Common Countertop Problems and Fixes
You rely on your kitchen countertops for so much and expect them to add to the overall appearance of your kitchen. They are designed with durability in mind, but even the toughest countertops have issues. To get the most out of your kitchen, countertops must be properly installed and regularly maintained.
Here are the most common problems and how you can fix them:
Many people fear that they will have to replace an entire countertop if just a small portion of it is damaged but, in many cases, the damage can be fixed separately. The type of rupture damage your counter experiences will impact the method used to fix the problem.
Countertops can rupture because of:
- Being installed over an uneven surface
- Poorly crafted joints
- The glue not having enough time to dry during installation
- Carrying too much weight in a certain area
Deeper cracks or damage from excessive weight can be fixed using special filler. It can be tricky to find a filler material that blends seamlessly with your countertops, but a professional can help you with that.
The weight of heavy appliances can lead to the eventual breakdown of materials if countertops are not reinforced sufficiently. Adequate support is imperative for countertops that support heavy appliances, cabinets, or any type of weight. For appliances that emit heat, you will need specially placed vents to prevent counters, cabinets, and other kitchen features from cracking.
Smaller kitchens are at greater risk for water damage as well as kitchens with laminate or wood countertops. Signs of water damage include the dishwasher not closing properly or parts of counters suddenly looking uneven next to cabinets.
The best way to prevent water damage is by using a vapour barrier during installation. You should also pay close attention to your sink and ensure it is sealed properly to prevent leaks. Check under the sink as well for leaks and make sure joints are sealed with silicone.
Avoid using harsh chemicals on countertops as they can cause surfaces to dull over time. If this does occur, get a professional to buff and re-polish your countertops. Do not try this project on your own, or risk making the problem worse. For everyday cleaning, opt for soap and warm water as most commercial cleaners are too harsh for marble and granite surfaces.
While cooking, you are bound to put all sorts of plates on your counter and some of them are likely quite hot. Despite their strength, countertops can still crack and stain from high heat. This is why it is important to always use potholders, trivets, and other barriers to keep heat directly off your counters.
In the case of a burn mark on laminate:
- Clean the area thoroughly
- Apply a layer of toothpaste using a rubber spatula
- Allow the toothpaste to sit for at least 10 minutes
- Use an old toothbrush or any soft-bristled brush to scrub the stain
- Wipe the surface clean again with a moist towel
For other surfaces, use a similar method with a different cleaner. Stainless steel countertops can be fixed with club soda and for porcelain use a baking soda and water mixture.
When mineral-rich hard water sits on countertops it can create a white, crusty buildup. There are a few different methods you can try to remove the stain:
- Soft bristled brush and a gentle cleaner
- Steel wool
- A poultice or extractor specifically made for granite. The thick mixture can be applied over counters, and then covered with a plastic sheet secured with tape. Wait 24 hours, remove the plastic and paste before rinsing the counter thoroughly.
For laminate surfaces, you can use specially made repair pens or paste to fill scratches. For granite, the fix is a bit more complicated:
- Apply tape around the area so only the damaged area is exposed
- Mix epoxy resin with colour pigments that match your granite colour
- Use a stick to apply the mix
- Use a razor blade to scrape off excess
- Place clear tape over the newly filled surface
- Remove the tape according to the manufacturer guidelines
- Start blending the area with 200-grit sandpaper, then move up to 800-grit, followed by 2000-grit
- Remove surrounding tape
- Apply granite polish
- Buff granite and clean with a soft rag
Not everyone is comfortable taking on this much work for their countertops, nor do they have all the tools necessary lying around. Feel free to call a professional to help make your countertops look like new again.October 2018