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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.

5 Factors To Consider When Buying Granite Countertops

granite countertops

When you ask any homeowner, they will tell you that they want granite countertops. The countertops have been around for a long time, and they are not only durable, but they also significantly improve the look of the house.

For you to buy countertops you will be proud of, you need to be ultra-cautious when making the purchase. Some of the factors you should consider when buying include:

Your tastes and preferences

There is no way you are going to be proud of your purchase if it doesn’t suit your tastes and preferences. So, for you to be happy, ensure that the countertops look good in your eyes.

When you are in the countertop store, ask yourself several questions:

  • Do you love a stable or moving countertop?
  • A light or dark-colored one?
  • When you think about the perfect countertop, what comes to your mind?
  • Do you love straight lines or right angles?
  • Are you a lover of details?
  • What about vein style. Do you like it?

Most of the countertop companies have plenty of countertops that you might be confused about the right one to go for. To avoid this, talk to your fabricator, who will guide you on the right piece. It’s also wise that you carry the slab to your house and see how it blends with the rest of the house.

Remember, you might like the look of the countertop while at the store only for it to be unpleasant at home.

The size of the kitchen

Do you have a large or small kitchen? The size of your kitchen will significantly affect the type of countertop that you should go for. If you have a small kitchen, go for a light-colored granite.

The countertop will make the kitchen look spacious and smarter, even with little natural light.

Are you one of the lucky people, and you have a large kitchen? Experiment with dark colors. Carry a few dark-colored slabs to your home and see how they look in your kitchen.

The pattern of the countertops is also heavily influenced by the size of the kitchen. Three primary patterns that you can go for fare, speckled, solid, and marbled. Solid granite is an excellent choice for smaller kitchens.

Avoid a busy pattern when you have a smaller kitchen as it makes the kitchen look cramped and confused.

For a large kitchen, go with marbled or speckled countertops. You can also try out two granite colors and see how they look.

Quality of the stone

Granite is known for its durability, but there is no way it will withstand the test of time if it’s of poor quality. Luckily, you can easily tell the quality of the stone by looking at several factors such as:

  • Veins
  • Fissures
  • Surface pitting
  • Inclusions
  • Shade variation
  • Color concentrations

Edging of the countertops

There is no right or bad edging for your countertop. Whether you go for straight, bullnose, or beveled edge, you will significantly improve the look of your home. The safety aspects of your home should influence your edging choice. If you have small children, it would be dangerous to have a straight-edged countertop.

In such a scenario, you will be better off with a beveled or bullnose countertop edge.

Kitchen cabinets

You can buy the highest quality and most expensive countertops, but there is no way they will look good if they don’t match your cabinets. For a great look, ensure that your countertops match your cabinets.

You can match the granite with the cabinets in two ways: matching the color with the cabinets or pairing the marbling and veining.

When making the purchase, ensure that the counters you choose are the same color as the cabinets with darker veining. For example, pair white spring granite with white cabinets.

Some of the famous pairing examples you can go with include:

  • Dark brown cabinets with green granite
  • Neutral medium-brown maple cabinets with beige, grey and white granite
  • Cherry cabinets with granite such as white, Verde Peacock, and Ubatuba
  • Light to medium oak cabinets with contrasting granite such as black pearl
  • Regardless of the pairing that you choose, ensure that the countertops are installed by reputable granite contractors NC.

Guide To Painting Countertops To Look Like Granite Countertops

granite countertops

Granite is a beautiful addition to your kitchen as it gives the house a premium, modernized feel. Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to install granite countertops in their home. While this is the case, you can still get the granite look by painting your current countertops.

Benefits of painting the countertops

In addition to giving your countertops a high-end look, painting the countertops also hides imperfections they might be having.

The variegated pattern of the painted granite also hides small imperfections that might come about as you are painting. This takes your stress away as you don’t have to be perfect in your work. In fact, if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional to handle the painting, you can do it by yourself.

The granite look works with almost any décor style, so if you don’t like the current look of the countertops, when you paint them, you make them blend in with the rest of the house.

Painting the countertops also allows you to highlight certain areas of the house that you would like people to pay attention to. You can highlight the bathroom cabinets and at the same time, add texture, depth, and warmth to the living space.

For you to properly paint the countertops, you have to follow a series of steps.  To help you out, here are the steps you should follow:

Clean the countertops

You can’t apply paint on dirty counters, so you need to clean them. Use a degrease or a mix of 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap to 4 cups of warm water. You can also use a mix of one part vinegar and two parts of warm water to remove any layers of dust and grease.

Thoroughly wipe down the entire countertop surface and allow it to completely dry. When cleaning, pay attention to the corners and edges of the countertops. Use a narrow scrub or toothbrush to get into the recesses and curves of the countertops that are prone to holding pockets of detritus.

You can also use a small, handheld vacuum with a brush to clean the edges.

Protect the appliances

It’s wise to give the countertops a seamless finish. For you to do this, you have to remove the appliances from their place. You can easily move the stove or any other small appliance but if the appliance is large, leave it where it is. To protect it, cover it with your preferred cover material.

Also, use painter’s tape to block off the sink or any other stationary items that you don’t want to get stained or nicked during the sanding.

Sand the countertops

Once everything is in place, the next action should be to sand the countertops. Use 320-grit sandpaper to go over the countertops. You should note that sanding is a big job and requires you to use a lot of pressure.

If you have a large kitchen, use a handheld sander. The sander is inexpensive and significantly makes the sanding work easier and faster.

When sanding, pay attention to the corners and edges. Ensure every inch of the countertops is sanded to make it easy for the paint to adhere.

You can get away with a single sanding on some countertops, but you are better off sanding at least twice so that you get a rough surface that doesn’t cause the paint to bubble or crack in the future.

Fix the gouges and dings

Once you are done with sanding, carefully go through the surface and be on the lookout for dings and gouges. If present, fill them with epoxy putty. Smooth the epoxy putty over the flawed areas then scrape the excess and allow it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once dry, sand to match the level of the rest of the counter.

Paint the countertops

Painting the countertops to resemble granite is easy. In fact, you don’t need to hire granite contractors Durham to help you out. After sanding the surface, apply a primer to cover all the parts of the original countertop surface.

Let the primer dry for at least eight hours then sponge three colors onto the dry primed countertop surfaces. Move evenly across the countertop surface in dabbing motions. Take care not to push the sponge too much onto the primed surface as you will make the surfaces look smeared and foggy.

6 Cheap Kitchen Countertops Alternatives

kitchen countertops

When homeowners hear about updating their countertops, they imagine they have to spend several tens of thousands of dollars.

While some countertop materials will cost this much, there are plenty of other cheaper alternatives. Are you on a budget? Here are six cheap kitchen countertops alternatives you should try out:

Paint

Just as paint transforms a wall, it can also transform your counters. If you don’t like the current look of the countertops, find a paint that will match your cabinets, floor, and cover the damaged areas of the counters.

Regardless of whether you have tile, laminate, cultured marble, or solid surface counters, you will find a paint that will give the surfaces a new look.

If you have the skills, you can paint the surfaces by yourself, but if you have never done it before, let an expert handle it. For perfect results, first prime the counters then paint them. Finish the look by sealing the counters.

Concrete

Concrete countertops are durable, affordable, and cool looking. Ages ago, concrete contractors used to pour the concrete on the site. This often didn’t produce great-looking results.

Fortunately, things have changed. Currently, thanks to advancements in technology, there are plenty of precast concrete countertops that are more attractive.

Concrete counters resemble natural stone slabs. Unless you are too keen, you can pass them for granite or any other natural stone countertops.

Since the precast concrete countertops are cured and finished in the factory, they are easy to install as they come ready to use. The countertops are usually 1.5 inches thick, and when poured and cured, they come out smooth and flat.

They come in lengths of up to 10 feet, so they don’t produce any unsightly seams.

While these countertops are beautiful, unique, and affordable, they easily chip and scratch, so you should be cautious about how you handle them. As a rule of thumb, avoid being rough with them.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles give you the durability of natural stone, but at a much lower price. The tiles also come in many designs, including the natural-toned designs that give your kitchen or bathroom a natural look.

To make your countertops more attractive, use more expensive tiles with interesting designs at the borders.

While the tiles are tough hence allowing you to place even hot pots on them, you should take care as they tend to crack and chip easily. The grout between the tiles also stains easily, so you have to pay close attention to it to maintain the look.

Laminate

Popularly known as Formica, plastic laminate is highly versatile and affordable. Laminate is also resilient and comes in many colors, textures, and patterns. The material is also easy to install. Even if you are a beginner, you can install the countertops.

They come in sizes of 2 x 4 feet or 4 x 8 feet, but if you have longer counters, visit the company, and they will cut customized sizes.

Although, made from plastic, advanced printing techniques make the countertops resemble natural stone or wood.

When they were coming out, laminate used to scratch easily, but now advanced sealing techniques make these countertops tough and almost scratch proof.

Wood

Wood is significantly cheaper than natural stone making it an ideal choice for people operating on a budget. Two of the popular wood choices are maple and bamboo.

If you opt for these countertops, you should note that they require high levels of maintenance. To prevent them from getting damaged by water, regularly seal them with epoxy. Also, remember to oil them every two to three years.

Faux granite

Every homeowner wants granite countertops, but they don’t come cheap. If you love the look of natural stone but don’t have the money to buy real granite, go for faux granite countertops Raleigh.

All you need to do is to find an experienced contractor who will help you find the right countertops and paint them to give them the look of real granite.

While the countertops will look like real granite, they can’t take the abuse of real granite, so you need to handle them with care.

7 Mistakes To Avoid With Granite Countertops

granite countertops

Granite countertops are one of the most popular countertop materials you can install in your home. They are elegant, practical to use in the kitchen and bathroom, and extremely easy to clean.

Unfortunately, many people make plenty of mistakes that lead to them ending up with countertops they aren’t proud of. The mistakes also make homeowners waste a lot of money. These mistakes include:

Failing to take the countertop samples to their homes

Countertops will look great in the showroom, but when you install them in your home, they will be the ugliest pieces you have ever seen.

Before you buy the pieces, take a few pieces to your home and see how they look in your kitchen or bathroom. If you like the look, purchase them but if you don’t like them, don’t buy them.

Being obsessed over the thickness of the countertops

When researching about countertops, you might have heard that the thicker the pieces, the better they are. When many homeowners hear this, they want to go for the thickest pieces they can afford.

Extremely thick slabs are usually two granite slabs that have been glued together, and often they aren’t the best to install at home.

While you should go for strong pieces that will last for a long time, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the thickness as doing so will lead to you buying the wrong materials.

Work with an experienced contractor who will guide you on buying the right thickness for your home.

Putting more importance to color than quality

The color of the countertops is crucial as it determines how the room will look like, but it shouldn’t be the determining factor whether you should buy the countertops.

While color might be beautiful to look at, it might easily stain and be difficult to maintain hence making your work too difficult.

In addition to considering how the countertops will look like in your kitchen, you also should pay attention to the quality of the slab you are installing. The countertop material should be of high quality and look great in your home.

Failing to buy from wholesale stores

As you might guess, wholesale stores sell countertop materials at lower prices. Regardless of how pleasing the retail stores are, avoid buying from them as they will cost you a lot of money.

Even if you live in an area without wholesale stores, travel out of your city and find stores selling high-quality products at the least cost.

Hiring the wrong granite installer

After buying the countertops, you are onto the next stage of your journey—installing the countertops. The installer you hire is vital as he/she determines how the countertops look and how long they retain their look.

For you to get the most, hire an experienced contractor who has been in the industry for a long time. The contractor should also be an expert at countertop installations, not fabrications.

Some homeowners hire their friends. While the friends might be experienced, you should avoid working with them as they often don’t give the best results. This is because they bring friendship in the project which spoils everything.

If you have a large house, the chances are that you are going to spend a lot of time with the contractor, so work with a contractor with a great personality. You don’t want to work with a boring contractor, do you?

Choosing the edges at random

While you can select the type of edge you want on your countertops, it’s not wise to make an arbitrary choice. This is because you most often end up choosing the wrong one. You should go through all the options and select the ones that give your countertops and surfaces the best look.

Making the wrong measurements

When you make the incorrect measurements, you end up with too little or too much granite. In most cases, you end up wasting a lot of money and throwing your plan out of proportion. While even experienced contractors make this mistake, it’s often common with new installers.

For you to minimize the chances of making a mistake, work with experienced granite countertop installers Raleigh. If taking the measurements by yourself, always double-check the dimensions before placing your order.

6 Ways To Ensure Your Kitchen Countertops Last Long

When you install kitchen countertops, you want them to last for as long as possible. This calls for you to take good care of them. The cool thing is that there are plenty of ways of going about it:

Ensure proper installation

Everything begins here. There is no way your countertops will last for a long time if they aren’t properly installed.

Many people try to cut costs, by going for the cheapest contractor they can afford. Don’t do this.

While you will save a few coins here and there, you will end up spending too much money on repairs as cheap contractors often don’t have the right skills to install the countertops properly.

In some cases, they improperly install the countertops such that you have to remove all the countertops and install new ones. This is extremely expensive!

To avoid this, don’t be cheap. Hire an experienced contractor. While the professional will be a little bit expensive, the extra cost will be worth it as he/she will install countertops that will last for decades.

To protect yourself in the event of an accident during countertop installation, work with an insured contractor. Take a closer look at the insurance certificate and confirm that it even covers countertop damage.

Stone countertops

The most popular stone countertops are granite and quartz. Regardless of the type of countertop you have, you should take good care of it for it to last for long.

The first thing you should do is to seal the countertops. During installation, ensure the contractor seals the surfaces with a high-quality sealing agent. The frequency of sealing depends on the quality, color, and use of the countertops.

When it comes to lighter colors, seal them every 1-3 years. Seal darker colors 3-5 years.

In addition to sealing the countertops, you also should avoid sitting or standing on them. This is to prevent the countertops from cracking after placing too much weight on them.

Slate countertops

Slate countertops are known for their brittleness. They also stain from cooking oil spills and are easily damaged by abrasive cleaners. To prevent them from cracking, avoid placing too much weight on them. You also should always protect the surfaces when cooking to prevent stains.

When cleaning the surfaces, use a pH-neutral stone cleaner when necessary.

Laminate countertops

These are susceptible to water damage. To keep them in top shape, be cautious that you don’t let water seep into the seam. This is because they tend to swell up and buckle.

When it comes to cleaning, use mild dish detergent and microfiber cloths. Only use baking soda for tough stains.

Solid surface

Stay away from abrasive cleaners, especially if you have a shiny finish instead of matte. For the tough spots, use mild soap, baking soda, and microfiber cloths. After removing the stains, rinse the surfaces with a clean cloth.

All countertop materials

Regardless of the countertop material you have in your kitchen, there are some basic practices you should do to keep the material in top shape. Some of the things you should do include:

Protect the surfaces from scratching or etching by cleaning the countertops using damp microfiber cleaning cloths and mild dish detergent. To lift tough stains, use baking soda paste.

Since countertops are susceptible to damage from acidic juices, oil spills, and harsh abrasive cleansers, clean the spills as soon as they happen to prevent the damage and stains.

Protect the surfaces from heat damage by ensuring that you don’t place hot pans directly on the countertop surfaces. The hot surfaces tend to disfigure the countertops and even crack others.

To allow air-flow underneath the countertops, set pans and even low cookers on trivets.

You also should protect the surfaces from knife damage. This calls for you to avoid slicing or chopping the food directly on the countertops. When cutting, always use cutting boards.

Use common sense when handling your countertops. Don’t do anything that would damage the surfaces. For example, don’t use abrasive cleaning materials on granite countertops as they will lose their shine.

If you aren’t sure about how to keep the surfaces in top shape, ask granite companies Durham or any other professionals to help you out.