Tag Archives: countertop professional

How to Keep Your Countertops Looking Like New

When you install your kitchen countertops, you want them to look good for a long time, don’t you? The good news is that it’s possible to do it. How do you go about it? Here is what you need to do:

Don’t cut directly on the countertops

As much as the countertops look tough and indestructible, they aren’t. When you repeatedly cut directly on them, you are bound to damage them permanently.

You can get away with it the first few times, but when you continuously do it, you leave permanent knife marks on the surfaces, which are not only unsightly to look at but also give your counters a cheap look.

The best way to go about it is always to have a chopping board where you do all your chopping. Here is where you chop your vegetables, tomatoes, onions, meat, and other items you might be interested in.

Of course, ensure that the chopping board is in good shape and doesn’t scratch your counters.

Be ultra cautious when doing the cleaning.

Cleaning your counters removes dust and other materials from the surfaces, but you should be cautious about how you go about it. This is because you can easily cause more problems than were originally there.

As much as you want your countertops to look good and new, don’t use harsh cleaning products, as you will damage the surfaces. As a rule of thumb, don’t use products containing strong acidic ingredients as they will remove the sealant or coating.

To be safe, use mild cleaners to clean your surfaces. If you aren’t sure about the right ones to get, consult a professional. Your manufacturer will also guide you pick the right cleaner for your surfaces.

Keep the counters away from heat.

The same way, some people have the impression that they can safely cut directly on their countertops in the same way they have the impression that they can place hot pots and other hot items on their counters without causing any damage.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

As much as granite surfaces are tough, they aren’t heatproof. This means that when you place hot items on them, they will get damaged, and you don’t want this, do you?

To protect your surfaces from heat damage, have hot pads, trivets, and other protective materials on the countertop surfaces.

As you protect your surfaces, remember that it’s not only the hot pots from the fire that can damage your surfaces but also, hot plates and cups can cause extensive damage, so always have coasters to place your hot cups and plates on.

If you don’t have these protective materials on your surfaces, don’t risk it. Always let your hot pots cool down completely before you place them on the surfaces.

Don’t sit on the counters.

When you look at your countertops, they look like excellent sitting surfaces, right? While they are, you shouldn’t succumb to sitting or standing on them.

Besides the risk of the countertops breaking, there is also the risk of the metal parts of your jeans and other pieces of clothing scratching the surfaces and giving them a dull look.

You don’t want this, do you?

Avoid sitting or standing on your surfaces at all costs to ensure this doesn’t happen.

To eliminate the temptation, have a chair in your kitchen to sit on as you wait for the food to cook.

Have a ladder in the kitchen to avoid having to stand on the counters to replace the bulb or reach the top shelves.

Seal the countertops

If you have porous countertops such as granite and marble countertops NC, make it an effort to seal them at the time of installation, then at least once every year.

Use high-quality sealing products to get the most from your sealing work. As a rule of thumb, use products specially designed for your countertops.

Besides this, ensure that the sealing work is done by an expert who has been at it for a long time. Don’t hire a noob who will likely cause more problems than were originally there.

5 Things You Avoid With Granite Countertops

kitchen counter

Granite countertops don’t come cheap; when you install them, you want them to last for as long as possible. The good news is that it’s possible to have your countertops for a long time—you only need to avoid doing harmful things to your surfaces. Which are these things? Here they are:

Don’t chop on the countertops

Due to their natural and tough nature, cutting your onions, tomatoes, and other items on the surfaces might seem harmless, but you shouldn’t as they aren’t immune to cuts, scratches, and chips.

When you cut on the surfaces, you dull the countertops and the knives, so you have to keep sharpening them, not to mention having to replace the countertops later down the line.

Avoid chopping vegetables and butchering meat directly on your countertops to last for long. Instead, use a large and quality cutting board.

Keep them inside a protective knife block when you aren’t using the knives.

If you live with other family members, teach them how to use and store the knives properly.

Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners.

If you are like other homeowners, you want your countertops clean and spotless. To achieve this, some homeowners clean their surfaces aggressively, while others use abrasive cleaners.

While there is nothing wrong with keeping your surfaces clean, be cautious of the cleaning agents you use. As a rule of thumb, avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners as they have been shown to cause plenty of problems.

Besides discoloring the surfaces, the abrasive cleaners dissolve the protective sealants and even scratch the countertop surfaces.

To stay safe and keep your countertops in tiptop shape, avoid all cleaners containing bleach, ammonia, acetic acid, and abrasives.

Soap and a soft piece of cloth are usually enough to keep your countertops clean, but if you want to go the extra mile, use cleaning products that have been specially formulated for granite.

Don’t climb on the countertops.

At first glance, granite surfaces look tough and indestructible, but this is not the case. Like other natural materials, granite surfaces have fault lines that can crack when applying too much pressure on them. The situation worsens when you apply pressure on areas without enough support, such as overhangs and kitchen islands.

When preparing the meals, don’t sit on the countertops as you risk damaging them. You also should avoid standing on them to reach the top shelf or replace the bulb.

If you are always tempted to sit on the countertops, have a stool in the kitchen that you can use when the itch comes about.

If you have children or adults living with you, let them know that they can’t sit on the countertops as they can easily damage them.

Don’t place highly-pigmented liquids on the countertops

The most common highly pigmented liquids are juices. If you have children, you will often spill the juices on the countertops where they stain them, giving them an ugly look.

To prevent the discoloration and keep your countertops in top shape, keep the juices and other highly pigmented liquids away from the counters.

If you love wine, juices, and sports drinks and regularly have them in the house, and you aren’t sure that you will be able to keep them off your surfaces, choose dark-colored countertops that will easily disguise any accidental spillages that might come about.

How quickly you get rid of the spills when they happen is vital for preventing the staining. To be on the safe side, make it a habit to remove them as soon as they happen.

Investing in quality and annual professional sealing is also wise to prevent stains from becoming a problem.

Mind the heat

As much as granite is tough and can withstand some heat, it’s not harm proof. This means it’s bound to get damaged when you place extremely hot items on it.

You can get away with placing hot pans and other items on the kitchen countertops NC occasionally, but when you repeatedly do it, the countertops get damaged.

To protect your surfaces, have tablemats, coasters, or other protective items to protect your countertops from damage.

Factors To Consider When Undertaking Countertop Replacement

Even if your countertops have been worn out and you are thinking about replacing them, it doesn’t mean you should simply go ahead and undertake countertop replacement—you need to consider several factors for your project to be a success. Which are these factors? Here they are:

The cabinets

Countertop materials sit on the cabinets, and to retain their look and structure, the cabinets should be able to support them.

The last thing you want is to install the countertops and only for them to crumble due to excessive weight.

To avoid this, ensure that your current cabinets can support the countertop weight. This calls for you to hire an experienced professional to inspect the cabinets and confirm that they can carry the weight. If they can’t carry the weight, first strengthen them. It would also be nice to find a countertop material of a similar weight as the previous material and install it.

Plumbing

Sometimes you have to reconfigure your plumbing, meaning you have to hire the services of a countertop installation professional and hire a plumber.

A classic example of when you may need to hire a plumber is when you want to replace a tile countertop with a solid surface or engineered composite surface. While the cabinets in such a case will stay in place, you may have to replace the sink, unless the existing sink is mounted under an existing stone counter.

As you can tell, the sink change will impact the faucet configuration, and you may also have to replace the faucet.

To avoid surprises, work with an experienced contractor who can foresee the project before it begins.

Your old appliances

When many homeowners think about replacing their countertops, their old appliances are the last thing on their minds. Unfortunately, they are an important aspect of the entire project as they have a significant impact on the look of the countertops once you are done with the project.

If your appliances are as old as your countertops, it would be nice to simply replace them, as leaving them as they are would be synonymous with wearing a new outfit with an old pair of shoes.

On the other hand, if you are one of the homeowners fond of replacing their kitchen appliances when they break down or feel they are getting too old, you have nothing to worry about, as the new countertops will blend just right with the appliances.

If you have to also replace the appliances to prevent them from looking out of place, work with a professional who will guide you on the right appliances.

Lighting

Similar to appliances, lighting can significantly affect the look of your kitchen. The situation is even dire if you have under cabinet lighting.

The reason for this is that under cabinet lighting causes an eye-straining glare when you aim it directly onto a highly polished stone surface. If you already have under cabinet lights and don’t want to remove them, find a countertop material that won’t cause too much glare.

Backsplash

Unless you are replacing the countertops with the same countertop material, you may have to replace the backsplash. This means that if you are installing a different material, factor in the cost of removing and replacing the backsplash.

Your lifestyle

Your lifestyle significantly impacts the type of countertop material you should go for. If you are single and home most of the time and don’t mind giving your countertops a little more care, you can get away with marble countertops Durham.

On the other hand, if you have small children, cook a lot, and don’t like countertop maintenance tasks, it would be nice to avoid countertops that might need care. This means you should stay clear of granite or marble counters. Some of the best materials for you are quartz or other easy-to-maintain materials.

If you aren’t sure of the right materials to go for, get the input of an expert.

When buying the kitchen countertops, don’t buy them from any store—take time and find a reputable store selling high-quality materials at a low cost.

4 Kitchen Countertops Materials You Should Try Out

Are you looking to revamp your kitchen? There is no way you can improve the look of the room without giving attention to the countertops.

If they are damaged, replace them, but if they are beyond repair, you have no way out other than to replace them. Luckily, there are plenty of materials you can use on your kitchen countertops.

Would you like to know more about these materials? Here are the pros and cons of the most popular ones:

Granite

Centuries later, granite is still the go-to countertop material for most people. According to the national association of realtors, granite is the most preferred countertop material for most home sellers. This is because it’s elegant to look at and easily fits into any kitchen style.

Granite is also tough and quickly resists cracks and chips. Due to this, you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged when you place a hot pot on it. The countertop is also easy to maintain as all you need to do is to clean it regularly.

You also should seal it annually to protect it from stains.

While the material is tough, it’s not indestructible. This means an accidental clunk with a wine bottle can create an ugly chip in the edge.

When it comes to sealing the countertop, you have to be thorough in your work. This is because if you don’t do it, oil can easily seep into the stone, forcing you to have to apply a poultice to get it out.

Since it’s obtained from natural stone, it often results in variations that can look completely different from the sample provided by the countertop company.

To avoid this surprise, always ask to see the slab to ensure that it matches the theme of your home.

Quartz

It’s known for its durability. Quartz is made from a combination of crushed quartz stone and resin. The resulting mixture comes in a variety of colors that almost resemble real granite.

Under normal kitchen working conditions, quartz is entirely indestructible. Of course, unless you hit it with a sledgehammer or any other tool. The material is also stain and bacteria-resistant, so you don’t have to keep on sealing it like it’s the case with granite.

While granite is tough, you often pay a lot for it, yet it’s not as heat resistant as the other less-pricey materials such as crushed glass.

The countertop seams are also easily noticeable, especially if an expert doesn’t correctly install the countertop or you use a lighter color.

Quartz countertops also discolor over time, especially if you place them under a lot of direct sunlight.

Many people have also cited quartz as having an ultra-contemporary and cold look, which isn’t good for a traditional-style kitchen.

Laminate

Popularly known as Formica, laminate countertops are made from paper-plastic and come in plenty of colors and patterns. In addition to having the ability to mimic anything from granite to wood, they don’t require sealing as they are stain-resistant.

Although, often the go-to material for people operating on a tight budget, it cracks and scratches easily.

According to the national association of home builders, many home buyers avoid homes with laminate countertops, so it’s not the ideal material to install in your kitchen when looking to sell the house.

Tile

Tile countertops are beautiful and highly versatile. They also easily resist cuts, stains, and heat, making them extremely easy to clean and maintain.

Tile also comes in an infinite number of colors and styles. You can install tiles of one unique color or mix and match a variety of colors to give your countertops a one of a kind look.

Although, they are easy to replace, tile countertops easily crack, so you should be ultra-cautious in the kitchen as accidentally dropping pots or pans on them will lead to damage.

The counters also have uneven surfaces that make cutting boards, plates, and glasses shaky and unstable. You also can’t roll out dough on them.

The grout lines easily catch dust and grime. For you to prevent bacteria from growing on them, you have to seal them regularly, or you will have to undertake countertop replacement Durham.

Is It Time To Undertake Countertop Replacement?

countertop replacement

Regardless of the type of countertops you have installed in your home, it will come a time when you will have to replace them. Do you know the right time to undertake countertop replacement? Here are signs it’s time to pull the trigger:

The countertops have serious cracks on them

Although, all types of countertops wear out, the situation is worse for low-end countertops. When you install cheap countertops, it’s only a few months or years, and you will start seeing clear signs of wear.

In some cases, the countertops are too worn out that you start seeing pressboard, wood, fiberglass, and other materials underneath.

When the countertops show clear signs of aging, repairing them won’t make things better—you have to replace them.

When installing the new countertops, don’t replace them with the same low-quality pieces—up your game and go for better, attractive, and long-lasting material.

These will not only look better, but they also will last for long; hence you won’t have to keep on replacing them.

The countertops have structural damage

Stone countertops are tough and can withstand a lot of abuse. Unfortunately, when you put a lot of pressure on them than they can handle, they are bound to get damaged.

For example, when you hit granite countertops with a meat mallet, they will get damaged.

In most cases, the countertops develop extremely unsightly damage. The damage can also be a cause of hazard to cooks, especially young children.

Other materials such as limestone scratch and break away into little particles that can get into your food.

To avoid all the hazards that come with damaged countertops, you should remove the damaged ones and replace them with new ones.

You are looking to sell the house

Do you know two of the most vital rooms in the house? The kitchen and bathroom. If your home is older, the countertops are most likely dated, damaged, or out of style; hence, these vital two rooms are in a horrible condition.

So trying to sell the house in this condition will be a tough call.

Luckily, you can quickly improve their look by replacing the countertops.

Many homeowners have the impression that they should install expensive countertops such as granite and marble. You don’t have to do this. When you install costly countertop materials, the chances are that you won’t recoup your money.

So what should you do instead?

Find an experienced countertop installer who will help you find a moderately priced countertop material that will give your house an elegant look. For the perfect look, ensure that an expert installs the countertops.

You feel the countertops are too old

If you have lived in your house for more than a decade without making major renovations, your countertops are most likely in a horrid state. If you aren’t as proud of your home as you used to be, it’s time to think about replacing the countertops.

Unlike when renovating to resell the house, you can go all out when renovating the house for your living. So there is no harm in going for the most expensive countertop material you can afford.

You shouldn’t buy expensive materials, then go ahead and hire a cheap, inexperienced contractor to install them as he/she will destroy them. So when you decide to go premium with the materials, also go premium with the contractor. Don’t hire a noob down the street.

Although, the contractor doesn’t have to be the most expensive in the city, they should show concrete evidence of experience.

There are ugly stains on the countertops

From coffee to wine, there are plenty of kitchen liquids that can cause stains on your countertops. Stained countertops look cheap and ugly, and if you have tried getting rid of the stains from the countertops without success, there is no way out, other than to replace them.

You can install any countertops in your home as long as it matches the theme of the house and doesn’t bore a hole in your pocket.

As mentioned above, work only with experienced granite countertop installers Raleigh. You don’t want people that will cause more problems than were originally there. Do you?

10 Reasons You Should Give Marble Countertops A Shot

Whether looking to upgrade the look of your kitchen or bathroom countertops, some of the best countertop materials you can go with are marble countertops. Here are 10 of the top reasons you should consider the pieces:

Sophisticated look

Marble has a classic look that sets it apart from plenty of other natural stones. When properly installed, the countertops add elegance and warmth to the house, making it fun and comfortable to live in.

Rich history

The use of marble dates back to ancient Egypt. The Athenian treasury, built in the 6th century, was the first building to be constructed entirely from marble, and it’s still standing up to date. This is a clear proof of the durability and resilience of the material.

Plenty of color choices

Marble slabs come in a wide range of colors that include white, green, brown, red, and deep black. The varying colors and veining come from mineral impurities within the stone. The many colors give you plenty of choices and assurance that you will get a color that will fit your house.

Unique designs

Since the slabs are natural, they are un-replicable. No two slabs are the same; therefore, when you install them in your home, you can be confident that no other person in the world has a similar piece. For you to get the most from the unique designs, try out different slabs to find the most fitting.

Easy to clean

While the countertop materials give your home a high end look, they don’t require special cleaning materials. Mild dish soap and warm water are enough to give the surfaces a sparkling look. Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean the countertops as you will damage them.

Some specialized stones require experts to clean them, but that’s not the case with marble. You can easily clean marble by yourself with simple materials. When the surfaces get a stain, you can easily remove it using an alkaline product that will pull the stain from the stone and dry it out.

Heat resilience

While marble is soft and porous and tends to stain and etch easily, it’s exceptionally resistant to heat. The marble surfaces don’t burn even when you place hot items on them. The naturally cool temperature makes the countertops the top choice for pastry chefs and other professionals that deal with hot items.

Durable

As mentioned above, there are plenty of buildings built in ancient times, and they are still in good condition. While marble will require some maintenance, it tends to last for a long time when you take good care of it.

Easy to fabricate

Although it’s sturdy and resistant to heat, marble is soft hence easy to fabricate. This feature makes it easy for fabricators to create decorative edges and fancy details that improve the overall look of the stone.

Don’t settle on the cheapest contractors as they often don’t understand their craft. Marble slabs don’t come cheap; therefore, when you hire cheap contractors, you end up losing a lot.

Readily available

Unlike other stones that you have to order from a unique area, marble is readily available in most countertop stores. While you can easily find the stone, many people end up buying the wrong pieces as they are often in a hurry when making the purchase.

For you to get the most from the stone, take time to research and find a store selling high-quality stones at affordable prices. This might require you to visit a number of stores and make comparisons.

Even when you find a good store, don’t proceed to place a large order. Take a few marble samples and go with them to your home. Place them on the countertops and see how they look. Only consider buying pieces that perfectly fit your home.

Increase in home value

The high-end look of the countertops dramatically improves the home value. If you are remodeling the house for sale, you end up selling the house twice or thrice the price you would have sold it had you not installed the countertops.

While this is the case, you don’t have to install ultra-premium pieces as you might not recoup your investment. Work with expert kitchen countertops Raleigh experts who will professionally install moderately priced countertops giving your home a classic look.

7 Tips To Consider When Installing Kitchen Countertops

best quartz countertop

Thinking about installing new kitchen countertops? Good for you as you are on your way to creating countertop surfaces that you will be proud of. Countertop installation is an intricate process, and you need to have plenty of things in place for the project to be a success. To give your kitchen a great look, pay attention to these tips:

Don’t be in a hurry

When they get money, many homeowners rush to get new countertop surfaces. Don’t do this as you end up buying the wrong stones. You also often end up working with the wrong contractor.

Regardless of how unsatisfied you are with the current surfaces, don’t be in a hurry to replace them. Take time to research and find out your options. Visit several stores and see what they have to offer. Also, take the time to interview several countertop contractors to find the right one for your project.

Color shouldn’t be, end-all, be-all

Color is crucial as it defines the look of your kitchen and choosing the wrong one can break the design of your surface. While this is the case, it shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all.

Pay close attention to the quality of the stone you are buying as quality is everything. You can have a stone with the most beautiful color, but if it cracks or stains easily, you are as good as not having installed the stone in the first place.

Always get samples

An average homeowner will visit countertop stores, and when they like the look and design of the stones on sale, they will go ahead and make huge orders. This is wrong as most of them end up hating the look of the countertops after installation.

Instead of doing this, take samples with you and see how they look in your kitchen. While you might like the color, design, or countertop material, you might not like how the countertop looks in your kitchen as it might not go well with your floor tiles or cabinets. It also might not go well with the design of the house.

The right thing to do is to order the countertops only after you have tried out the samples in your kitchen.

Have the right budget

Many people underestimate the amount of money they need to complete the countertop project. As a homeowner, the last thing you want is running out of money in the middle of the project and being forced to put the project on hold or borrow more money.

For you to avoid the inconveniences, take the time to undertake thorough research and come up with a budget before you begin the project. The key is being pessimistic with the amount of money you will need. When doing your budget, factor in hidden expenses such as clean up costs after installation, transport costs, and others.

Think about the everyday use of the countertops

It’s common to visit stores selling countertop surfaces and be wowed by the various stones on display. Don’t rush to buy them as they might not be ideal for your kitchen. What do you use your kitchen most for? This is the first question you should ask yourself.

If you are baker, you want countertop surfaces that can withstand high heat. If you are a culinary master, you want a stone that can tolerate acidic spills without staining.

Thicker isn’t always better

Just like color, a thick countertop doesn’t mean that the stone is excellent. Sometimes the thick surface is simply two stones that have been bonded together, which often leads to plenty of problems.

If this is the first time buying the stones, go to the stores with an experienced professional who has been in the industry for a long time to guide you.

Don’t outclass the other parts of the room

There is nothing wrong with installing the best and highest quality countertops, but when you install extremely high-quality countertops, then don’t touch the other parts of the kitchen, you give your kitchen a cheap look.

To give your kitchen a high end look, don’t just install high-quality countertops, work with granite contractors Durham and other professionals and revamp the entire kitchen.