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Repairing a Cracked Solid Surface Countertop
Acrylic resin countertops, marketed under names such as Corian® (the original product from Dupont), Avonite, and Wilsonart, have captured the hearts of homeowners due to their durability, ease of care, and the fact that the seaming techniques create smooth, virtually seamless surface. Made from a mixture of plastic resins, these products look very much like stone but are much different than quartz solid-surfacing materials such as Zodiac® or Cambria®.)
Solid surface countertops provided an option to natural stone countertops in allowing the use of undermount sinks. The design flexibility and durability of these countertops have helped to create some of the most beautiful kitchens and bathroom vanities you will ever see.
A Durable Countertop Surface
Although solid surface counters are generally durable, they can still scratch, stain or even crack. Of these problems, repairing a cracked solid surface countertop is the one that strikes fear into the hearts of many do-it-yourselfers. For years, there has been so much “technical” advice and hype about the difficulty of doing solid surface repairs correctly that a quality repair can seem impossible to the average do-it-yourselfer. And horror stories abound about professional contractors charging large sums for such repairs because they require so much specialized know-how.
So it can be a horrible feeling when you see a crack or other major damage in your new expensive countertop.
DIY Repairs Are Possible
The truth is that you can do this repair yourself! To provide some direct contractor experience and tips, we asked Michael Chotiner, a master carpenter who writes about many types of home improvement projects including kitchen updates and repairs, to provide some advice on repairing a cracked solid surface countertop.
To find the materials you need to repair your countertops and a see a variety of new solid surface countertop options you can visit your big box home improvement center, such as Home Depot.
There are two common and most effective ways of repairing a cracked solid surface countertop. They include:
- Cyanoacrylate or CA (Super Glue) Method
- Epoxy Filler Method
Although there are other methods for patching cracked solid surface counters, including buying the professional seaming kit used by fabricators, or routing out the damaged area and gluing in a patch, these methods require materials, tools, and skills that most do-it-yourselfers don’t own, have access to, or know how to use.
The two solid-surfacing crack repair methods described in this tutorial are low risk, and it's easy to try again if they don't work out perfectly the first time.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Super Glue Method
Super Glue (Cyanoacrylate) Method
This method uses cyanoacrylate (or super glue) and comes from Ken Dolph who is associated with a company called Art Specialties International, an online supplier of Corian® brand remnants, fillers and adhesives.
This "super glue" method works best for hairline cracks, narrower than the thickness of a few sheets of paper.
Tools & Materials You Will Need
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Cyanoacrylate glue (super glue)
- 220-grit and 400-grit sandpaper
- Ultra-fine Scotch Brite Pad
Continue to 3 of 3 below.
- Lay bags of ice over the cracked countertop surface, extending at least 6 inches. past the crack on either side. Chill the surface for at least 45 minutes. The crack should widen slightly as the material contracts from the cold.
- Clean out the crack with a toothbrush and hydrogen peroxide. If dark stains persist in the crack, apply a chlorinated detergent and scrub with the brush.
- Rinse with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
- Draw a pencil line next to the crack, about 1/16 inch from the edges.
- Using a portable blow dryer on the hot setting (do not a heat gun), heat the surface on each side of the crack for about 20 minutes or until the crack closes up and disappears. The pencil mark should still be visible.
- Lay a thin bead of cyanoacrylate glue (you can use popular brand-name products like Krazy Glue or Super Glue, but it’s better to get an industrial grade, usually marked “CA”) right on top of the crack.
- Don’t work on the countertop or disturb the surface for at least 24 hours. During this period, the glue will wick into the crack and harden for a maximum-strength bond.
- Hand-sand the repair area with 220-grit abrasive sandpaper, then follow with 400-grit paper. Finally, buff the area with an ultra-fine grade (dark grey) Scotch Brite pad.
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Epoxy Filler Method
The Epoxy Filler Method
Some prefer a different method than the 'super glue' method just described. Repairing cracks in a solid surface material with two-part epoxy filler can be faster, easier, and more permanent than using cyanoacrylate, especially when repairing wider cracks. This method was first developed when solid surface materials originally came to market.
Tools & Materials You Will Need
- Denatured alcohol
- Two-part epoxy kit
- Paints to match countertop colors
- Wooden popsicle (craft) sticks
- Artist paint brushes
- Random-orbit sander
- 120-, 220-, 400-grit sanding discs
- Rags and sponges
- Scraps of countertop material and rasp (optional)
- Clean out and de-grease the crack using denatured alcohol.
- Set out two separate beads of epoxy filler and hardener on a disposable surface, as much as you think you’ll need to fill the crack plus a little more.
- Mix paint and/or original material shavings into the bead of filler to match the tine of the countertop.
- MIx in the hardener to the filler to form the epoxy.
- Apply the epoxy to the crack, forcing it in with a craft stick. Rake off most of the excess with the long edge of the stick—leave the filler protruding slightly above the surface.
- Examine the patch. If it blends well enough with the surrounding surface, leave it alone for the moment. If the color isn’t quite right or is too solid to blend with the pattern, stipple on some paints in coordinating colors. Be patient; don’t overdo it. Step away to get the overall impression from a normal distance.
- Let the epoxy harden according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the epoxy has hardened completely, begin the sanding sequence, starting with 120-grit paper and working up to 400-grit.
- Add some more paint flecks if you need to camouflage the patch. Ultra-fine Scotch Brite pads can also help in the last stages.
- Polish the entire top to remove scratches and get the patched crack to blend with the surrounding countertop.