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Installing or replacing countertops can have a huge impact on the appearance, décor, and atmosphere of your kitchen. But with so many options, choosing a countertop material can be overwhelming. The various materials commonly used provide differing benefits and disadvantages. Narrow your choices by comparing cost, value, versatility, maintenance, durability, and appeal. Get the answers to some key questions about countertops to help you make an informed decision.
Here's how to clean various countertop materials:
Marble is typically the most expensive countertop material. The price ranges from approximately $75 to $250 per square foot. Maintenance is also costly. Pricing for quartz and stainless steel countertops starts at around $80 to $100, but usually doesn’t exceed $150 per square foot.
Butcher block countertop installation requires a circular saw, a drill, clamps, a sander, utility knife, measuring tape, and miscellaneous installation supplies. Measure and cut the wood block to size. Attach it to the cabinets with clamps, glue, braces, and wood screws. Sand the surface and finish with an oil application.
Yes. In fact, a few coats of paint can transform kitchen and bathroom countertops. Choose paint formulated for your specific countertop material, such as laminate, ceramic tile, cultured marble, Corian, or butcher block. Properly cleaning and prepping the surface before painting is essential for a successful outcome.
Oven cleaner chemicals are too strong for common countertop materials. It erodes the varnish coating on butcher block counters, leading to water damage. Permanent discoloration and fading are possible on granite, quartz, and Formica. It eats away at tile finishes and grout. Stainless steel fares the best, but may be stained.
Gather together a tape measure, pencil, calculator, and graph paper. Create a diagram of the countertop spaces on the graph paper, making it to scale. Include spaces for non-countertop surface areas, such as the sink and cooktop. Measure the spaces and note the measurements on the corresponding areas on the diagram.
Create a thick baking soda and water paste for oil-based stains. Use baking soda and peroxide for all others. Cover the stain with the paste and lay plastic wrap over it. Poke some holes in the wrap and tape it down with masking tape. Allow it to sit for 24 hours, then clean with warm water.
Soapy film can dull a granite countertop over time. Remove it with a commercial cleaner formulated for the task. Then, buff the countertop with olive oil and a soft cloth to create a lustrous finish. Specially designed polishes are also available to shine granite countertops. Don’t use car wax.
Use a pry bar and hammer to work the tiles up, starting with the outer edges. Slide the pry bar between each tile and the mortar. Hammer the other end to loosen the tile and separate it from the underlying counter surface. Continue tapping down each row until all the tiles are removed.
Sealants aren’t necessary or recommended for quartz countertops. Due to the resin in this man-made material, it has a nonporous surface, which repels stains and liquids. The surfaces can be scratched, though, so avoid abrasive cleaners and scrubbing pads.
Granite countertops deliver the most bang for your buck. They’re beautiful, versatile, low-maintenance, durable, and heat resistant. They’re available in many colors and styles. Plus, they can be designed to look like luxury materials, such as marble, without the expense, maintenance, and fragility.
Ceramic tile is among the least expensive countertop materials. Tile prices range from $5 to $7 per square foot. Plus, tile is DIY-friendly, allowing many homeowners to skip pricey professional installation and repairs.
Granite and quartz are highly durable materials. Quartz countertops don’t require sealant, but are still stain-resistant, bacteria-resistant, and impervious to knife cuts. Granite is also extremely strong, and resistant to breakage and cracks. Unlike quartz, granite is also heat resistant, but it requires annual sealant applications to repel stains.