Tag Archives: granite kitchen countertops

How Do You Keep Granite Countertops Smooth and Shiny?

When you install granite countertops, you want them to retain their smooth and shiny look for as long as possible, right? The cool thing is that it’s possible. Some of the things you need to do include:

Protect your countertops from damage

The easiest way to keep your granite countertops in good condition is to protect them from spills, stains, and scratches.

The kitchen can be dirty, so it’s critical to take precautions to safeguard it. Some of the basic techniques to protect your granite kitchen surfaces include:

  • Clean spills immediately.
  • Use coasters
  • Cut veggies and other foods on cutting boards.
  • Avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on your countertop surface.
  • Be cautious of impact damage around the edges.
  • Avoid standard household cleaning agents, which can cause etching.

To protect your granite countertops from frequent stains and impurities, have them polished and sealed. Before you even do this, you must first ensure that you properly clean them.

How to clean granite surfaces

Different granite composites may require special treatments, so check with experts before trying new products.

Regardless of how clean you want the surfaces to be, never use cleaning agents with ammonia, vinegar, or citrus on your granite surfaces.

This is because these acidic cleaners will degrade the finish on your new granite countertop. You should purchase a cleaner made exclusively to clean granite surfaces.

To clean your granite countertops, spritz or mist the cleaner over the entire surface and allow it to sit for a minute. Remember to verify the exact instructions for the cleaner you’re using. Then, clean the surface with a soft microfiber cloth until completely dry.

Get rid of stubborn stains.

If cleaning does not work, you may need a razor blade to remove stubborn stains. Use the blade to scrape off any filth or buildup on the countertop.

You should be cautious when using the blade so you don’t scratch the surface. Simply ensure that the entire edge of the blade is on the counter.

Once satisfied, rinse your sponge and remove the suds.

You may need to rinse your sponge, wring it out, and wipe up any remaining suds several times. Make sure there are no huge puddles or leftover suds on your counters.

To be on the safe side, wear gloves to protect your hands.

If you don’t have a razor blade, you can remove tough granite stains by making baking soda and water paste. Scrub the spot gently with the paste and a soft towel.

Remember to rinse it well.

Removing a difficult stain may take numerous attempts, so don’t be afraid to go over it a couple of times. For a stubborn stain, apply the paste to the area, cover it with plastic wrap, and tape it down the corners.

Let the paste sit until it dries, which can take several days. When it has dried, use a soft cloth to remove it, then rinse with warm water.

Polish the surfaces

Polishing your granite countertops is similar to cleaning them. However, this time, you will allow a polishing solution to sit for 3 to 4 minutes before cleaning it away.

Once you are done, rub the countertop with a soft cotton towel until no streaks are left. At the end, you should be left with dazzling granite countertops you can be proud of.

You can polish granite using dry or wet materials. There is no better method as both methods can be beneficial. When making your choice, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example,

  • Dry granite polishing powder costs less than paste.
  • You can apply dry and wet powder, making it more versatile.
  • Wet polishing produces a lot of spray when used with power tools, so you should wear water-resistant gear to protect yourself.
  • When polishing the surfaces, use plastic sheeting to cover walls, furniture, and cupboards.
  • Wet polishing cools the pads, preventing them from getting too hot and wearing out faster than they should.
  • Wet polishing pads cost less than dry pads.

If you are unsure about the ideal polishing material, contact your countertop manufacturer. They will recommend the best material.

Seal your countertops

A properly sealed granite surface will slow the spread of stains.

Pour a small amount of water on your granite surfaces to tell whether your countertops are ready for sealing. If you detect it slowly seeping in or darkening the surface of your granite, it’s probably time to reseal.

If the water immediately beads up on the surface, it indicates that you do not need to seal your granite countertops just yet.

When evaluating your granite sealer, apply it to a less obvious location before applying it to the rest of the countertop.

When applying the sealer, you should work in tiny portions to avoid spraying the same area many times. After applying the sealant, wipe off the countertop surface with a soft cotton towel for 3 to 5 minutes until dry.

After that, your countertops should be ready to use.

Add shine to the surfaces.

To shine your granite, apply a small amount of cooking oil to a soft cleaning cloth and wipe it around the surface. Buff it carefully. This makes the counter a little more stain-resistant and gives it a glossy finish that you are looking for.

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These are some of the things you should do to keep your granite kitchen countertops Durham smooth and shiny.

Remember that everything begins with how you use the countertops. You won’t have an easy time if you don’t take good care of the surfaces. As a rule of thumb, always use a coaster on the surfaces.

Stains are bound to happen regardless of how frequently you clean your countertops. To avoid this, make it a habit to seal the surfaces. You can seal the surfaces by yourself, but always ensure that you use high-quality sealing products.

Tips to Consider When Sealing Granite Countertops

If you have a beautiful granite countertop in your kitchen and want to preserve it in good condition, you might need to seal it.

Some countertops are pre-sealed, but if yours was not (or you’re not sure if it was), don’t wait to give it the necessary protection.

Improper cleaning, overlooked spills, and other consequences of daily use can easily damage the countertops. Thankfully, a quality sealer will soak into the granite countertops, filling the porous crevices and preventing damage.

When you are sealing the countertops, you need to consider a number of valuable tips. These tips include:

Use the right sealant

You can use two main types of sealants for your countertops: water and solvent-based.

Water-based countertop sealants are environmentally benign, but solvent-based sealants may be a little better at permeating the stone.

When looking for the best granite sealer, read the labels of both water- and solvent-based sealants and look for the active ingredient fluorocarbon aliphatic resin.

Though the sealer will be more expensive than those containing siloxane and silicon, it will provide better protection. Usually, 5 to 10 years of protection, compared to 6 months to 3 years for other sealants.

Furthermore, fluorocarbon aliphatic resins reject oil and water, ensuring your granite is unaffected by a salad dressing spill.

A quart of fluorocarbon aliphatic resin sealant covers 100 to 250 square feet, depending on the brand. You may need to reapply a 24-ounce spray container of a less potent solvent every six months.

Test the countertops before applying the sealer.

You shouldn’t start sealing the countertops simply because you feel you should seal them. Instead, you should determine whether they are ready for sealing. This calls for you to test the surfaces.

The cool thing is that there are plenty of ways to test the surfaces.

You should consider sealing the countertops when they fail the water test. To test if the countertops are ready for sealing, apply a few drops of water and oil separately to two ordinarily out-of-sight locations on the countertop. If the counter discolors in any location, it is time to reseal.

You also should consider sealing the countertops if they are stained. You should look for new stains on the granite. Granite stains are distinguished by the discolored forms they leave behind; these are often black but can occasionally take on the color of whatever generated the stain (e.g., red from wine, orange from rust, etc.).

While this is the case, a lighter or rough-textured mark indicates etching caused by a chemical reaction rather than absorption.

Seal clean countertops

There is no way your dirty countertops will absorb the sealant, so you need to clean them first before applying the sealant.

A good way to go about it is to clean a granite countertop 24 hours before sealing it. When doing the cleaning, avoid vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, bleach, and aggressive commercial cleaners, as all of these can damage your surfaces.

Start with removing everything from the counter and wipe it down thoroughly with a clean, dry microfiber towel to eliminate any surface dust.

Next, combine 1 teaspoon of dishwasher detergent and 2 teaspoons of isopropyl alcohol. Spray the countertop liberally and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth, buffing it in a circular motion.

Wait 24 hours before continuing. The cleaning agent occupies the same region that the granite sealant will penetrate, so be sure the cleaning liquid has completely evaporated before applying the sealant.

Apply the sealant on a small area.

Before you spread the sealant onto the entire countertop, first apply it on a small area.

Put on rubber gloves and gather some soft rags or washcloths. Test the sealant in an area typically occupied by a small kitchen appliance to verify it will not damage the finish.

Spray or pour a tiny amount onto a cloth following the manufacturer’s instructions, then rub it evenly over the test area.

Allow the specified time for the sealer to permeate into the granite. Allow it to sit for no longer than the manufacturer’s recommended time, as the stone may discolor.

If the sealant test area appears good, go ahead and apply the sealant to the rest of the countertop. If the countertop has discolored, remove any residual sealant with a clean rag.

Snap a few images of the area and present them to an associate at your local home center for guidance on a more suited product. Once you have a new sealant, clean the counter again and test it in an inconspicuous area.

Properly apply the sealant.

If the sealant passes the test, you should go ahead and apply it on your surfaces. Start doing the application at one end and make your way to the other.

Apply the sealant in circular areas (approximately an arm’s length in diameter) to achieve even covering. Allow the manufacturer’s specified time for the substance to absorb into the countertop.

After the absorption period, remove any excess sealant using a clean, dry rag. Some products require a second coat; therefore, follow the instructions to do so.

If the product takes only one coat, leave it to cure for 2 to 48 hours.

While this is the case, granite specialists recommend waiting at least 48 hours before wiping a newly sealed granite countertop with anything moist. Avoid returning cookware to the counter until the curing process is complete.

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These are some of the tips you should consider when sealing your countertops. Remember that the countertops might need resealing after some time.

Before you do the resealing, always do a test to confirm that the surfaces are ripe for it.

Obviously, you shouldn’t proceed with the sealing if the surfaces aren’t ready for it.

You can always do the sealing by yourself, but if you have never done it before or aren’t confident in your skills, let experienced granite contractors Raleigh help you.

For peace of mind that the contractors you hire are experienced and know what they are doing, always do background checks on them. As a rule of thumb, read the reviews or hear what the past clients have to say.

Granite Countertop Alternatives

If you ask many people about the countertops they want to install in their homes, they will tell you they like granite countertops. While there is nothing wrong with the countertops, it’s not the only countertop option. There are plenty of other options available in the market you can go for. These include:

Quartz

Quartz countertops are constructed of engineered stone. They comprise 90-95% natural quartz crystals, one of the hardest minerals found in the Earth’s crust. Quartz crystals are mixed with resins, polymers, and colors to form a solid surface.

Quartz countertops are available in various colors, patterns, and finishes, allowing you to pick the perfect style to complement your design preferences.

Depending on the manufacturing method, they can resemble natural stones such as granite or marble or have a more uniform and consistent appearance.

The beauty of Quartz countertops is that they are incredibly resilient to scratches, stains, and damage. The quartz crystals give the surface toughness and strength.

While this is the case, you should note that the countertops are not heat-resistant. Thus, trivets or hot pads should shield the surface from direct heat.

To get the most from the countertops, ensure professionals install them. This is because the countertop installation involves taking precision measurements, cutting the slabs to fit the pattern, and adhesively connecting them to the cabinets. The contractor then polishes the edges to complete the aesthetic.

You also should take good care of the countertops. The good thing about the countertops is their ease of upkeep. They are non-porous, which means they do not absorb liquids and are stain resistant.

Because bacteria and mold are less prone to form on the surface, they are also more hygienic. You must clean them with mild soap and water regularly to keep them looking great.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel countertops are composed of iron, chromium, and other metals. Chromium, the major component, provides corrosion resistance and gives stainless steel its distinctive shine.

Different grades of stainless steel may contain different concentrations of chromium and other metals to improve specific qualities.

Stainless steel counters have a clean, modern appearance that compliments a wide range of kitchen designs, from industrial to minimalist.

They have a reflective surface that can give the kitchen a sense of spaciousness.

If you don’t like the common look, you can always go for custom stainless steel countertops that can be made to meet the exact dimensions and layout of your kitchen.

Stainless steel is well-known for its strength and durability. It is extremely heat, stain, corrosion, and impact resistant.

It is a long-lasting solution because it does not crack or chip like other tabletop materials. It is, however, prone to scratches, so use cutting boards and prevent dragging heavy or sharp things across the surface.

Since stainless steel is non-porous, it does not harbor bacteria, making it a sanitary choice for food preparation facilities.

It is simple to clean and maintain because you can wipe it down with water and detergent. Use abrasive cleansers or steel wool to avoid scratching the surface.

Wood countertops

Wood countertops are popular for home and business areas because of their inherent beauty, warmth, and durability. This is because they bring beauty and personality to any kitchen, bathroom, or workstation you install them.

The countertops are made from soft or hardwood.

A single piece of wood is used to make solid wood countertops. While butcher block countertops are made from multiple wood strips laminated together to create a sturdy and visually appealing surface.

Wood countertops are frequently used in kitchens for food preparation because of their resilience and ability to withstand knife cuts.

Wood counters treat the surfaces with a food-safe finish to protect the countertops against moisture, stains, and bacteria. Some of the materials you can use include Mineral oil, beeswax, and specialty wood sealants.

When it comes to cleaning the surfaces, clean them with a light soap and water solution. To protect the finish, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleansers.

You should note that wood countertops may only be appropriate for some situations. To keep their beauty and functionality, you should properly maintain the surfaces.

Before you install the surfaces, consult with a woodworking professional or specialist who will provide additional suggestions based on your individual needs and preferences.

Recycled glass countertops

Recycled glass countertops are an environmentally friendly and visually appealing solution for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Crushed recycled glass is combined with a binder ingredient, such as resin or cement, to form a long-lasting, environmentally friendly countertop material.

The cost of recycled glass countertops varies based on criteria such as the type and quality of glass used, the binder material used, and the complexity of the pattern. Compared to other countertop materials, they are often in the mid to high price range.

When installing the countertops, ensure a professional installs them.

Recycled paper

Recycled paper countertops, also known as paper composite countertops, are a type of surface material manufactured from recycled paper and a binding resin.

These countertops are intended to be a greener alternative to granite.

While these countertops are long-lasting, they are prone to scratches and dents. On the other hand, many minor flaws can be sanded down and repaired.

The countertops are heat resistant to some extent, but directly placing extremely hot things on the surface may cause damage, so be ultra-cautious when using them.

It’s always a good idea to research different manufacturers, read product reviews, and talk with professionals before making a purchase or installation decision to verify that the recycled paper matches your needs and expectations.

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As you have seen, there are many countertop options you can go for other than granite. Regardless of the kitchen countertops Raleigh you settle on, ensure that an expert installs them. Of course, ensure that the contractor you hire is certified and experienced to install the surfaces expertly.

Guide to Decorating Your Kitchen Countertops

Guide to decorating your counters while leaving them looking beautiful and functional.

Are you wondering how to decorate your kitchen countertops without compromising functionality? There are plenty of ways to go about it. These ways include: 

Avoid clutter

When decorating your kitchen, it’s easy to be carried away and have as many decorative elements as possible, but you should contain yourself. The last thing you want is to have too many things that you don’t have enough space to cook. 

To avoid clutter, you should only have what is necessary. This calls for you to purge any items that aren’t necessary. If there are decorative items you feel don’t belong there, consider donating or selling them if they are still in good shape. 

You also should remove duplicates and those that are broken or no longer serve a purpose.

Make use of flowers

Flowers are a fun and great way to bring natural beauty and freshness into your environment.

When choosing flowers, ensure that they have a pleasant smell. This calls for you to use fragrant flowers like lavender, roses, or lilies.

The size of your countertops should also inform your choice. Go for larger floral arrangements or potted plants if you have a large kitchen with plenty of counter space. 

Smaller bouquets or potted plants are ideal for smaller kitchens with limited counter space.

Try to match the flowers with your kitchen counters as much as possible. Choose flowers that complement or contrast the colors in your counters to create a harmonious or eye-catching effect. 

For example, if you have neutral-colored kitchen counters, add a splash of color with colorful flowers like daisies or tulips. Flowers like roses or hydrangeas may be a suitable complement for more classic or rustic kitchen counters. 

Finally, think about your lifestyle. If you are regularly away from home or have a hectic schedule, consider more durable flowers that can withstand occasional neglect, such as cacti or ZZ plants.

You should strategically place the flowers on your counters in such a way that they add beauty to your kitchen without getting in the way.

Add class with China.

Did you know you can use China to add elegance and charm to your countertops? 

One way to do it is to display your china on a plate stand: On your kitchen counters, use a plate stand to display your favorite china plates or saucers. 

The best pieces are plates with appealing patterns or motifs that complement your kitchen decor. Arrange the plates in a row or stack them to make a visually appealing presentation.

Another way to use China is to create a gorgeous vignette as the focal point. Arrange a few pieces of china, such as teacups, saucers, or bowls, besides other decor items, such as a flower vase, a candle, or a tiny figurine. 

Experiment with different heights, textures, and colors to make an eye-catching display.

You can also get creative and use China on your countertops as useful and ornamental items. Use a set of matching teacups or coffee mugs, such as a fashionable utensil holder or a pretty china bowl or platter to hold fruit or other kitchen necessities.

By doing this, you enjoy the beauty of your china while also using it for utilitarian purposes.

Be smart in your choice of storage containers.

Storage containers can help you stay organized while adding a fashionable and functional touch to your kitchen.

When buying the containers, go for those that are both functional and visually appealing. Choose containers with appealing patterns, colors, and materials that complement your kitchen decor. 

You can add a touch of elegance or contemporary to your counters using glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers.

While the containers help you kill two birds with one stone, take care that you don’t go overboard with them. When placing the storage containers on your countertops, be cautious not to crowd the space. 

Keep things simple and avoid clogging up your counters with too many containers. The best way to do it is to choose a few crucial storage containers and strategically place them on the counters. 

Choosing the best-looking containers isn’t enough. Remember to clean and organize your containers regularly to keep your countertops tidy and visually appealing.

Make the countertops appealing using your cooked food

Sometimes you don’t need to do much—you need to use what you already have. If you have already prepared your food, you can use it to decorate your counters. 

Choose appealing dishes or platters that suit your kitchen decor when serving your food. For a great look, choose dishes with unique forms, colors, or patterns. To provide visual interest, utilize varying sizes and heights.

If you have prepared a lot of food, use unique containers or bowls to store the cooked food on your counters. Look for containers or bowls that complement your kitchen decor while adding a unique touch to your countertops.

You also should arrange the cooked food on your countertops artistically. You can make a visually pleasing display by arranging a vibrant salad with fresh ingredients or a tastefully presented main entrée. Experiment with different materials, colors, and heights to make an eye-catching arrangement.

Remember to clean up after using cooked food to decorate your counters. The reason for this is that food spills or crumbs can easily ruin the appearance of your countertops. 

You should wipe up any spills or crumbs and swiftly store any remaining food in proper containers to keep your countertops clean and tidy.

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These are some of the ways you can decorate your countertops. Whether you have marble, quartz, or granite countertops Durham doesn’t matter. The tips above will work on any countertops. 

Remember that decorating the countertops isn’t enough. You still need to take good care of the surfaces. As a rule of thumb, don’t place hot materials on the surfaces, as they will burn. You also should avoid letting spills stay on the counters for too long as they will form stains. 

If your countertops need sealing, seal them at least once a year. 

Tips to Consider When Installing Granite Countertops

For the best outcome when installing granite countertops, you need to consider a number of tips. These tips include:

Go with high-quality granite

The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of granite you want. If this is your first time, the granite shop you visit will have a lot of samples and slabs so you can get a good look at all the different colors and grain patterns.

You’llYou’ll also see the different edges to choose from, like square, bevel, bullnose, miter, ogee, and many more.

Besides the main surface of the countertop, you’ll need to choose the length of the overhang and the type and size of the backsplash, if you decide to have one.

To increase the chances of buying high-quality granite, avoid buying it from big box stores. Instead, buy your granite from small stores. Besides these small shops stocking high-quality countertops, they also tend to be cheaper.

These stores even have experts who help you with the installation at no extra charge.

Be ultra cautious when transporting the countertops

After your countertops have been cut to size, it can be hard to get them home safely. You will have to pick up the countertops from the fabricator unless they are being sent to you.

Don’tDon’t forget that granite is heavy—a 6-foot countertop can weigh more than 400 pounds—so get some help to move and transport the countertops safely.

To avoid cracking or breaking the stone, carry it vertically instead of flat. One excellent way to do this is to carry the slabs on edge in an A-frame rack, the same way glass is carried.

You can use 2x4s to make a simple rack if you need to. Cover the edges with wide painter’spainter’s tape to keep them safe.

Take the right cabinet measurements.

Once you’ve picked out the granite and taken it off the old countertops, measure your base cabinets accurately to give to the fabricator. To get an accurate measurement of the top of the base cabinets, measure the distance from the wall to the fronts along the wall.

If you aren’taren’t a dab hand at DIY projects, you should avoid taking the measurements yourself. Instead, have an experienced contractor come with you. Besides taking accurate measurements, they will also see if there are any bumps in the walls or exposed pipes that might affect the installation of the countertops. 

Make a template out of cardboard.

You can give your fabricator even more accurate measurements by making a template out of cardboard, lauan plywood, or even Mylar plastic.

Use a scribing tool to make the template fit tightly against the wall along the whole row of cabinets. Then, trace the front edge of the cabinets onto the template.

Sinks, cooktops, faucets, and soap dispensers must be cut out of your template in the right places.

When doing it, be careful not to let more than 2 feet of space between cabinets, like over a dishwasher, and don’t let more than 6 inches of unsupported overhang with 2 cm stone or 9 inches with 3 cm stone.

If you want an undermount kitchen sink, write that on the template so that the fabricator can cut the sinkhole to hold the sink clips.

Also, ensure your fabricator “rods” the cutouts with steel or fiberglass reinforcements to strengthen the narrow areas around the cutouts.

Set a date to pick up or have your finished countertops delivered once you have clearly stated your needs and given your measurements.

Ensure that the base cabinets are level.

Make sure that your base cabinets are level along their length. If not, take the base units apart and use shims under the baseboard to level them.

Ensure the countertops fit.

There are two ways to make the countertop fit better if it doesn’tdoesn’t sit flush against the wall as it should. You can make changes to either the wall or the granite.

 If the wall is made of drywall, the easiest and safest way to make the countertop fit is to mark the spot where it hits and then cut away the drywall with a utility knife or jab saw.

If the wall is made of something harder, like tile or brick, you may need to change the granite. To do this, mark the part where the granite kitchen countertops Raleigh hit the cabinets, then carefully remove the granite.

You should then carefully shave the edge to the level you want using a dry-cut diamond blade on an electric grinder.

What Should You Not Sit On Granite Countertops?

As much as granite countertops are tough, there are some things you shouldn’t allow to sit on them for a long time as they damage the surfaces. These things include:

Spills

You shouldn’t let spills of any nature stay on your countertops for extended periods. This is because granite is porous, which means it is susceptible to staining if you allow liquids to penetrate the surface.

There is also the risk of the countertop surface etching or getting dull when you allow acidic substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato sauce on your surfaces for a long time.

To keep your countertops stain-free, make it a habit to clean up spills as soon as they happen. When doing it, use an absorbent cloth or paper towel to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Once you are done, use mild cleaner or warm water and a soft cloth to wipe the area gently.

As much as you want the surfaces dry, avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads, as these can scratch or damage the surface of your countertop.

Hot pans

It’s true that granite is tough and heat resistant. Unfortunately, it’s not heatproof. This means it’s bound to get damaged when you place hot pans and other items on it.

There are plenty of ways hot pans can damage your countertops. One is through thermal shock. This happens when a drastic temperature change causes the countertops to crack or even break.

Placing the hot pan on the countertop also puts the sealant at risk of damage. It’s customary to seal granite countertops which protects the surfaces from damage. When you place hot pans on the countertops, you damage the sealant, which causes the countertops to get more susceptible to stains and other forms of damage.

Sometimes you might even burn your countertops, especially if you are fond of placing the hot pan on the surfaces or you place an excessively hot pan on the counters.

Never place a hot pan directly on the countertops to prevent this from happening. If you have to, use trivets or hot pads.

To protect yourself from accidental burns, wear mitts when handling hot pans.

Yourself

The other thing you shouldn’t let sit on the countertop is you, your kids, your partner, or any other person.

You might wonder why this is so, as granite counters are tough and can withstand a lot of pressure, right?

While it’s true that the counters are tough, they sometimes develop cracks and other imperfections due to old age or other factors. As a result, they could break or even crumble when you sit on them.

Avoid sitting on your counters at all costs to prevent this from happening.

Many people sit on their counters while waiting for the food to cook. Instead of doing this, have a stool or any other seat in the kitchen to sit on.

Other people will stand on the counters as they reach the top shelf or replace the bulb. Instead of stepping on the counters, have a ladder or even on the above-mentioned stool.

Raw meat

As much as it appears harmless, raw meat can be dangerous to your countertops. One of the dangers is that water and blood can get into your countertops and stain them, especially when you let them sit on the surfaces for a long time.

Raw meat often harbors harmful bacteria, and when you leave it on your counters, there is the risk of cross-contamination through contact with surfaces and utensils. For example, when raw meat comes into contact with a cutting board or knife previously used to prepare other foods, it can transfer bacteria to those surfaces and utensils, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

To protect your kitchen countertops Raleigh and prevent cross-contamination, don’t leave raw meat on the counters for extended periods.

You can also be an agent of contamination, and to prevent this from happening, make it a habit to thoroughly clean your hands after coming into contact with the meat.

Can You Set Hot Things On Quartz Countertops?

The short and sweet answer is no. It’s unwise to place hot things directly on the countertops. This is because the resin on the countertops isn’t as heat resistant as natural stone. Due to this, placing a hot item such as a hot pan will scorch the surfaces, leaving a permanent spot of discoloration, and you don’t want this, do you?

To ensure that your quartz countertops don’t have any damage, you should protect them from harm. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about it. These ways include:

Always use potholders and trivets

Potholders are made from cloth or silicon squares, allowing you to grab the hot handles of your pots, so you have an easy time moving your pots from the stove. You can also slip the potholders underneath your hot pot, which comes in handy to protect the counter or table surface.

On the other hand, a trivet is designed for the countertop or table. Trivets are usually thicker or more rigid than potholders and can be quite decorative.

To ensure that you never place the hot pot directly on the countertop, keep the trivets or potholders strategically in an area you can easily reach.

Whether you are interested in trivets or potholders, ensure that you go for high-quality ones that will withstand the test of time.

Lay out the heat mats and towels

Heat mats are similar to trivets but are made from materials such as bamboo rolls, wood blocks, hand towels, and even silicon mats.

When handling hot pans, heat mats create a safe counter space where you can set the pans without worrying about damaged countertops.

Again, like the trivets, get high-quality thick heat mats that protect your surfaces.

Protect your curling iron

Have you installed quartz countertops in your bathroom? You should be cautious of the curling irons and straightening plates as, like hot pans, they can damage your countertops.

When any hot part of the hair tools comes in contact with your countertops, it’s bound to leave unsightly scorch marks, and you don’t want this on your surfaces, do you?

Have spoon rests to ensure that your countertops never get damaged by the hot hair straightening tools. You can also have a stylish trivet-like mat in your bathroom where you place your curling iron.

Make use of coasters.

Rarely will tea and coffee mugs burn through your quartz countertops, but you shouldn’t take the risk as there have been cases where the countertops have been damaged by the repeated placement of hot tea cups on the countertops.

To protect your countertops, always place coasters on the surfaces that will protect the countertops from burning.

Use serving dishes

When serving food, always use serving dishes. While the bottoms of these dishes will get warm, they won’t be dangerously hot that they damage the countertops.

Other tricks to protect your countertops

Besides preventing hot items from landing on your countertops, you can do plenty of other things to keep your countertops looking great. Some of these things include:

Don’t let spills dry on the countertops

You can’t stay away from spills on your kitchen and bathroom countertops, but you should always ensure that they don’t dry on your counters.

When you are tired, it’s tempting to want to finish your meal and wipe the spills later, but you shouldn’t do this as the spills usually dry on surfaces that are hard to remove.

To avoid this, always move with haste and get rid of the spills as soon as they happen.

To prevent spills from coming about in the first place, be cautious of the liquids you handle around your countertops. Keep soda, coffee, wine, and even cooking oils from your counters as a rule of thumb.

Clean the countertops properly

How you clean the countertops comes in handy in determining how your countertops look. To maintain a clean look of your quartz kitchen countertops Durham, clean your surfaces using warm, soapy water.

You should avoid highly alkaline products such as acidic cleaners, degreasers, and glass cleaners, as they are too tough and tend to harm your counters.

Kitchen Countertops Best Practices

Is this the first time you are installing kitchen countertops in your home? Here are some tips you should put into consideration:

Choose the right material

There are many countertop materials you can install in your home. You will be spoilt for choice from granite to quartz, as you have an entire gamut of countertops.

As you can tell, not all countertops are ideal for your home. To choose the right ones, you need to consider your preferred look. If you like a plain kitchen, you should go for countertops with a plain design and vice versa.

Your lifestyle will influence your choice. If you are at home most of the time, you can get away with countertops that need a lot of care as you have the time to care for them, but if you are out most of the time, get those that are easy to maintain and don’t need a lot of attention.

If you aren’t sure about the right countertops that will look good for your home, get the input of a professional.

Buy from a reputable store.

In the same way, there are many countertop materials to choose from is the same way there are many stores you can buy countertops from.

Many new homeowners buy countertops from the first countertop store they find. This is wrong.

The right way to go about it is to take your time and visit a couple of stores and see what they offer. While in these stores, compare the prices of the different countertop materials and settle on the store selling the materials at the least cost.

Due to their popularity, you might think big box stores are the best places to buy countertop materials, right? Well, wrong. In fact, you will be wise if you can ignore them as much as possible.

This is because they usually don’t have many countertop options to choose from. They also tend to sell their materials at extremely high prices.

Buy your materials from small stores to access a wide range of materials to choose from and at affordable prices. These stores might not be as popular, but they provide excellent services.

Since they specialize in countertop materials only, they tend to stock a wide range of these materials, so you have plenty of options.

These stores also work together with expert installers, so when you buy from them, you don’t need to worry about where to find an expert to install the countertops for you. When you purchase plenty of materials from some of the stores, you get free installation, which, as you can guess, means more money in your pocket.

Think about the functionality of the kitchen

How will you be using the kitchen? You need to think about this before you buy the countertops. This is because the different countertop materials have different applications.

If you love cooking, chances are you will make your kitchen dirty more often. To have an easy time maintaining a clean kitchen, go with easy-to-maintain countertops such as quartz.

If, on the other hand, you don’t cook too often but love having a clean and elegant-looking kitchen, you can go with granite or marble countertops.

Remember that even if you aren’t using your kitchen often, you must seal these countertops at least once a year. This prevents them from developing ugly stains that are hard to remove.

Besides sealing the surfaces, you also need to clean them daily to remove dirt and other materials that might ruin the original look of the surfaces.

Work with experts

When installing the countertops, be cautious of the person that installs them, as having them installed by the wrong person can lead to problems.

As mentioned above, you are more likely to find a reputable installation professional when you buy your materials from a reputable small store.

Whether you are looking to install marble, quartz, or granite kitchen countertops, Durham ensures that experienced professionals install them. Some homeowners try to cut costs by hiring a cheap contractor. Don’t do this, as you often end up damaging the countertops.

What Countertop Do I Have?

When you install countertops in your home, you know what you are working with, but when you move to a new house, you don’t know the countertops installed there. If this is your current situation, you must be asking, what countertops do I have, right?

Well, there are several ways you can tell the kind of kitchen countertops you currently have. Some of these ways include:

Check the uniformity of the countertops

You can tell the nature of your countertops by inspecting their uniformity. If your units have a uniform color and consistency throughout, you are probably looking at quartz countertops.

Since quartz slabs are manufactured, they tend to be uniform, with little variations in patterns and textures.

To make quartz slabs, manufacturers mix ground stones with resins and polymers. Some quartz countertops blend ground marble, granite, and other natural stones.

The beauty of quartz countertops is they are tough and take a lot of abuse. They also require little maintenance, so you don’t need to worry about them getting easily stained.

Look out for grainy and blurry color patches.

If your countertops have grainer and blurry color patches instead of distinct patches, you are most likely looking at granite countertops.

Granite stone is naturally available and has been around for thousands of years, and over the years, it has been heavily used in the construction of monuments, bridges, and buildings.

Granite countertops come in different colors as a result of an assortment of different minerals available in the stone. These minerals include: mica, feldspar, quartz, and many others.

Besides identifying granite by its grainier and blurry look, you can also identify it by the many crystals and clumps of minerals that it contains. When you look at the granite slab, you see veracious pieces in speckled patterns that come together to form a stone.

Look at translucency

Can you see a few millimeters past the surface? You have marble countertops in your kitchen. Marble is one of the most elegant natural stones in the world, and for centuries, it has been used to construct palaces fit for kings and statues dedicated to various gods.

Marble free of impurities is solid white, but this is not always the case. In most cases, it contains impurities that make it pink, bluish, gray, yellow, or black.

The colors appear as swirls or veins throughout the stone, with no repeating or symmetrical patterns and varying dimensions and depths.

True marble has unparalleled glossiness that lasts for a long time.

Most people are confused about whether they are looking at marble or granite countertops. If you aren’t sure about what you have on your surfaces, undertake the cut test.

Here you cut the countertop with a sharp object such as a knife. Real marble will show scratches and etching over time. The countertop is most likely granite or manufactured stone if you scratch the surface but don’t see any damage.

Which is the best countertop to have?

Well, there is no right or wrong countertop—it depends on your preferences. If you like the current look of your countertops, you need to take good care of them to retain the elegant look.

Regardless of the countertops on your surfaces, one of the things you shouldn’t do is expose them to heat. As much as the countertops are tough and can withstand high temperatures, you should note that they aren’t heatproof.

You might get away with placing the hot pots and pans on the surfaces a few times, but when you repeatedly do it, you stand to ruin your surfaces.

To protect your quartz, marble, or granite kitchen countertops Durham, have trivets and other heat-insulating materials that will prevent the heat from getting to the countertops.

For your marble and granite counters, you will need to seal them at least once a year to keep off stains.

How Do You Protect A Countertop From Heat?

As much as they appear tough, most countertop materials will get damaged by heat. You don’t want to replace your countertops as it’s too expensive regularly, do you? To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should protect the countertops from heat.

How do you do this? Here is how to go about it:

Use silicone mats

They are large, thick, and highly effective at protecting your kitchen countertops from heat. The mats work by blocking the heat emitted by your appliances, and to protect your countertops, you should place the mats under your stove, coffee maker, toaster, microwave, or any other appliance you might be having.

The cool thing is that besides the mats protecting your countertops from heat, they also protect the surfaces from spills, scratches, and grease.

Silicone is non-slip, which means that your appliances will stay in place, without moving around, which comes in handy in ensuring that the appliances remain where you want them.

The mats effectively take heat ranging from 40 degrees to 446 degrees Celsius, keeping your countertops as safe as possible.

Heating pads

You place heating pads beneath hot dishes and pans where they block the heat from getting to your precious countertops. Most of the pads are made from cloth, but they can also be made from other materials such as cotton, rattan, cork, or even silicone.

Some people use towels for heating pads. While they work, you should be ultra cautious when using them as the loose ends can be a hazard for accidents that could lead to a serious injury.

The condensation from the pad can get trapped beneath, damaging the surfaces.

For peace of mind when preparing your meals, use silicone pads or thicker cloth pads specially designed for hot pots and pans. These will keep your food accessible and your counters safe from heat damage.

Ceramic countertop protectors

These protectors are highly effective when looking to protect your surfaces against high temperatures. Some manufacturers make higher-grade protectors that can withstand as high as 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the protectors are highly effective at taking high temperatures, the downside is that they sometimes get hot, putting your countertops at the risk of getting damaged.

To prevent your counters, go for protectors with a protective base to ground them. These bases can be made out of rubber or silicone.

Ceramic protectors come in all colors and designs, which gives your surfaces a splash of color.

The cool thing is that they always come with a cork backing that ensures that scratches and other possible accidental surface damages don’t happen.

As you are buying ceramic protectors, you should note that they aren’t the most durable materials on the market. This means that after some time you will have to replace them. The good thing about this is that they are easy to replace when they chip or crack.

Peel and stick countertop covers

From their name, these are covers that you can easily stick to your countertop, and in the process, you not only alter their look, but also protect them from damage.

The covers are sold by the roll, making it easy to cut and tailor them to the exact dimensions of your countertops.

To install them, you need to measure the size of your countertops, cut your desired countertop, peel off the backing, and get ready to go.

Should they get damaged or change your mind about their design, they are easy to remove as all you need is to peel them off without worrying about damaging the countertop beneath or leaving residues behind.

Wooden countertop protectors

Besides being highly decorative and improving the appeal of your kitchen, they protect your counters from excessive heat.

The only downside of the protectors is they aren’t as heat resistant so if you aren’t cautious in the kitchen, you can easily damage your granite kitchen countertops NC or any other countertop surfaces you might be having.

To get maximum protection and stability, go for countertop protectors with rubber feet and a rubber base.