Repairing damage to granite countertops

Granite countertops have become an especially popular choice in homes due to their durability and beautiful appearance. But when this surface is damaged, homeowners may wonder if an expensive repair will be necessary.

Thankfully, many blemishes to granite countertops can be fixed fairly easily. Inexpensive kits made specifically for granite repairs are available, and an experienced professional can even repair granite with severe cracking in it.

Although it can stand up to a lot of stresses, granite is not immune from problems. The granite care products company Granite Gold says these include staining, etching, chips, scratches, cracks, and heat damage.

One of the best ways to protect granite is to regularly apply a sealer. This protects the surface from absorbing acidic liquids and other materials which can lead to stains. Using a proper stone cleaner will help prevent the cloudy appearance that results from hazing.

Granite is a particularly hard stone, so it is unlikely to be scratched. However, this can still occur if you accidentally drag a diamond engagement ring or other hard object across the surface.

One way to repair a scratch in granite is to simply color it in. Arch City Granite & Marble, a St. Louis company, says you can find a permanent marker with a color that matches the granite and use it to fill in the scratch. You can then wipe the area with denatured alcohol to remove any residue. Minor scratches can also be buffed out with steel wool.

A deeper scratch may require a visit from a professional, since it should be sanded down to the surface before being filled in with an epoxy compound that matches the surrounding granite pattern. Sanding down too far can give the granite a concave appearance.

Impacts from heavy items can cause pieces of granite to chip off. If a substantial chip has broken off, save it and call a professional to restore it. They will be able to reattach it and smooth out the edges where the chip broke away.

For smaller chips, repair kits are available to fix the issue with epoxy. Amanda Bell, writing for SF Gate, says you should start by cleaning the surface and taping off the damaged area. By leaving some of the undamaged area within the tape, you'll be better able to color match the epoxy.

Prepare and apply the epoxy, then use a razor blade to gently remove any excess. The kits will have tape or another type of curing strip to place over the epoxy, helping to keep it level with the rest of the countertop as it hardens. If the epoxy is not level after this initial process, you may need to add more; steel wool or sandpaper can also help smooth it out.

Granite is difficult to crack, but such a fracture can occur under heavy weight, such as a person standing on the surface. It might also occur as a result of hot items being placed directly on the surface instead of on a trivet, or stresses placed on the stone, especially in narrow areas such as the thin strip of stone surrounding a sink.

You don't necessarily need to replace cracked granite. It is possible to restore it, although you'll likely need a professional to do so. Patriot Stone Restoration of Oakley, Calif., says you'll need to identify the underlying cause of the problem. This may involve repairs to the substrate under the countertop, such as waterproofing wooden surfaces.

Once this work is completed, the broken edges of the countertop should be placed lined up. The gaps can then be filled with epoxy tinted to match the surrounded surface and polished to create a uniform appearance.

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