For any homeowner who has gone through a kitchen remodel or renovation, you will surely understand the feeling of having a kitchen that is too nice to even cook in. However, this should not be a problem since a little knowledge will go a long way in keeping your culinary investment new and shiny for many years. This article will, therefore, take you through the different countertops materials and their various capabilities when it comes to withstanding different heat temperatures. With that said, can you put hot pans on your countertops? Let's find out.
Can You Put Hot Pans On Countertops?
Yes and No, depending on the material of the countertops. Not all countertops are created equally, meaning that to some, the hot pans can have severe effects while other countertop materials can withstand the heat of hot pans. It is advised to always use a trivet for your countertops to transfer hot pots and pans around. Trivets will go a long way in terms of protecting your countertop investment.
With this, continue reading to have a clear picture of the different types of countertops that you can place hot pans on.
Does Heat Damage Granite?
Granite stands out among the most durable countertop materials for your kitchen. Under normal circumstances, granite countertops cannot be damaged with a hot pan heat. This is because granite poses a six ranking when it comes to the measurement of the Mohs scale of hardness. This ranking shows the density and strength of a granite material, which surpasses many of the other available countertop materials.
Therefore, heat does not have a huge impact when it comes to damaging a granite countertop, even if you place the hot pan directly on the granite countertop. However, leaving an extreme heat source for an extended period can damage the granites' surface. The damage that can occur includes a slight softening of your granite countertops, leading to gouges in extreme scenarios and discoloration. To be safe always use a trivet. Further, heat can damage your sealer used to protect your granite from staining.
What Kind of Countertops Can You Put Hot Pans On?
Whether you are looking for a kitchen, remodel on your existing kitchen or wish to design a kitchen for your new home, the best most significant decision to make revolves around the countertops. The kitchen is the busiest room within the house. Its countertops are therefore expected to shoulder a daily defense against sharp knives, hot pans, and much more.
With a wide variety of surface materials to choose from, it is essential to narrow down to what best suits your kitchenette habits and needs. And the best news is that most of the current countertops choices are heat resistant, including:
- Granite Countertops
- Concrete Countertops
- Stainless Steel Countertops
- Quartzite Countertops
- Soapstone Countertops
- Marble Countertops
Can You Put a Hot Pan on Marble Countertops?
Yes, you can put hot pans on your marble countertop. However, since marble countertops are much softer than granite, you have to keep in mind that they are prone to thermal shock and minor surface cracks. Marble is also very porous, and sealers have to be applied. Exposing them to continuous, direct heat, therefore, scorches the sealers, leaving a mark on your marble countertop.
Even though it's unlikely to experience any problem, when placing hot pans on your marble countertops, you should still make use of trivets to avoid continuous marble repair and scratching.
Can You Put a Hot Pan on Granite Countertops?
Although granite is an igneous rock, it emanates from the geological process, which takes place at very high temperatures. Therefore if your kitchen countertops are made from granite, there is virtually nothing that can be done to attain the igneous temperature, which starts from around 600 degrees Celsius. This means that your granite countertop will not melt once you place a hot pan on top. However, this is not a sign that you should do so.
Therefore, just like other protective items used in cooking, you need to make use of hot pads, potholders, and trivet to protect your countertop.
Can You Put a Hot Pan on Quartzite Countertops?
Quartzite is a natural stone that can resist heat better than quartz which means you can put a hot pan on your quartzite countertop. However, if the temperature gets too high, there is a possibility that you will damage your countertop.
Quartzite is better at heat resistance than quartz, making it a better option for setting hot pans directly to the countertop. However, since it's less resistant to stains, it is vital to ensure you make use of trivets to protect it against stains.
Can You Put a Hot Pan on Ceramic Countertops?
Ceramic tiles are made in such a way that they are heat resistant. Unlike many kitchen countertop surfaces, ceramic tiles can easily take in the heat from hot pans and pots. However, even though ceramic tiles are incredibly durable, the grout joints do not mean they are prone to cracks when extreme heat is applied.
Although ceramic countertops are durable, constant temperature changes have the possibility of cracking your countertop. This is why it is always advisable not to place hot pans, hot skillets, and heat-producing appliances directly on your ceramic countertop. Remember, ceramic tiles are formed with extreme-heat, meaning they can also be deformed with extreme heat. Therefore ensure you make use of hot pads and trivets in protecting your ceramic countertops.
Can You Put a Hot Pan on a Wood Countertop?
Wood counters involve the use of wood strips which perfectly put together to form a countertop. This makes them a durable, functional, and attractive countertop option. Wood countertops are easy to clean and maintain with the scratches and cuts being easily removed through sanding the wood counters with sandpapers.
However, despite the many advantages associated with wood counters, they are not made to last forever. They cannot resist extreme heat since wood naturally contracts and expands when exposed to heat. With this, placing a hot pan on your wood countertop is a bad idea that must be avoided.
Exposing your wood counter to direct heat will, therefore, expand the wooden countertop. This, on the other hand, will make your wood look terrible and unfit for your kitchen. To eliminate such a problem, it's advisable to ensure you use hot pads and trivets before placing the hot pan on the countertop.
Can You Put a Hot Pan on Laminate Countertops?
The laminate countertop can easily be damaged by direct heat emerging from the hat pan. This, therefore, means that you should not place any hot container on your laminate countertop. Keep in mind that laminate countertops are plastics. And plastics features a high melting capability once exposed to heat. Even a moderately cold pan can deform a laminate countertop since plastic does not have enough structural capabilities.
Laminate countertops heat damages are irreversible and even worse is that meting and burns are rarely covered by a warranty since they are a direct result of misuse.
To avoid such problems, laminate countertops manufacturers always emphasize the need to use a trivet or insulted heating pads to keep them hot away from the plastic surface. You can also settle for laminate countertops with the ability to withstand up to a specific heat temperature. Although such laminate materials come at a higher price and still have a higher possibility of being damaged by direct heat.
How Much Heat Can Granite Withstand?
Granite does not get affected by frequent exposure of direct heat within your household. This is because granite is highly resistant to heat temperatures of up to 480 degrees Celsius. It can also withstand temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Celsius. But to prevent possible damages, ensure you avoid extreme temperature changes, including placing something cold within your granite counter right away after placing a hot pan on that area. This is a significant reason why granite is considered as the best countertop material even though they have a higher price.
Can Granite Warp?
Yes, granite can warp due to specific reasons. The first reason for having warp granite arises when the granite is not firmly held during installation. To avoid such a problem, then the use of the best PL premium instated of silicone in sticking the granite to a ruffled top is advisable.
The second reason for granite warping depends on the types of granite used. Research shows that granites with low porosity and small grain size have low warp capabilities as compared to other granites.
Therefore, slabs that feature the lowest thermal expansion co-efficient rational to slab planes tend to suffer from the highest deformation.
To ensure that you have a well-balanced granite countertop that is free from warping, ensure the right type of granite is used during the installation.
Granite sometimes warps when it is still in the form of a slab. Granite providers tend to discount these slabs or send them back to the provider.
While there are many different types of countertops available for every homeowner, it's always advisable to choose a countertop material that perfectly fits your kitchen needs. For kitchen owners with a tendency to place a hot pan on their countertops, then going for a countertop option with the ability to withstand the hot pan's heat is the best idea. However, long term placement of hot containers on even the best countertops will eventually have adverse effects. This leaves you with only one option of maintaining your expensive countertops, which is to apply trivets for your hot pans.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know on how to clean Cambria Quartz countertops. Cambria quartz is recognized as the top quartz brand featuring a vast collection of beautiful Cambria Quartz colors. As with most things a Cambria Quartz countertop may show signs of wear over time. This is part of life unfortunately but to prolong the life of your Cambria Quartz countertop you will need to follow some very detailed maintenance information as outlined in this article. Let us protect your Cambria Quartz investment and keep your new quartz countertops looking as new as the day you had them installed in your kitchen.
What You Will Need to Clean Cambria Quartz Countertops
There are a number of great quartz cleaning sprays on Amazon and other online marketplaces. The best products are the products that ensure your quartz countertops are clean and germ-free. Luckily, Cambria Quartz is not at all porous and will not allow germs to enter into the material like granite, marble or other natural stones which do have pores.
If you elect to purchase a product that is great for cleaning quartz I recommend this product which should last you several long years of cleaning your quartz countertops if used in combination with the suggested Cambria Quartz cleaning method below.
Denatured Alcohol – This will ensure that your countertops are germ-free. You should use this chemical watered down with half denatured alcohol and half water.
Microfiber Towel – These work the best with the products mentioned in this article. With this microfiber towel, you can clean your Cambria Quartz countertop and use another one dry to wipe it dry.
Spray Bottle – This spray bottle works great with denatured alcohol mixed with water and stores well. This will be used to spray the cleaner on your Cambria Quartz countertops.
Now that you have what you need you can move on to the step by step instructions.
How Not to Clean Cambria Quartz
According to Cambria, these are the don'ts of cleaning your Cambria Quartz countertops. Do not use or expose Cambria Product to certain cleaning products, including, but not limited to, bleach, oven cleaners, Comet®, Soft Scrub®, S.O.S.® products with pumice, batteries, paint removers, furniture strippers, tarnish or silver cleaners, or the like. Do not use abrasive or harsh scrub pads. Do not apply any sealers, penetrants or topical treatments to Cambria Product under any circumstances. Such products will wear off and cause the gloss to appear dull or inconsistent. You can read more here.
How to Clean Cambria Quartz Countertops Step by Step
This is the easy part. Follow the instructions below to get the best clean for your Cambria Quartz countertops.
Step 1: Mix your denatured alcohol with water half and half in your spray bottle. This will be your cleaning spray. (Skip this step if you purchased this product here)
Step 2: Spray your countertops by 2-foot sections and wipe them with the microfiber towel you purchased above. Continue this process until the entire area of your Cambria Quartz countertops is clean.
Step 3: Wipe your Cambria Quartz countertops dry with a clean, dry microfiber towel. This will prevent water streaks from appearing.
Step 4: Repeat the process throughout your entire home where you have Cambria Quartz countertops.
Pretty simple, yet so effective. If you follow the process as outlined above you will have a disinfected and clean Cambria Quartz countertop.
Cambria Quartz Warranty
Cambria Quartz offers all consumers who purchase their quartz a 25-year limited warranty. This warranty will cover the cost to replace your Cambria Quartz countertops should anything happen due to manufacturer issues.
In this article, you learned how to clean Cambria Quartz countertops. If you have another brand countertop the process is just the same. Be sure to clean your Cambria Quartz countertops as often as possible to prevent the spread of germs and if you are anything like me (CLEAN FREAK) for your own sanity. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
Are you looking for the best granite sealer for your granite countertops? Sealing your granite countertops is pretty much a requirement. Especially if you cook a lot or use your granite countertops plenty. Using your kitchen is a must and if you have a large family you are likely to cook larger meals which may cause you to spill something while juggling your parental duties and cooking at the same time. Check out the available granite sealers here.
Oil or a marinade may splatter on your beautiful countertops and go unnoticed. This would normally cause a stain to seep down into the pores of your granite countertops but since you came across this article with all of the best granite sealers, you have ample time to clean up the mess without an eyesore of a stain to form. I am so glad you took the time to read this article 😉
Your granite countertops probably cost you a good chunk of change and you probably want to protect them by choosing the best granite sealer available.
Granite sealers have come a long way over the last few years. Technology has improved and as a result, so have granite sealers. In this article, my goal is to inform you of the best granite sealers to protect your granite countertop investment.
Over the last few years, I have tested so many granite sealers on the market. These companies reach out to me claiming to have the best granite sealer money can buy and ship out a sample of their product to test out. I did just that and I have all of my results here to save you the trouble.
Would you like to learn which granite sealers are the best? As a professional granite specialist, I have tried and tested numerous granite sealers and have compiled a list of the top performing sealers. The sealers were rated based on several factors, including quality ingredients, ease of application, the longevity of the sealer, price, and protection offered.
Granite Is Stone; So, Why Do I Need to Seal My Granite?
At first glance, granite countertops seem to be sturdy. They are made of stone, after all. Many people think that all it takes to keep granite looking great is a damp cloth to wipe up spills; however, those spills can cause a lot of damage to the surface of the granite countertop.
During daily use of the kitchen, moisture and oil can damage the surface of the granite if the granite countertop is not adequately sealed. This damage can result in the loss of the shine of the granite, and staining can occur. Many stains are surface stains; however, liquids and oils can seep into the granite’s pores, resulting in deep stains that may be permanent.
In addition to stains, acidic substances and chemicals can weaken the granite and cause permanent damage. If the damage becomes severe enough, the granite can begin to crack or crumble, requiring the entire countertop to be replaced. Applying a high quality sealer to your granite will protect against staining and granite.
How Do Granite Sealers Work?
Sealing your granite is not difficult and can help protect your granite countertops from damage. Most granite sealers work in the same way; however, many people are confused about how sealers work. Here is how granite sealers work.
A granite sealer, often listed as an impregnator, is composed of resin that has been dissolved in either a petroleum based or water based solvent. The sealer is then applied to the countertop and allowed to absorb in the pores of the stone before wiping away the excess sealer. As the solvent evaporates, the resin hardens, creating a barrier that will slow down the absorption rate of the granite.
Stains like oil, coffee, fruit juices, and wine can still stain the stone if allowed to remain on the granite countertop’s surface for an extended period of time. The granite sealer reduces absorbency and reduces the risk of staining; however, no sealer will make your granite countertops impermeable.
How Often Should Sealer Be Applied?
The porosity of the granite, along with the quality of the sealer, can affect the longevity of the sealer. On average, you should expect to reapply sealers every three to five years; however, some sealers are rated to last ten years or longer. To get the maximum longevity out of a sealer, you must properly care for your countertops.
The quality of the sealer affects the longevity of the product. Over time, the resin will degrade due to use as well as the type of cleaning products used. Choosing a pH neutral cleaner designed for granite countertops increases the longevity of the sealer.
How well the sealer is applied can also affect the longevity of the granite sealer. Read all of the instructions on the sealer and follow them explicitly to increase the longevity of the sealer. More information on how to determine if your countertops need to be resealed can be found HERE. We are also including best practices for applying the granite sealer later in this article.
The granite itself can affect how often you should seal your countertops. Lighter colored granite countertops are typically more porous than darker colored granite countertops. However, it’s important to note that no matter the color of the granite countertops, they will stain if they are not adequately sealed.
Determining Which Sealer to Buy
If you have ever look for a granite sealer, you have probably noticed that sealers come in a wide variety of prices and offer different features. All of these choices can make it challenging to choose the best granite sealer for your granite countertops.
To save you the time of trying to determine the best sealer for you, we have tested numerous granite sealers and developed the list of the top five granite sealers on the market. Choosing one of these sealers will ensure your granite is protected against staining and damage for many years to come.
Top Rated Sealer: Dry Treat Stain Proof Plus Granite Sealer
Our choice for top rated sealer checks all the boxes when it comes to granite sealers. Dry-Treat Stain Proof Plus granite sealer outperforms its competition and offers one of the longest warranties in the granite sealer industry. This premium impregnating formula has been ISO 1054-14 tested and provides the highest resistance to stains.
Dry-Treat Stain Proof Plus sealer is an impregnating sealer that allows your granite countertops to breathe while protecting against liquid, oil, and salt based stains. Once your countertops have been treated, they will be easier to clean and maintain.
Dry Treat’s Stain Proof Plus comes with an impressive 25 year written warranty when the sealer is applied by one of Dry Treat’s Accredited Applicators. The sealer retains the natural finish and color of the granite countertop. Its non-yellowing formula will keep your countertops looking fantastic for many years to come.
Stain Proof Plus uses three different sealing molecules for maximum stain protection. The sealer is formulated with a super penetrator to ensure deep penetration on dense natural stones, including granite and marble. Its breathable formula allows water vapor to freely escape to prevent moisture from building up inside the granite.
Dry-Treat Stain Proof Plus granite sealer is recommended for indoor and outdoor use as well as both residential and commercial applications. The one liter granite sealer will cover approximately 100 square feet.
Best Quality Sealer: Akemi Stain Repellent Nano Granite Sealer
Our choice for best quality sealer, Akemi Stain Repellent Nano Effect, uses nano pearl technology to provide immediate protection against staining. The formula allows the three dimensional appearance of natural stone to shine through and will last for many years. This low odor formula uses high quality organic active ingredients to protect your granite countertops.
Akemi Stain Repellent Nano sealer is a dirt repelling sealer that uses nano pearl effect technology to protect against both liquid and oil based stains. This food safe granite sealer is non-yellowing and weather resistant.
The granite sealer causes little to no change in the color of your granite countertops and is water repellent within ten minutes. The cure time of Akemi Stain Repellent Nano varies based on temperature and humidity levels; however, it should be dry to the touch within two to three hours and should be fully cured within two or three days and offer full protection after seven days.
The one liter, fast drying formula will cover approximately 50 square feet. Akemi Nano is produced in Germany and enhances the gloss and shine of your granite countertops. It offers enhanced interior and exterior protection. This fantastic sealer will provide you with one to three years of protection before reapplication is needed.
Best Weather Resistant Sealer: StoneTech Heavy Duty Exterior Sealer for Stone and Masonry
Our choice for best weather resistant sealer is StoneTech’s Heavy Duty Exterior Sealer for Stone and Masonry. This solvent based granite sealer provides the ultimate protection against the elements. With superior stain resistance and water repellency, this is the perfect granite sealer for your outdoor granite countertops and bar tops.
StoneTech Heavy Duty Exterior Sealer is designed for exterior use and minimizes efflorescence. Its silicone technology can handle extreme sunlight and is non-yellowing.
StoneTech Exterior Stone and Masonry Sealer provide a natural look on your exterior granite surfaces. Specifically designed for exterior usage, the FDA approved solvent granite sealer offers phenomenal coverage. A quart of this sealer covers between 225 and 900 square feet.
StoneTech provides protection on all of your exterior surfaces for up to ten years when properly applied and maintained. The low odor formula is easy to apply and protects against chlorine damage. The penetrating sealer provides superior weather resistance and stain resistance. The sealer repels water and protects against damage.
Best Budget-Friendly Sealer: Tuff Duck Natural Stone Sealer
Our choice for the best budget friendly sealer is Tuff Duck Natural Stone sealer by Rocklinite Labs. The non-acidic formula states it contains twice the active ingredients as other granite sealers. The active ingredients penetrate granite, going deep into its pores to protect against stains and bacteria.
Rocklinite Labs Created Tuff Duck granite sealer as a budget friendly granite sealer that delivers outstanding performance. The convenient spray formula is easy to apply and offers 5 years of protection on interior granite surfaces and 3 years of protection on exterior granite surfaces.
Tuff Duck granite sealer is designed to protect your granite surfaces without affecting the natural appearance of your natural stone surfaces. Designed using the latest in granite sealant technology, Tuff Duck sealer provides an incredible 800 square foot of coverage in a single 22 ounce bottle.
Tuff Duck sealer is easy to apply. Simply spray your surfaces with the sealer, allow it to penetrate the granite for ten to fifteen minutes and then wipe up the excess with an absorbent cloth. After six hours, the countertop is protected against liquids; however, the cure time for this sealer is 24 hours.
Best Color Enhancing Sealer: Black Diamond Color Enhancer Sealer
Our choice for the best color enhancing sealer is Black Diamond Color Enhancer Sealer. The formula highlights and darkens the natural beauty of unsealed granite surfaces. Furthermore, this remarkable formula improves the look of your granite surfaces.
Black Diamond Color Enhancer Sealer is easy to apply and provides long lasting protection. The breathable formula keeps water out while allowing moisture to dissipate from the stone’s surface.
Black Diamond Color Enhancer Sealer is made in the United States of America and makes the colors in your granite appear more vibrant and beautiful. The potent color enhancing formula penetrates deeply into the granite without giving the countertop a glossy finish.
A quart of Black Diamond Color Enhance Sealer for granite provides you with approximately 100 square feet of coverage. Unlike other color enhancing formulas, Black Diamond can be used to seal and protect both interior and exterior surface areas. The protective layer enhances the appearance of your granite while sealing out water.
Best Sealer for Porous Granite: Miracle Sealant’s 511 Porous Plus Sealer
Our top pick for porous natural stone is Miracle Sealant 511 Porous Plus sealer. The sealer is designed to seal interior and exterior natural stone surfaces by forming a protective barrier. The sealer resists liquid and oil stains as well as weather related stains.
Miracle Sealant’s 511 Porous Plus Sealer penetrates deep into the granite to provide superior protection. The invisible barrier is breathable, allowing vapors to escape. The impregnating sealer will not yellow or change the look of your granite.
Miracle Sealant 511 Porous Plus Sealer is a cost effective sealer that provides long lasting protection and outstanding coverage. One quart of the sealer will cover up to one thousand square feet.
Miracle Sealant’s 511 Porous Plus granite sealer warranties the product for up to 20 years from the date of purchase. The added polymer ins the sealer offers optimal coverage. Simply apply to the granite, allow to soak into the surface for five minutes, and wipe away excess. Apply two coats to fully protect your granite surfaces.
Best Water Based Granite Sealer: Granite Gold Sealer
Our choice for the best water based granite sealer is Granite Gold Sealer. The sealer creates a barrier to protect your natural stone from soil build up, staining, and etching. Granite Gold Water Based granite sealer is pH balanced, non-toxic, and biodegradable.
The ingredients in Granite Gold Sealer provides extreme surface protection against stains caused by oil, water, wine, coffee, juices, and other liquids. The granite sealer contains no ammonia or phosphates and is safe to use on food prep surface areas.
Granite Gold is made in the United States of America and has been providing stone care products for years. The 24 ounce sealer will provide you with up to 75 square foot coverage per 24 ounce bottle.
Granite Gold water based granite sealer provides twelve to eighteen months of protection. The easy to use formula can simply be sprayed on, allowed to soak into the surface for a minute or two and then buffed dry using a lint free absorbent cloth. For maximum protection, apply two to three coats of Granite Gold.
Best Granite Sealer for Large Areas: Aqua Mix Enrich’ N’ Seal
Our choice of granite sealer for large areas is Aqua Mix Enrich’ N’ Seal. The granite sealer protects the surface of the granite while darkening and enriching the granite colors without any excess sheen. Formulated with penetrating polymers, the sealer will improve the appearance and color of your granite.
The breathable formula offered by Aqua Mix Enrich’ N’ Seal can be used on interior and exterior natural stone surfaces to protect against staining. The breathable formula allows moisture to escape the surface of the stone.
One quart of Aqua Mix Enrich ‘N’ Seal provides up to 375 square feet of coverage per coat, making it an excellent choice for large surface areas. For maximum protection, apply two to three coats of sealer.
Once Aqua Mix Enrich ‘N’ Seal granite sealer is applied, keep the surface dry for at least twelve hours. After 48 hours, the sealer is fully cured and will protect your granite from stain. This excellent sealer can provide you stain protection for up to 15 years.
Understanding the Two Types of Granite Sealers
When choosing a sealer for your granite, you should choose one that is designed to protect against staining and damage on natural stones. Although certain sealers may not specifically list granite, if it is designed for natural stone surfaces, it is safe to use on granite surfaces. However, one that implicitly is designed for granite will provide the optimal benefits.
There are two types of granite sealers on the market – water based and oil based sealers. Oil based sealers typically have a strong odor and require adequate ventilation. Water Based sealers have an odor; however, their scent is not as strong as oil based sealers.
Granite is a living stone that contains different sized pores. These pores allow liquids and oils to enter into the granite, resulting in stains if the granite is not adequately sealed. A penetrating sealer, also known as an impregnating sealer, soaks into the pores and fills them up to prevent water and oil from entering the granite.
An enhancing sealer is a penetrating sealer; however, it enhances the granite’s natural colors and textures. Enhancing sealers come in a variety of sheens, including gloss and natural finishes.
Topical sealers are less effective than penetrating sealers and should not be used to protect your granite surfaces. Instead of soaking into the granite and blocking pores, penetrating sealers provide a protective layer on the surface of the granite only. Topical sealers may look great; however, they can leave your granite vulnerable to stains. These sealers require frequent reapplication and multiple coatings.
How Can Sealer Improve Your Granite Countertop Lifespan?
Granite sealers are designed to protect your granite and reduce the risk of stains and damage caused by acidic and caustic substances. To minimize the risk of damage, you want a sealer that offers longevity. A high quality sealer will have a ten year or longer lifespan. In order to maximize the lifespan of the granite sealer, proper care should be taken. Cleaning your granite with a pH neutral cleaner designed for granite will help extend the life of your granite and granite sealer.
What are VOCs and How Can I Protect Myself?
VOCs are volatile organic compounds. Examples of VOCs include phosphate and ammonia. These compounds have an extremely unpleasant odor, which can be irritating if breathed. To prevent nausea and the other symptoms associated with inhaling VOCs, always use the proper protective equipment, including disposable gloves and eye protection. In addition to this, make sure you provide adequate ventilation by opening the windows up and using a fan to remove odors and bring in fresh air.
What are the Different Active Ingredients in Granite Sealers?
When it comes to granite sealers, you want to choose a sealer that will provide you with long lasting protection against stains. Reading the fine print will help you determine the best sealer for your granite countertops.
Some resins will need to be reapplied each year while others will last three to five years or even ten or more years. Understanding the different types of sealers will help you decide on the best sealer for your unique needs.
- Silicon Resin – Silicon resin is the least expensive type of resin sealer on the market. The resin evaporates quickly and will lose its effectiveness faster than other sealers. Silicon resin was the first resin used to protect natural stone countertops. It is rarely used by manufacturers today. Silicone based sealers typically rely on solvents to carry them into the pores of granite. Although they are great at repelling water, silicone based sealers are not good at repelling oil.
- Siloxane Resin – Siloxane and silane based resins are an improvement over silicon sealers. These sealers tend to last longer and cure better. You can expect approximately five years of protection before needing to reapply the sealer. Siloxane resin sealers are more expensive than silicon based sealers and offer better resistance to water and oil stains.
- Fluorocarbon Aliphatic Resin – Fluorocarbon Aliphatic resin is the most expensive sealer. This carbon resin sealer will provide you with years of protection. These sealers last the longest, providing up to ten years of protection. Furthermore, fluorocarbon aliphatic resin does not evaporate or deteriorate. This type of sealer is water based and does a great job at repelling oil.
In addition to the type of resin used in the sealer, the percentage resin used in the formulation along with other stain inhibitors can enhance the performance of the resin. Purchasing a high quality natural stone sealer results in less frequent applications and offers better protection against stains.
Was My Granite Sealed when It Was Installed?
This depends on the manufacturer of the granite. Some granite companies seal the granite before shipping it to the consumer; others do not. Contact your countertop specialist to determine if your granite countertops were sealed during the manufacturing process or if the countertop installers sealed your countertops after installation. If the retailer is unsure, perform a water test to determine if your granite countertop needs to be sealed.
If after the water test you are still unsure, it is best to reseal your countertops as this will not hurt anything.
Does Your Granite Countertop Need to Be Sealed?
Maybe. It depends on the type and color of granite. Darker colored granite countertops may not require sealing. Dark colored granite is denser than lighter colored granite. A denser granite will not absorb liquids and stain like many light colored granites. However, certain light colored granites may be dense and will not need to be sealed. Therefore, it is wise to do a water test on your granite to determine if it needs to be sealed.
A water test will help you determine how quickly your granite will absorb liquids. If the granite absorbs liquid quickly, it will need to be sealed to reduce the risk of staining. If, on the other hand, the liquid remains on the surface, your countertop may not need to be sealed.
How Often Should Granite be Sealed?
The length of time that a granite sealer lasts is dependent on several factors, including how you use your granite countertops, the type of sealer used on your granite countertops, and the cleaner used on your granite countertops. Although many sealers state that they last for ten or more years, most will need to be reapplied within three to five years.
The best way to ensure your granite is still adequately protected is to perform a water test each year. If the water test reveals the granite does not offer adequate protection, reapplication is necessary. Applying sealer will help keep your countertops looking amazing and easy to clean.
How Do You Apply Granite Sealer?
Applying a sealer is not difficult; however, there are a few things that must be done to ensure the sealer adequately protects your granite. We have provided step by step instructions on how to apply granite sealer; however, different sealers require different application processes. Read the instructions on the label and follow those instructions if they differ from the step by step instructions listed below.
- Step One – Clean Your Granite Thoroughly – Your granite countertops need to be squeaky clean to ensure a uniform application. To clean the granite and prepare it for sealing, use a pH neutral stone cleaner and wipe dry with a lint free cloth. Next, you will need to use a degreaser to ensure no oily substances remain on the surface of the granite. The final cleaning step is to wipe the countertop down using denatured alcohol. Allow 24 hours for the granite to dry completely before going to the next step.
- Step Two – Protect Yourself – Before beginning the application process, you should open the windows to help ventilate the area. Put on a pair of chemical resistant gloves and wear a pair of safety glasses before using the sealer. A granite sealer can produce harmful or unpleasant vapors during the application process; however, once the sealer has cured, no harmful or toxic chemicals will remain.
- Test in an Inconspicuous Location – Before you begin applying the sealer to your entire countertop, you want to apply a small amount of the sealer in an inconspicuous location like a corner or where a countertop appliance will set. Follow the instructions on how long to leave the sealer on the surface before wiping it up. If the sealer discolors your granite or leaves a residue, stop the application process, and choose a different granite sealer.
- Apply the Sealer – Evenly coat the surface of the granite using a lint free cloth or brush that has been moistened with the sealer. The countertop should be damp; however, it should not be soaked.
- Wait – The sealer must have time to absorb into the granite. Read the instructions to determine the length of time the sealer should remain on the surface of the granite. If left on too long, discoloration can occur. Conversely, if the sealer is not left on long enough, it will not have time to absorb into the granite and ensure adequate protection against staining.
- Wipe Off Excess Sealer – After you have waited the recommended length of time, wipe off any remaining sealer using a clean, lint-free, absorbent cloth. Leaving sealer on the surface of the countertop can create a hazy appearance.
- Additional Coats – Read the granite sealer’s instructions on how long to wait in between coats of sealer. Then follow the three steps listed above (apply the sealer, wait, and wipe off excess sealer).
- Curing the Sealer – Once you have applied the final coat of sealer, allowed it to absorb into the granite, and wiped off the excess sealer, you must allow the sealer to fully cure. The exact time needed to cure can vary from product to product. For example, some products protect against water damage in as little as 30 minutes; however, to ensure the granite sealer has fully cured, you will want to wait 48 hours before washing the countertop or placing heavy items on the countertop.
Granite countertops are beautiful and will provide you with many years of enjoyment if they are properly cared for. The first line of defense to keep your countertops looking great is to ensure they are adequately sealed with a penetrating granite sealer. Granite sealers slow down the absorption rate to help reduce the likelihood of stains by filling in the pores of the granite.
Although a granite sealer helps protect against stains, you must wipe up spills as soon as possible. For best results, use a pH neutral cleaner daily or any time a spill occurs. Finally, a granite sealer will periodically need to be reapplied to provide optimal protection and keep your countertops looking great.
A frequent question that homeowners ask is whether granite countertop stain or not.
Does granite stain? Yes, the answer depends on the quality of granite, and how well the granite is sealed after installation. Any time a liquid is allowed to sit on the countertop surface, you run the risk of the granite staining. Yes, your granite does stain but there are ways to prevent this from happening.
Know what substances to avoid around your countertops and if you accidentally spill any of these substances act quickly to clean them up even if your granite countertops are sealed properly.
Understanding the Porosity of Natural Stone
All natural stone countertops are porous; however, the porosity levels vary from stone to stone. Granite is one of the less porous types of stones. Lower porosity levels mean the stone will not absorb liquids as quickly as other stones.
Natural stones have pores that allow liquids to seep into the stone. When a liquid is allowed to remain on the surface of a stone countertop, it can enter into the stone and cause a stain. An impregnating stone sealer helps close these pores up to reduce the risk of staining.
How to Reduce the Risk of Staining on Granite Countertops
The first step in reducing the risk of staining is to seal your granite countertops with an impregnating sealer. Begin by cleaning your countertops with a granite cleaner and allow the countertops to air dry before applying the stone sealer. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on applying the sealer.
Apply the penetrating sealer using a soft, clean cloth, ensuring the entire countertop is wet. Allow the first layer of sealer to dry for five minutes and then apply additional layers every five minutes until you have reached the desired number of coats.
Apply a final coat and allow the sealer to soak in for thirty minutes. Then, wipe excess sealer off the countertop and allow the sealer to air dry for 24 hours. After the drying time, your countertop is protected against stains.
To ensure that your countertops are sufficiently protected, perform a water test after the sealer has cured and bonded to the natural stone. To ensure your countertops remain protected, a sealer should be applied every six to twelve months, especially in high use areas.
How to Remove Oil Based Stains on Granite Countertops
Oil based stains caused by oils, grease, cosmetics, and milk will darken the granite countertop. In order to remove the stain, the oil must be chemically dissolved. Apply household detergent, mineral spirits, acetone, ammonia, or bleach to the stain and clean gently. Then, flood the area with water and buff dry using a soft, clean cloth.
How to Remove Organic Stains on Granite Countertops
Organic stains, including coffee, tea, wine, and fruit cause pinkish brown stains to appear. You can remove these organic stains with a mixture of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Wipe the stain using a cloth and allow the hydrogen peroxide mixture to sit for ten minutes before rinsing the countertop with clear water and buffing dry with an absorbent cloth.
How to Remove Biological Stains on Granite Countertops
Biological stains, including fungi, mildew, algae, and mold, should be cleaned using diluted (a half-cup in a gallon of clean water) ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach. Apply to the stain and wipe clean using a clean damp cloth.
How to Remove Ink and Paint Stains on Granite Countertops
Paint should be scraped off using a razor blade. Exercise care to avoid scratching the surface of the stone. Ink can be removed using hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Rinse the area and wipe dry
How to Remove Water Rings on Granite Countertops
Water doesn’t actually stain; however, it can cause an artificial stain to appear. The water causes rings of granite sealer to appear. These water rings can be removed by applying denatured alcohol to the countertop and wiping in a circular motion. You will need to apply the alcohol several times because it evaporates so quickly.
How to Remove Soap Scum on Granite Countertops
If you clean your granite countertops with dish soap, a film will eventually build up. This can be removed using a soap film remover. If your countertops appear dull, it is probably due to soap buildup. Cleaning the countertop with soap film remover will restore the shine.
How to Make a Poultice to Remove Stains on Granite Countertops
If these methods do not remove the stain, you will need to use a poultice. The poultice is made by mixing an absorbent material like diatomaceous earth, talc, powdered chalk or baking soda with water or a liquid cleaner. The treatment is then applied to the stain and covered with plastic wrap. The poultice is left on the countertop for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The liquid will pull the stain into the absorbent material.
• Oil based stains can be removed using a combination of baking soda and water or talc and mineral spirits.
• Organic stains are removed by mixing hydrogen peroxide with diatomaceous earth or powdered chalk.
• Biological stains can be removed by mixing hydrogen peroxide or ammonia with powdered chalk or talc.
Stain removal also removes the sealer from the countertop. To protect your granite countertops from further staining, follow the instruction above, and apply multiple coats of penetrating sealer to the entire countertop.
Daily Maintenance for Beautiful Granite Countertops
Your granite countertops will provide you with years of beauty when they are properly cared for. Proper daily maintenance includes wiping your granite countertops down daily using a damp cloth. If you spill anything on your granite countertops, wipe it up immediately and clean the countertop using a pH neutral granite cleaner.
Granite countertops are extremely durable and resist stains quite well; however, staining can still occur. Wipe spills up immediately and routinely seal your granite countertops to reduce the risk of staining. If a stain occurs, follow the steps listed above. If a stain remains after using a poultice, contact your stone specialist for assistance.
Is your supposed stain-resistant quartz disappointing you with a stain? Most quartz surfaces claim to be stain-resistant, but to keep them stain-free and at their best, there are a few things to keep in mind and off the counters.
Why is your quartz countertop staining? Quartz countertop can be reacting with food that was not cleaned up immediately or was cleaned with harsh chemicals. In most cases, a quartz countertop is not necessarily stained, but rather showing a change in the surface due to a reaction happening between the quartz and the spilled liquid or abrasive chemical.
Quartz is a beautiful piece for upgrading a kitchen and is known for its easy to care and no-sealant-required surface. Even though it can easily be maintained, a little bit of attention and caretaking is necessary to prevent damage and “staining” on your countertop. We’ll show you the best options to tackle spills, maintain the polished countertop, and prevent damage.
Is your Quartz Countertop Really Stained?
Your quartz countertop is technically not staining in the same way as natural stones absorb stains through their pores. Most quartz “stains” are discolorations.
Usually, some substance is reacting then absorbed into the quartz as a dark spot after a reaction. The main reactive types of chemicals or exposures that result in discoloration can vary:
- Food items
- Burnt spot
Let’s take a look at each instance in more detail below.
1) Food Item
The main causes of stains are from remains of certain food items such as the list below that reacts with the countertop.
- Red wine
- Fruit juices
- Fresh berries
- Tomato sauce
These food spills are not staining your countertop but are typical food types that can react with the quartz makeup.
2) Cleaning Products and Chemicals
Your quartz countertop may also be reacting to your cleaning products. Products that are often used and advertised for kitchen-top can be harmful to quartz countertops.
If you have used solvents that include paint thinners, detergents, or oil soaps, your countertop may be reacting with them and leaving dark or dull spots.
Bleach can leave lighter or simply white spots, which are spots left after the harsh base has reacted with the resin countertop. It typically etches the surface and leaves its mark like marble etching.
4) Burnt Spot or Heat Spot
Lastly, quartz tops may be heat-resistant but are not completely prone to heat. If you had accidentally placed a hot pot or pan on top of the surface, it could have left a burnt spot on the resin surface – or even a crack!
How to Prevent your Quartz from Staining
For the most part, quartz countertops are known for their low maintenance, easy-to-care surface. With just a few adjustments in the cleaning routine, you should be able to prevent staining on your beautiful quartz surface.
Stain Removal Tips and How to Treat Spills
Of course, the first thing to do with a spill is to clean it immediately off the surface, but are you doomed when it doesn’t come out?!
Thankfully, you can try a few simple methods.
- Try using a paste of baking soda and water on the surface of the quartz top. Then rub it in with a soft cloth.
- Use Bar Keeper’s Friend to remove most countertop stains. Scrub the stain with a nylon pad or a brush. This method is not always effective and can also dull quartz surfaces. Make sure you test a small surface first before using the product.
- If a Bar Keeper’s Friend is too harsh for the type of quartz you are treating, try a non-abrasive cleaner like Bon Ami to scrub the stain. Again, you can use a nylon pad or a brush.
- For milder stains, try using a glass cleaner and scrub the stain with a non-abrasive nylon pad.
- Magic erase. If you want to use a magic eraser, be sure to test it first. Magic eraser contains abrasives and it may dull or damage the quartz surface.
- For water stains, use a hard water cleaner that is specifically made for quartz surfaces.
Most of these methods are for surface stains that have not damaged the resin, or the quartz. These are the stains that appear just as a darkened spot and a similar shade of the offending source.
A Word About Sealants
As much as you want to prevent future stains with physical barriers, don’t use sealants that are designed for natural slabs. Natural slabs are porous, and quartz is not, which means the sealants won’t absorb and adhere.
Sealants will not be effective on the quartz surfaces, and in some cases, sealants can change the color of your quartz surface or make it hazy.
As with cleaning products, you may see various dulled spots on your quartz from exposure to some chemicals such as acetone (which includes nail polish remover)! These dulled spots are not treatable, and you won’t be able to bring back the shine.
Day to Day Maintenance of Your Quartz Countertop
Engineered quartz countertops are generally to maintain. The best thing to keep in mind is that spills must be cleaned and removed immediately.
For general purposes, the best way to clean the quartz surface is with warm water and soap on a soft cloth for a day to day practice. Any gentle soap such as dishwashing liquid is a safe bet for the quartz surface
General Maintenance and What Cleaning Products to Use
If you do need to use some cleaners for cleaning up messes, the best option is to go with a nonabrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub or Barkeeper’s friend. These are made for purposes like this one.
Many recommend using a glass cleaner to saturate the countertops for a few minutes for a deep clean. Wipe the up the glass cleaner afterward with a wet cloth.
As quartz countertops are heat resistant but not prone to heat, it is important to use trivets for hot surfaces to avoid burnt spots!
Use trivets for placing hot pots, pans, and even appliances on your quartz. To be on the safe side, for any heat-generating appliances, like crockpots, toaster ovens, or mini grills), require the use of a trivet, potholder, or any protection from the appliance directly touching the quartz surface.
Even if you think the heat is not excessive, be safe, and protect the surface. The heat not only leaves burnt spots but can also dull the shine of the polish and resins.
In the worst-case scenario, you could introduce a thermal shock to your quartz surface, which will cause a deep crack across your countertop.
Many advise to attentively use trivets, trays, and cutting boards regularly to prevent heat contact, food spills, and further damages to the quartz surface.
Which Cleaning Products to Avoid Using on Quartz
As mentioned before, cleaners that include solvents for killing bacteria (e.g., antimicrobial agents) can be harmful to a quartz surface. Harsh chemicals can weaken the bond between the quartz and resin components of the quartz and result in damaged surfaces.
Thankfully, your countertops are already antimicrobial! So, it helps to know that you won’t need antibacterial/antimicrobial agents to clean your countertop surface. Lastly, avoid abrasive cleaners that can attack the polished finish and dull the surface.
Some examples of cleaning product ingredients to avoid include:
- Paint thinners (Turpentine)
- Caustic Soda
- Oil soaps
- Nail Polish remover
- Oven Cleaners
- Any Low pH cleaners
- Abrasive cleaners or pads
If you do have contact with any of these chemicals on the surface of your quartz countertop, immediately clean it off with water and mild detergent.
Quartz Countertop Basics
To best tackle the source of the problem, it is best to understand what the difference is between staining a natural stone countertop versus what is happening on your quartz countertop.
To truly understand what is happening to your quartz, it is important to learn what quartz is and how it compares to a natural stone slab.
Quartz: What It Is and Why It Stains
Quartz, often referred to as engineered quartz, is a manmade slab that features beautiful surfaces like natural stone slabs at the convenience of easy installation and affordable prices for the wallet.
Engineered quartz is mostly a combination of natural materials. The usual quartz slab consists of 90 to 94 percent of ground quartz mixed with 6 to 10 percent of resins and pigments.
Compared to natural slabs, quartz countertops are favored for its non-porous surface, which is provided by the resins. This is good because it provides a surface that doesn’t need to be sealed frequently. That’s why we hear it called “stain-resistant.”
The downfall is that these resins are the reason the quartz can be damaged by the harsh chemicals, cleaners, and heat.
Why Is Quartz Used for Countertops?
Quartz isn’t infallible, but it has many features that make it a great choice for countertops:
- Stain resistance and mild heat resistance. Note: this is different than being impervious to heat, and, compared to stones such as granite, quartz slabs are less heat-resistant, which leads to burnt spots and cracks if exposed to hot surfaces.
- Resistance to pressure and its strength to impact resistance. They are invulnerable to most abrasions, scratches, and dents without a sealant that most natural and porous slabs require.
- Built-in antimicrobial within the resins. This is one of the benefits and also a reason not to use antimicrobial agents on the surface (more on this later).
Even being a countertop that doesn’t require staining, quartz surfaces are known to be resistant to moisture, and most staining as it is a non-absorbent surface. Not requiring a sealant is a huge benefit, but it doesn’t mean that it is resistant to all sources of damage.
Quick Pro and Con Checklist for Quartz Countertops
|· As durable as stone slabs
· Easy installation compared to natural slabs
· Cheaper than natural stones
· Stain-resistant (not “Stain-proof”)
· Prone to chips and cracks
· No sealing required
|· Not as heat resistant as natural stones like granite
· Lesser quality than natural stones
Should Stained Countertops Be Replaced Before Selling a House?
With its affordable price tag, quartz is also known for its durability, worry-free, and long-lasting countertop. With proper maintenance, they should last you many years of a beautiful and stain-free kitchen countertop.
If your counters are stained, try the stain removal tips first before making a big decision. As durable as it is, unfortunately, if the resin of the quartz mixture is damaged by the stain or heat, they are often permanent.
Quartz is a nice feature for a house when it’s on the market, but if you are interested in exchanging the countertop to another type of surface before selling, consider natural stone slab options or another shade of quartz.
The 90 to 94% of natural stones that make up engineered quartz comes from a form of granite (and sometimes marble). Granite is one of the most commonly used countertops and is a preferred (natural) stone for kitchen countertops.
Granite countertop surface is very hard and is resistant to most scratches – even knife blades. Granites are porous and need sealants but increase house values significantly.
|· Granite is durable to water damage
· Resistant to scratches
· Resistant to heat
· Stained granite is also known to be stain-resistant
|· Porous (should be sealed and resealed)
· Expensive in comparison to most materials
· Variable in color but limited compared to man-made options.
Soapstone is what we commonly know from chemical laboratories. These are becoming trendier these days, bringing in a unique look to a modern or luxe kitchen.
|· Rich color tones
· Stain resistant
· Low maintenance
|· Mineral oil treatment
· Professional installation
Marble is elegant and well-desired, but for a high price tag. Marble will bring shine to your kitchen like the quartz.
The great beauty of marble is its unique veins that each piece of slab has. As with most natural stones, marble slabs are made to order and expensive to install.
|· Heat resistant
· Wide arrange of colors
· Natural stone
· One-of-a-kind (marble slabs are all unique)
· Must be sealed and resealed
· Prone to scratches, soiling and chipping
· etching (from acidic juices and chemicals).
Thinking of Switching to Quartz Countertops?
If you don’t have quartz yet but are thinking of switching to it, don’t let the idea of staining deter you. It’s actually very durable and easy to care for if you know how to treat it.
Knowing its relative “weaknesses” in advance just allows you to live better with it and keep it looking great for a very long time.
Versatile Quartz Adds Style and Value to Your Home
And with numerous styles of quartz, there are also numerous palettes of colors and styles readily available to change the look of your kitchen. Quartz is a well-loved countertop surface and you’ll be adding value to your home by changing to a fresh and sparkling (or matte) quartz countertop.
Quartz can come in a variety of styles from traditional looks of marble, contemporary, and even modern. The surface textures of quartz countertops can range from polished, suede, matte, or even bumpy.
The following is a list of the ten most popular brands of quartz countertops:
||Known for its wide variety of styles and 40 readily available colors. (E.g. Textures can range from rough to smooth) Caesarstone promoted jumbo slabs in 2017 that featured 130” slabs ranging in different colors and unique surfaces.
||High-end brand and only available in specialty styles. It offers a wide variety of over 100 design styles and colors. Their realistic patterns are comparable to natural stone patterns and imitate marvelous marble veins. The only brand that is fully manufactured in the United States.
||Manufactured by DuPont. They come in varieties of 40 colors and a mixture of textures. Readily available at design centers.
||Uses granite stones with quartz to make up the majority of the engineered quartz. Available in 40 colors and textures.
||Highly durable surfaces known to be six times more durable than granite. They offer varieties of styles in 50 different designs categorized into their unique collections.
||comparison to the usual mix ratio of 90% quartz/natural stone, they make their quartz alternatives from recycled glass, cement, and a dash of pigment.
|MSI Q Quartz
||premium provider of countertops for residential and commercial units. Supported by warranty
||A high-end luxury brand that offers 40 elegant colors. They are exclusively found at high-end kitchen cabinet retailers. They offer ranges of colors and types of veins to imitate the luxurious designs of a marble vein.
|Santa Margherita Quartz
||It offers unique surface options with texture. Varies styles from traditional designs to more modern and funky styles.
||Aside from Caesarstone, one of the well-known quartz countertop brands. It provides over 60 colors and styles. They are based in Spain and comes with a 25-year warranty. (examples of surface are volcano, suede, or polished)
||It offers a range of 50 earthy colors. A line created in Italy by LG. They offer varieties of colors and show distinct styles of edges to choose from (e.g. beveled edges, large ogee, stepped half bullnose, etc.) They provide varieties of colors ranging in 20 different colors to match unique styles of modern homes.
Maybe you just bought a home, have lived in your home for many years, or something just caught your eye about a friend’s house, but you see a problem in the countertops. Yes, a gap between the wall and the edge of the countertop…small but noticeable, and now you can’t un-see it.
Now, this happens quite a bit, but how do you fix a countertop that has separated from a wall? You can start off by caulking the separated area and letting it reattach to the wall with the caulk.
Countertops separating from the wall to which they are connected is quite simply an eyesore. No one wants to see their kitchen countertop or bathroom countertop with a noticeable gap between it and the wall. Unfortunately, though, this is a common occurrence. Like any other home project, there are many ways you may desire to go about tackling the issue, and many things to consider as well.
What Causes a Countertop to Separate from the Wall?
When a gap breaks out between a countertop and the wall, there are innumerable ways that this could’ve occurred.
- Improper Installation: One likely culprit is the improper installation of the unit itself. When a countertop unit is installed, you want to ensure that whoever is installing (or has installed) the unit has done so correctly. If the unit is improperly installed, you run the risk of having a gap exposed.
- Imperfections of the Countertop: Another reason that a gap may develop between your countertop and the wall is due to the imperfections of the countertop. This can depend on the type of countertop you have.
- For example, if it is a laminate, certain areas may develop bulges and lapses due to moist areas, such as the countertop area around the sink.
- If the countertop is granite, imperfections in the sheet may prevent the entire countertop from fitting in an exact line against the wall.
- House Settling: As a house ages, it settles into the foundation on which it was constructed. As a house settles, it makes slight movements and adjustments according to the plot of land on which it sits. Sometimes walls shift in their positioning, allowing more movement in the home’s structure itself. The walls shifting can sometimes cause the countertop and wall to split away, thus creating a small gap.
- Weight of Cabinets: Sometimes the added pressure and weight of cabinets above the countertop can cause movement in the countertops and cause them to jut slightly away from the wall, again creating a gap.
- Shinkage: Movement and shrinkage in the floor can also cause movement in the countertop to create noticeable space.
How to Avoid a Gap
To avoid a gap from occurring between your counter and wall, you can, in fact, take small precautions to slow down or stop the eventual onset.
For one, if you know that you have a perfectly cut countertop that is going to be installed on a crooked wall, you need to save yourself time and effort and have the countertop adjusted.
Now, this may be expensive, but it will save you time, effort, and money from having to fix that annoying gap.
If you notice that you have floor movement, you can prevent the eventual movement in your countertops from becoming noticeable by tweaking the jack posts (which are powerful, steel columns typically in the basement that extend from ceiling to floor and support the home) so that they are resisting any movement.
The jack posts support the main beam of the house, upon which the rest sits. If you are able to tweak the jack posts to revert to their initial position, then you’ll likely avoid movement in the floors and walls that can cause a gap between the wall and countertop. (Source: Winnipeg Free Press Homes).
Fixing and Closing Larger Gaps
Now, in this case, you are going to go about attempting to reattach the cabinet and thereby the countertop firmly against the wall if feasible.
Step 1: Remove the Screws
When beginning to tackle the issue, you’ll need to figure out where the screws are that attach the cabinet to the wall. Typically, these are located inside the cabinet and toward the top of the unit.
There should be two to three or more screws nailed through the back of the countertop and into the wall. Another tip for finding these screws: they are usually driven through the reinforcement strip of wood that supports the countertop’s backend.
Now, you need to remove these screws from the cabinet, typically using a drill and a No. 2 Phillips bit.
Step 2: Pushing the Cabinet Closer to the Wall
You should then insert a flat bar or pry under the toe kick of the cabinet to then pry the front of the cabinet unit. This action will force the countertop to slide closer to the wall.
If you aren’t able to raise the front much, that’s normal. However, you should get small wooden shims around a half-inch thick. Now, you can use these shims and place them under the toe kick of the cabinet to keep it in an elevated situation.
Step 3: Finish the Job!
Now, you can take screws and drive them into new holes you will create through the process. Push them into the wall as far as they’ll go, but beware to avoid tightening them too much.
Once you’ve finished fastening the screws, check the wooden shims to see if they have moved or are loose at all. It is possible that they’ll be loose because when you tightened the screws, the cabinets might have shifted slightly upward.
If the shims are at all loose, you should replace them with pieces that are slightly thicker. You’ll have to fasten these into position by lightly hammering them in.
Fixing the Gap With Caulk
After the installation of any vanity or floor cabinet, you may notice a small gap between the countertop and the wall, and, truthfully, a gap is very likely after installation.
You can attempt to get the cabinet, vanity, or countertop as close to the wall as possible to render the gap unnoticeable, but changes in the structure of the home or the cabinet could cause a separation between the two, making a gap.
Many times, the alignment of the wall is not perfect, which will make it difficult to perfectly set a countertop against the wall without any hint of a gap. The likelihood of wall misalignment is much higher in older homes whose floors have settled and sagged and succumbed to heightened moisture.
Sometimes, with wall misalignment, the gap width of your countertop separation can change all up and down the point of contact.
To fix this issue, you can either caulk the area or consider adding trimming to hide the gap.
It is important for you to recognize, though, that gaps close to half an inch thick are not going to be fixable with caulking. You generally cannot fill these gaps with caulk and should consider using the trim option instead.
Anyway, first, you can try closing the gap if possible.
How to Caulk and What to Do
Now if the gap is or you can reduce it to be less than a fourth of an inch, you can fill it with caulk. If the gap happens to be larger than that, you can purchase some backer rod and stuff that in the gap first.
Backer rod is the foam insulation that helps maintain the caulk’s position and also serves to prevent the caulk from sinking, caving in, and creating crevices and holes.
In some cases, you’ll want to use the caulk and backer rod after having gone through the process of unscrewing the cabinet, shimming it, and forcing it back in.
There’s also another option before you officially start your caulking procedure. You could close the gap with a putty knife to stuff the area and avoid having to remove and move the cabinet closer.
The Caulking Process
Now you’re ready and have the tools to start applying the caulk. Here are some steps to follow as you go about the procedure:
- You’ll need to start by applying painter’s tape along the edge of the countertop. You’ll also have to apply the tape to the wall just above the gap to ensure that you keep caulk off both the wall and the countertop. You want to make sure that the areas to which you’ve attached the painter’s tape are exactly where the countertop and wall would meet if they were touching.
- Now you can apply your caulk with a caulking gun. You’ll want to make sure that you choose a color of caulk that matches or mimics the color of the countertop. Then, as you apply the caulk, take care to spread a thin and contiguous line of caulk without any breaks to ensure the best results.
- Now you are going to “tool” your caulk. While there are many actual tools you can use for this process, most homeowners elect to use either a lubricated finger or lubricated, backend of a plastic spoon. To tool the caulk, you have to draw your finger across the line of caulk you’ve applied with minimal pressure. Doing this will create a concave surface along the line of caulk. To maintain lubrication on either your finger or plastic spoon (or whatever else you choose for this process) keep a bowl of soapy water near you.
- Then, you’ll want to carefully remove the tape from the areas you’ve applied it to before the caulk finally sets in its position.
If You Choose, There’s Always Trim
Sometimes the gap between the countertop and the wall will be too large to remedy easily with the caulking method or simply jamming the cabinet back into place.
In this case, it may be easier for you if you choose to cover the gap with trim.
You’ll have a variety of trim options if you decide to go down this route. More common selections for this specific issue are among quarter-round trim and cove molding or a rectangular 1X2 inch material.
Then, you’ll have different methods for applying the trim you’ve selected to the area to then hide the gap. In general, here are some easy tips for you to follow to aid you in your efforts:
- Glue the molding to either the countertop or wall. You’ll have to do this with a thin layer of adhesive, preferably construction adhesive. You’ll want to shy away from using nails as a method of attaching the trim to the wall as it could either damage the countertop or backsplash.
- You could also caulk either end of the trim with an acrylic or latex caulk and then place the trim exactly on the wall where you desire it.
- You could also apply a coat of paint (you’ll only need to apply one) or finish after the caulk has set
- You could also prime or seal the molding after you’ve cut it and finished it. You’ll need to do this before you officially install the trim at any rate. (Source: Hunker)
What is the Difference Between Acrylic and Latex Caulk?
Well, as with anything, and especially with home repairs, there are nuances to the types of products you can consult. In this case, if you are attempting to remedy a gap between your countertop and the wall, you may want to use caulk.
There are two different types of caulk you may be so inclined to use: acrylic and latex. But, what exactly is the difference or the benefit between using one or the other? Well, in fact, there are even more possibilities than you might’ve supposed.
Let’s take a look (source: the Spruce):
- Acrylic Latex Caulk: General use caulks which dry quickly. They can be used in a variety of places for many reasons and are paintable. Acrylic latex caulk is commonly used to fill small gaps or holes in wood furnishings or trim. It is best to use this caulk in dry areas.
- Latex/Acrylic Caulk with Silicone: Allows more malleability, flexibility, and durability. It can expose to water as it is water-resistant. “Tub and tile” caulk.
- Pure Silicone Caulk: Great for areas with higher risk of water exposure; also mildew-resistant. These caulks have a longer lifespan. Great sealant around sinks.
- Butyl Rubber Caulk: Primarily used for outdoor areas. Great for use as sealant for shifty, outdoor areas made of metal such as gutters.
- Refractory Caulk: Caulk used in high-temperature settings.
- Masonry Repair Caulk: Great for sealing gaps and cracks, especially useful in driveways or stucco walls.
So, Which Caulk Is the Best for Countertops?
If your countertops are granite, then many agree that the best type of caulk to use a pure silicone caulk.
This allows for a finer finish that blends with a granite surface of any variety. Even further, though, the silicone caulk will be beneficial for the section of the countertop by the sink, as it is likely this area will be exposed to water. (source: NATCO)
If, however, you have a laminate countertop, you will likely be able to use the same type of caulk as you would on any countertop. Meaning, truly, a latex acrylic caulk or a silicone caulk will complete the job for you.
You’ll want to gauge your use of caulk on the type of finished product you hope to see form your caulking procedure.
Furthermore, if you wish to ensure that you will have no problems with moisture or water damage, then perhaps a silicone caulk is your best bet, as you’ll benefit from the best water resistance for an indoor caulking substance.
Should I Even Bother Fixing the Gap?
The easy answer? It depends.
How large is this gap? Is it noticeable? Is it going to bother the aesthetic balance of your kitchen?
Now, more importantly, is there any chance of moisture leeching into the gap?
If moisture were to leech behind the gap, this could get tricky. You may find yourself noticing that the gap has grown at that point.
The additional moisture can certainly cause even more growth in the gap, as it can cause movement and growth.
The extra moisture can also be dangerous, as it can become a breeding ground for mildew.
Now, the real answer? Yes, you should fill the gap. And filling or fixing some gaps is much easier than others; however, you don’t want to have a small issue of a gap, ignore it, and some time down the line be dealing with a mildew issue.
Instead, you should save yourself money now, and fix the issue now.
So, now you have the tools to go out there and tackle the project that has plagued your mind for however long (or maybe now you’ll just have the tools to fix the problem if it ever arises).
From your kitchen to your bathroom, you’ll have the ability to make sure any gap that happens to come out of nowhere will not stay there and not serve as an eyesore for you to deal with for however long.