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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.

Parting shot

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.

Can You Install Granite Countertops by Yourself?

Ideally, you should hire granite contractors to install the countertops for you. If you don’t have the money to hire a professional, don’t worry, as with precision and hard work, you can install the countertops by yourself. 

To help you out, here is how to go about the installation:  

Have the necessary tools

Before you choose a granite slab from your preferred home furnishing store, make a list of the installation tools you need for the project and put them in place.

The ones you need include a putty knife, caulking gun, circular saw, measuring tape, jig saw, level, granite dye, masking tape, seam stone, filler, and dry-cut segmented diamond blade.

You use the jig saw to cut out the sink hole (though you may need to hire a professional for this step), use the masking tape to protect the seam lines, the putty knife to mix the seam filler with a dye, and the diamond blade to cut and seam the slab.

You will need a 0.75-inch plywood to brace the top of the cabinet upon which you will install the slab.

Be ultra-cautious when taking the measurements.

Installing a granite slab without determining how much countertop space your kitchen requires is a recipe for disaster.

So, if your granite slab manufacturer refuses to send a specialist to your home to take measurements until you pay an additional fee, you go ahead and take the measurements by yourself. When taking the measurements, be cautious to ensure a flawless job.

For the best outcome, measure the length and width of the top of the counter, which should be done in inches. You should multiply the measured length by 25.5 inches to get the overhang.

The overhang is the legroom required to sit comfortably around the countertop while allowing movement around the kitchen. After multiplying the length of the counter’s top by 25.5 inches, divide the result by 144 to get square footage.

The amount of granite you need for the backsplash should be included in the calculation. This should, of course, be the same length and thickness as the countertop slab, but the height is different.

The backsplash height is typically 4 inches. To convert it to square footage, multiply 4 inches by 144.

Properly prepare the installation area.

Besides having the necessary installation tools, there are several other ways you need to be ready for the installation.

Start by removing the old countertop and plumbing fixtures, level the counter surface, and clear the space around the counter.

Clear the area surrounding the cabinet and remove the old countertop using a nail puller or a screwdriver, depending on how you fastened it. This should expose the counter’s surface for leveling. The purpose of leveling the exposed counter is to maintain stability and facilitate the installation of the new granite slab.

Use plywood and shims for leveling because this is the combination most typically utilized by specialists to obtain professional-level results.

After leveling, turn off the plumbing and uninstall it to avoid an installation disaster. Remember to remove the existing backsplash as well.

Cut the countertop slab with precision.

You can waste a lot of money if you don’t cut the stone as well as it should. To save money, cut a granite slab to fit and look nice after installation.

To ensure that this happens, cut the stone with extreme caution. You will even be better off if you can hire a professional to do it for you.

When doing it, protect yourself from dust by wearing goggles, earplugs, gloves, and respirators. Move all kitchen objects to a location where dust will not settle.

With that out of the way, use a ruler and a marker to create the arrangement of your countertop design. Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut out this layout and pattern.

Following in the footsteps of the Marble specialists, clamp the acquired granite slab with C-clamps and cut it into the pattern in the cardboard using a saw.

Attach the cardboard layout to the granite slab and carefully retrace the design onto the slab to achieve this perfectly.

Sharpen your saw blade and begin cutting the slab along the pattern. You’ll experience heat and pressure growing as you cut.

Control this by having someone on standby to spray water on the granite as you slice it. Also, keep your eyes on the saw while you cut to avoid injury, and remember to take breaks at regular intervals to evaluate your progress.

After cutting, use an angular grinder to smooth the slab’s edges.

Properly seal the seams.

Improperly sealing the joints of your granite countertops means that you will have to deal with cleaning issues, and you don’t want this, do you?

To have an easy time, ensure you get the proper amount and color of professional-grade sealer. If you’re going to build a sealer out of a polyester-based resin, coloring, and hardener, selecting the pigment mix that will make a blend that properly matches the color combination of your granite slab can be difficult.

In this instance, you may require the assistance of a skilled color-matcher.

You should mix the dye with the resin after obtaining your sealer materials until the color matches that of your granite slab and the combination forms putty.

You can experiment with different colors and resin in little amounts until you find the perfect color combination. After that, add your hardener to the putty resin-coloring mixture and thoroughly swirl.

Finally, apply your homemade sealer to the seams and let it harden for up to 24 hours.

Parting shot

These are some of the things you need to do to install granite countertops in your home correctly. As mentioned, you can do the installation yourself, but for the best outcome, let the work be handled by experienced granite countertop installers NC who know what they are doing.  

What you Need to Know About Kitchen Countertops

In most households, the kitchen is the busiest room. Besides being used for cooking, kitchens are used for other purposes. For example, they are used as meeting spaces and even go-to serve as dining areas in homes without formal dining rooms.

Because so much time is spent in the kitchen, it is worthwhile to invest in them.

Kitchen renovations are high on many homeowners’ to-do lists, and once they commit to remodeling the room, they face a slew of considerations.

When remodeling your kitchen, you must decide which countertop material to choose. If this is where you are, here is a list of popular possibilities that will help you with that selection:

Quartz

Quartz is a low-maintenance and long-lasting countertop material. Quartz countertops are normally 94 percent ground quartz and come with a honed, sandblasted, or embossed treatment, making them appealing to homeowners with various notions about the perfect aesthetic of a kitchen countertop.

If not appropriately treated, quartz can crack, and edges and corners can chip with time. When you are in the market, go for countertops with rounded edges to reduce the possibility of chipping.

The costs of the countertops vary depending on region and product availability, but quartz is normally roughly the same price as natural stone.

Laminate

Laminate countertops are appealing to frugal households. The beauty of them is they are simple to install. Laminate countertops are available in various colors, textures, and styles.

Laminate countertops are also long-lasting, which allows frugal homeowners to stretch their budgets even further. Laminate worktops are simple to clean, but knives can permanently harm them, so always use a cutting board when preparing meals on laminate.

Although laminate is water-resistant, extended moisture exposure at seams or edges can cause swelling or warping. To prevent this from coming about, ensure that sinks are properly sealed. You also should avoid leaving wet rags or sponges on the surface.

Granite

No two slabs of granite are alike; this individuality has traditionally appealed to many homeowners. Heat, cuts, and scratches don’t affect granite too much, though this stone, like quartz, can split around edges and corners. So you need to be cautious when handling it.

Granite is a long-lasting material that can survive for decades if properly cared for. Granite is also nonporous, making it resistant to microorganisms.

Because granite is porous, you should seal it regularly to prevent stains. The frequency of sealing varies based on the type of granite and the sealer used, but it is wise to seal your countertops every 1 to 3 years.

To tell whether your countertops are ready for sealing, sprinkle a few droplets of water on the surface of your surface. If the water beads up, the seal is intact, but if the surfaces absorb the water, it’s time to reseal the stone.

Butcher block

Butcher block countertops are one of the more unusual alternatives available to homeowners. Butcher block countertops, sometimes known as “wood countertops,” are composed of fused wooden strips.

Butcher block is one of the more economical materials, but the final cost will be determined by location and availability.

Butcher block countertops are highly sensitive to fluids; therefore, you should limit the countertops’ exposure to moisture.

You can protect the butcher block countertops against bacteria and warping by sealing them soon after installation. Though butcher blocks can be difficult to maintain, many homeowners believe the unique aesthetic is worth the extra effort.

To have an easy time with your butcher block countertops, thoroughly seal them before using them. The best sealing material to use is food-safe mineral oil or a specialist butcher block oil.

The best way to do it is to allow a generous amount of oil to seep into the surface for several hours or overnight. Repeat this step every few weeks to keep the protective seal intact.

You also should oil your butcher block countertops regularly to prevent dryness, cracking, and staining. The frequency at which you oil the surfaces will depend on usage, but as a general rule, apply a light coat of mineral oil every 1 to 3 months or when the wood appears dry or dull.

Marble countertops

Many people liken marble to granite, but the two are different. Marble is a metamorphic stone, unlike granite, an igneous stone formed by crystallized magma.

While granite has a Mohs hardness value of 6-7, marble has a level of around 3-5. This is because marble is formed when pre-existing limestone or dolomite is subjected to high heat and pressure, causing calcite and carbonate crystals to reform.

Although marble is still a robust and long-lasting choice for kitchen worktops, it is softer than granite or quartzite, which means you must be more cautious about cleaning, maintenance, and the things you expose it to (acidic compounds, staining agents, and so on).

When in the market, choose a Carrara or Calacatta marble for its extraordinary beauty, adaptability, and unrivaled luxury appeal.

Concrete Countertops

While quartz, granite, and marble counters are popular among designers, concrete remains an attractive alternative, providing flexibility and creative potential that other materials cannot match. If you are looking for a unique kitchen centerpiece, a custom concrete countertop is a choice that gives you complete control.

The appeal of concrete is that it doesn’t limit you on how creative you can get. You can color it in various ways, pour it in any size or shape, and inlay it with other materials to create patterns beneath its surface.

For example, you can put shells, glass, metals, and other materials to give it a unique, appealing look.

While the countertop gives you room for creativity, you should be cautious so you don’t go overboard and detract from the natural beauty.

This calls for you to avoid extreme colors such as pink. You also should use timeless hues and patterns to ensure that the countertop remains functional even as trends come and go.

While concrete kitchen countertops Raleigh are easy to install, avoid installing them yourself, especially if this is your first time. Instead, let a professional help you out.

Tips to Consider When upgrading Your Kitchen Countertops

Your Kitchen countertops can make or break your kitchen. Unfortunately, any well-used kitchen surface experiences regular wear and tear over time. 

If your countertops have seen better days and you feel trapped in a kitchen design rut, you may need to upgrade them.

Countertops play an important role in the aesthetic and functionality of a kitchen. This means that a quick update instantly modernizes the kitchen’s look and changes how you cook and enjoy the space.

To get the most from your kitchen, here are some of the tips you should consider to upgrade it properly:

Aim for low-maintenance countertops.

To have an easy time keeping your countertops in tip-top shape, you should go for those that require minimal maintenance. 

While there are many countertops in the market you can go for, the best ones to consider are engineered stone worktops that are resistant to damage and stains. This makes them ideal for red wine and coffee aficionados, as well as home chefs who routinely cook with olive oil (which can wreak havoc on real stone).

Of course, you should ensure that the countertop is installed by a professional who knows what they are doing. 

As much as the countertops are tough and long-lasting, you should note that this doesn’t mean they are indestructible. To avoid scratches, avoid dumping heavy objects on the surfaces and utilize cutting boards.

You also should protect the countertops from heat damage. This calls for you to use trivets or hot pads under hot cookware to avoid damage.

When cleaning, clean your countertops with gentle, non-abrasive cleansers. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers as they can cause finish damage, and you don’t want this, do you?

While most engineered stone worktops are non-porous and do not require sealing, if your manufacturer advises it, adhere to the sealing schedule.

If you don’t like the look of engineered stone countertops in your kitchen, you can always go with granite countertops.

The countertops are tough, but you must take more care of them to last for a long time. Besides protecting them from heat and abrasive cleaners, you will need to regularly seal them to prevent water and other liquids from easily seeping through and damaging them.

Consider mixing and matching the countertops.

Countertop mixing and matching can create a visually appealing and dynamic effect in your kitchen or other rooms. If this is the first time you are doing it, here are some pointers on how to mix and match countertops effectively:

If you’re using various patterns on different materials, make sure that the patterns complement one another rather than conflict. Patterns can be scaled similarly or contain complementing features.

You should select a secondary countertop material that contrasts in color or pattern with the dominant material. This is appropriate for specific locations such as an island, a baking station, or a wet bar.

If you choose a statement-making or one-of-a-kind material for the secondary countertop, pair it with a more subdued and neutral material for the prominent countertop. This keeps the space from becoming too crowded.

While mixing materials, it is critical to maintain some amount of consistency. This could be done through the space’s color palette, design style, or overall attitude.

When mixing the countertops, consider including design components that provide cohesiveness between the various materials. These include cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, and decorative embellishments.

You should always consult a kitchen or interior designer if you need help mixing and matching the countertops efficiently.

Consider the countertop trends.

Trends come and go, so never clutter your kitchen with design decisions that will age poorly. While this is the case, several contemporary countertop trends will last.

A great example is when the countertop material matches the backsplash material. When properly installed, the countertop creates an immaculate European style appealing to many people.

If you have the space, a waterfall-edge kitchen island is a great option to go with. Such an island is full of drama and instantly pulls your eye into the space.

You should also consider the thickness of the countertop that you are purchasing and go for smaller styles. A thinner countertop is typically less expensive and easier to install.

While keeping up with countertop trends is vital, keep in mind that your personal preferences and the overall style of your kitchen should drive your decision.

As mentioned above, trends come and go, but a countertop that complements your lifestyle and aesthetic choices will last.

If you aren’t sure about the best countertop design or trend to go with, consult a professional, and they will assist you in making informed decisions that are consistent with your vision and the functionality of your kitchen.

Go green

As time passes, more homeowners are emphasizing eco-friendly materials with lower carbon footprints. If you feel that you should follow this trend, you are in luck, as there are numerous options available for you to choose from. The common ones are:

Bamboo countertops: Bamboo countertops are made from a rapidly growing renewable resource. They have a distinct appearance and can last as long as hardwood. When purchasing, look for bamboo countertops verified for sustainable sourcing by groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Recycled glass: Recycled glass countertops blend broken glass with a binder to create a vibrant, unique surface. They are eco-friendly because they reuse materials that would otherwise wind up in landfills.

Recycled paper: Paper-based countertops are made from recycled paper and resin to form a solid surface. They are lightweight, long-lasting, and available in various colors and patterns. These counters are frequently sealed with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) coatings for further sustainability.

Eco-friendly concrete: Some concrete countertops are created from environmentally friendly resources such as recycled aggregates or fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion. These countertops are long-lasting, and you can personalize them in color and pattern.

Engineered quartz: While not fully natural, engineered quartz countertops Durham frequently contain recycled components, giving them a more environmentally friendly option to real stone.

When considering eco-friendly countertop options, consider the source of the material, manufacturing procedures, transportation distance, and end-of-life disposal.

In addition, seek certifications from reputable organizations that verify the material’s long-term viability. Ensure the countertop matches your values, budget, and general style choices.

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.

Parting shot

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.

Butcher Block Kitchen Countertops Myths

If you want to redo your kitchen, there are a lot of different countertop materials to consider. Most people think about granite, quartz, and marble countertops

Butcher block is often forgotten because many people have myths about it. Which are these myths? Here they are. 

The butcher block is high maintenance.

Many people must know that taking care of and maintaining a butcher block countertop takes a lot of time. But this isn’t true. 

Butcher block countertops do need to be cared for, but they won’t take up much of your time and aren’t that different from caring for other materials. 

To keep your butcher block countertop looking and working its best, reseal the surface. You should do this once or twice a year, depending on how often you use your counter.

Butcher block countertops are easier to keep clean and fix than other materials. If your countertops get dents or scratches, you can sand them down and put a new coat of sealant on them. 

The countertops scratch easily.

People also worry that butcher block countertops will get scratched easily, which is another reason they don’t use them. People worry that their countertops won’t look good and will be an eyesore in their kitchens instead of a beautiful focal point. 

Even though they are softer than stone and will get nicks more easily, the same is true of slate and other hard stones. 

If you slide something unfinished over a butcher block countertop, you are about as likely to scratch it as you are to scratch a countertop made of a different material. 

No matter what material you use, you need to be careful with this.

To protect your surfaces, use a food-safe coating. This will protect the natural wood from scratches. And, as was said above, if your countertops get scratched over time, you can sand down the finish and reapply the sealant to make them look new again.

The countertops aren’t durable.

Some people decide not to put butcher block countertops in their kitchens because they are worried about how long they will last. In reality, butcher blocks last about the same amount of time as a number of other materials. 

When well maintained, they can last about 20 years, the same as laminate and cultured marble.

To extend the life of your countertops, seal the surfaces at least once or twice a year with a sealant that is safe for food and water. You also should smoothen the scratches and stains with sandpaper.

The countertops hold a lot of germs and bacteria.

Everyone has heard it. Butcher block countertops are dirty and dangerous because they hold germs. But this is just a story. Yes, wood is porous, but if you take care of your countertops, you should be able to use them to prepare food and do other cooking-related tasks in a clean way.

To keep your countertops clean, make it a habit to clean them after each use, just like any other material. 

Remember that you can’t place a raw steak on any countertop and expect the spot where it was, free of germs or bacteria. 

Ensure the butcher block countertop you choose doesn’t have a coating that lets water through. 

By doing this, bacteria won’t get into the wood itself. After using the counter, always clean it with either soap and warm water or vinegar and water.

The countertops aren’t water resistant.

Many rumors also say that butcher block countertops can’t stand up to water or heat, but this is untrue. 

Yes, water can get into wood countertops that aren’t sealed. The trick is to give your countertops a finish that doesn’t let water in. This will make it less porous. 

Several mineral oil products that are safe for food will protect the wood from anything you put on the countertop. Then, all you have to do to protect your countertop is put on a new coat of sealant about twice a year. 

It’s not too hard. Even though it’s true that you can’t let water sit on butcher block countertops or they’ll warp, the same is true for stone. 

Marble kitchen countertops NC can get permanent stains from water. Like marble, butcher blocks need to be cleaned of any standing water to keep them from getting damaged.

Best Kitchen Countertop Colors

Are you thinking about installing kitchen countertops but aren’t sure what color to go for? There are plenty of color options you can go with, with the common ones being:

Rustic wood tone

Wooden countertops give your kitchen a homey and warm atmosphere, so if this is the atmosphere you are after, this is the best countertop color. This choice is also smart when you want to give your kitchen a transitional appeal.

To make your kitchen more interesting, install a wooden island, then pair it with a stone countertop on the sides adjacent to the kitchen wall.

Neutral gray tone

The neutral gray tone is friendly and highly versatile, especially with other accents and fancy colors. When properly installed, the gray tone gives a balance between stark white and dark tone, while lifting the aesthetics of the countertops.

The gray countertops work best when you want different vibrant colors for your kitchen cabinetry. The tone also comes in handy when looking to complement any chrome plated finish in the kitchen area.

White with fine veinings

If you want to install marble countertops in your kitchen, avoid being like everyone else. While the stark white beauty of the white marble is elegant to look out for, it gives a kitchen a cliché look.

To stand out, use a different color of marble. For example, use marble with white background with a grainy or fine veining.

If you have always wanted to have granite countertops instead, go for countertops with white or beige colors that perfectly match the color tone.

Besides a white kitchen countertop looking great, it also makes your small kitchen space look bigger. There is also the illusion of cleanliness and an airy feeling.

Regardless of the white countertop you choose, ensure that you get it from a reputable store. You also should have it professionally installed by an expert that knows what they are doing.

Rich black tone

The beauty of black countertops is that they work extremely well with dark and colorful cabinets.

If you want to draw attention to them, install them in such a way that everything else around them has a light color hue.

Install the countertops with a mirror or backsplash for an interesting look.

Are you a minimalist? Go with a black-and-white tone. Besides giving your house a simple look, it also gives an interesting traditional and contemporary atmosphere.

Stark white countertops

Stark white countertops are the perfect choice for those looking to give their kitchens a minimalist look.

Besides being simple, the countertops can fit with a variety of cabinets. For example, they can fit with wooden grainy cabinets, chrome plate surfaces, etc.

If you have a narrow kitchen, the stark white color cuts the cave-like feeling, making your kitchen more comfortable to live in, not to mention making your kitchen feel airy and look spotlessly clean.

Countertops with bold veinings

You choose these countertops when looking to give your kitchen a dramatic look. Due to the veinings, you make your countertops the center of attention.

To get the most from the veinings, ensure that you install them in a large kitchen. Don’t install them in a smaller kitchen, as they can be overwhelming and even make the kitchen look smaller than it already is.

Parting shot

These are some of the countertop color options you can choose for your countertops. To get the most from them, choose the right color. If you aren’t sure about the right one to go for, get the input of a professional.

Regardless of whether you are installing marble, granite, or quartz kitchen countertops NC, have them professionally installed. Take your time finding an experienced contractor that will properly install the surfaces.

You might argue that you will be late finding the right contractor but remember that you are better late than having a botched kitchen.

Besides the contractor you hire being experienced, they also should be insured. This way, you are sure that in the event an accident happens, you won’t be held liable. The company will also compensate you in the event it damages your surfaces.

Things to Do When Using Two Countertop Materials

kitchen countertops

If you visit many homes, you will find their kitchens with only one countertop material. While there is nothing wrong with this as it gives the kitchen a uniform look, did you know that you can combine two or more countertop materials to give your kitchen countertops a more interesting look?

Unfortunately, you can’t achieve ideal results out of the blue—you need to do a number of things. Which are these things? Here they are:

Pay attention to the countertop patterns

When shopping, pay attention to the countertop patterns and design. As much as you want to have different materials on your countertops, you don’t want them to clash, do you?

To ensure this doesn’t happen, choose countertops with an almost similar movement or pattern.

There is no way to tell you which is the best style and design to choose, as this depends on your preferences, but you need to ensure that the two countertops complement each other.

For example, if you are drawn to busy designs, ensure that the second countertop is solid colored or has a minimal pattern—this is to prevent one material from competing with the other, giving your kitchen an overwhelming look.

Coordinate your countertops with accent colors

Accent colors come from linens, furniture, plumbing fixtures, and even cabinet hardware. You can use the colors to guide you on the countertop colors to go with. If you have a shade in your house that you love, you can pick a countertop design that matches or incorporates the tone in its pattern.

While this is a great strategy, the downside is that the countertops might look out of place if you replace the cabinets or any other item you used to inform your color of choice.

Keep the accent colors the same to keep your countertops looking in place. This means that when you get sick of a piece of furniture, replace it with another of the same color and preferably the same design.

Have an accent piece of your island

If the rest of your kitchen has a neutral or muted color scheme, create a focal point that will stand out and give your kitchen an interesting appeal.

You might have the impression that you need premium over-the-top accent pieces, but this isn’t the case. You can go for simple styles that are appealing and still mesh with the rest of the house. If you aren’t sure about the right ones to go for, get the input of a professional.

Balance dark and light

Here you simply need to mix light with darker colored countertops. If the first countertop is on the lighter side, go for one on the darker side. There are plenty of options in the market you can choose from. Your choice will be influenced by your preferences and your desired final look.

As you are creating the light and dark dynamic, try to be creative in your approach. For example, if you have mixed cabinet colors, go with light countertops with light-colored cabinets. By doing this, you create a dramatic contrast between the two designs, which gives your countertops an interesting appeal.

You can also opt for balance by placing your darker selection of cabinets on lighter cabinetry.

If your cabinetry is the same color throughout, consider other factors when choosing the ideal cabinets. For example, consider how well each countertop design stacks up to your backsplash material.

Use both countertop materials on the same surface.

If you are unsure how to use two polar opposite materials, you can always use both. For example, you can use quartz and porcelain countertops on natural surfaces such as granite or soapstone.

If you are edgy, mix two different stone materials, such as mix granite countertops Durham and travertine.

While this will give your countertops an interesting look, the downside is that you often have difficulty cleaning the surfaces. This is because one cleaning material is often insufficient to clean both countertops properly. Sometimes you even damage the countertops when using one cleaning material.

For example, when you use Windex on engineered stone surfaces, you can’t use it on natural stone countertops as you will damage them.

How Do You Cover An Ugly Kitchen Countertop?

If you don’t like the current look of your kitchen countertops either because the countertops are old or stained, don’t worry as you don’t have to replace them. This is because there are a number of ways you can cover them. Which are these ways? Here they are:

Tile the countertops

Tiles are heavily used in covering walls, showers, and floors, but there is no reason you can’t use them to cover your old, unsightly countertops. When choosing tiles for your surfaces, go with porcelain or glazed ceramic, as they have been shown to be the most stain and heat-resistant.

Tiles come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, and it’s up to you to choose the most appealing. As a rule of thumb, avoid natural stone tiles, as they need regular sealing, which might be too much work, especially if you lead a busy life.

While tiles are durable and easy to maintain, you should note that the grout joints are prone to staining, so if you don’t take good care of them, they are bound to go back to their ugly look.

To minimize the staining, seal the surfaces immediately after you install them. You also should make it a habit to apply the sealer at least once every few years to maintain the protective barrier.

Cover the surfaces with countertop film

Countertop film is thicker than contact or shelf paper, and it’s often preferred by many as it’s a cross between shelf paper and vinyl flooring. The film also has an adhesive backing that sticks directly to the old countertop, making it extremely easy to install.

For ideal results, begin with laying out the film, trim it to a rough size then align it to the edges of the countertops. Once in place, use a squeegee tool to stick it down to remove air bubbles.

Cover the countertops with wood

If you love butcher block or have always been drawn to the beauty of real wood countertops, you can always cover your old, beaten countertops with wide planks of solid hardwood. If you don’t like the cliché hardwood look, get creative and use a blend of woods, such as a blend of bamboo plywood and hardwood.

As much as plywood comes in larger pieces and is more affordable, it’s not as durable and repairable as hardwood.

If you are confused about the right choice, the best to buy is bamboo plywood. It not only has a thicker tip layer, but it’s also extremely durable and easy to repair.

As much as wood seems like an easy material to work with, it isn’t—it requires the right woodworking skills and tools. If you are a dab hand at DIY projects, you can do the work yourself, but if you have never done it before, let an expert handle it.

Lay laminate over the countertops

Do your old countertops have square edges? You can cover them with laminate. All you need to do is buy laminate layers from your local store. The layers come in sheets up to 5 feet wide and 12 feet long.

Work with your contractor and know the right number of layers to get that will be enough to cover your counters.

For the best outcome, avoid covering your rounded edge countertops with laminate layers, as the material won’t conform to the edge contours.

Use a countertop refinishing kit.

You will find refinishing kits in most local stores, and they come with everything you need, including epoxy-like paint and decorative stop chips to help give your countertops a natural stone look.

To use the kit, carefully follow the instructions given on the kit. If this is the first time you use the kit, you should note that you must put in hard work, get messy, and pay close attention to the kit’s details.

Install modular granite

Also known as a stone overlay, modular granite is a system of small thin stone slabs specially designed to cover old countertops. The stones are often 16 by 18 inches wide, but there are special pieces meant for the problematic inside and outside corners.

Of course, let an expert install the granite countertops Raleigh for the best outcome.

How Can I Make My Kitchen Counters Better?

kitchen countertop replacement

If you don’t currently like the look of your countertops, you must be wondering, how can I make my kitchen countertops better, right? If you are asking this, you are in luck, as there are plenty of ways to do it. Some of these ways include:

Painting the countertops

When well done, paint can do wonders to your countertops. The cool thing is that painting is quick, affordable, and extremely easy.

If you don’t have money to hire a professional, you can always do the painting by yourself as all you need is sandpaper, painting supplies, your preferred paint, and sealer.

Although you can paint any countertop, paint works best on linoleum countertops. Use a heavy-duty polyurethane finish for the ultimate excellent results, and be generous in your application.

Refinish your butcher block countertops

The beauty of butcher block countertops is you can easily strip them down and refinish the wood, giving your kitchen an entirely new vibe. This gives the surfaces a new look, but you can easily get rid of any dings, scratches, and marks that might have accumulated over the years.

You need to sand the surfaces using sanding paper and wood finish to do this. Sand the countertop to remove the old finish, then apply a few coats of your preferred wood finish or stain.

You can do the work by yourself, but let a professional help you out for the best outcome.

Apply a concrete coating

Concrete is tough and durable, but pouring it on your countertops is no easy feat. The beauty is that you can easily fake the look. All you need is a bag of feather finish cement and food safe concrete sealer.

Begin with roughing up the old countertop surface with sandpaper for proper adhesion, then using a trowel or drywall knife, apply multiple coats of cement leveler. Complete the look with a food-grade sealer.

When installing faux concrete, remember that the cover is exceptionally durable and may be prone to scratches and stains. Installing it can also be back-breaking, so approach it with care. For the best outcome, let a professional help with the installation.

Tile over the countertops

Tile is excellent for covering all surfaces from walls, showers to floors, and there is no reason you can’t use it to cover your old countertops.

There are many types of tiles you can use on your surfaces, but for the best outcome, use grazed ceramic, and porcelain tiles as they are stain and heat resistant, and they come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

You can use natural stone tile, but you need to seal the stone frequently to prevent stains from coming about.

When installing tiles on your surfaces, ensure that the surfaces are flat and stable enough, so the tiles don’t crack.

Take advantage of a refinishing kit.

A refinishing kit is like paint on steroids as it comes with everything you need to cover a standard-sized countertop completely.

Using the kit is simple and straightforward, but it tends to be messy, back-breaking, and you need to pay close attention to detail.

For the best results, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.

Add a wooden overlay.

Have you always wanted a butcher block, or been drawn to the beauty of real wood? You can have the look by covering your old counters with wide planks of solid hardwood, plywood, or bamboo.

Regardless of the wooden covering, you apply, ensure that you thoroughly seal or oil it to get stain and moisture resistance.

Install modular granite

Also known as granite or stone overlay, modular granite is a system of small, thin slabs of stones designed to cover old countertops.

The beauty of modular granite is that it covers the countertop’s entire front and back distance. Since the countertops are 16-18 inches wide, you cover the old countertops with just a few joints.

You might argue that improving the countertops with modular granite isn’t different than using solid granite countertops Durham, but you can cut the costs by installing modular granite yourself.