07

Jan

How Do You Make Granite Countertops Look Good?

Granite countertops look magnificent in any home, and this is one of the primary reasons many homeowners go for them. If you have had your countertops for a long time and they have started losing their original exquisite look, you must be wondering, how do you make granite countertops look good, right?

Well, there are plenty of ways you can do it. Some of these ways include:

Shine the countertops

When you installed the countertops for the first time, you must have noticed an inviting natural shine. The shine is largely due to the high quartz content in granite.

While the shine is inviting when new, over time, it fades off, giving your countertops an old, cheap look.

To make your countertops look good, you need to maintain this shine. Besides cleaning the countertops regularly, you also should regularly polish the surfaces.

Thankfully, there are plenty of polishing products in the market you can use. All you need to do is find those that match your countertops and give your surfaces a perfect look you are looking for.

When polishing the countertops, take care not to use rough cleaning tools that scratch the surface. As a rule of thumb, use a soft cloth, precisely a microfiber cloth, that won’t cause any harm to the surface.

Use the same soft cloth to buff the surfaces and buff in a circular motion to don’t cause any harm and reach the entire surface.

Other ways to keep your granite looking good

Besides polishing the countertops, there are many other ways to keep your granite looking good. Some of these other ways include:

Take good care of the countertops

Like your car, clothes, appliances, or any other thing, if you want your countertops to look good, you have to take good care of them.

The beauty is there are plenty of ways to take care of them. Some of these ways include:

Clean spills immediately: As soon as spills happen, you should clean them to avoid hard-to-remove stains from forming.

Use coasters: Coasters come in handy at preventing the hot pots placed on the countertops from coming into direct contact with the countertops. As a rule of thumb, use high-quality coasters that will provide the countertops with maximum protection and last for a long time.

Use cutting boards: The same way you should use coasters and hot pads is the same way you should use cutting boards when cutting meat, vegetables, and other food items. As a rule of thumb, never cut directly on granite surfaces.

Don’t sit on the countertops: It’s normal for most homeowners to sit on the countertops as they wait for food to cook. Others will come to the kitchen and sit there as they chat. This is wrong.

To avoid cracking your countertops, avoid sitting on them, especially on the edges. You also should avoid standing on them to reach the top shelves or replace a burnt bulb.

Clean the countertops regularly

As mentioned above, cleaning the countertops goes a long way towards keeping them looking good. When doing the cleaning, use the right cleaning products.

In most cases, water and soap are enough to keep the surfaces in top shape, but you can use commercial cleaning products when looking for that extra shine. When buying the cleaner, use one specifically designed for granite surfaces.

Never use ammonia, citrus, or vinegar to clean the surfaces as they are highly acidic cleaners, and using them will dull the surfaces.

The right way to clean the countertops is to spray or mist the cleaner across the entire surface, then let it sit for a minute, after which you wipe it with a soft microfiber cloth until it’s dry.

Seal the countertop

The final thing you should do is seal the countertops to lock out any materials that might try to find their way into the countertops. You can seal the countertops or hire granite countertop installers Rockville to help.

When sealing the surfaces, work in small sections to don’t spray the same area more than once. After applying the sealant, wipe the surfaces with a soft cotton cloth until completely dry.

30

Sep

Do Granite Countertops Chip Easily?

If you are wondering, do granite countertops chip easily? No, they don’t. Granite is one of the toughest countertop materials in the market, and as long as you install counters that are thick enough and you take good care of them, you don’t have to worry about them chipping.

While the countertops are tough, they will chip when you exact a lot of pressure on them. For example, if you sit or hit them. They will also chip if you place a weighty material on the edges.

What should you do when you have a chip on your countertops?

The logical thing to do is to fix the chip to prevent your countertops from staining or giving your surfaces an ugly look. While any chip on granite can be fixed, you should note that there is no way the granite surface will look as it used before.

You can fix the chip by yourself if you have the skills, but let a professional handle it for the best outcome.

When you contact a professional, they will come to your home and fill the spot with Epoxy. The unfortunate thing is that while Epoxy makes the surface flat and even, it doesn’t look exactly as granite you are replacing.

Epoxy’s sheen is different from granite, and it doesn’t match the granite pattern. This means that anyone can easily tell that you fixed the countertop.

Since there is no way to fix the countertop and it retains its original look, if the chip is small or in a hidden corner, you are better off leaving it the way it is.

How do you prevent chips on your granite countertop?

There are plenty of tricks you can use to prevent the chips from coming about in the first place. These tricks include:

Seal the countertop

Most homeowners seal their granite countertops to prevent stains from coming about. Sealing the countertops not only prevents stains, but also prevents chipping of the surfaces.

To protect your surfaces, seal the countertops with a quality sealer. Apply the sealer in layers a few times a year.

If you aren’t sure when to do the sealing, do a water test. Here you pour ¼ cup of water on the countertop surface and make a note of the time you placed the water on the surfaces.

If it takes more than 30 minutes, and the surface hasn’t darkened, the sealant is still in good shape, and you don’t need to reapply it. On the other hand, if the surface darkens, it’s time to apply a sealant. If the water gets absorbed immediately, apply several layers of the sealant.

Clean the countertops

You might wonder how cleaning the countertops will protect them from damage, but it comes in handy. When the countertops are clean, you not only have an easy time noticing the damage on the surfaces, but you also get rid of items that could lead to etching and staining.

While there are many cleaners in the market, few are right for you. As a rule of thumb, use a quality cleaner that will clean and shine the granite while offering a protective layer.

For the best results, ensure that the cleaner you go with is specially designed for granite counters. To be even sure that the cleaner isn’t causing any damage to your counters, go for one recommended for your specific color and brand.

Make use of bendable trivets.

Instead of placing your hot pots and pans directly on the countertops, place them on trivets, and as a consequence, you protect your surfaces. For peace of mind, make a habit of placing your pots on the heating pads and trivets at all times—regardless of whether they are hot or cold.

The reason for this is because some cold pots and pans might be having a vinegar base, and when you place them on the countertops, they leave the vinegar on the countertops. When the temperatures change, the vinegar begins to react with the sealant, which exposes your surfaces to stains and other forms of damage.

So, do granite countertops chip easily?

As mentioned, granite is tough and doesn’t chip easily. While this is the case, ensure that your countertops are installed by experienced granite installers Rockville. This way, you are sure the contractor won’t install countertops with a large edge that easily chips.

23

Aug

What Should You Know About Sealing Granite Countertops?

You should seal your countertops to prevent them from staining. What should you know about sealing granite countertops? Well, there are plenty of things you should know with the common ones being:

You should seal the countertops at installation.

Most of the granite slabs come the same way they were at the granite store—bare, unsealed, and prone to staining. As you can guess, installing the countertops and leaving them this way is catastrophic as they will be at great risk should a drink spill on them.

For you to be at peace that no stain will result should a spill happen, ensure that the contractors properly seal the countertops before they leave.

Reseal the countertops every year

Even after the contractors install the countertops and seal them, you should make it a habit to reseal them at least once a year. The reason for this is because the sealant tends to wear off with time, and you have to reinstall it to restore its effectiveness.

While it’s good to reseal the countertops, you shouldn’t do it blindly. Before you apply the sealant, test the countertops to confirm they are ready for the sealant.

How do you do this?

There are plenty of ways to go about it. One of the ways is to do the oil and lemon test. Here you need to spill a few drops of lemon juice and cooking oil on the countertops and let them sit on the surface for at least five minutes, then wipe them dry.

If there are dull spots on the areas where the lemon juice hit the surface, the seal might have worn off, and it’s time to reinstall it. The same thing applies if the surface turns dark almost immediately after placing oil or lemon juice.

If the oil and juice stay on the surface for over five minutes without sinking, the chances are high that the granite doesn’t need sealing, and you should leave it in its present form.

Another test you can do to determine if the countertops are ready for sealing is the water drop test. Here you need to drip a small puddle of water on the stone, and if the store immediately darkens, it’s time to reseal it.

If the stone takes 4-5 minutes to darken, the sealer might have worn out, and it’s time to install a new one.

You can seal the countertops by yourself?

Although sealing is such an important part of maintaining the countertops, did you know you don’t have to hire a professional to do it?

To save money and learn a skill, do the sealing yourself. Begin with cleaning the countertops. As a rule of thumb, clean the countertops at least 24 hours before you apply the sealant.

The purpose of sealing the countertops is to get rid of any damaging vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, harsh cleansers, and bleach.

Remove all the materials on the countertops and wipe them down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Then, you should mix one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent and two tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol in a pint spray bottle and fill it with cool water.

Generously spray the countertop, wipe it clean while polishing in a circular motion, and then wait 24 hours before proceeding.

As mentioned above, you should do the cleaning at least 24 hours before you apply the sealant. This is to give the cleaning liquid enough time to evaporate fully.

The next morning, apply a sealant over the entire granite counter begging from the end and work your way to the other. For an easier time and ideal results, apply the sealant in sections, in a circular motion.

Once you are done, give the sealant enough time to absorb, then using a clean, soft, dry rag, wipe out the extra sealant.

If the sealant requires another coat, give it time to cure (between 2-40 hours). To avoid wiping off the sealant, granite installers Rockville recommend you wait for at least 48 hours before wiping the surfaces with a wet substance.

You also should leave the countertops for the same amount of time before returning the kitchenware.

26

Feb

How to Protect Granite Countertops

Every homeowner wants their countertops to last for as long as possible. And do you know what? It’s possible to do it. To help you out, here are tips on how to protect granite countertops:

Seal the countertops

This is a no brainer. In fact, this is the first thing people think about when they think about protecting their granite. Since granite is porous, it’s paramount that you protect it from stains by sealing it.

To do it, seal the surfaces immediately after installation, then at least once a year thereafter. For best results, use a high-quality sealant. An expert should do the sealing work.

Clean the surfaces regularly

You might have the impression that cleaning the countertops is an aesthetic issue, but this isn’t the case. Cleaning the countertops is a protective measure. When you regularly clean your countertops, you remove dirt and other materials that can scratch the surfaces.

The good thing is, you don’t have to be fancy about granite cleaning. Wiping the surfaces with a damp, soft cloth and some soap is enough. Wait for the surfaces to dry, then buff them as much as you can.

Cleaning the countertops is essential, but you will be doing more harm than good when you use the wrong cleaning products. To keep your countertops in top shape, use non-abrasive cleaners. To be even in a better place, use cleaners specially designed for granite surfaces.

As you prepare the meals or have a good time with your friends, it’s common for spills to happen. For example, juice or even water can spill on the countertops. When an accident happens, move with haste and get rid of the spills as soon as possible.

Although your countertops are sealed, letting large amounts of liquids stay on the surfaces for long is inviting disaster as the liquids can seep into the stone’s deeper layers and become hard to remove.

Protect your surfaces from extreme heat

It’s no doubt that granite is tough and can withstand a lot of heat, but it’s not heatproof. This means you will damage the countertops when you repeatedly expose them to a lot of heat.

Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening by placing your hot pots on hot pads, trivets and other protective items.

Even when taking hot coffee, don’t assume your countertops are tough and will take the heat. Have a coaster under the cups at all times.

Don’t sit on the countertops.

When you look at the countertops, they appear solid and extremely strong that many homeowners are tempted to sit or even stand on them. Don’t do this.

Despite the tough appearance, granite is brittle, especially on the edges, so when you exert a lot of pressure there, you risk breaking it.

To avoid this, don’t sit on the countertops when you are in the kitchen. You also shouldn’t step on the surfaces to reach the top shelves or replace the bulb. Instead, use a ladder.

If you often have people with you in the kitchen, have a few seats in place, so they aren’t inclined to sit on the countertops.

Ensure the countertops are installed by an experienced professional

You may be wondering what granite installation got to do with its protection, but the two go hand in hand. When your countertops are poorly installed, they are more likely to break or even fall from the cabinets and get damaged.

To avoid this, ensure your countertops are installed by experienced and certified granite installers Rockville.

The beauty of it is that it’s easy to find these contractors—you only need to be patient and strategic when doing it. The first place to ask is your friends and relatives. If none has recently worked with a contractor, try it online.

Do a Google search and interview the potential technicians that you find. Many people hire the first contractor that shows up first in the search results. Don’t do this as ranking first on Google isn’t proof they will provide a good service.

The key to finding the ideal contractor is to not be in a hurry. Have several interviews with the technicians and settle with the most experienced.

It also doesn’t hurt working with a contractor with a great personality.

28

Dec

Can You Remove Granite Countertops and Reuse Them?

Imagine this. You have spent thousands of dollars renovating your house with premium granite counters then due to unforeseen circumstances, you have to move out of the house or sell it.

You can’t imagine moving to the new house without the seamless design, durability, ease of maintenance, and color patterns of granite.

Can you remove granite countertops and reuse them? You wonder. The simple answer is it’s most likely impossible as there are plenty of hurdles you have to go over for it to be a success. These hurdles include:

You have to match the kitchen space layout

Since you had already cut the slabs during installation, the only way you can use them in your new home is if they fit the footprint of your new kitchen cabinetry.

This means if in the old layout the granite had cutout around the wet bar area or around the sink area, for you to reuse your countertops in the new kitchen you should have the exact layout, which as you can guess is highly improbable.

Even if by miracle the old and new kitchen layouts match, you have problems if the new kitchen is larger than the old one.

In such a scenario you have to find matching granite pieces which can be difficult if the granite pattern and color is unique.

Even if you manage to get the piece, you will have a visible seam where you attach the additional slab. As you can guess this can significantly affect the look you are trying to achieve.

So to conclude, for you to successfully remove and reuse your kitchen countertop, the two houses should have similar cabinet layouts. The length and width of the countertop should fit the cabinet dimensions.

If you have excess granite, your contractor can trim it down, but if the granite is not enough, you have plenty of issues to solve.

High granite damage risk

Most homeowners install granite for its tough and indestructible nature, but you should know that granite is heavy and brittle.

This means it’s almost impossible to remove the countertops in one large slab as the risk of damage is high.

For you to safely remove the countertop, hire a professional to come with special tools, which as you might guess isn’t cheap.

You also have to involve several people to hold along the countertop’s length to avoid pressure points that might lead to cracking.

Even when you hire experienced contractors, most of them will require you to sign a contract that frees them from liability should the granite crack during removal. This is due to the high risk of damage that comes with removing the stone.

Before you decide to remove the granite, find out the type of granite you have. Granite can be weaker and fragile or it can be harder and stronger. Obviously, you should go for one that is harder and stronger as it will be easier to handle and move without risking a lot of damage.

You also should consider the thickness of the granite counter. It’s better to remove a thicker slab than a thinner one. To tell how thin your countertop is, check it from beneath the cabinet.

If there is plywood below the granite, then the countertop is thin and has high chances of cracking but if there is no plywood, the stone is thick and there are chances of removing it with no issues.

Work with an expert contractor

There are plenty of perks that come with removing and reusing granite counters. One is you don’t leave behind your precious countertops you spent a lot of money on.

Secondly, you don’t have to break the bank to purchase new countertops in your new home.

While this is great, as discussed above, it comes with plenty of challenges you have to be strategic when approaching them. To increase the chances of the process being successful, work with experienced granite contractors Rockville.

The contractors should have removed and reused other countertops in the past. When you hire the right ones, they will help you decide whether it’s wise to remove the countertops or not.

The contractors will also remove and reinstall the countertops if the stone is healthy enough for reuse.

12

Dec

5 Ways To Keep Granite Countertops Looking New

When you install granite countertops, you want them to keep the fresh look for as long as possible, and you have every right to as you have spent a lot of money installing them. The good news is that it’s possible to do it. To help you out, here are tips on how to keep granite looking new:

Watch out for the heat.

As a natural stone, granite looks tough and indestructible. While it’s one of the most durable countertop materials on the market, it’s not indestructible. The countertop is also heat resistant, but unfortunately, it’s not heatproof.

This means when you expose it to high temperatures, such as placing hot pans directly on it, it will get damaged. While the hot pan might not leave an ugly burn mark on the countertop, it can cause scratching, forcing you to replace the countertop.

To keep your countertops looking new, protect the surfaces from the hot pots and pans. Thankfully, it’s easy to do it.

When cooking, always have hot pads and trivets in place. Place the hot pans and pots here instead of placing them directly on the countertop surface.

Don’t sit on the countertops.

Granite is strong and durable, but the edges are prone to damage when you place a lot of weight and pressure on it. Due to this, sitting on the countertop edges is harmful as you risk cracking the surfaces, and you are left with an ugly piece that you have to replace to restore the look of your countertops.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, don’t stand on the countertops. Also, don’t sit on the counters as you are cooking or spending time with your better half.

For the kids, let them know they can’t sit or play on the counters.

Have a cutting board in place all the time

Most people make the mistake of treating their countertops as their cutting boards. This is understandable as the countertops appear tough, so many people have the impression they can’t get damaged. How wrong are they?

While you can get away with chopping a few onions for a party dip, making it a habit is counterproductive.

For one, the countertops have plenty of bacteria, so when you chop your meat and other foods on the countertops, you expose them to the many bacteria on the counters. The meat can also get into the stone’s natural pores, making it hard to disinfect them once you are done.

Most foods contain acids that can etch or even stain the countertops. This means you shouldn’t cut grapefruits, lemons, or limes directly on the countertops as they will cause damage.

The tough nature of the countertops can damage the knives and dull them. To protect your precious knives and keep off the food from your countertops, always have a cutting board in place.

Clean your countertops

This is the first thing that comes to most homeowners’ minds when they think about maintaining their countertops looking new. While it’s true cleaning the countertops comes in handy at maintaining them looking new, you have to do it right.

Clean your countertops daily to keep stains, bacteria, and spills from penetrating the countertop seal and seeping into the natural pores of the stone.

You don’t have to be fancy when cleaning the counters. Using water and a few drops of dish soap is enough. An easy way to do it is to mix the two, put them in a spray bottle, and then spray directly on the countertops. Follow up by wiping the surfaces with a clean cloth, rinse with clean water then dry with another clean cloth.

Regular cleaning of the countertops prevents them from getting foggy and grimy with stains.

Avoid harsh cleaning products such as steel wool as they will scratch the surfaces, leaving you with ugly countertop surfaces.

You only need to maintain your granite.

The key to keeping your granite looking new is to take good care of it. Besides the above tips, also reseal the countertops at least once a year. You can do the sealing or hire granite contractors Rockville to help you out.

07

Dec

How Much Do Granite Countertops Cost?

If you are asking how much do granite countertops cost, you must be looking to renovate your bathroom or kitchen and not sure how much to budget for it. As much as we would like to give you a definite answer to this question, the unfortunate thing is the price of the slabs varies depending on plenty of factors that include:

Source of the stone

Ask most homeowners where to buy the granite counters, and the first thing that comes to their minds is the big box stores. While the stores are large and popular, they often don’t have plenty of countertop slab options to choose from. The stores also tend to be more expensive, with most of them charging up to 40% more than specialist stores.

These big-box stores also often outsource the fabrication and installation work making the installation process too expensive.

To save money and get many countertop options to choose from, buy your countertops from the countertop specialists. These professionals have staff, skills, and the necessary equipment, making them a one stop shop.

When you visit these stores, you get top quality unique slabs at a lower cost, and you have expert contractors ready to install the countertops for you expertly.

Thickness

Most of the granite slabs vary between 2 cm and 3 cm. As you can guess, the thicker slabs are more expensive than, the thinner ones. This means you can buy many thinner countertops than thicker ones.

Unfortunately, the thinner slabs require a lot of support and easily break especially when you place them over a large area.

Rarelity of the colors

Although most homeowners install white countertops, granite slabs come in all shades of colors where the rare and exotic colors such as red, blue, and black tend to be more expensive than the standard hues.

Cut

Most people associate granite with long slabs of stone, but these are just the most desirable cut for the kitchen countertops. Manufacturers cut granite in many ways, including tiles, modules, and many others.

Slabs are the most popular, followed by modules, then tiles, where the only advantage granite slabs have over modules is that slabs look better as they require fewer seams hence presenting a smoother, sleeker look.

The modules and tiles might seem less durable than slabs, but this isn’t the case. Remember, they are made from granite.

If operating on a tight budget, go for tiles that also work excellently for backsplashes.

Granite quality grades

Granite comes in different grades defined by pits, veins, colors, soft material content, marks, thickness, and the quarry. While there are many grades, we can summarize them into three primary levels:

Level 1: The low level or entry-level granite is also known as the commercial-grade or the “builder’s grade,” often from china.

Level 2: This is the mid-grade level that is more unique than level 1, and it’s often from Brazil and India.

Level 3: Also known as the high-level grade, it’s the finest quality and comes from India and Brazil.

Obviously, level 3 is the most expensive as it focuses on the quality of the stone.

Demand and supply

Like any other product in the market, the granite countertops’ price is affected by the demand and supply forces. If you buy the slabs when they are in high demand, you will pay more for them than when another person would buy when the demand is lower.

Finishes

Most countertop specialists give the countertops a glossy or polished finish, and in rare cases, they will give it a matte finish. These are the most popular granite finishes, and when you buy them, you won’t pay extra for them.

Unfortunately, if you choose another finish, such as hammered or leathered, you will have to pay an extra fee as the finish is out of the ordinary.

Can you save on your countertops?

The good news is you can save on your countertops. One way is to be more flexible on the countertop’s color, size, grade, and texture. You also should be cautious of the store you buy from.

To avoid costly mistakes, hire expert granite installers Rockville to handle the installations. The professionals will help you with the installations and guide you into buying the right slabs for your home.

31

Oct

How To Shop For Granite Countertops

Granite always delivers: It brings exclusivity, adds a touch of elegance, and improves the value of your home. To get the most from it, you have to buy the right one. Not sure how to go about it? Here are tips on how to shop for granite countertops:

Know what you want

You can’t buy any slab you come across—you need to know what you want and what will look the best for your home. Remember, granite comes in a wide array of colors and patterns. It also comes in plenty of edges, with the most common edges being: square, rough, bullnose, and rounded.

You also need to know the size of the countertop you need. This will require you to take a tape measure and measure the number of square feet of surface area you need. As you take the measurements, remember to include edge allowances, overhangs, backsplashes, seam allowances, and other things.

If you aren’t sure about the right countertop that will look the best for your home, get a professional’s input. The technician will even help you choose the right shape of slab, the right size, the appropriate slab thickness, and many other things.

Once you know what you want, start visiting different countertop and home improvement stores asking for quotes. Most companies will give you a free quote, and all you need is to compare the quotes and settle on the most sensible.

While the cheapest quote might be attractive, be cautious about it as the contractors might be selling substandard products.

Simultaneously, avoid extremely priced countertops as the company might be trying to rip you off.

Don’t buy the slabs countertops.

While online shopping is convenient, you shouldn’t buy the countertop slabs online. This is because a slab might be looking good in the store photos, but have a completely different look in your kitchen or bathroom, often due to lighting.

When looking to buy granite, the best way to go about it is by visiting the local showroom and physically inspecting each granite slab. Even after inspecting the slab at the store, don’t make the final commitment to buy the slab.

Take a sample of the slab to your home and see how it looks on your surfaces. If you like the look, go ahead and make the purchase.

Pay attention to the seams.

Seams make it easy to join different countertop slabs, but they can also mess with the counters’ look. If you have to use more than one slab, you have to deal with seams. The seams’ quality will vary depending on the length and width of the cabinets, the actual physical size of the slab, and access to the property.

To ensure your property doesn’t have ugly seams, work with experienced contractors who will help you minimize the number of seams in your countertops. They do this by ensuring they work with whole slabs as much as possible.

Before installing the countertops, enquire from the contractors where the seams will be located and how visible they will.  This will ensure everyone is on the same page, and there are no surprises once you have installed the countertops.

Invest in a good thickness

Thin countertop slabs are not only cheap-looking, but they also don’t hold a lot of weight. When you are at the store, always go for a thick slab. Thankfully, you can tell how thick a slab is by looking at it.

Other than thickness, also touch the slab. If it feels weak or has an abnormal texture, stay away from it.

Work with a professional

Buying the right countertops is one thing and an entire ball game to properly install the countertops. Unless you are a dab hand at DIY projects, you should let granite installers Rockville handle the installation.

As you are hiring, ensure the contractor knows geometry. This knowledge will come in handy at ensuring you have as few seams as possible. To find such a professional, take your time and ask them as many questions as possible before hiring.

After installing the countertops, remember to take good care of them. As a rule of thumb, avoid placing hot items or weighty items directly on the surfaces. You also should avoid cleaning the surfaces with vinegar and other tough products that can etch the surfaces.

28

Aug

What Are The Different Grades Of Granite Countertops?

It’s a fact granite can transform any kitchen or bathroom surface, but before you rush to install granite countertops, you should know granite comes in different grades that include:

Level 1 granite

Often referred to as builder’s grade or commercial grade, level 1 granite is a lower quality granite, often imported from China and sold through big box stores, granite liquidators, or cut into tile.

This granite has a consistent pattern, but it comes in a variety of colors to choose from, including beige, green, brown, grey, and black.

One of the most popular colors is Santa Cecilia, a light beige stone with bursts of burgundy, gold, yellow, and black. There is also Ubatuba that features an elegant dark green background with speckles of brown, gold, and black.

You may also find White Fiorito attractive. It features black and brown speckling on a soft white slab base.

The material is usually pre-fabricated and used in apartments, furniture, and prefabricated models. This granite is usually of a thinner cut, usually 3/8 inch, and it requires you to install a plywood backing to provide it with more strength.

Although, the slab comes with an entry-level price, it’s durable and highly versatile. This makes it an ideal choice for indoor and outdoor projects both in commercial and residential applications.

Level 2: Mid-grade granite

From its name, this is a mid-grade granite with a thickness of ¾ inch. The material is usually imported from India or Brazil, and it’s characterized by unique colors, more uniform patterns, and a variety of markings.

Granite at this level is known as the silver, and as a homeowner, the best stone to buy is one between “single silver” and “double silver.” At this level, you can find most of the colors available in the market ranging from light to absolute black.

The silvers have speckles, veining patterns, or flecks. They might also be uniform with plenty of options to choose from.

Mid-range granite slabs are ideal for projects throughout the house from kitchen islands to vanity tops and Jacuzzis, to hearths and fireplace surrounds.

Since they are imported, the slabs vary between shipments, so you should avoid buying them online. The best way to go about it is to visit the stone yard and see the individual slab and determine whether its ideal for your application.

Level 3: High-grade granite

This is the finest quality of granite, and it’s often referred to as the gold.  Granite of this level often comes in rare colors, unique, striking patterns, or a combination of both.

The best place to use this granite is in the kitchen as a countertop or as a signature piece for islands. You can also use it on smaller vanities, around fireplaces, and tub surrounds.

Level 4 exotic granite

Exotic granite is naturally rare, with quarries producing limited quantities. This makes it the most expensive countertop material and often common with homeowners that want to make a bold statement in their house. Most homeowners install the countertop on fireplaces, coffee tables, and accent pieces.

Choosing a high-quality granite countertop

For the countertop to last for a long time, you should buy a high-quality one. When making the purchase, you should pay attention to several things that include:

Size: A good quality granite slab should be square, rectangle, or any of your desired shapes. The tolerance shouldn’t exceed 1 in length, and the breadth and thickness tolerance shouldn’t exceed 155 inches.

Color: A good quality granite slab should have a uniform color, uniform thickness, and homogenous crystalline texture.

Hardness: The slab should be hard, dense, and sound. You can check the hardness of the stone by pressing it with a hard object. If you press it and chips of the stone split, stay away from the slab.

Polishing: The stone should have one face properly polished and the edges straight and perfectly at a right angle, which can be achieved by machine or hand cutting. This not only gives the countertop an elegant appeal, but it also makes it easy for granite contractors Rockville to install it.

Talking of installation, ensure the stone is installed by experienced contractors. You don’t want technicians to destroy a stone you have spent a leg and arm on, do you? The contractors should also be insured. This way you are sure you will be compensated in the event of an accident.

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Common Types Of Granite Countertops Damage

Like any other countertop material, granite countertops suffer different forms of damage. Some are simple, and you can easily fix them on your own while others are complex, and you have to ask a professional to take a look at them. In some cases the damage is so extensive you have to replace the entire countertop slab.

Some of the damage your countertops can have include:

Separating seam joints

This happens when the adhesive is falling apart. If the seams are coming apart several years after installation, it could be due to old age, but if you recently installed the countertops and they are coming apart, it might be due to improper installation.

Seams come apart if they are too large, the contractor used the wrong epoxy, or the contractor didn’t put enough work into them.

To fix the problem, you need to contact a reputable professional and ask them to inspect the countertops and find out what they can do to fix the problem.

Chips along the countertop edges

Countertops will develop chips along the edges, especially where most of the cooking happens. The chips come about due to constant contact of the cooking utensils with the countertops.

To fix this issue, ask a professional store technician to inspect the chipped surfaces carefully. The contractor should then prepare the area and apply a color matching epoxy material. An experienced professional won’t have a problem fixing the area and hiding the etched surfaces.

Dullness around the sink

It’s normal for countertops to dull around the sink area due to the activities that take place there. Since the surfaces are in constant contact with water and exposed to cutting activities, granite tends to dull and even wear and tear out fast.

Luckily, you can restore the dullness with a diamond refinishing system. Ask a professional technician to help you out, and you will restore your countertops to as good as new.

Cracks

Cracks completely spoil the aesthetic appeal of the house. Luckily, if the cracks are small, you can fix them, but if they are large, you have no way out other than to replace the entire countertop slab.

Cracks on the countertops come about due to plenty of reasons that include:

  • Poorly glued joints
  • Installation of the countertops on uneven surfaces
  • Failing to give glue enough time to settle
  • Putting a lot of weight at the center of the countertop

If the cracks are small, you can easily fix them with adhesives; however, if they are deeper, you may have to remove the damaged portion, then replace it with a better one. Countertop installers sometimes use special fillers when they feel the cracks aren’t too large to warrant replacement.

When choosing filler, choose one that sticks effectively to your countertops.

Staining

You will have your countertops staining around stoves and cooktops. If you haven’t sealed your counters, the surfaces will absorb oil-based stains and darken. To restore your countertops to their former glory, you need to use Poultice.

Apply the material on the stained area and cover it with a plastic seal. Over time, the solution will dry and turn to powder that will absorb the oil stain. If you find the stain isn’t going away, you can reapply Poultice as many times as you want until all the stains are gone.

Water damage

They say water is life, but did you know it can be deadly to your countertops? The effect is worse if you have a small kitchen. If you haven’t sealed your countertops, water will get to the inner layers and stain your surfaces

Luckily, in most cases, the stain goes away when water evaporates. If water was stained (such as in juice), you have to ask a professional technician to help you out.

High-temperature effect

Granite counters are known for their toughness and ability to withstand high temperatures; however, when you introduce extremely high temperatures at once, the counters are bound to get damaged.

For example, when you carelessly place a hot pan (straight from a flame), directly on the surfaces, you will damage the countertops. Granite companies Potomac recommend you try salvaging the ugly spots using toothpaste. If this doesn’t remove the spots, replace the countertops.