How to Fix Your Kitchen Countertops

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  • 01 of 05

    DIY Countertop Fixes

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    Isn't it the worst when costly kitchen countertops fracture? Don't worry. With these helpful DIY fixes, tailored to four different countertop types, no one will be able to detect that anything was wrong in the first place.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Granite

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    Fill in with pulverized stone and buff smooth.

    Materials

    Restorer-grade granite patch kit, such as PRG, Inc.'s Chip & Fill Kit.

    Procedure

    1. Mix the dry stone until the correct shade is achieved.
    2. Add liquid binders to the dry stone, mix, and add a catalyst.
    3. Press the mix into the granite area in need of repair.
    4. Razor off the excess, and buff down with fine-grit paper.

    How Good Is the Repair?

    So-so. With natural slab granite counters, literally every piece of granite is different, so an exact match is impossible. With engineered granite, there will be more consistency, and thus, the repairs will more closely match.

    The trick is to use the restorer-grade granite repair kits because it's mixing actual stone dust with binding agents. For DIY granite repairs, it takes patience, experience, and a good eye. However, with the large investment to install a granite countertop, it may be worth calling in a professional that's in the budget.

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  • 03 of 05

    Laminate

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    Fill in the imperfection with a material designed specifically for the purpose of repairing laminate counters. This material bonds mechanically to the laminate's substrate. The substrate is that dark, flaky-looking material below the wear layer.

    Materials

    SeamFil or similar.

    Procedure

    1. Clean the crack or gouge with a special solvent.
    2. Press the repair material into the crack/gouge ​with a smooth putty knife.
    3. Remove excess repair material with the special solvent.

    How Good Is the Repair?

    Fair.  Repairing laminate countertops is the worst of all. In fact, the difficulty of laminate repairs is one of the reasons why some homeowners shy away from purchasing this type of countertop material.

    Matching color is hard. Even though manufacturers like SeamFil provide color charts, this is dependent on you knowing the laminate counter's color in the first place.

    Both Formica and Wilsonart are well-known brands of laminate countertops, but the repair will still be difficult. Black & Decker's Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair sums it up perfectly, when they say, "Laminates are durable and stain resistant, but unfortunately, their surfaces are usually impossible to repair."

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  • 04 of 05

    Ceramic Tile

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    Replace the damaged tile. Or have a professional company fill the imperfection, and then refinish the counter. But for those imagining themselves filling in the tile crack with an off-the-shelf repair kit and having it look decent, that simply will not happen.

    Materials

    In the first instance, replace the damaged ceramic tile with a new one. The cost of materials is negligible. In the second instance, the company makes a repair with filler, and then essentially paints over the entire countertop to cover both the repair and the good tile.

    DIY Procedure

    1. Excise damaged tile, being careful not to disturb surrounding tile.
    2. Carefully clean out every last chunk of mortar and broken tile from the area.
    3. Adhere new ceramic tile.
    4. Regrout the tile.

    Professional Procedure

    1. The company fills in the crack, gouge, nick, etc.
    2. The company thoroughly cleans down the counters.
    3. The company refinishes the entire counter surface, including grout.

    How Good Is the Repair?

    With one-for-one tile replacement, it's nearly perfect. The trick is to have a steady hand--or to hire a professional tile installer. With refinishing, the repair is hidden underneath the new layer of paint. The downside: grout gets painted over, too.

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  • 05 of 05

    Solid Surface (Corian)

    solid surface countertop kitchen island
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    Corian and other solid surface counters are amazingly easy to fix. Sand/buff out or call in a certified technician.

    Materials

    Fine grit sandpaper. Some homeowners report success with the abrasive side of kitchen scrubbers, such as ScotchBrite.

    Procedure

    1. Begin by lightly buffing down the scratches with fine grit sandpaper.
    2. Increase grit as needed (remember, lower numbers on sandpaper grit mean that it is more abrasive).

    How Good Is the Repair?

    Those who have scratches in a solid surface are in for a pleasant surprise. The surface will stand out well, and the repair will look quite good in the end.

    For anything more major than sandable scratches, call in a technician certified for that particular solid surface product.