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Architect's Corner
Top Tips

Top Tips

Maintenance and other useful info regarding your countertops


Please choose one of the following options:

  1. Cleaning - Laminates
  2. Cleaning - Solid Surfaces
  3. Maintenance - Heat
  4. Maintenance - Scratches
  5. Before You Buy - Laminate
  6. Before You Buy - Solid Surface



  As always, read the manufacturers cleaning suggestions

It is important not to use abrasives when cleaning a laminate countertop. Laminates include Formicaģ and other like products. A thin, clear layer of melamine plastic protects laminates. Abrasives such as scrubbing pads and scouring powders can alter or even remove this protective layer, leaving the material unprotected against moisture penetration and staining.

For the everyday cleaning, use detergent and a sponge to clean. We recommend Clean Encounters by Stone Care International for a residue-free finish. Other residue free cleaners may do as well.

The next step in aggressive cleaning is a pine cleaner, such as Pine Sol, or White Cap. These cleaners work well with removal of stubborn grease type stains, etc. After you finish, reclean with a light cleaner to remove any residue.

Finally, with the real tough stains, you can (with great care) clean with a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner, such as Bon Ami. You must emulsify the cleanser to reduce any risk of abrasion, and do not do this often.


Solid Surface

As always, read the manufacturers cleaning suggestions
  Go to town. Really. Thatís what you paid all that dough for, is it not?

Long before Corian by DuPont had developed improvements such as rigid seam adhesives, it had two advantages that laminates did not. It was possible to sculpt it into great looking edge styles, and it was exceptionally easy to clean.

Aggressive cleansers work well, and will, over time, give your countertop a satiny finish that is very attractive. We recommend starting off with residue free cleaners, such as Clean Encounters, before moving up through the various cleanser types. As long as you avoid severe chemical solvents, such as those containing acetone, there is little around the house that can hurt it.

 Engineered stone Silestoneģ recommends soap and water, a spray cleaner such as formula 409, or glass-type cleaners. We will amend that saying do not use any cleaners that will leave a residue that will build up over time. The danger, we feel, is that elements that may not stain in quick contact might if left for awhile. There is no question that soap films retain dirt and other foreign materials. We do not think they should be given a chance to work their evil ways over time.

Use residue free cleaners, if at all possible. 

Maintenance As always, read the manufacturers maintenance suggestions
  With the possible exception of tile, no countertop is designed to withstand heavy temperatures such as setting pots and pans on the countertop, directly from the stove. Our advice for those of us who prefer the ease of maintenance solid surface, engineered stone, or laminate countertops offer, is to use a heat trivet under all pots, pans, and any heat generating appliance.
  Yep, they happen. Any countertops, sink, wall sheet, etc. can sustain scratches. In tile: replace the tile, in laminate: use fillers that hardens to a shell finish, but do not think the scratch will disappear. In stone: pay a professional to buff, and refinish the surface.

In solid surface: are you or someone you know handy with a sander? It is easier to remove scratches in a solid surface countertop than in almost any other material. If you are unsure of yourself or those around you, hire a certified fabricator to effect these repairs. You will be surprised at how well this material refinishes. Remember: in solid surface, the material you see on the surface is not a sealant or a coating. It is the material itself, and can be found at any depth, in any solid surface top.

Before You Buy  
  The choice of what kind of laminate top to purchase should not be based on cost, but on layout. Whenever possible, a rolled cove backsplash should be incorporated in you choices. But some layouts lend themselves better to a wrapped front, or a square edged front. Some layouts need field joints, some do not. You should consult a kitchen or countertop specialist who has a wide range of knowledge. Call us we will tell you who they are. Better yet, tell us about your countertop needs, we can tell you the least expensive way to solve your problem.
Solid Surface  
  First of all, consider a fabricator who is a member of the only national trade organization dedicated to solid surface fabricators: The International Solid Surface Fabricatorís Association (ISSFA). If buying from a non-fabricating dealer, make sure that they purchase their product from a member fabricator.

The difference in solid surface tops lies in the competency of the fabricator. A sheet of Corian is the same on a poorly constructed top as on a well-fabricated one. The difference is in the care and time taken by the fabricator and the design choices by the dealer who sells them.

Solid surface tops are worth what they cost not just because of their beauty, but in their low maintenance. If the fabricator does not finish their tops completely, it will be harder to clean. This one case where you do tend to get what you pay for.


Engineered Stone  
  There are many qualified stone fabricators in the area. Just as there are always more who will do a cheap job that will look good until you have had it for awhile. The key is using a fabricator/installer that has been here awhile, and will continue to be here long after the templating and installation is done with. Mather brings the same sensibilities to designing your stone or engineered stone tops that we bring to our world renown laminate and solid surface tops.

We are not happy with taking the easy way out for a job. If a little extra effort is what is required for you unique top, that is what we will commit. If a notch, or a bow will make the difference, so be it. Our fabricators use the latest technologies to fabricate what we template, so your custom top will be just that - custom, and yours.



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Last modified: 01/31/05