February 16th, 2011 8:37 PM by Wendy Thomas
The National Association of Realtors just released this great series called "Show that Listing some Love". I'll be blogging each of the topics over the next several days. The first topic:
By: Jane Hoback
Published: January 14, 2011
You can repair kitchen counter mishaps with only a little time and money. Big boo-boos, however, will need professional help.
Even granite counters suffer kitchen wear and tear. But you can make them shine with a little time and know-how. After you fix them, don’t forget to reseal them.Cracks, chips, scratches: Fill nicks in granite by building up layers of epoxy resin colored to match the stone. Clean the area first with acetone, which breaks down grease. Be sure to open a window for ventilation. Stains: The type of stain--wine or ink, oil or bleach--determines the type of poultice you’ll need to suck it out. A paste of flour and hydrogen peroxide pulls out grease, oil, bleach, and ink stains; a mix of flour and bleach cleans wine stains. If you want to go commercial, check out Alpha, Aqua Mix, and StoneTech stone cleaners. Cost: $6 to $20.
Solid surface countertops, such as Corian, are man-made from resin, acrylic, and other materials. They’re tough but not impervious to scratches and stains. To repair minor scratches, rub a white polishing compound on the area with a wool pad, then apply a countertop wax.For deeper scratches or cuts, call a professional. Figure labor costs at about $15 to $35 an hour. If you need to replace portions of the counter, figure at least $35 to $65 per square foot.
Fixing gouges or covering burns in laminate is tough for mortals, though repairing minor problems is doable.
Bigger problems will require replacing the damaged stretch. Laminate comes in a billion colors, but finding an exact match for an old counter could be difficult. To get the look you want, replace the counter. Labor will cost $15 to $35 per hour; countertops range from $3/linear ft. for Plain Jane straight-edged laminates to $100/linear ft. for laminates with a beveled edge that look like granite.
If you’ve planned ahead and stockpiled old tiles, then grab a few and replace cracked or scratched areas. If you don’t have extra tile, then attempt the following first aid:
Stainless steel countertops become scratched, stained, and dull over time. While you’ll never completely remove scratches, you can buff them into a warm patina by massaging with vegetable oil. Remove stains with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. A sprinkle of Barkeeper’s Friend will remove stains without scratching.
Jane Hoback is a veteran business writer who has written for the Rocky Mountain News, Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine, and ColoradoBIZ Magazine.