Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Granite Countertop Sparkling Clean

When every homeowner installs granite countertops, they want them to look clean and sparkling all the time. The good news is that this is possible. How do you do it? Here are tips to keep your kitchen granite countertop sparkling clean:

Clean the countertops properly

It goes without saying that if you want to keep your countertops sparkling, you have to clean them properly. To help you out, here are the cleaning steps to follow:

Begin with clearing any items from your kitchen countertops. These include cooking appliances such as crockery and blenders. You should then follow it up by getting rid of dust and debris using a sponge or microfiber.

Granite surfaces are sensitive to abrasive scrubbing techniques, so use soft brushes when cleaning. You should also avoid acidic chemicals, including vinegar, as they are known to destroy the sealants, weakening the countertops’ stain-resistant qualities.

Use warm water, soap, and a cleaning cloth for the best outcome.

After getting rid of the dust, dampen your microfiber cloth with warm water, then wipe your countertops gently. To prevent a lot of grime from accumulating on the countertop, rinse your cloth in fresh water periodically.

You should thoroughly wipe down your countertops from one end to the other until you cover the entire area.

For maximum cleaning effect, do the cleaning in an “S” pattern. If there are stubborn stains on the surfaces, you may have to intensify your scrubbing to remove the stubborn stains.

Once you are done with the cleaning, disinfect the countertop surfaces using a mixture of alcohol and water. A cup of each of these ingredients is enough, but add a few drops of cooking oil for better results.

Spray the mixture evenly on the surface, then after five minutes, wipe the surfaces gently with a dry cloth.

Get rid of tough stains.

Although daily cleaning with warm water and soap is enough to keep your countertops clean, sometimes you will have tough-to-remove stains. As you can tell, you can’t have clean, shiny countertops when there are ugly stains on the surfaces, can you?

To get rid of these stains, you should use baking soda, known to have excellent stain removal capabilities. To do the cleaning, you need to mix baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and warm water in a bowl until they form a thick paste.

Although it’s commonly used as a wound disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide is highly effective at getting rid of stains without bleaching or discoloring the countertops.

Carefully spread the thick paste over the countertops, then cover them with plastic wrap, ensuring you reach over the edges. Let the mixture do its magic overnight, then the following morning, rinse it thoroughly with water and wipe it down to reveal a stain-free kitchen top.

Prevent stains from forming

Instead of struggling to remove stains, you should prevent them from coming about in the first place. How do you do this?

The first thing to do is ensure that spills don’t stay on the countertops for a long time. As soon as spills happen, get rid of them. If you aren’t in the house when the spills happen, get rid of them as soon as you notice them.

When cleaning the countertops, don’t use abrasive chemicals to get rid of the spills. A simple piece of cloth is enough.

The other thing you should do is seal the countertops. Granite countertops are porous, so when you don’t seal them, there is the risk of the spills seeping deeper into the countertops resulting in tough to remove stains.

Seal the countertops the first time you install them, then once a year thereafter.

For the best outcome, use the highest quality sealer. You also should ensure that the sealing is done by experienced granite contractors Montgomery County MD.

The final thing you should do to stay away from stains is to avoid placing hot items directly on the countertops. Even if granite is tough and can take a lot of abuse, placing hot items on the counters is bound to cause burn stains that are often difficult to remove.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, always have trivets and hot pads on your counters at all times.



How Long Does It Take To Install Kitchen Countertops

When installing quartz kitchen countertops or any other kitchen countertops, the time it takes to install them is vital, as sometimes you might be having guests over, and you want to complete the installation before they arrive.

Wondering how long does it take to install kitchen countertops? Well, the time varies depending on the type of countertops you are looking to install.

Laminate countertops

They have the fastest turnaround times, so if you are looking for fast-to-install countertops, these are the best to go for. You will even install them faster if you go with off-the-rack countertops often found in home improvement stores.

You should note that while the off-the-rack countertops are easy to install, they often aren’t as beautiful as the custom laminate countertops, so you should be ready to make the compromise.

If you want that perfect look, install custom laminate countertops, and these take a long time as the contractor will have to visit your home and demonstrate the various laminate countertops they have in stock.

After you have selected your preferred pieces, the contractor will then take a few weeks or even months to make the countertops. Once the countertops are ready, the contractor will schedule a time to remove the old countertops and install the new ones.

Installing the new custom laminate countertops takes about a few days to a week, depending on the size of your kitchen and the contractor’s experience.

Granite and marble countertops

If you ask any homeowner, the type of countertops they are looking to install, they will tell you granite or marble. And there is a good reason for it: granite and marble countertops are tough and give your kitchen an elegant look.

The time it takes to install these countertops is similar to the other countertops, but with these countertops, instead of the contractor coming to your home, you have to visit the contractor’s showroom to see the various countertops available.

When you are in these stores, don’t simply pick the slab that sticks out the most for you. Remember, your kitchen size, the lighting in your kitchen, cabinet design, and color, will heavily impact how the slab looks in your kitchen, so always take a sample with you in your home and see how it looks there.

Only buy a slab if it looks good in your kitchen.

After you have settled on a given countertop slab, the contractor will find similar slabs as your chosen slab and begin preparing them for installation. This process often takes 1-3 months to complete, depending on the availability of the chosen slabs and the size of your kitchen.

Wood, glass, stainless steel, and engineered stone countertops

These take the same time as laminate countertops to install, and you have to follow the same installation process. The countertop contractor comes to your home with countertop samples, and it’s up to you to choose the ones you like.

You should then wait for the contractor to make the countertops, return to your home, remove the old countertops, and replace them with the new ones.

In most cases, from the time you begin looking at the countertop materials to the time you install them, it takes about 4 months.

Concrete countertops

You can go about the installation in two ways: have the countertops made offsite or have the concrete formed and poured on-site.

The contractor will visit your home and measure the size of your countertop surface so that he can make a countertop of the right size. It often takes longer to have the countertop made on site, as the contractor has to bring everything on the site.

Tile countertops

Unlike marble and granite countertops Rockville that come in large slabs, these countertops are usually small tiles (often 4” X 4”), so as you can expect, they take a long time to install.

You have to follow the same process where the contractor comes to your home and shows you their samples. After settling on the tiles, they make them, then come to your home and install them.

Unlike other countertops that you can begin using immediately after installation, wait for at least a week for the tiles to completely stick to the counter surfaces before using them.



7 Excellent Kitchen Countertop Cover-Ups

Don’t like the current look of your countertops? Don’t rush to hire countertop replacement services providers, as there are several ways you can cover your countertops without requiring contractor services. To help you out, here 7 excellent kitchen countertop cover-ups:

Tile the countertops

Tiles are excellent at covering floors, walls, and showers, and there is no reason you shouldn’t use them to cover up your old countertops. When choosing the tiles, go for glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles as they are the most stain and heat resistant.

They also come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors. Avoid natural stone tile as it requires periodic sealing that can be too much work on your part.

You can install the tiles directly on your countertops without removing the old countertops. You only need to ensure the tiles are flat and stable enough to prevent the new tiles from cracking.

As you are installing the tiles, you should note that while tiles are durable and easy to maintain, the grout joints are prone to staining. To minimize the stains, seal the countertops as soon as possible after installing the tile. You should then apply the sealer every few years to maintain the protective barrier.

Lay laminate over the countertops

If you have old laminate countertops with square edges, you can cover them with a new laminate layer. The layers are sold in sheets of up to 5 feet wide and 12 feet long, and all you need to do is to visit your local store and place your order.

If your countertops have raised and rounded edges, often known as waterfall edges, you can’t cover them with new laminate surfaces as the new material can’t conform to the edge contours.

Use a countertop refinishing kit.

Refinishing kits have everything you need to cover your countertops. The refinishing kits include an epoxy-like paint and decorative stone chips that create the natural stone look.

To cover your countertops using the kit, you simply need to follow the kit’s instructions. While this method is highly effective, you should note that it involves a lot of hard work, it’s messy, and you need to pay close attention to the kit’s details.

Cover your countertops with wood

Have you always wanted butcher block, or are you drawn to the beauty of real wood countertops? You can cover your old, beaten countertops with wide planks of solid hardwood. You can even get creative and use a blend of hardwood and bamboo plywood.

The cool thing with hardwood is it’s more durable and repairable than plywood. Only plywood comes in larger pieces and is more affordable.

Bamboo plywood offers the best of both worlds. It has a thicker top layer that ensures it’s durable and easy to repair and at the same time comes in 4 x 8-foot sheets like regular plywood.

You should note that covering your countertops with hardwood requires woodworking skills and the right tools. You can do the work by yourself if you have the skills or hire a professional to help you out.

Install modular granite

Also known as granite or stone overlay, modular granite is a system of small thin stone slabs designed to cover old countertops. The stones are 16 by 18 inches wide, which means there are fewer joints between the pieces.

For the problematic inside and outside corners, there are special pieces made for these sections, as well as the optional edge pieces.

Cover the countertops with film

Countertop film is thicker than shelf or contact paper. Many people refer to it as a cross between vinyl flooring and shelf paper and have a self-adhesive backing for sticking directly to the old countertop surface.

To install the film, layout the film, trim it to a rough size, and align it to the countertop edges. You should then stick it down using a squeegee tool to remove the air bubbles.

While the film will cover your ugly surfaces, you should note that it’s not a long-term solution, so use it as a temporary way of covering your surfaces.

Paint the countertops

Painting your countertops is easy, fast, and gives you immediate results. You can also do it by yourself without involving granite contractors Rockville or other professionals.



FAQs About Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are one of the most popular countertop types in the market. While they have been around for a long time, few people know much about them. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the countertops:

Should you use the countertops in the kitchen?

Granite is perfect for use in the kitchen. Since the material is tough, it doesn’t etch, scratch, or warp; therefore, you don’t need to do much to keep it in top condition. The only thing you should do is to seal it during the installation and at least once a year thereafter.

Can granite get damaged?

One of the prime reasons people go for the countertops is because they are tough. While this is the case, it doesn’t mean they can’t get damaged. If you don’t take good care of them, they are bound to get damaged. For example, if you hit the countertops with a hard object, the countertops will develop a crack.

The countertops will also get damaged if you place hot objects on the surfaces.

Does granite stain?

When you seal the countertops properly, they don’t stain; however, if you poorly stain them or leave them unstained, they are bound to get stained. So, to prevent stains from developing, you should ensure that the surfaces are sealed by a professional.

You should note that even if your surfaces are properly sealed, they will develop stains if you leave liquids on them for a long time. To avoid this, make it a habit of wiping off the liquids as soon as they happen.

Are the countertops expensive?

Just like any other good quality product, the countertops don’t come cheap. While this is the case, there are several things you can do to reduce the cost. When you decide to install the countertops, don’t rush to buying them. Take time to visit different stores and see what they have to offer.

Compare the prices and the quality and buy from the store selling the highest quality products at the least cost. You should note that if you come across a company selling the products at a cost that is below the standard market prices, you will most likely be getting scammed.

To avoid this, only buy from a reputable company. Luckily, you can tell how reliable the company is by reading their online reviews.

Does granite harbor bacteria?

In addition to being used in residential properties, it’s also heavily used in the food and medical industry due to its sanitary qualities. As long as you regularly clean and care for the granite, there are zero chances that it will harbor bacteria and cause illness.

Is it wise to cut on granite?

Due to its tough nature, you might have the impression that you can go ahead and cut on the countertops, but this would be wrong. While it’s tough, the knives, especially the hot ones, can get into the countertops causing minor scratches. If you repeatedly cut on the countertops, you leave too many marks that give the countertops a cheap look.

To preserve the look of the countertops, always use a cutting board anytime you are looking to cut anything. You also should avoid placing hot pots and pans on the countertops.

Do the countertops need to be cleaned?

You should clean the countertops just like you clean marble countertops and any other countertop pieces you might be having in your home. For ideal results, use dish soap, powdered soap, and all-purpose cleaners. Never use abrasive products as they will damage the surfaces.

When should you replace the countertops?

Granite is designed to last for years, but you can opt to replace it due to many reasons. One of the reasons is if you are no longer excited by the current look of the countertops. You also should consider replacing the countertops if you are looking to improve the design and look of your house.

It’s also wise to replace the countertops if they are too old. Regardless of the reason, you are looking to undertake countertop replacement, ensure that an expert granite contractor Potomac does the work. Just like with the countertops store, ensure that the contractor is reputable and has been providing the service for a long time.



Quartz Countertops Installation Problems And How To Counter Them

Adding quartz countertops to your kitchen is an excellent way of brightening up your surfaces. The countertops are also tough, so when you install them, you are confident you have a surface that can withstand heavy use.

Are you looking to install the countertops in your home? You should know that plenty of problems can come about during installation. The most common ones being:

Visible seams

Imagine this. You get into a house after the countertop installer has given the green light. The countertop color is perfect as it complements the floor and cabinets, but on a closer look, you notice a long and obvious seam where the counter pieces join together.

Your heart sinks as this isn’t what you wanted. When you began the project, you wanted your new countertops to be visually unmarred, but this isn’t the case. There are large unsightly seams. Your project isn’t a success.

Your countertops will have an unsightly seam when they are poorly installed. Discuss with your installer and agree on how you are going to go about it. They might have to remove the countertops then install them anew, or they can seal the seams, so they are invisible.

Countertop cracks

In most cases, the countertops will crack when there are problems with the cabinets, such as the cabinets not being of the same height.

If this happens during installation, the installation professional should fix it as part of their job, but if the cracks come about after installation, you should get in touch with your contractor and ask them to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Scratches, dents, and other problems due to poor workmanship

When you decide to update your kitchen, you want the project to be perfect, but it’s not always the case. Scratches and dents are a common sign of poor workmanship, and they happen when you hire a cheap, inexperienced contractor.

Accidents are common during installation, but you shouldn’t accept shoddy workmanship.  If the dent or scratch is due to installer’s fault, ask them to fix it immediately.

How can you prevent the problems from coming about?

Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent the above issues from coming about and leading to loss of money. Some of the things you can do include:

Hire an expert

Many homeowners try to cut costs by hiring the cheapest contractor they find. Quality and low prices don’t go together, so you can’t expect exceptional workmanship from a cheap contractor.

To reduce the chances of countertop problems coming about, hire an experienced professional. While they will come at a premium price, they are worth it as they will expertly install the countertops.

When choosing a contractor, keep your eyes out for scammers that might try to rip you off. If the contractor charges you a price that is way off the standard rates, they are most likely ripping you off, and you should stay away from them.

Protect your cabinets

Contractors join countertops with cabinets using adhesives. Sometimes the adhesive can get on the face of the cabinets giving them an ugly look. To avoid this, protect the cabinets before you start the installation.

Protect the cabinets by applying a strip of painter’s tape to the face of cabinets. This ensures that no dripping adhesive makes contact with the cabinets.

Use supports where necessary

Quartz counters are heavy; thus, not all cabinets can hold them. The surfaces might also have unsupported areas such as desks and overhangs that might require additional support.

If your cabinets aren’t strong enough, place backer boards or plywood under them. If there are unsupported areas greater than 12-inches, use a steel plate, corbels, or any other material to provide support and prevent sagging or even cracking of the surfaces.

Have everything else ready

Before you ask the quartz countertop installer Rockville to begin the installation, ensure everything else is in place. The electrical and plumbing should be roughed, the walls should already be painted and dry, the cabinets should be installed, the flooring should be finished, and the appliances should at least be at hand if not already in place.

This significantly reduces the chances of problems coming about as no other contractor will touch the countertops after installing them.