Modern kitchen dècor depends heavily on the integration of kitchen counter tops into the overall theme. Natural stone is the current material of choice, with granite counter tops ranking the favored type among designers and homeowners alike. Marble kitchen counter tops and quartz kitchen counter tops are also popular choices; some homeowners prefer a soapstone kitchen counter top, instead.
While ceramic tile counter tops and concrete kitchen counter tops are technically not natural stone, certain types of both hint of natural stone. Especially concrete counter tops; the gravel stones in the mixture are partially exposed in the finished surface.
Granite Counter Tops
Granite colors for kitchen counter tops include: whites, creams, and pinks; browns, yellows, and golds; reds, blues and greens; grays, blacks, and purples; as well as variegated granites. Keep in mind that there are over 800 varieties of differently colored and textured granites from all around the world.
Selecting a granite counter top for your kitchen design plan can be expensive, but properly cared for can last a lifetime. Prices range from $30 to $300 per square foot and up. Often, a considerable portion of this cost is the expense of transportation.
Some homeowners try to reduce the overall granite countertop cost by completing the preparation work themselves. However, making and installing a custom granite counter top is a project best left in the hands of skilled professionals. Errors in measurement, construction, and installation could turn matters into a time consuming and frustrating endeavor. Resulting in a finished project that lacks professional appeal.
Combined with the risk of damage to the granite slab during counter top construction and installation that would necessitate repair or replacement, it could also prove costly. Even more so, when all is said and done, than it would have been to hire a granite counter top contractor for the job.
About Granite Finishes
Resurfacing kitchen counter tops can be an involved process when it comes to traditional laminate counter types; often requiring complete kitchen counter top replacement. Not so with granite.
The different types of granite have different levels of hardness. Darker granites from the Middle East have higher quartz content that make them harder. Lighter granites contain Orthoclase minerals which can be somewhat absorbent. Even the lighter granites are very hard and scratch resistant, especially when regularly re-sealed (1 - 2 times per year is advised.)
Granite kitchen counter tops come with two different types of finishes:
- A flat finish - smooth and attractive. This is a poor choice for kitchen use, however, because the granite is open to staining and uneven wear.
- A polished finish - achieved by diamond polishing technique; durable and attractive when maintained.
Maintenance and Care
Granite Surface Do's and Dont's:
- Do use a cutting board - never cut directly on the granite surface. The granite itself is hard enough to withstand impact from even heavy metal objects. The sealer finish, however, cannot.
- Don't use abrasive cleaning products such as scouring products, whether in liquid or powder form. This includes abrasive pads.
- Do use a neutral cleaner specially formulated for cleaning granite.
- Don't allow foods with high acid content such as vinegar or lemon juice to remain in contact with the counter surface for any length of time. Wipe spills from such foods as soon as possible, as they may etch the finish.
- Don't drag objects across the surface. Even salt or sugar grains can cause scratching when an object is dragged over it.
- Don't use non-penetrating sealers when refinishing, as this could cloud the finish. Once applied, these type products can be very difficult to remove.
- Do maintain granite counter top finish using a penetrating sealer at least once per year. Regular polishing will keep a beautiful luster on the finish.
Note: granite care products can be purchased individually or in kits. Cleaners and polishes start at about $7 to $8; sealers at about $19. Kits start at around $40, and come with everything needed; including buffing pads and cloths.
Granite Counter Top Repair
Replacing kitchen counter tops may be necessary when the effects of time and penetrating water deteriorate wood and particle board substrates in other types of counter tops.
Granite counter tops can last a lifetime, especially when damage is promptly repaired.
Minor damage can often be repaired by the homeowner. Foreign substances that become adhered to the counter top surface can usually be removed by gently scraping with a razor blade. If slight scratches occur in the process, they can be polished out using fine steel wool.
Scuffing or marking from cookware or utensils can usually also be polished out using fine steel wool.
When it comes to chips or cracks, it is best to have a professional perform an invisible repair, using a resin or polymer product best suited to that type of granite.
Some types of granite can develop hairline cracks or fissures. In most cases this is perfectly normal and will not affect the counter top performance.
Professional Installation - Highly Recommended
Because of the cost of natural stone and granite kitchen counter tops, it is always best to have a professional do the installation. An improperly installed counter top can be an expensive mistake for the do it yourself homeowner.
One excellent resource to find professional help for your kitchen counter top project is at TrustedPros.com. Homeowners can locate a reliable local kitchen remodeling contractor to properly install your granite counter top, for instance.
At TrustedPros.com, homeowners all across America can connect with reliable professionals. Whether installing Colorado granite counter tops or California granite counter tops, or a custom natural stone counter top anywhere else in the nation. All with the simple click of a button.
Homeowners sign up for free, with no obligation. And post their kitchen counter top project online with easy to use tools. Reliable local contractors view project information and provide competitive bids in days, even hours from posting.
Homeowners view contractor profile pages, credentials, references, and photo galleries of recently completed projects, all available 24/7.Posted by: TrustedPros