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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.

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 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.

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.

Tricks On How To Extend The Life Of Quartz Countertops And Other Countertop Materials

best quartz countertop

Granite, solid surface or quartz countertops are designed to last for decades. If you don’t have money to replace the countertops after this time, you should take good care of the countertops so that they last for a long time.

There are plenty of things you can do to extend the life of your countertops. Some of these things include:

Get rid of spills

Countertops are constantly being exposed to spills and splashes from tipped can of soda to poured milk. When spills happen, you should get rid of them immediately. This is because granite and solid-surface countertops tend to stain when exposed to wine, and coffee.

You also should regularly clean the countertops even if no spills have happened. When cleaning, use a mild solution of water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. To do it, spritz the countertop, then run a clean damp piece of cloth over it, then dry the surfaces with a soft dish towel.

Drying the damp countertop prevents hard water stains that form as a result of letting the water droplets dry on their own.

Seal the countertops with a quality sealant

Granite and marble countertops are porous, which makes them prone to absorbing oils and spills. They also tend to accumulate stains easily. To prevent this from happening, seal the countertops.

Remember to use a high-quality sealant that will last for a long time and give excellent results. You also should hire a reputable contractor who understands how the process is done.

You should note that improper sealing tends to weaken the stone, making it dull and also increases the risk of the countertop developing mold and mildew.

Protect the surfaces

While they are heat resistant, natural stone countertops aren’t designed to hold hot items such as hot pans and pots. To give them long life, always use a trivet, mitt or towel to prevent direct contact of the hot plate and the countertop.

If you have a sink molded out of solid surface material, be cautious when draining the boiling water as the sinks are also prone to damage. To protect the surfaces, run cold water when pouring the hot water to temper the boiling water and protect the solid surface sink.

You also should always use a cutting board when chopping onions, vegetables and other products.

When you are in the kitchen, it’s normal to sit on the countertops chatting with a family member or friend. Don’t do this as you will damage the countertops.

Quartz is tough and less likely to crack, but granite can easily crack due to the natural fissures running through the stone. Sometimes the fissures are too weak in certain areas and crack on excess weight.

Use recommended cleaning supplies

Cleaning the countertops is one of the ways of giving the countertops a long life, but if you use the wrong products, you will be destroying them. You want high-quality products that will maintain the natural shine of the countertops.

As a rule of thumb, avoid products containing acids as they will etch the countertops and destroy them. For best results, use products recommended for the specific type of countertop you are looking to clean.

Repair the minor flaws

It’s the minor issues that get worse over time, and when you go for a long time without giving them any attention, you will eventually have to undertake countertop replacement. To avoid this, you should repair the minor scratches as soon as you notice them.

Luckily you can get rid of them by sanding the surface down or using a soft type of a scrubbing product that will smoothen down the edges of the scratches. To ensure that you are doing the right thing, follow the instructions that came with the countertops.

You can also ask a contractor to help you out.

Conclusion

These are some of the tricks you can use to extend the life of your countertops. To have an easy time, ensure that you buy high-quality countertops. You also should ensure that the pieces are professionally installed by experienced granite contractors Raleigh or any other experts.