Your countertop is perhaps the hardest working component of your kitchen. Even though it doesn't power on to cook our meals or keep our groceries cold, your countertop gets more use than any appliance ever could — think about how it steps up to the plate just about every single time you do anything at all in your kitchen.
This weekend, we're going to give our counters some TLC so they can stay in tip-top shape and keep serving while looking their best.
Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you've always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.
This Weekend's Assignment:
Take care of your countertops.
The technique you will use to maintain your countertops will of course depend on the countertop material you have installed. Keep in mind that you can extend this weekend's task to the counters in your bathrooms and perhaps laundry room as well.
Taking Care of Granite Countertops
Granite countertops should be sealed at least once a year. Granite is a porous substance and sealing it protects it from the effects of absorbing the liquids that end up on the counter. You can perform a simple test to see if your granite countertops need to be sealed earlier than yearly: Drop a few drops of water on your counter and see if it beads up. If it does not, your counters need to be sealed.
Sealing granite sounds like a big task, but it's quite easy. Simply clear the counters off, clean them as you usually would, dry them thoroughly, and apply a sealer according to package directions. Try Granite Gold or Trinova.
Taking Care of Laminate Countertops
Laminate countertops don't need a sealer or any kind of regular protection the way granite countertops do. However, they will benefit from a periodic deep clean to address stains or greasy buildup.
Taking care not to use too much water or an acidic cleaner, de-grease your counters with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. Ink stains can be removed with nail polish remover. Deeper stains can be addressed with a baking soda paste. Allow it to sit for a bit and then scrub gently.
While not necessary, you may want to apply a polish to your laminate countertops to help them resist future stains.
Taking Care of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are extremely durable, non-porous, and virtually maintenance-free. Take this opportunity to clean the surface with a de-greaser product and give it a thorough cleaning, making sure to avoid high-pH cleaners and anything that contains bleach.
Taking Care of Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block counters need to be regularly oiled with food-safe oils or conditioned with a butcher block conditioner (you can check out a tutorial on oiling butcher block right here). Routine oiling and proper cleaning will help ensure that the more drastic measure of having to re-sand your butcher block counter is a rare occurrence.
Taking Care of Tile Countertops
If your countertops are glazed ceramic tile or porcelain tile, your regular cleaning routine is enough to keep them in good shape, though you can take this opportunity to inspect closely for cracked tiles or worn grout that may need more attention. For stone tile or unglazed ceramic tile, apply a tile sealer to the surface — something you should repeat every 6 to 12 months to keep your counters in great shape.
Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we've sent you, or tackle another project you've been meaning to get to. It's also completely okay to skip a weekend if you're busy or not feeling the assignment.