Once your countertops and cabinets have been installed by local professionals, the upkeep is now up to you. These units often come with expensive materials, and of course the proper installation didn’t come for free either, so make sure you preserve these fixtures for the long haul. Each component comes with specific needs, but the main things to keep in mind are consistent cleaning, resealing, and knowledge of the material’s limitations.
Each countertop material comes with specific requirements, so make sure you ask your contractor about proper maintenance. For instance, granite and marble countertops are beautiful, but they need to be resealed every year or two and should be cleaned with a particular stone-cleaning agent (avoid wax and bleach); whereas quartz countertops are easy to maintain since they are non-porous. However, even quartz is not completely heat proof/scratch proof; therefore, always use cutting boards on these surfaces because at the very least it will keep you from dulling your knives. Whereas many other stone countertops are basically maintenance-free; except even this term means these surfaces must still avoid long periods of heat, spillage, and sun exposure in order to avoid cracking.
Weather you have wood, stone, or ceramic countertops, here is what you want to be aware of:
- Durability: Are they scratch/heat resistant or scratch/heat proof? If they are simply resistant, always use cutting boards, butchers’ blocks, and heat pads in order to avoid permanent damage. And even when countertops are “proofed,” they still need to be kept away from prolonged exposure to extreme elements.
- Permeability: Are your countertops porous or non-porous? Do they absorb spills or not? Any spill should be cleaned immediately, but especially if the spills can stain (red wine, oils, acidic chemicals). However, if your countertops are porous, keep an eye out for mold problems that may eventually occur due to over-absorption. If mold troubles do arise, call a professional immediately to take care of the problem.
- Cleaning Agents: Depending on the surface, each countertop comes with different restrictions. Some need special cleaners, some can be washed with soap and water, while others can withstand all-purpose cleaner but not bleach or other agents. Ask your contractor about specific cleansing necessities for your countertops.
Since cabinetry is created for long term use, it should be maintained and protected like any other piece of furniture in the house. Clean up any spills on the spot, don’t place any hot materials (such as recently used pots and pans) on the cabinet surfaces, and periodically reseal them when needed. Though cabinets are built to endure, they aren’t indestructible. So don’t place items on the shelves that may be too heavy, and don’t allow people to sit, lean, or hang on the units for too long.
Two main things to keep in mind:
- Cleaning: Wipe your cabinets down occasionally with the correct cleaning agent, but don’t keep wet towels or dish rags on them for too long in order to avoid warping or ruining the finish.
- Repair: Keep extra hardware on hand, such as hinges, pulls, and other guidance systems. This will save you time in finding the exact matching apparatus when a minor fix is needed. However, for major repairs, such as cracks or warping, call a professional contractor for help. If these major problems are not addressed promptly, they may cause more expensive repairs down the line, including total replacement of the unit.
Maintaining your Countertops and Cabinets
Overall, countertop and cabinet maintenance is not difficult and is easily sustained. If the installation was done by a professional, most repairs and major problems will be avoided. However, in order to keep your kitchen beautiful and functional for many years, simply treat these fixtures with respect, avoid any unnecessary abuses, and frequently clean them appropriately.
More From Life Cheat Sheet:
- Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Kitchen Cabinets
- Discount Countertops for Your Kitchen or Bath
- What to Expect With Cabinet and Countertop Construction
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