a company uses old, worn-out tools, it not only spends a lot of time on your project but also increases the risk of damaging your countertop materials.

You want to work with a reputable company using modern, properly maintained equipment. As a homeowner, you might not be conversant with the right equipment the contractors should use, but you can do your research.

You can also ask other contractors about the best equipment to use, and when you are interviewing, ask whether the company is using them.

You want to work with contractors using the latest countertop installation equipment. This way, they will not only properly and quickly install the countertops, but they also will install them with little risk of damage.

Do you sell countertop materials?

Most installation companies also sell countertop materials, and these are the best companies to work with. This is because you won’t have to deal with many companies to complete your project.

You also stand a better chance of cracking a good deal with the company as you will not only be hiring their services but also buying their products.

If the company is selling the slabs, ensure that it has a wide selection of countertop materials. It should have quartz, soapstone, marble, granite, and many others.

If the contractor doesn’t sell the stones, they should be willing to accompany you to the relevant countertop stores and help you choose the right material for your project.

What is your during-and-post job clean up protocol?

Some companies have the impression that it’s the work of the homeowner to keep their homes clean, but this shouldn’t be the case. Good granite contractors Raleigh shouldn’t leave a mess or create undue obstructions.

Before the work begins, the contractor should cover the furniture and other belongings with a tarp to protect them from dust and other forms of damage. For multiple-day jobs, the contractor should store the tools out of the way and secure the property.

After completing the installation, the contractor should clear away the debris and dust, leaving the property spotless.

What To And What Not To Put On Your Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

Did you know not everything is ideal to be placed on your kitchen countertops? In this article, we are going to look at the things you can place on the countertops and those you can’t. Read on to know more:

What to place on the counters

Some of the things you can place on the counters:

Coffee maker: If you make coffee every day, there is no better place to place your coffee maker than on your kitchen counter. To give your counters a great look, set up a coffee zone. This calls for you to gather everything you use to make coffee with and store it above and below the counter where your coffee maker sits.

Some of the things you should include with the coffee maker include mugs, coffee filters, coffee, and to-go cups.

Mixer: Only a few drawers and cabinets can store large appliances such as a mixer, and the large size and weight of the appliance will damage the cabinets. One of the best places to put the mixer is on the counter.

Tools: You should keep the crock right next to the stove together with spoons, tongs, ladles, spatulas, and other kitchen equipment. Having these items at your disposal makes it easy to reach them when the need arises.

Canisters: Large or small canisters are pieces you store on the counters for decoration or to contain small items. You use them to contain grab and go snacks, napkins, and other small odds and ends that will keep the counters from getting cluttered.

Dish rack: A dish rack is a must-have whether you have a dishwasher or not.

Salt and pepper shaker: Since you are going to be using these all the time, it makes sense to have them on the counters all the time.

Fruit basket: You are rarely going to refrigerate most of the fruits and vegetables—you are most likely going to eat them. To have an easy time reaching out to them, isn’t it wise to have a fruit basket on the counters?

Cutting board: Who doesn’t love large cutting boards on their counters? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have enough space for them, but if you love chopping, you should highly consider having them on your counters. This way you don’t cut directly on the counters and end up damaging them.

What not to place on the counters

Just as there are some items you can comfortably place on the counters, there are some you can’t. They include:

Papers: Papers on the counters gives them a cheap look, and you don’t want this, do you? If you aren’t using them, you should store them in a message center contraption. Preferably on the wall above the counter.

Appliances you rarely use: Are there appliances you rarely use? If you got them and you don’t use them every day, they are better off placed away from the counters as they will not only be giving your counters a cheap, dirty look, but they also will be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on the counters.

Collections: It’s normal to be attached to valuables. Whether its teacups, photographs, or figurines, it’s tempting to display them on the counters, but don’t do this. Instead of having them there, mount them on the wall.

Serving pieces: Only have these on your counters if you entertain daily. If you don’t, they will be taking a lot of space on the surfaces, and you are better off with them in the cabinet. You can also mount them on the wall as décor.

Other ways of taking care of your kitchen countertops

Other than being cautious of the items you place on the counters, there are plenty of other things you can do to prevent your countertops from getting damaged. Some of these things include:

Clean the countertops regularly: You must keep your countertops clean all the time. How do you do this? By cleaning them regularly. This way, you get rid of harmful materials on the surfaces. While cleaning the surfaces is vital, avoid using harsh materials as they will etch the surfaces and cause serious damage.

Cutting directly on the counters:  One of the things you should have on the counters is a cutting board, and you should always use it when cutting meat and other materials. Whether you have marble or granite countertops Durham, always use a cutting board to protect them from damage.

Do Granite Countertops Stain?

granite kitchen countertops

Granite is one of the toughest countertop materials in the market, but it’s not impervious to damage. So if you are asking, do granite countertops stain? Yes, they do stain. While the countertop is tough, it’s porous, and liquids can penetrate the surfaces and cause stains.

Types of stains

The countertops can be affected by different types of stains that include:

Water stains: Water stains are temporary and when they happen, they darken or lighten the countertop material. The good thing is when water evaporates, the color of the stone returns to normal.

Organic stains: These are brought about by organic materials such as mustard, soda, tea, and others.

Inorganic stains: They result from dyes, dirt, ink, and others.

Oil stains: Butter, cooking oil, and mineral oils will damage the countertops when they land on them.

Biological stains: Popular biological stains include: mold and mildew.

Metal stains: Metal stains include rust, copper and many others.

What should you do when your countertops stain?

To retain the elegant look of the countertops, you should remove the stains as soon as they happen. How you remove the stains depends on the nature of the stain. To remove the stains, follow these steps:

Begin with creating a thick paste of hydrogen peroxide and talc powder. For ideal results, ensure the paste has a consistency of putty.

You should then apply the mix to the stained area while taking care not to apply it on the unstained areas. Experts recommend you keep the layer of paste one-fourth of an inch thick and should overlap the stain by about half an inch.

After applying the paste, cover the area with a plastic wrap and tape the edges. Let the paste sit for 24 hours after which you should remove it only leaving the poultice in place. Let the poultice stay on the stain until it completely dries up.

You should then use a plastic scraper and scrape away all the paste. If any paste remains, wipe it with a clean cloth. Follow up with cleaning the countertops normally and dry it with a clean cloth.

In most cases, this will remove the stain, but if it doesn’t, repeat the process and the stain will go away.

Can you prevent stains from coming about?

Yes, you can do it by taking good care of the countertops.  When you are in the kitchen, take care not to spill products on the countertops. Even when spills happen, hurry and clean them up.

To prevent water spills, seal the countertops. For ideal results, follow the right sealing procedure:

Begin with cleaning the counters with water and allow them to dry out completely.

You should then shake the sealer and apply it liberally to every part of the countertop using paper towels, paint roller, or paintbrush. When applying the sealer, ensure you have a thin film on the entire surface of the stone.

After applying the sealer, let it soak into the counters for at least 15 minutes after which you should wipe it off with a clean cloth.

If your countertops are white or have another color susceptible to staining, apply a second sealer coat. Upon applying the first coat, wait for at least 48 hours then apply the second coat.

Once done, wipe the counters with clean towels and paper towels, making sure you wipe away excess sealer. Before you start using the countertops, leave them for at least 24 hours.

Other ways to protect granite

Other than sealing the countertops, there are plenty of different ways you can protect them from stains and other forms of damage. Some of these ways include:

Protect them from UV rays: Most granites are combined with resins susceptible to UV-ray damage that leads to fading and dulling of color. In addition to keeping curtains closed when it’s sunny, talk to your granite contractors Durham and understand the best product to provide maximum protection.

Use pH-neutral cleaners: Granite is sensitive to acidic and alkaline-based cleaners so only use pH-neutral cleaners.  Using the wrong products not only stains the surfaces, but it also etches them, so you have to replace them, which is expensive.

6 Benefits Of Marble Countertops

marble countertops

Marble countertops are one of the most popular countertop materials in the market. Their subtle sheen evokes an air of elegance that adds a timeless ambience to any home. In addition to these benefits, the countertops come with plenty of other benefits that include:

It’s affordable

When you look at marble, you might have the impression it’s expensive, but this isn’t the case. Compared to other countertop materials, marble is extremely affordable. Although, the cost of the stone varies depending on the type and thickness, it’s much cheaper than granite or quartz.

It’s durable

Marble comes from natural stone, so it’s more resistant to cracking, scratching, and breaking. This makes it  durable as long as you take good care of it. The cool thing is that while the stone is tough, it’s much softer, making it easy to incorporate attractive design elements such as fancy edges during the fabrication process.

In addition to the popular edge profiles such as bullnose, straight, bevel, and demi bullnose, you can cut marble into chiselled,  chiselled, elegant cove bullnose and even the waterfall edge, the most popular premium edge cut that features three cascading convex arches that add texture and interest to the countertop.

While these fancy edges come at a premium, they often cost lower than with granite and other countertop materials.

It’s perfect for baking.

The countertop naturally stays cool and always remains below room temperature. This makes it an ideal working surface for bakers working with dough, pastries, chocolate, and ice cream. These features not only make the countertops ideal for bakery, but you can also install it and use it in your home.

It has a luxurious appearance.

As mentioned above, one of the most attractive features of marble is they have a unique luxurious appearance that is timeless. As long as you take good care of the countertops, they look excellent for a long time.

It’s easy to find

One of the prime reasons the countertop is affordable is because you can easily find it. Since marble is softer than granite, quartz and other countertop materials, most countertop companies have large supplies of it.

The soft nature of the countertop makes it easy to shape and edge without damaging the surface hence making it an excellent option for different areas of the house.

It’s bright

Part of the reason many homeowners find marble appealing is that it has a natural glow that reflects light in any room. If you have a small bathroom or kitchen or your kitchen doesn’t have a lot of natural light, marble is an excellent countertop material for making the room brighter and larger.

How to take care of marble

For you to make the most of the benefits of the countertops, you should take good care of it. Some of the ways in which you can do it include:

Seal the countertops: Like granite countertops, you need to seal marble to retain its look. Since the countertop is porous, spilt wine or water can potentially stain it, making it the end of your all-white kitchen. To avoid this from happening, seal the countertops as you are installing them then once every year after that.

Clean the countertops: You need to clean the countertops to keep them looking good. For daily cleaning, use a mild dish or stone soap then rinse with water to keep the marble spick and span.

If you haven’t been taking good care of your countertops, it’s normal to have a stain. If the stain is stubborn and not coming out, use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia. You can also sand the countertops to remove the annoying stain.

Avoid acids: Acidic substances such as lemons should never come into contact with marble as it will etch the surfaces. To avoid this from happening, granite contractors Durham recommend you use a cutting board and stay away from cleaning agent that might have lemon or vinegar in them.

Always use a trivet: While marble is tough and heat resistant, you should never place hot pans and pots directly on the surfaces. To be safe, always use a potholder or trivet.

How Do I Know What My Countertop Is Made Of? Granite Contractors Answer It

If you are asking this question, how do I know what my countertop is made of, you must have moved to a new house, and aren’t sure of the material used to cover your countertops. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. According to granite contractors, there are plenty of new homeowners that can’t tell whether their countertops are made from marble, quartz, or granite. To help you out, here are three of the most popular countertop materials and how they compare:

Marble

Marble is said to be the most elegant natural stone in the world. Just like granite, it has been around for years, and it has been used to construct palaces for kings and statues dedicated to gods.

Impurity free marble is solid white. Unfortunately, most of the marble contains other minerals that give it a myriad of colors such as black, pink, gray, and yellow.

Real marble tends to have unparalleled glossiness. When you are inspecting the stone, don’t take this as a telltale sign your countertop is made from marble as unscrupulous business people can replicate it by adding small pieces of glass and other materials.

The colors of the countertops will appear as veins or swirls throughout the stone, and since the countertop is natural, it won’t have repeating or symmetrical patterns.

Unlike granite, marble is translucent; hence you can see a few millimeters past the surface, which gives the material more depth.

Granite

Granite has been around for years, and it’s one of the most popular countertop materials in the market. It contains an assortment of different minerals such as: mica, feldspar, and quartz. It comes in different colors such as brown, gray, white, and red.

Granite is referred to as a phanerite rock. This means it contains crystals and mineral clumps that are large enough to distinguish with naked eyes. When you look at a granite slab, you will see various pieces in a speckled pattern that come together to form the stone.

You will come across some granite that has a veined look similar to marble, but when you look at it closely, the color patches tend to be grainy and blurry, instead of having distinct streaks. Since the stone is opaque, you can only see the outermost layer of the surface.

Quartz

Quartz counters are humanmade, where they are made by mixing ground quartz stone, resins, and polymers. Some quartz countertops can be a mix of ground granite, marble and other natural stones giving birth to engineered stone.

Since the countertops are humanmade, they come in a variety of colors and patterns.

If you are new with countertops and would love to know whether you are using real or fake countertops, you should look at the pattern.  Every slab of marble or granite is unique since it’s made from natural stone. As a consequence, no two areas of the stone will look the same.

Since quartz is humanmade, it tends to have a fairly uniform color and consistency throughout with little variation in patterns and texture.

So what should you do after knowing?

Once you have known the countertops you have in your home, the next move should be to take care of them. In most cases, you give the same care to all types of countertops.

One of the things you should do is to clean the countertops. When you notice dirt, clean the countertops with mild soap and sponge. Avoid using harsh chemicals as they will etch the surfaces.

You also should avoid placing a lot of weight on the countertops. Marble, granite, and quartz countertops appear sturdy and indestructible, but they easily crack when you place a lot of weight on them.

To keep them in shape, avoid sitting on them. You also should avoid placing a heavy cooking item at the edges of the countertops.

Finally, you should make a habit of clearing any debris from the countertops as soon as it happens. This ensures the countertops don’t stain, so you don’t have to undertake countertop replacement Raleigh. Just like when cleaning the surfaces, avoid getting rid of dirt using harsh products that can harm the surfaces.

 

How to Tell If Countertop Is Granite or Quartz

best quartz countertop

When homeowners are looking to remodel their homes, the popular debate is whether they should install granite or quartz countertops. The experienced homeowners know the difference between the two, but the new ones are always asking how to tell if the countertop is granite or quartz.

Before we tell you how to tell the difference, let’s start with knowing about each countertop material.

What is quartz?

Quartz is a manmade material made up of 90-95% quartz and 5-10% resin. Often referred to as engineered stone, the material is made from leftover quartz that is ground and mixed with resin.

Quartz occurs in a variety of colors ranging from whites to purples and blues. You can leave the countertop material naturally colored or enhance it to achieve a particular color or pattern. Since quartz is manufactured, it comes in a variety of slab sizes and shapes.

What is granite?

Granite is a 100% natural occurring rock formed over some time by the cooling of molten lava. As lava cools and compresses over centuries, it forms flecks and striations that give the countertops its character.

The granite stone is made up of several minerals that give each slab different colours and characteristics.

Granite is harvested in a quarry where it’s later cut into manageable slab sizes. From there it’s sent to the supplier where it’s polished to achieve its characteristic shine. The supplier then cuts it again to fit your bathroom countertop or kitchen island size.

How can you tell if a countertop material is granite or quartz?

For you to tell the countertop material you are dealing with; you need to look at several factors that include:

Appearance

Since granite is natural, it has an earthier texture that results from mineral crystals which often bear microscopic fissures.

Quartz is bound with resin which means the countertop doesn’t have the crystalline structure or natural fissures similar to those you find in granite. Due to this, quartz has a smoother texture. You should note that the more finely ground the quartz is, the glossier and more polished the overall appearance is.

Price

Just like any other countertop material, the cost of granite and quartz varies depending on the slab thickness, color, edge profile, and whether the countertop will house a sink.

Regardless of all this, quartz is generally cheaper than granite. The extra cost of granite is due to the months, or even years it can take to locate and quarry granite. It’s also expensive to transport granite from India, Russia, and Brazil, where most of the world’s supply is found.

Quartz is abundant and often mined in the United States (primarily Arkansas) hence the lower costs which are passed on to you.

Size

A standard granite slab measures 105 by 54 inches which is narrower and shorter than standard-sized quartz slab that measures 120 by 55 inches or the jumbo-sized quartz slab at 129 by 65 inches.

While the smaller size makes it easier to install granite slabs as the granite installers have an easier time handling the slabs, the slabs cover a smaller area; hence you have to purchase many of them. It also means you have many unsightly seams to deal with.

Wider and taller quartz slabs allow you to cover small and large countertop areas with fewer slabs. This means more savings and fewer seams.

Maintenance and durability

Although, both materials are durable, granite is relatively porous hence requires sealing after installation, then periodic sealing on an ongoing basis. Granite slabs also tend to have natural flaws that make them prone to cracking.

Quartz doesn’t require any sealing and its uniform throughout, which means it rarely cracks.

The resins in quartz slabs makes them highly resistant to staining compared to granite. The resins also make quartz less susceptible to harboring bacteria.

Which one is better?

Your choice between the two is solely dependent on your preferences. You might be attracted to the natural veining and beauty of granite slabs or be drawn to the consistency of quartz.

Regardless of the material you choose, you should note that none is DIY friendly so you will have to hire granite contractors Durham to help you with the installation.

6 Inexpensive Kitchen Countertops

Everyone wants to install high-end kitchen countertops in their home, but sometimes due to financial constraints, they are unable so they have to think about the next best option. Luckily, there are several inexpensive countertop options you can go with. The most common ones being:

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are cheap, easy to find, easy to cut, easy to install, and come in different varieties. While they are great, they come with their fair share of flaws: they are difficult to maintain as you have to keep on sealing them, they are hard to clean unless you add a layer of epoxy, and some homeowners feel they are unhygienic.

While this is the case, they are a great alternative if you aren’t in a good financial position.

Laminate

There are two types of laminate countertops: cheap and expensive. The expensive type looks good for a long time, looks better, and handles more heat and height. While some people might frown upon the cheap variety, it isn’t that bad as long as you are cautious about how you use it.

You will find fairly cheap and still in good condition laminate countertops from your local store. The countertops might not be the prettiest or the sturdiest, but they will get the work done.

The most popular option you can go with is Formica. If you don’t like the brand, there are plenty of others such as: Pionite, Bevella, CustomCraft, Wilsonart, Corinthian, Hampton Bay, and many others.

Tiles

Many people know tiles when they are installed to the floor, but they aren’t limited to only here. You can also install tile countertops on the ceiling, swimming pool, balcony, vanities, walls, and of course, on the countertops.

The beauty with tiles is that they are waterproof, elegant to look at, and low maintenance. They are also easy and quick to install, so you can even install them by yourself even with basic skills. While this is the case, it’s always wise to hire a professional as the contractor does the work better.

Granite remnants

If your kitchen isn’t too big, you can give the countertops an elegant appeal using granite remnants. For those that don’t know, granite remnants are bits and pieces that are left over after completing the previous projects.

Visit the local stone store and buy any remnants that might be there. If you know a friend or family member that recently had a granite project, approach them and ask them for the remnants that the contractors left behind.

You can combine the remnants to make a beautiful countertop. While the countertops will have a strange look, they won’t be too bad, especially if an expert does the work. The contractor will fix the pieces together, glue, and seal them, ensuring there is no risk of the liquids seeping into the cracks.

One of the best places to install the remnants is in the kitchen islands. When you install them, you should note that you have to reseal them more often than the traditional countertops, so you should be ready for it. For example, if you reseal the regular countertops once a year, reseal the remnants twice a year.

Wood

Wood is elegant looking, works excellently, lasts for a long time, and its fairly inexpensive. There are plenty of wood varieties you can install in your home. For example, you can install walnut, cherry, mahogany, pinewood, or any other variety that you love.

If you are on a budget, consider balancing a plain wooden countertop with other cool elements. Since you are strapped for cash, you should find the wood variety that is the cheapest in your area and find out whether it will look good for your countertops.

When you find the right wood, install and seal it.

Paint

If you are looking to revamp old wooden countertops, paint makes such an excellent option. You can do the painting by yourself or hire contractors such as granite contractors Raleigh to help you out.

As you are painting the countertops, you should note that they don’t look stylish or expensive, but they sure do look neat. When choosing the paint, go for a high-quality one that blends with your kitchen design.

What Are Laminate Countertops Made Of

Although laminate has been around for a long time, many people still don’t know much about them, so you will often hear them wondering what are laminate countertops made of. If you are one of the people asking this question, here are a few things you should know about the countertops:

What are the countertops made of?

The countertops were invented in the early 1900s by engineers from Westinghouse Company. They invented the product from phenolic resins that serve as an industrial insulator. The engineers later left Westinghouse and created the Formica Company that popularized the material.

The countertops are made by combining layers of resins and paper into a single, semi-rigid plastic sheet. The manufacturers use Brown Kraft paper for the bottom layers. The layers are pressed together while cooked, which forces all of the resins and papers to chemically bond into one plasticized sheet.

The countertops come in different grades, often referred to as “grades.” The most popular grades are: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal grade is the thickest type engineered for heavy use and high impact. Since it’s the thickest, it lasts for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s stiff hence difficult to form.

The vertical grade is often used for backsplashes and other areas that can’t withstand a lot of abuse as the other countertops.

Why should you buy a laminate?

Laminate comes with plenty of attractive features that make it a great choice. Some of these features include:

It’s affordable: If you are strapped for cash, laminate is one of the most affordable materials in the market that you can go for.

Elegant appeal: While the countertops materials are cheap, they resemble their more expensive, premium competitors such as granite and marble. This means you can give your home a high-end look at a meager price.

They are easy to install: Since the countertops are lightweight, they are easy to install. You can easily install them on your own without requiring the services of a professional.

Easy to clean: When you pour a potentially staining product on the countertops, getting rid of it is easy. You only need a clean, moist material. When cleaning, avoid using chemicals and abrasives as they can dull the surface or even destroy the resin.

Unlike marble and granite countertops, the countertops are practically maintenance-free as you don’t need to seal or oil them.

Stain-resistant: Since the countertops are made from plastic, they are waterproof. This means they easily repel stains, so you don’t have to worry about them getting stained and looking ugly.

Versatile: The countertops come in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns. It’s all up to you to choose the ones that are ideal for you. The beauty of it is that you can even get the countertops customized to your liking.

Cons of the countertops

While the countertops are excellent for use in your home, they have several setbacks:

Easily get damaged: Since they are made from layers that are glued together, they easily get damaged when you aren’t cautious when handling them. When you place hot pans or a cigarette on them, you can easily melt them.

The top of the countertops is also highly susceptible to scratches from sharp knives and other items. Unfortunately, unlike other materials that you can easily repair, the countertops are difficult, so you have no option, other than to replace them.

Don’t have a huge impact on the resale value of the house: Compared to granite and marble countertops, laminate doesn’t add much resale value to the house. So you can’t invest in the countertops with the hope that you will recoup your money once you sell your house.

How do you take care of the countertops?

For you to prevent the countertops from getting damaged, you should take good care of them. As motioned above, when you are cleaning the countertops, always ensure that you don’t use abrasive cleaners. You also should avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach.

Since you can only hire countertop replacement NC professionals to replace the damaged countertops, you should be ultra-cautious what you place on the surfaces. As a rule of thumb, never place hot pans on the surfaces. You also should never place any hot material on the surfaces.

How To Cut Granite Countertops By Hand

granite countertops

One of the prime reasons you may want to cut granite countertops by hand is if you have small granite blocks that were left behind by the contractor, and you would like to use them in other applications such as making stools or other surfaces.

There are plenty of tools you can use to do the cutting. The most common one is the wide-bladed chisel. When cutting the countertops, you need to consider plenty of factors that include:

Safety tips

You need to be safe when cutting the countertops. To do it:

  • Ensure that your hand is out of the way, so you don’t hurt yourself.
  • Roll up your sleeves and tie your hair back, so it doesn’t hurt you.
  • It’s wise you wear safety goggles and a dust mask. This keeps granite from getting into your eyes and silica dust from entering your lungs.
  • You should wear ear protection.

Set up the work area

The work area should be sturdy such that it can effectively hold the granite in place. To have an easy time cleaning once you are done, cut the granite outdoors. If cutting the granite indoors, lay drop cloths on the floor to cover the areas of interest. It’s also wise you have a shop-type vacuum in the area to help you with the cleaning.

Mark the area you want to cut.

Measure the desired length and width you want to cut on the granite then place three strips of painter’s tape on the area you are looking to cut. You should note that you don’t have to be precise when placing the tape as the purpose of the tape is to protect the surface and reduce the risk of chipping.

Before you begin cutting, double-check the measurements, and ensure they are correct.  Remember to add an extra 1/6 of an inch for the chisel and saw blade width and mark the measurements with a pencil.

Once you are sure that the measurements are correct, position the granite section directly in front so that it’s visible. You should then put on your safety goggles and position the carbide-tipped point chisel directly in the top edge of the marked line.

The line should be at one of the edges of the granite section. Hold the grip of the chisel with the point resting against the granite, and using your other hand, gently tap the head with a mallet.

Chisel a groove

At one corner, chisel a groove at least ½ inch in depth. You should then chisel marks directly along the straight line you drew across the granite section. When making marks, ensure they are in a perfect line. Continue until you have chiseled at least six inches along the line from the end of the countertop.

Insert a blade into the groove

After completing making grooves, place the chisel and mallet aside and insert the blade of your handsaw into the groove. Cut the granite with a sawing motion until you successfully cut the entire section.

To cut down on dust accumulation, wet the blade as desired, then continue cutting until you cut the entire line of granite.

Polish the countertop

If the cut end of the granite slab or countertop will be facing a wall or another object, you should polish it. To smoothen it, fit an angle grinder with a diamond grinding wheel, then smooth and shape the edges to your liking.

Tips when cutting granite with hand

To avoid injury, avoid wearing gloves, especially when using a saw. This is because groves will weaken your grip on the saw.

When cutting or polishing the countertop, ensure you use the right blade. As a rule of thumb, use blades designed to cut natural stone. In addition to the wrong blade putting you at the risk of getting hurt, you can also damage the saw or blade.

Parting shot

This is what you need to know when you are cutting a granite slab with your hands. The process is risky, so if you aren’t ready for it, hire granite contractors Raleigh to help you out. The good thing is that the contractors will come with specialized tools, so they will get the work done fast.