Considering the ocean of kitchen cabinets countertops out there, finding the best one for a kitchen may be quite catchy. Besides, finding the right information can also be tricky.
Types of kitchen countertops
Quartz kitchen countertops: to start with, quartz kitchen countertops are the most famous and most used kitchen cabinet countertops of all. Some of the features of quartz countertops that have attracted the attention of many include; it’s excellent durability and ease of cleaning. However, its price has also made it a drawback for many who choose it. Below are some of the things you opt to know about quartz kitchen countertops.
1. Do not set hot pans on them: quartz countertops have considered as heat-resistant and durable. However, putting hot pans on it can easily invoke damage. If you opt to, then, it is recommended that you use trivet or stove mitt for protection.
2. They are not made from pure quartz: these are manmade countertops and therefore, are a blend of ground-up quartz which is ground with a polymer binder or resin. Some little pigments are also added for pattern and color. However, there is a high composition of quartz, which gives it a strong nature.
3. It’s different from quartzite: quartz countertops shouldn’t be confused with quartzite. It is because quartzite is naturally mined like granite. Quartzite has natural color pigments and patterns contrary to quartz, where they are added from other materials. The advantage of quartz over quartzite is that quartz is non-porous which requires no sealing to prevent stains
4. quartz is not DIY-friendly: dealing with quartz countertops requires wet saw which has a diamond blade to cut. This recommendation turns of most do-it-yourself users.
5. They are the most used than granite: quartz is the most popular and has surpassed granite.
6. They can chip although they are strong: quartz countertops are well known for their ability to last longer. However, manmade stuff cannot be 100% efficiency. Therefore, quartz countertops can easily flake, mostly around the edges
7. Save money with leftover: quartz kitchen countertops are much expensive. This means you may want to own a quartz countertop with a low buying price. It’s possible since remnants are available. Countertops are made from slabs that are being cut according to different measures to obtain the countertop intended. After cutting, some pieces remain, which can be of great help to you. Countertops cost around $60 to $120 per square foot. However, if you use remnants, this figure will be by far unreachable.
Pros and cons of quartz
> Quartz countertops are strong and flexible.
> Quartz is non-porous an requires no sealing.
> They are stain-resistant
> When exposed to sunlight, quartz can easily discolor
Granite kitchen countertops: granite countertops are also good considering their durability and beauty. The only fallout that comes with granite countertops which explains why it has not been an option for the majority irrespective of its topnotch features is the need to seal them regularly to prevent stains, and their higher cost.
Marble kitchen countertops: marble countertops also have good looks that surely attracts. Marble countertops are of different variety since marble is mined all over the world. The advantage of marble countertops is the beauty and durability if taken care of. However, the cost of maintaining a marble countertop is relatively higher plus its buying price.
Tile kitchen countertops: these types of countertops come in a different color, style, and size, which can make your kitchen very unique. Tile installation can be quite expensive if elaborate designs are used.
Other countertops are; laminate kitchen countertop, concrete kitchen countertop, stainless steel countertops, porcelain kitchen countertops, solid surface kitchen countertop, recycled glass kitchen countertops, resin countertops, lava countertops, butcher block, and reclaimed wood countertops.
All countertops are prone to discolor, cracking, and even breakage. Going for a custom kitchen cabinet is awe, but it may come with a higher price, which is why most people don’t use custom kitchen cabinet. These fallouts are caused by a variety of reasons which could be any of the discussed below.
> Impact from heavy and hard objects can cause cracking or breakage to countertops. Cracking of kitchen cabinets countertops mostly occurs when they are installed in cooktops, ranges, and sinks. The corners and edges can also crack easily than any other surface. What is the remedy to this? For small cracks and chips, super glue can fix it. The filling of the crack should be done carefully and giving more time for the super glue to dry before putting the countertop into use. If there is excess glue, it should be removed carefully with a razor blade. For deep cracks, it is recommended that you use color-matched epoxy resin. It is an organic chemical bond that is also used to fill and secure quartz countertops’ seams during installation.
> Use over time can also be a cause. When countertops are used for a prolonged period, they start weakening, which can later lead to cracking of the kitchen countertop.
> Natural fissures. Some countertops such as granite countertop may have natural fissures. This is because granite is a natural stone product that is quarried in big blocks from deep the earth’s surface. Granite has different mineral makeup and composition. Some of the minerals are feldspar, mica, and silica. During the long period of formation underground, granite develops natural fissures. After being mined and used to make countertops, the polishing done during the process masks the fissures hence not visible. Later on, when using the countertop, the fissures may open slowly, and with time they become wider hence causing cracks.
> Preventing small cracks from getting larger. If you come across a crack on the countertop, you should take action immediately. The action should intend to sealing the crack to avoid more crack from developing or largening of the initial one.
> The risk of unsealed countertops. Using granite as an example, naturally, it has fissures that cannot be easily seen or felt. This means to avoid cracks that may develop earlier, and the sealant should be used regularly. If not, then, the chances of developing cracks would be so high.
Some terms associated with stone countertops
Crack a line that develops in stones without bringing a separation effect on the stone.
Fissure; closely related to a crack but this one doesn’t occur later as cracks do. They are natural and occur during the formation of the stone.
Chip; these are fragments or pieces that may be as a result of the impact of the countertop during installation or usage.
Hairline cracks; they are cracks but very thin (hairline) hence cannot be easily seen. Besides, they don’t affect the performance of the countertop.
Nick; nick and chip are almost the same. It’s a small notch or cut on the stone.
How to prevent cracking on kitchen countertops
> due to thermal expansion, the physical properties of countertop should be considered to avoid the possibility of joint cracking. In choosing the installation position, great selection should be made. It is good to avoid the installation of countertops at the corners of the mouth.
> stress concentration should be considered. Arc angles with a radius exceeding 25 mm should be placed at all corners in machining.
> during the hole position designing, the opening position should be equal to 80mm or more from the edge of the mesa.
> when installing the mesa, a gap of 2-4mm between the countertop and the wall should be kept and maintained. This is to ensure that the countertop will not crack due to thermal expansion or col contraction.
> in daily use, ensure you avoid cracks due to external forces that you may induce them, such as; do not hit the quartz mesa, avoid direct contact by hot objects.
> countertops shouldn’t be used in outdoor. This is because continuous exposure to sunlight can easily weaken the countertop and cause discolor, which may soon be followed by breakage.
> do not sit on the countertops.
> countertops shouldn’t be used as workbenches for various projects at home.
Types of cracks
There are two types of cracks that may develop in a countertop. These are hairline cracks and separated cracks.
Hairline cracks: as the name suggests, hairline cracks are very thin and cannot be easily felt or seen. Mostly, hairline cracks occur during installation when the heavy slab is moved into place. They mostly occur in cutouts and sinks. The good news is, hairline cracks do not need repair because, hairlines do not affect the cleaning, use, and integrity of the kitchen countertop.
Separated cracks: these are the worst. They have a gap and a lip hence easily seen or felt. Separated cracks are mostly formed due to heavy impact involving the countertop, sitting on the countertop and other things that should be avoided. Separated cracks require to be repaired before they become more pronounced.
Factors to consider when choosing kitchen countertops
As discussed earlier, kitchen countertops are of a different variety, and each variety has its pros and cons, ranging from the initial price to maintenance. You may still have a problem with choosing the best countertop that would suit you and make your kitchen look unique. Below are some of the factors you opt to consider when choosing a countertop.
How you use countertops: countertops can be used in many ways. How you use kitchen countertop determines the type of countertop you should buy. For example, if you want to use the countertop in food preparation, then, the best option can be quartz, although there are others you can use and achieve great experience.
Staying with kids: with no doubt, kids cannot give the same attention and care you have towards kitchen cabinet countertops. This means you should go for kids-friendly countertops which may include resin, solid surface, quartz and butcher block.
The care and maintenance of the countertops: if at all you want a carefree countertop then, solid surface, quartz, resin, laminate, among others can be your best choice. For those who require moderate care, the best choice could be butcher block, wood, tile, and more. Marble requires the utmost care, which includes cleaning daily, polishing, sealing, and chip repair.
After how long do you need to replace or repair your kitchen countertop
After using your countertop for years or months according to your maintenance, finally it wears, and you may get worried since the beauty of your kitchen may no longer be existing. At such a point, even regular cleaning and polishing may not help.
What you need to do is to restore the beauty of the countertop reapplying sealant to the countertop. This process may be quite involving than polishing, but after executing it carefully, your countertop will look like a new one. How do I reseal? It is recommended that you use an impregnating stone sealer. This is a type of a sealer that when used, it runs deep into the countertop which will enable it to repel stain. The added advantage is that you will have an easy time during cleaning since beverages and food will wipe off easily.
Before applying the sealant, you are required to thoroughly clean the countertop using a specialized cleaner formulated for the countertop. With the help of a clean lint-free cloth, apply the sealant to the countertop. You shouldn’t use an excess sealant to avoid dripping. The sealant requires to be applied two times. However, the second application should be made after the first applied coat dries. Thereafter, you should wait for 24 hours before resuming to usage. Professionals recommend the application of the sealant every two years.
Most of these kitchen cabinet countertops are long-lasting if precaution measures are taken seriously plus repairing and maintenance. In as much as they are expensive, they are worth it considering the period one could take operating with it. Furthermore, apart from being designed to provide comfort and induce great experience in the kitchen, most of these kitchen countertops are stylishly made which would bring aesthetic value to your house. Above all, countertops are made from environmental-friendly stones.
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