Should You Repair, Refinish, or Replace Granite Countertops?
Your granite countertops have been your pride and joy in the kitchen for a long time. However, you notice that it is looking the worse for wear despite cleaning and polishing it religiously. It might be time to act more aggressively to make it look brand new.
Sealing is one option you can do on your own if you suspect the sealer is no longer intact. It is easy enough to do, and it just might be all you need to do. However, if this does not do the trick, you might have to think about other options. You can repair, refinish, or replace them. The question is when should you repair, refinish, or replace granite countertops. You will find the answer below, and the steps you have to take to do any of these actions.
You can find out if resealing your granite countertops is a possible solution by testing the surface. You can use the water bead test, which simply requires you to drop water on the surface and observe it. If the water keeps its bead shape, the seal is intact. If the surface absorbs it, you need to reseal.
Resealing granite countertops is not a complicated process. You only have to purchase the appropriate sealer for granite and follow the instructions. In most cases, this entails applying the product on a clean surface with a clean cloth. You will probably have to leave it on for up to 24 hours before wiping off the excess. In some cases, you might have to apply a second coat.
If you choose the right product, the granite will absorb the seal and close off any pores the stone might have. You can expect to pay from $60 for a 1-gallon container, but this is usually enough to cover all countertops in a typical kitchen. Use only enough to apply a thin coat of the product on the surface, as an excessive amount will lead to pooling and an extended drying period.
Resealing will not guarantee it will restore you granite countertops to its original glory, but it is a simple and cost-effective option you should try first. At the very least, it will prevent further staining and damage as well as keep the surface free of bacteria. You should know that surface damage to granite would not compromise the durability of the stone, although it looks it.
Additionally, some types of granite are not porous at all, so it will pass a water bead test. It is also not a good idea to apply a seal on these types of granite, as it will not absorb the seal and simply sit on the surface, making it look even duller.
Repairing granite countertops is another option if they have numerous scratches, chips and cracks on the surface making it look less than attractive. There are DIY options for this as well, notably granite repair kits, which are usually epoxy- or resin-based products in various colors. The idea is to fill them in with the epoxy or resin with closest color to your granite countertops, rather like repairing holes or cracks in your wall plaster with putty. After it dries, you need to sand it so it is level to the surface, and seal the area. The filler should be indistinguishable from the surrounding stone. As granite is typically prone unexpected splashes of colors and inconsistent patterns, ensuring the filler blends in is not going to be too much of a problem.
These repair kits cost upwards of $35, but some of them can go a long way towards covering up most of your problems with your granite. However, if you have large portions missing from your stone, or the cracks are quite wide, the repair kit will not work for you. If you have these types of problems with your granite countertops, it might be better to replace them.
If your granite countertops do not have major physical damages, but they look terrible, refinishing them might be your best option if you cannot afford to replace them. One way to refinish your countertops is with oil-based paint.
Painting granite is a lot like painting dry wall in that you have to prepare the surface. You have to sand the surface to rough it up so the adhesion primer will stick to it. Once your primer is dry, you can apply one or two coats of your preferred paint color. Ask a granite expert about the best type of primer and paint for this option.
If painting your granite countertops is making you cringe, you might want to go down the laminate path. Laminates are affordable and come in a wide range of colors and designs. You might even find one that approximates the look of your original stones. This is also the perfect opportunity to change the look of your kitchen by choosing a completely different color and design.
Laminate sheets come in many sizes, but large ones retail for about $50. It will need an application of laminate glue, sold separately. As with paint, you have to clean and sand the surface to ensure the glue will hold. You can do this yourself, or have a professional do it for you.
The need to replace your granite countertops will largely depend on your pain threshold. That is, unless the stone is structurally unsound, in which case you have no choice but to replace them. However, if you just hate the way it looks even if it is structurally intact and you are willing to pay the cost, then replacing your granite countertops is your best option. All the other options might give acceptable results, but it will not make your happy.
Unfortunately, replacing your kitchen countertops is not usually a DIY project. Fabricating and installing granite requires special equipment and skills, and unless you have those, you are not going to get good results.
You can save some money by choosing countertop packages from a reliable countertop specialist, which usually includes fabrication and installation. KNC Granite, for instance, offers granite countertops for as low as $34.99 per square foot. This does limit your choices to select granite slabs, but it is an option you can consider.
Granite countertops last for many years, but circumstances might lead to surface or worse damage to them. Depending on the nature of the damage, you have a choice of repairing, refinishing, or replacing them. if you choose to replace them, you should contact a reputable countertop specialist in your area to handle the project.
KNC Granite has a large array of granite and marble slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland. We service Washington DC, many areas in Maryland (Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville) and Virginia (Alexandria, Arlington).
If you prefer quartz countertops, we can also help. Also we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We do not only supply top quality natural and engineered stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote for your granite countertops!