Tag Archives: installing granite countertops

5 Things You Should Know When Living With Marble Countertops

kitchen countertop replacement

Is this the first time you are using marble in your kitchen or bathroom? There are several things you should know. To help you out, here are 5 things you should know when living with marble countertops:

They won’t retain their pristine condition unless you maintain them

One of the things that draw people to marble is its elegant appeal. While the countertops are beautiful to look at, they don’t retain their look for long, unless you protect them from damage.

As a rule of thumb, never cut onions, tomatoes, or any materials directly on the surfaces. This is because the surfaces are prone to staining and scratching. To avoid damaging your countertops, always have a chopping board on the surfaces that you use instead of cutting them directly.

The other thing you should do is be cautious of the materials you place on the countertops. Some people will chop their vegetables on the countertops then leave them on the chopping board. After some time, the juices from the vegetables flow down the board and get on the countertops. If you don’t remove the juices soon enough, they leave a permanent stain.

To avoid this, place the chopped vegetables on a surface where the juices won’t get onto the countertops and stain them.

They don’t hold too well to a lot of pressure.

On a casual look, marble looks like one of the toughest countertop materials out there. While they are tough and easily withstand the common kitchen and bathroom uses, they can’t withstand a lot of abuse. For example, the countertops can’t withstand the pressure from standing or sitting on them.

Many homeowners sit on the countertops when they are making their meals. This is wrong. It is equally wrong to stand on the countertops to replace the bulb or reach the top shelf.

In the same way you shouldn’t stand or sit on the countertops, you shouldn’t place hot pots or pans on the surfaces as you risk burning the surfaces and leaving a serious permanent scar on the surfaces.

They can be tricky to clean.

Every homeowner wants to maintain their countertops in perfect shape.  To do this, some homeowners opt to use tough cleaning products such as water and vinegar. Others go for organic citrus-based cleaners.

At first glance, these products seem ideal for use, but they aren’t as they ruin the marble. Over extended periods of time, these products reduce the shine, so your surfaces don’t look as perfect as they used to.

To avoid damaging your countertops and maintain the shine, avoid any acidic cleaning products, as they will leave deep and narrow scratches on the surfaces. The solutions can also eat away at the protective coating, increasing the countertop’s risk of staining.

For perfect countertops, use cleaners specifically meant for marble. If you can’t find the cleaner, stick to the good old water and soap.

You need to reseal the countertops.

While marble appears tough, you should note that it’s one of the most porous countertop materials in the market. This means that you need to seal it at least once a year. If your kitchen or bathroom is too busy, you may have to reseal the surfaces twice or more a year.

Besides sealing the surfaces preventing them from staining, it also maintains the shine and ensures that the countertops last for a long time.

When you are sealing the countertops, and you notice that the surfaces have mild etching, use marble polishing powder approved for use and ensure that you follow the necessary directions.

If there are stains, try getting rid of them using baking soda. To make the poultice, mix the baking soda using little water and spread it on the stain, then cover it. Wait for 12-24 hours, then gently remove the paste and wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth.

Will marble be a headache to own?

If you haven’t already installed marble kitchen countertops Durham, you must be wondering whether marble is a great choice. The truth is that marble is a high maintenance stone, so if you are a heavy kitchen user, you are better off with another countertop. You also should avoid marble if you have young kids or don’t like home maintenance.

4 Disadvantages of Granite Countertops

Granite counters are undoubtedly the most popular countertop materials, and every new homeowner dreams of installing them in their home. Unfortunately, it’s not all hunky dory as the countertops have their flaws. Is this your first time you are thinking about installing the countertops? Here are 4 disadvantages of granite countertops you should know about:

They are highly inconsistent.

The countertops are natural, so you can’t expect them to be the same but granite takes the inconsistency to a whole new level.

First, what is referred to as granite in the stone yard and what you purchase for your kitchen isn’t always granite. Many stones are referred to as commercial granite. Meaning a group of stones quarried for use on countertops and share similar characteristics such as high levels of mica, quartz, silica, and feldspar.

True granite is made through volcanic activity where the molten rock cools beneath the earth’s surface. In some cases, the stones labeled and sold as granite aren’t actually igneous rock. Some are dolomites, breccias, and conglomerate stones. All of which are metamorphic or sedimentary rocks.

The granite’s significant inconsistencies mean that there is no standard hardness value, grading, durability, or maintenance. The inconsistency also means that you sometimes have stones that are porous, weak, soft, and others that are so dense such that even thinking about sealing them is wrong.

When you are in the stores making the purchase, all commercial granite is sold and treated equally, so it’s hard to tell what you are buying. Due to this, it becomes an issue of luck. You can buy a soft, weak stone or a tough one that will last your entire lifetime.

To increase your chances of buying a high-quality stone, involve experts. As you are doing your shopping, hire a granite contractor to accompany you to the stores. The contractor will help you determine how strong the countertop is and when it comes to the granite installation, you won’t waste time finding another installer.

Granite counters have plenty of fissures and pits

Since it’s natural, granite tends to have plenty of natural fissures or pits on its surface. Some of the fissures are harmless, cosmetic cracks or small indentations in the stone, but others are lethal and could actually weaken the countertops’ structure and integrity.

If you are wondering what fissures and pits are, fissures are natural cracks that occur on the stone, and they often occur where two minerals meet. On the other hand, Pits are small holes or indentations in the stone, which often come about when a weaker particle breaks free.

In most cases, it’s hard to tell the nature of a fissure until it opens up or forms a wider crack. Even professionals can’t tell whether the fissure or pit will worsen with time.

Thankfully, most companies apply a resin that makes the countertops stronger and hides the fissures. This means that when you polish the countertop, you cause the light to bounce off the countertop, which comes in handy at hiding the fissures, pits, and other imperfections.

The countertops come with too many color variations

Although the color variations might be a plus for some people as it means more countertop options to choose from, it can be a negative if one section of the stone is significantly different from the rest. Or you have a countertop that has a significant shift in color or pattern from one end of the stone to the next.

Due to the color variations, you should be ultra-cautious when purchasing as the color might look great at the store but be awful when you bring it home.

Before you commit to buying large countertop slabs, first carry a small sample to your home and see how the slab looks in the house. Only proceed with the purchase if you like how the countertop looks.

The countertops don’t have the same durability.

Make no mistake about it. Some granite counters are incredibly durable and will even last several generations, but others, such as those shipped from China, are weak and won’t last long enough. In fact, these stones will sag over time if you don’t support them.

To extend the life of the kitchen countertops Durham, support them on the kitchen islands, overhangs, desk, and other areas.

Can You Replace Kitchen Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets?

Many homeowners will simultaneously replace their countertops and cabinets, but if you don’t have a huge budget, you can replace them without replacing the cabinets.

While many homeowners replace the cabinets and countertops simultaneously, as they want a uniform look, others do it as they deem the cabinets will get damaged when replacing the countertops.  Can you replace kitchen countertops without damaging cabinets? Yes, you can. You only need to be cautious about how you remove and install the countertops.

To help you out, here are the steps to follow when removing the old countertops:

Step 1: Remove everything from the countertops

This is a no brainer as there is no way you can remove the countertops with items still on them, can you? So remove appliances, books, cutlery and any other thing from the countertops. You also should take everything from the drawers and in the cabinets underneath the countertops and place the items in a safe place away from the area you are working in.

Step 2: Disconnect the supply lines.

Once everything is out of the way, shut off the supply lines to the countertop fixtures. These include the water and gas lines to the stovetop. For the drain line, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the large nuts holding the U or J-shaped trap to the sink’s main drain line. If you have a PVC connection, you should be able to loosen the connection by hand.

For the supply lines, turn off the valves for each fixture clockwise to the off position, then disconnect the lines from the valves using an adjustable wrench.

Step 3: Remove the sink

Depending on the type of sink you have, you should proceed to remove it from your countertops. If you have a drop-in fixture sink, use a putty knife or chisel to pry the sink away from your countertop. You will need to chop away at the layer of dried adhesive under the sink rim to free it.

If the sink is fastened to a tile countertop, you will need to chisel away the quarter tiles along the sink’s perimeter. Remember to remove any remaining mortar or adhesive with a caulk remover or chisel.

Do you have an under-mount sink? Unfasten the screws holding it to the countertop and remove the brackets underneath the sink. Using a flat chisel, remove the caulk acting as a seal between the countertop and sink. After you have freed the sink from the counter, it should come out easily, and all you need is to ask someone to help you pull it out, especially if it has an unwieldy double bowl configuration.

Step 4: Remove the countertops

With everything out of the way, now it’s time to get down to removing the countertops. Begin with loosening the adhesive holding the countertops in place. All you need to do is spray the adhesive with a caulk softener, then let the softener sit on the surface for one hour, then pry the adhesive away from the backsplash with a putty knife and workaround until the counter is loose enough to lift.

If your countertops are held into place by screws, unfasten them, then lift the countertop.

Step 5: Remove the countertops from the cabinets

Most countertops are bracketed to the base cabinets but if yours are attached to the base with nails or an adhesive, use a pry bar to remove them. Work slowly around the countertop and only use minimum force to avoid damaging the base cabinets.

Once the countertop is detached from the cabinets, use a flat chisel to remove the tiles from the countertop surface. Doing this frees the countertop and reduces the weight, making it easy to lift out. Once you have removed all the tiles, get in touch with granite contractors to remove the slab. Don’t try to remove the countertops by yourself, as you risk damaging the cabinets due to the heavyweight.

Step 6: Install new countertops.

Once the old countertop is out of the way, now it’s time to install the new countertop. Work with experienced countertop replacement NC professionals and professionally install the new countertops.