Author Archives: TheCountertopFactory

Is Marble Easy To Maintain? Marble Countertops Experts Answer

Marble is one of the most popular countertop materials in the market. While it has been around for a long time, many new homeowners are skeptical about installing it due to its perceived high maintenance. Is marble easy to maintain? You will hear them asking.

Like any other countertop material, marble requires some care. To help you out, here are tips on how to care for marble countertops:

Apply a good sealant

Marble is porous, so you need to seal it to protect it from staining. At the time of purchase, the countertops don’t have any sealing so you have to apply it. If you are a dab hand at DIY, you can do the sealing or, let the countertop company do it.

Thankfully, applying the sealant is simple. Ensure the surface you are working on is clean and dry. If applying the sealer on an old countertop, use acetone to remove the old sealer. By following the instructions on the sealant’s packaging, proceed to apply the sealant to your countertops.

Applying the sealant is easy as all you need to do is to pour it directly on the surfaces then spread it evenly with a clean white cloth. Let the sealer soak for 3-4 minutes, then sprinkle a little more over the treated areas.

This way, you will collect and gather excess sealer during cleanup. You should use a clean, dry cloth to remove the excess sealer that hasn’t soaked in. In most cases, a second coat is unnecessary unless the sealer manufacturers recommend it.

Get rid of stains as soon as you notice them.

To avoid stains, it’s recommended you clear spills as soon as they happen. Unfortunately, sometimes they happen, and you are unaware of it. What is the result of this? The liquid gets into the inner layers of the countertops, and you have a stain.

To restore your countertops, you need to get rid of the stains. There are plenty of products you can use to do it. It’s up to you to choose the right ones depending on the type of stain you have.

If you have oil-based stains such as milk, cooking oil, makeup, and others, clean them using a liquid cleanser with ammonia, acetone, mineral spirits, or bleach.

Got mildew stains? Combat them with a solution of three parts household bleach with one part water and a dash of dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle. You should mist the surface thoroughly and repeat the application until the entire stain goes away. Finally, rinse the area with clear water.

Have you spilled tea, wine, paper, tobacco, coffee, fruit, or any other foods on your precious countertops? Use a 12% hydrogen peroxide solution and a few ammonia drops to clean the surfaces. You should then rinse the surfaces with a wet cloth and dry with a chamois.

If you accidentally spilled paint on the surfaces, remove a small drip with a lacquer thinner dabbed on with a clean cloth. You can also carefully scrape it off with a razor blade. If the paint stain is large, use a paint stripper to remove it. Remember to re-polish the affected area after removal.

Protect the surfaces from damage

Sealing the surfaces is enough, and you can do whatever you want with the surfaces, right? Wrong. Even after sealing the countertops, you still need to be cautious about how you handle the countertops. As a rule of thumb, don’t allow citrus, vinegar, or tomato on the countertops as they can etch the countertops.

You also should avoid sitting or standing on the countertops. Its true marble is strong and tough, but it’s not strong enough to take a lot of weight, especially near the edges. So don’t sit or place heavy objects there as the counters can break.

Clean the surfaces

This is probably the most important thing you have to do to your kitchen countertops NC. And the good side? You don’t have to be fancy about it.

At least once a day, wipe your surfaces with a damp mop or sponge to get rid of loose dirt and any bacteria that might be present.

To avoid damaging the surfaces, avoid using vinegar and other harsh products that can etch the surfaces.

What Is The Best Color For Kitchen Countertops?

With countertops coming in all types of colors, it can be confusing to choose the ideal color for your surfaces. What is the best color for kitchen countertops? You wonder. The right color depends on your tastes, how you use the countertops, and the overall style of your home.

We can’t tell you the right color to choose, but we can guide you on the most popular colors, so you make an informed decision.

Pure white

Pure white countertops give your surfaces a minimalist, new look that is inviting to look at. The white color looks excellent in contemporary surfaces and small spaces such as compact condo kitchens paired with minimalist white cabinets. The white color comes in handy at making your surfaces look big.

White is also a great addition for surfaces that already have a great deal of bold character in other finishes such as grainy wood cabinets.

In conclusion, the white surfaces make an excellent choice if you love crisp, modern style, you want to break up modern wood cabinets, or you love a nautical white and blue scheme.

Black

You should be cautious when choosing the black color as it can look gothic in some situations. An ideal application of the countertops is when you have dark cabinetry, dark floors, and other rich and weighty finishes.

If planning to have a dark-on-dark palette, you should have plenty of light sources. They can be natural, added, or both.  This way, you have your space feeling cozy and sophisticated.

The dark color comes in handy when you are looking to bring out the subtle colors in painted cabinets.

When choosing the color, choose dark gray instead of pure black to soften the look.

Countertop experts highly discourage against having one large black element as it will look out of place. Instead, you should have other sprinklings such as black cabinet knobs and pulls.

Black countertops are for you if:

  • You have dark cabinets, and you are looking for counters to blend in with them.
  • You have a smoky mirrored backsplash common in condos and modern homes.
  • You have colorful, fun cabinets, and you want them to shine.
  • You are looking to achieve a classic black and white scheme.
  • You want to connect to other black elements in your kitchen.

Wood

Wood is an excellent material when you are looking to infuse coolness to your kitchen. Wood countertops make excellent material for a transitional kitchen that balance traditional and contemporary elements.

Wood counters are also an excellent addition to spaces featuring wood cabinets. This makes sense if you are a true wood lover and don’t mind wood dominating your palette.

There are plenty of woods you can go with to give your surfaces a unique look. For example, there are lighter woods that have a casual or rustic feel. These woods can be stained or unstained, depending on your preferences.

There are also the darker woods that have a formal or polished look than the other tones. These make excellent additions for bright and breezy areas with plenty of windows.

When mixing wood counters with other wood finishes, you should stick to either warm or cool tones. This is to prevent them from clashing.

Wood countertops are good for you if you want an accent countertop to contrast with your other surfaces, your white cabinets need some warming up, you want your space to feel more approachable and intimate, and you enjoy a dash of rustic charm.

Gray

Gray is a neutral color, so a perfect material when you aren’t looking to make a statement in your kitchen. For a great look, pair the material with colorful cabinets. One of its greatest applications is tying together light and dark cabinets.

Gray also makes an excellent addition when pairing it with warm metallic accents. For example, if you have a brassy faucet or sink, a gray counter works perfectly at bringing out the warm tones, so they shine their best.

According to granite contractors Raleigh, you should choose gray countertops if you want a soft, friendly vibe with muted tones, you have colorful cabinetry or multiple tones of cabinets mixed together, you have warm metallic accents, or you have a black and white scheme that needs some softening.

What Is The Most Durable Countertop? It’s Quartz Countertops

When looking for countertops for your home or business, one of the most important things to consider is the durability of the material. After all, you don’t want a material that will come apart after a few months. Due to the gravity of the issue, you must be asking, what is the most durable countertop?

After analyzing dozens of countertop materials, we can confidently say that quartz countertops are the most durable countertop materials in the market. They aren’t susceptible to knife cuts, don’t chip or crack and they are stain resistant. The countertops are almost indestructible to regular kitchen use.

Why quartz is the most durable countertop material

Quartz is one of the hardest countertop materials you will come across. As mentioned above, it doesn’t scratch or chip so you won’t have to worry about damaging it in your daily use. Quartz is also heat, bacteria, and stain resistant making it the perfect surface for kitchens and bathrooms.

You should note that while quartz is heat resistant, avoid exposing it to extreme heat. When placing hot pots and pans on it, always use a potholder or trivet.

Quartz is made to last

Most quartz counters are designed to last as most manufacturers incorporate excellent touches such as mirrors, colored glass, pearls, and small pieces of semi-precious stones.

It’s easy to maintain

Unlike marble or granite countertops, quartz is non-porous so you don’t need to seal it to prevent stains and other forms of damage from occurring. This means you don’t need to do much to keep the countertops in tip top shape.

Cleaning the countertops is a breeze as all you need is mild soap and water.

Other countertop options

Although quartz is the most durable material, it’s not for everyone. Luckily, there are other options you can go for. While they aren’t as durable as quartz, they can give you the same service, but they will need some extra care. These materials include:

Granite

Granite is often the first choice for most homeowners as it’s extremely popular. You have two options when it comes to granite countertops: natural and engineered countertops.

While both are durable and heat and stain resistant, engineered granite countertops take it a step further. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and come in a more uniformed and consistent look. To keep the surfaces from staining, you need to seal them with a high quality sealing product.

Crushed glass

This is a new entrant in the countertop marketplace and it’s loved by many due to its diversity and many color choices. While glass is naturally tough, crushed glass is tougher especially when engraved in a clear and durable acrylic or cemented onto concrete.

When properly done, acrylic gives the look of glass segments floating in water while crushed glass embedded onto concrete gives a mosaic look.

Besides being durable, crushed glass countertop is stain resistant, easy to clean, eco-friendly and unique. While the glass is tough, it’s brittle around the edges so when you install it, avoid placing too much weight at the corners.

Soapstone

You might think I’m absurd placing soapstone as a durable countertop material. While it’s not as tough as granite, it’s more pliable. Soapstone is made from quarried stone and it’s a steatite stone made up of dolomite, magnesite, and chlorite.

Other stones contain some talc that is responsible for the milky or powdery look and feel.

Unlike granite, soapstone is non-porous so it’s less likely to stain. It’s also easy to clean as it doesn’t require any sealing or re-sealing.

Since its smooth, avoid cutting directly on it. Also, avoid dropping heavy glass objects or iron pan on it as it can lead to serious damage.

Marble

Whether pure white or streaked, marble is one of the most beautiful countertop materials you can install in your home. While it’s beloved by emperors and artisans, it’s extremely prone to scratches so you have to replace it after a few years. This makes marble countertops NC the least durable countertops in my list.

If you have always dreamt of installing the countertop, install it for its beauty. Not durability.

Tips On How to Break Granite Countertops

Granite is one of the most robust materials you can install in your home. With its unique, attractive colors, the material gives your kitchen an attractive and adorable look. Unfortunately, like other countertop materials, it wears out, gets old, or gets damaged, so you have to replace it.

Removing the countertop requires skills and strength. Are you wondering how to break granite countertops? Here is a guide on how to do it:

Get the necessary equipment.

You need to have the right tools for the job to break granite. The tools you need include: rubber gloves, bucket, air hammer drill, safety goggles, and Dexpan or any other explosive demolition agent.

Mark a line

Using water-soluble chalk, mark a line where you want to break granite. You should then drill holes measuring 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide into the granite slab along the line. For best results, space the holes 12-24 inches apart while ensuring each hole is 80% the total depth of the granite slab.

Mix the demolition agent

Following the package instructions, mix the non-explosive demolition agent with clean water. The best way to do is to mix one part agent with three parts water in a bucket until the powder has completely dissolved into the liquid. To protect yourself, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles.

Clean the holes

You should clean the holes with an air compressor before filling them with the mixture. You should fill the holes 2 inches from the top with the mixture then back away. Allow 45 -60 minutes for the mixture to expand within the hole, causing the granite to break along the line you created.

Avoid pouring the mixture when the temperatures are incredibly high. If possible, pour the mixture in the night and allow granite to break early in the morning or in the evening after the sun has set. If the holes are exposed to direct sunlight, cover them with a tarp until the slab breaks.

Clear the area

After breaking granite, you should now make a move to remove the countertops. Before you begin removing the countertops from your surfaces, remove any countertop accessories and appliances present. You also should empty drawers and products contained in the bottom rack of your drawers to prevent dust contamination and provide uncomplicated access towards the countertops.

Remember also to clear the utensils and cookware region.

Release the area

Identify the connection in the area between the cabinet’s front brace and the bottom of the countertop. You should look inside the head of the cabinet to see it. Using a hammer, hit the edge of the pry bar then screw softly to release any glue.

If you find plywood underneath the granite, work under it to detach or separate it from plywood. You should then tap a wooden shim into the already open joint to hold the countertop in that area. You should operate along the front side, screwing and shimming before you slowly raise the entire front rim.

Raise granite away from the cabinet supports

Using a pry bar, raise granite away from the cabinet supports beginning from the front and over to the back. Remember to insert shims as you proceed. You should proceed lightly to avoid breaking granite. Work along the length of the countertop, prying back only the next few centimeters.

You should continue working in section until you raise the entire countertop from one end to the other.

Tilt the countertop

Working together with a few assistants, slowly tilt the countertop from the back edge and transfer the granite to your place for storage.

You should store the granite with the top facing down. If granite has plywood underneath that needs to be replaced, carefully pry it free. Be gentle and lightly detach the seal and extract the plywood. If there is extra plywood remaining, pull or paint it with a sturdy scraper from the granite base.

Parting shot

Breaking and removing granite kitchen countertops Durham isn’t hard when you have the right removal tools and know what you are doing. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can save some money by doing the work yourself but for best results and avoid damaging the cabinets in the process, let experts help you out.

Wondering What To Do With Leftover Granite Countertops? Here Are 9 Genius Ways To Give Them A New Life

After installing your countertops, you are left with granite remnants that many homeowners don’t know where to take them. Most homeowners toss the remnants in the dumpsters, which is wrong. Are you wondering what to do with leftover granite countertops? Here are 9 genius ways to give your pieces a new life:

Make a granite cutting board.

If the leftover piece is large enough, why not make a cutting board out of it? Although tough, granite is easy to shape and finish giving you cutting surfaces that match the rest of the kitchen.

If considering making a cutting board, you should note that it will be much heavier than your traditional cutting board. It also might be tough on knives. If creative, you can add a rotating bottom to the cutting board and make a lazy Susan.

Make earthly coasters

The remaining pieces aren’t large enough? No problem as you can make earthly, unique coasters with them. While most of the coasters are squares, it doesn’t have to be the case with you. Make circles, triangles or even irregular shaped coasters that will look cool when stacked on your tabletop.

Design a tabletop

If a relatively large granite slab remains, you can pair it with a good-looking base and convert it into a tabletop. You can use a stump for legs, curve an iron base, or install any other material. Like a glass tabletop, ensure you have bevelled edges for an attractive, safe finish.

You should note a granite slab is heavy so you should be creative in how you place it, so it doesn’t topple over. Ensure the top is 1/3 bigger than the base’s surface area. Remember, the less the tabletop overhangs, the more stable it is. To increase stability, glue or screw 1-inch plywood to the base.

Turn the slab into a shelve

If you have a long slice of leftover granite, you can create a shelve from it and give your kitchen, bathroom, mudroom or any other room a modern look. When installing the shelve, remember granite is heavy so have the work done by an experienced technician

Make a mosaic patio garden

Have many leftover pieces? You can lay them on your garden and use them as a patio. You can use slabs of the same pattern or different patterns. It’s up to you to create the design you want. For a great look, ensure an expert does the work with the right amount of experience.

Make a piece of furniture.

If the pieces are large, you can make an entire table or chair from them. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a lovely round table to sit out on your balcony, patio or kitchen? A table made from leftover pieces is unique, giving your living areas an interesting look.

When it comes to the legs, choose thin metal or cast iron. To complete the look, get matching chairs.

If the remaining piece isn’t large enough, you can make a wooden side table from it. If you are creative, you can do the work by yourself but if you have no experience, let a professional help you out.

Create a serving platter

Whether you are a loner or love entertaining, you can’t go wrong with a serving platter. If you have a moderately sized slab, you can convert it into a serving platter and use it as an accompaniment to cured meats, cheese, fruit, artisan bread and many others.

The cool thing is making the platter is easy—you don’t need to hire an expert. With minimal creative skills, you can get the work done.

Make a house number sign.

Irritated with the constant peeling off of your door numbers from the plastic? You can be the envy of your neighbors with a creative and unique granite number plate. You can engrave or paint the number of the leftover slab.

Like the serving platter, you can do the work by yourself—you don’t need to hire a professional to help you out.

Sell the remnants

Dont have a plan to repurpose the pieces? Approach the local granite contractors Raleigh and find out if they can buy the pieces for their projects. If the remnants are of significant size and good design, you will find contractors that will be happy to take them off your hands and put them into better use.

Is Sealing Granite Countertops Necessary?

granite kitchen countertops

Imagine this. You spend an arm and a leg installing a new granite slab on top of your new cabinets then out of nowhere, your granite contractor starts talking about the need for a granite sealer to seal the countertops. It sounds like a scam. After all, granite is a rock, right? Why would it need to be sealed? Is sealing granite countertops necessary?

The short answer to this question is NO, you don’t have to seal the countertops. I know you have read that granite is porous, so you need to seal it to prevent stains from coming about, but this is not the case. Before you begin throwing stones at me,

Let me explain the deal.

While new granite slabs need a seal to prevent them from staining, it doesn’t mean you should blindly apply the sealer on any new slab you come across. You should note that most granite slabs don’t need sealing.

The dark coloured slabs don’t need the application of the granite sealer as they are already too dense to absorb liquids and stain. Aren’t sure whether you should seal your slabs? To determine whether your countertops need sealing, you should do a test.

Test to determine whether you need to seal the countertops

The cool thing is you don’t need to call the CSI or spend a fortune to tell whether your countertops are ripe for sealing. You can easily do it on your own at the comfort of your home. Here is how to do it:

  1. Begin with filling a cup with clear, cool tap water. You don’t need a lot of it—a quarter of a cup is enough.
  2. Set a timer on your watch or phone and time the absorption rate of the countertop
  3. Pour a small amount of water onto the countertop. You should pour just enough to create a pool, the size of the hand. For best results, pour it in two or three places across the counter.
  4. After pouring, start the timer or make a note of the time you poured the water.
  5. You should wait for 30 minutes or until there is no standing water on the countertop.

If the countertop absorbs the water immediately, the stone is highly porous, and you need to apply the sealant at least once every 3 months.

If the slab absorbs the water in 4-5 minutes, you should apply the countertop sealant at least once a year for maximum protection.

Does the countertop absorb the water after 10 minutes? Then the slab isn’t too porous, and you can get away with sealing it once every 2 years.

If the slab doesn’t absorb the water after 30 minutes, you don’t need to seal the surfaces to prevent them from staining. You can still seal the slab, if you want to, to avoid scratching and etching.

How to seal granite countertops

If you have undertaken the test and determined you have to seal the slab, you should go ahead and do it. The beauty is that it’s easy to seal the surfaces as you only need to spray the sealer and let it sit on the countertop and then find out if you need to apply a second layer.

If you used a high-quality sealer, you won’t need a second layer so you should always go for the high-quality product.

When buying the sealant, look for one with an advanced chemical technology that will make it possible to form a more permanent bond on the granite slab.

While the high-quality product will cost you more to purchase, it will save you a lot of money in the long run as it will last for a long time.

Sometimes sealing the countertops is messy and you might not know whether you should apply a second layer. To avoid applying less or too much sealing product, you should let a professional do the work.

Countertop care and precautions

Hiring granite companies NC to seal the countertops isn’t enough—you still need to observe the right habits to ensure your countertops are always in tip-top shape. Never place hot items directly on the countertops as you will damage them. To protect the surfaces, use coasters, trivets, mats and other protective items.

How To Update Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

Old or damaged countertops do nothing but detract from the value and beauty of your home. Thankfully, you can update them and restore the look. To help you out, here are ways on how to update kitchen countertops:

Paint the countertops

If your current pieces aren’t damaged, painting them can go a long way towards restoring them. If you have the skills, you can paint them by yourself, but if you have never done it before, let an expert help you out. When choosing the paint color, ensure it complements the cabinet color and design. It also should be high quality; otherwise, you will keep repainting the surfaces every few years.

Resurface the countertops with a cement finish

Looking to improve the look of the countertops but strapped of cash? How about resurfacing the countertops with a cement finish? Begin with protecting the neighboring areas with painter’s tape. In addition to this, ensuring you don’t sand these areas, it also makes your work easy as you don’t have to clean the cement in the event you accidentally graze them during application.

To make the application easy, sand the surfaces with coarse sandpaper. Don’t make the surfaces smooth as cement sticks better to irregular surfaces.  Once the surface is ready, apply the first coat and let the cement dry. You should then use medium sandpaper to remove any noticeably uneven surfaces and apply a second coat.

Wait for the cement to dry again and repeat the process until you have a beautiful, even surface. Complete your work by sealing the cement. To do it, you should pour water-based sealer into the paint tray then use a roller to apply the sealer over the cemented surfaces.

Tile your countertops

This is as simple as it sounds. Buy tiles and arrange them on your existing countertops. Like paint, you should be cautious about the type and design of tiles you go for. In addition to the tiles complementing the look of the kitchen, they also should be made by a reputable company. This way, you are sure they will withstand the chaos in the kitchen.

If you are looking to create a tiled backsplash on the wall behind the countertop, first remove the backsplash, creating a continuous effect that makes your project easy as you will have only one right angle to deal with between the wall and the countertop.

If you have the skills, you can lay the tiles by yourself, but if you have never done it before, let an expert help you out.

Replace the countertops

Another great way to improve your countertops is to replace them with other countertop materials. There are plenty of these materials you can choose from. The most common ones being:

Laminate

Laminate is extremely cheap; therefore, a great option when operating on a tight budget. The cool thing with installing laminate is it doesn’t make it obvious you are using cheap material. This is because it comes with plenty of designs that even resemble high-end materials such as granite and marble.

When choosing the material, go for a textured surface instead of a flat one. This is to have an easy time concealing scratches and other forms of wear and tear.

Wood

Want to give your kitchen a more natural look? Why not install wooden countertops? Wood comes with plenty of benefits that include: gives the house a natural rustic look, it’s easy to repair, and you can confidently prepare food on it without worrying about contamination.

On the flip side, you need to keep applying mineral oil, varnish, and beeswax to maintain the look. Wood is also easily damaged by heat and moisture, so you can’t use it around sinks or over the dishwasher.

Marble

If you have the budget and want to give your kitchen a fancy look, you should install marble countertops Durham. Like the other materials, ensure the marble pieces you choose match the design of the house. They also should have a classic look so you won’t keep replacing them when they grow out of style.

To keep your marble in good shape, seal it regularly. You also should avoid placing heavy items on it to prevent it from chipping.

Can Granite Countertops Be Repaired?

best kitchen countertop contractor

Imagine this. You spend a fortune on the best granite in your area, hire the most reputable countertop contractors, then one day you notice a crack on your countertops. Frustrating, right? You can’t imagine pouring money on new countertops, so you ask, can granite countertops be repaired?

Yes, you can repair the countertops. Here are some of the ways of doing it:

Etch marks

Etch marks happen due to various reasons, but the most popular ones are due to the use of harsh cleaning materials or cutting lemons or tomatoes directly on the surfaces.

To fix etch marks, begin with cleaning the affected areas using water or stone soap, to wipe away dirt and scum. You should then dry the area thoroughly then apply granite polishing powder. You should follow up by buffering it with an electric drill. For best results, keep the granite powder on the stone as you buff it. Once you are done, clean it off.

Separated cracks

Separated cracks are large, and you can easily see them. You should fix the cracks as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse. One of the best ways of fixing the issue is by filling in the gaps with an epoxy glue that matches the color of the stone.

If you can’t find the exact color of your countertops, use the dust from the broken area. It’s recommended you hire a professional to help you fix it, but if you don’t have the budget for it, do it yourself. When doing it, ensure that you thoroughly clean the area before applying the glue.

Many homeowners make the mistakes of applying glue to the surrounding areas, which gives the surfaces an ugly look. To avoid this, put masking tape around the area you are trying to repair.

After gluing the separated cracks, re-polish the surface, so it matches the rest of the counter.

Hairline cracks

These happen naturally in granite, and when you notice them, you have no reason to raise the alarm. The cracks are tiny, and most people can’t even tell they are there. The cracks don’t affect the look of the counters, their cleaning, and use. If you have the cracks on your countertops, don’t do anything. Just let them be.

Tips to prevent countertop damage

While the countertops can be repaired, isn’t it wise to prevent the problems from coming about other than fixing them? Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can do it. Some of these ways include:

Invest in high-quality countertops

Good quality granite slab counters don’t come cheap, so in the bid of saving money, homeowners look for cheap pieces that they can come across. While it’s possible to find cheap, decent granite slabs, in most cases, the cheap slabs are poor quality; hence they get damaged easily.

Others go faux granite countertops. While these might be durable, they don’t give you the same toughness you find in natural granite.

To reduce the chances of your countertops cracking or suffering from any other form of damage, you should only buy high-quality slabs. You find these in reputable natural stone stores. When making the purchase, avoid large stores as they not only sell the stones at high prices, they also lack variety.

Have the countertops professionally installed

Buying high-quality slabs isn’t enough—you also need to ensure the slabs are professionally installed. Poorly installed countertops are not only unpleasing to look at, they also tend to get easily damaged.

How can you ensure your countertops are professionally installed? Simple. Hire an experienced professional.

Its wise you hire the countertop contractor from the same company you buy the granite slabs. This is because professionals working there are usually experienced enough, and they give nothing but top-notch services.

Seal the countertops

One of the flaws with granite is it’s porous, so you have to seal it to prevent stains from coming about. When you don’t seal it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, bacteria will get into the stone, putting your life at risk, especially if you like preparing your food directly on the surfaces.

Failing to seal the surfaces also means water will get into the stone and weaken it.

To avoid this, ask granite contractors Durham to seal the countertops at the time of installation. You also should make it a habit to seal the surfaces one a year.

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.