Seeing a crack in a counter brings a feeling of dread. Countertops are one of the most expensive areas of bathrooms to replace, making it a sudden expense that is difficult to pay if you don’t have money saved up.
If the cracked countertop is near a water source or in an area that tends to get wet, there’s the chance that water can seep through the crack and cause damage to whatever structures lie underneath. It’s crucial to deal with the problem before it becomes a much bigger one.
Luckily you have quite a few options when it comes to repairing countertops. Exactly what steps you’ll have to take depends on a few things, like the nature of the damage and the type of countertop you have.
Step One: Figuring Out What Type of Countertop Damage You’re Dealing With
Three major types of damage commonly affect the surfaces of bathroom countertops: cracks, fissures, and chips. There are different causes for each of them, which are important because failing to address the issues can cause more damage in the future.
Cracks occur in any type of countertop, whether natural stone or laminate. They can go all the way through the countertop, splitting the stone or laminate, or just part of the way through.
Two of the most common causes of cracks are mistakes during installation and persistent stress on the countertop. Most of the time, you’ll realize right away if a crack appears during installation; however, sometimes, only a tiny crack will appear. Over time, this can grow into a larger, more significant crack.
The second reason cracks happen in countertops is persistent stress weighing them down. If your countertop is a heavy material, like natural granite or marble, the countertop’s weight can cause stress (and therefore cracks) when they are not adequately supported. Heavy cabinets or appliances can also cause stress on bathroom countertops.
Fissures only appear in natural stone countertops and are the result of naturally occurring processes. A fissure opens up between the rock and the crystalline structures within it. Imagine a marble countertop with gorgeous golden veins running through it; those lines are the crystal structures along which fissures form.
Fissures aren’t caused by stress or improper installation. They occur in your bathroom as well as in nature.
How to Tell the Difference between Cracks and Fissures
When a stone countertop cracks, the sides will move up or down to create an uneven surface. If you run your hand over the crack, you’ll feel that unevenness. Fissures won’t affect the plane of the stone, so you can run your hand over it without noticing a change in the height of the rock.
Repairing Countertops That Have Cracked
There are a few goals to keep in mind when repairing a crack. First, you want to reseal the counter so that no water can seep through the crack. Second, you want to bind the stone or laminate countertop back together again with enough strength that the crack won’t reopen. Thirdly and finally, you want to color over the crack so that it’s no longer visible.
One can accomplish the first two goals by using epoxy glue (a type of resin that creates a strong bond). Make sure that the epoxy fills in the entire area left by the crack. Several different products are available, such as Lamlock Infiltrating Epoxy, LiquiGlass, and Tenax Tefill, designed specifically for this purpose. One tip is that low-viscosity epoxies work best for deep cracks because the glue will reach the bottom before beginning to set.
After that, you need to even up the color. For laminate countertops, you can usually use nail polish if you’re able to find one that matches the color of your countertop. For stone countertops, you’ll probably benefit from finding a second epoxy glue that has a color that will match different types of stones exactly.
Repairing Countertops That Have Fissured
The process for repairing countertops with fissures is the same when the fissure is deep and wide enough for the epoxy to penetrate through the rock. However, some fissures don’t open up very much, so you’ll only be able to seal them with an epoxy set along the top of the counter. Be sure to wipe away any excess epoxy before it sets.