Granite countertops are tough and hardworking, able to withstand regular use in the kitchen without sustaining damage over a long time. It is possible to damage them if you abuse it, however. For example, it you sit on the edge of a long overhang, where it is weakest, it might break or crack. Banging a heavy pot on the surface can also cause it to develop cracks and fissures.
If you do cause minor damage to granite countertops, it is no cause for despair. You can probably fix some of them quite well with a bit of ingenuity and this guide to repairing granite countertops.
Determine the nature of the damage
Before you go off half-cocked when you see a crack or chip in your granite, determine the nature of the damage. You might be panicking for no reason. The damage you see in your granite countertops might not even be one at all.
Granite forms naturally, and natural stones have their imperfections. While granite suppliers usually make sure the slabs they cut for residential use are free from flaws, you do occasionally find some with small pits and fissures.
By definition, fissures are very thin lines that run along the borders of crystallized minerals. In dimension stone, these fissures are only on the surface. It does not typically go continuously through the depth of the stone, although it could run for a ways on the surface. Even then, superficial fissures will not cause the slab to break along them.
There have been rare instances when this has happened, in which case the homeowner can legitimately claim a replacement from the supplier, provided it is a reputable company. That said, reputable companies such as Silver Marble and Granite in Sterling, VA would inspect all their slabs carefully for such defects before installing them, so this should not happen.
Granite slabs may also have pits in the surface that resemble chips. These are also natural features of the stone, and superficial as well. The supplier will fill in any significant pitting in the granite with epoxy prior to installation or not use the slab at all for kitchen countertops.
That said, damage to the granite might occur during fabrication, installation, or shipping. Since granite slabs are just 2 cm or 3 cm thick, cracking and chipping is possible. However, this should not happen after installation of the granite countertops with proper support.
What to look for
To tell the difference between a fissure and a crack, you need to make a thorough inspection of the granite countertops right after installation. Look closely at vulnerable areas such as around cutouts and overhangs, where physical damage tends to happen. If you see what appears to be a crack, run your finger along it. If you can feel the difference, it is most likely a crack as fissures tend to be quite flat. Bring the attention of the installer to it at once.
If you do not find anything during your inspection, and find something after a few days, it is probably a crack. Fissures do not suddenly appear on granite, so chances are it is a physical break.
Another difference between a crack and a fissure is the way it runs. Fissures tend to weave between clumps of crystals, while a crack will run more or less in a straight line, running through crystals and veins.
Tips for repairing granite
Once you have determined that you definitely have a crack or other types of physical damage that is not a defect in your granite countertops, you have to get ahead of it. These types of damage will get worse over time, so unless you do something, you are looking at replacing them earlier than you expected.
While cracks are your greatest concern because they tend to affect the integrity of the whole slab, you should also look into repairing chips and broken off pieces of granite. They ruin the look of your kitchen.
Cracks and chips
The fastest way to deal with cracks and chips is by filling it in to stop it from getting worse. You can easily find affordable repair kits using epoxy, acrylic, or other polymer resins online or in hardware stores.
One of these is the Granite & Marble Acrylic Repair DIY Kit – Light Cure. This uses an acrylic paste that you can shape carefully, but hardens quickly after exposure to a light curing gadget. The small version will set you back about $20, and it is handy to have around to repair small chips and cracks on your granite countertops.
LiquaGlass is another repair kit that uses a two-part epoxy process. This means you have to mix two types of paste together to activate it, but once you do, you have to work quickly as it hardens within a few seconds.
To maximize the product, mix just a small amount at a time. You should prepare the area that needs repairing ahead of time, and be ready with something to wipe off the excess, as you have to be quick about it.
LiquiGlass is priced at around $50 for 3 ounces, but this should last you for a long time. It also hardens into a clear, glass-like surface that does not discolor and blends seamlessly with granite.
If a piece of granite breaks off, you can also use LiquaGlass to glue it back, and fill in any gaps. If LiquaGlass is not available, you can use any repair kit that uses epoxy. When preparing to reattach granite, you will need the following items:
- Razor blade
- Scrubbing pad
- Paper towels
- The first thing you have to do is make sure all affected areas are clean. Any contaminant in the surfaces will compromise the bonding of the two pieces. Dampen a paper towel with acetone and clean the surfaces. Use the scrubbing pad to make sure that no oil or dirt remains.
- The acetone should dry up quickly, but you can use the hairdryer to ensure the surfaces are completely dry.
- Follow instructions for mixing the epoxy and apply it quickly and evenly to both surfaces before putting the two pieces together. Make sure it fits correctly. Apply some pressure to hold them in place for a minute or two to give the epoxy time to harden.
- Remove any excess substance from the surfaces using an acetone-dampened paper towel.
- Let the epoxy cure for a minimum of 24 hours. You can then use the razor blade to remove any residue that remains. Fill in any gaps with epoxy, and allow a further 24 hours for it to harden.
- Apply a sealer to the area.
You can avoid having to look into this guide by taking proper care of your granite countertops and getting them from a reliable supplier. Silver Marble Granite is your best bet in the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia.
We work only with the best brands in the business, and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. We carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone as well as granite and marble slabs. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. We offer free quotes for the asking. You will be amazed at the deals we can offer you!