Worktops are made from various materials ranging from granite, quartz, acrylic polymers and more. These materials come with their own set of merits and demerits, and differ in terms of appearance, shades, textures, finishes, density, durability and strength. However, one option that is arguably the most popular one among discerning homeowners is solid wood worktops. And there are more reasons than one why wooden worktops remain the worktops of choice for both modern and conventional/country-styled kitchens today. If you wish to install a new worktop in your kitchen or replace an existing one, here’s what you should know.
Solid wood worktops are today the most widely used alternatives in kitchens. This is attributed to a number of factors. They are made from natural wood – a renewable resource – which makes them eco-friendly. They have a beautiful, natural appearance and look even more appealing with age. They are hard-wearing and extremely durable. If properly and regularly maintained, these worktops will last longer than most other countertops. They are lightweight, and thus, easy to install. Best of all, wooden worktops are the least expensive of all other options.
Today, homeowners have the luxury of an extensive range and variety of choices in solid wood worktops. While the ones considered most practical and suitable for busy kitchens include beech, cherry, oak and teak, you may choose from several others. These include exotic hardwoods such as ash, apple, maple, mahogany and walnut, or those imported from Africa such as iroko, ebiara, wenge, and many more.
Beech worktops are the most versatile alternative. They are soft-grained and have a natural light tone and finish which is a mixture of ash and maple in color and texture. Cherry worktops are the most elegant option around. Their subtle, autumn-like reddish coloration usually darkens beautifully over time.
Oak worktops are exceptionally strong, durable and long-lasting. This is what makes them the most practical and economic choice among all options. An oak worktop also creates an atmosphere of old world charm in kitchens with their timeless appeal.
Like all wooden products, solid hardwood worktops need good maintenance to retain their original appearance, condition and longevity. Remember, all species of natural woods have pores, which often absorb moisture and bacteria into their surfaces. Moisture can damage the wood while food can be contaminated with bacteria contact. Although most wooden worktops are pre-oiled, coated with a transparent laminate or painted, they will still be susceptible to stains, cuts, scratches, cracks and other forms of wear and tear over time. This makes it imperative to wipe, clean and disinfect them soon after use.
Re-sanding, repainting and re-oiling are advisable at least once every six months. Linseed oil or pure lemon oil are ideal for cleaning. To learn more about regular cleaning and maintenance of your solid wood worktop and the products needed for both, consult a qualified kitchen countertop installer.
Blue pearl granite is a popular choice for modern kitchen countertops, mainly because of the granite’s durability and the blue pearl color’s beauty. Normally, these countertops can be ordered pre-cut to suit most applications. However, if you want to have a more unique shape for your granite counter, then you may need to cut the blue pearl granite down to size. Here are the things you need to make it happen.
Like all construction projects, it comes down to preparation. The main tool you will need is a cutting instrument. You have three choices here: a grinder with a diamond blade, a circular saw with a diamond blade, or a laser-sided saw, the one which uses a short-pulse laser for cutting. After obtaining your cutting instrument, you will also need a vacuum to suck up the granite dust particles as you cut. Ideally, this vacuum will be an attachment to your cutter, but it can also be separate equipment. To protect yourself, you will also need a mask and goggles.
Before the actual cutting, you need to do very careful measurements first. You need to measure the final location, as well as any cutouts you need to fit in (some faucets, for example). To make the job easier, you can fit pieces of plywood over the final counter location, glue them together, and place the thing on top of your blue pearl granite as a template. Now you can trace the outline with a piece of chalk to serve as your guide for cutting.
Now, turn on the vacuum and begin cutting. As you cut, you need to work slowly and cautiously, keeping the saw steady at all times. You should also ready the different blades for your saw, to cut the edges and curves as you go along. Check the manual to see which blades are appropriate to use at any given time. When you finish a section, smooth them out with a small grinder. Then, when you are finally done, clean and polish those areas you have grounded.
Now that you know these steps, you should select a good location to do all the cutting. The process is very, very messy, so somewhere outside the main house is most ideal. But needless to say, it is best if you have some cutting experience beforehand, because a steady hand is very crucial to the final beauty of your blue pearl granite. That being said, however, there is always a sense of fulfillment in doing it yourself, and some trial and error should not deter you from this project.
Bathroom countertops can get stained very easily. It is a great challenge to keep them clean. Different types of stains may require different methods of cleaning. You can either follow some standard cleaning products or use your own formulas for removing various stains from the counter.
Cleaning using hydrogen peroxide: If you notice some yellow stains on your bathroom counter you can remove them easily using hydrogen peroxide. All you have to do is dip a clean cloth in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide and wipe it on the stains. Let it dry and then repeat the process 2-5 times for completely removing the stains.
Scrubbing and soap solution: A simple way to remove the day-to-day stains is by using a scrubber and a soap solution. Make a solution by mixing a little dish wash soap and water. Dip a cloth or sponge in the solution and wipe down the stains. Doing this regularly can help you to maintain a clean countertop.
Commercial cleaners: If you have tough stains which are difficult to remove, you can use some of the commercial cleaners available in the market. Look for specific types of solutions which are meant for removing stains from your countertop material. Use it according to the instructions given and get rid of the stubborn stains. Some of them may have harmful chemicals, so use appropriate protective gear while cleaning.
Toothbrush and baking soda: If you have scorch marks on your bathroom countertop you can easily remove them by using simple items like a toothbrush and baking soda. First use a soft cloth dipped in soap solution to remove the discoloration as much as possible. Apply a paste of baking soda and water on the scorch marks. Scrub the area gently with the toothbrush. Use a soft cloth and wipe the area clean. If the stain still remains, use the Barkeeper’s Friend and clean the marks.
Corn starch: if you have oil stains on your countertop, you can use corn or whiting starch to remove the stains. When you notice the stains spread, put some of the powder on the stains immediately. After sometime use a brush and gently remove the dirt. If the stains persist, reapply the powder and leave it for 24 hours. You can either scrub the stains with a hot detergent solution or wipe them with a cloth dipped in ammonia.
With so many methods available you can easily remove any type of stains from your bathroom countertop. Follow these simple procedures and keep your bathroom stain free and clean. The best way to take care of your counter is to clean the surface regularly. In this way your cleaning becomes easy and you need not deal with tough stains.