Monday, June 15, 2009

Installation and Care of Cultured Marble Countertops

Installation :

If you're handy, as a homeowner you can install these tops yourself. When it comes to whirlpool decks, shower walls, wainscoting, or anything that might take additional cuts to fit pieces together properly, you may want a professional to install your cultured marble.

To install a normal vanity top, scribe to your wall. I always put masking tape on the top, and then use a marker to scribe. Use a belt sander with a large-grit sandpaper (like 40) to remove material from the backsplash or sides of the vanity top. Be sure to only sand the sides that will be up against a wall. Why? The sides that aren't going to be against a wall and will show are finished and polished. You don't want to have to try and polish them yourself, or have a professional come in and re-polish.

One the top is sized, the plumbing and fixtures may be added. Be sure not to tighten fittings too much. Less is more when it comes to cultured marble countertops, as they crack if too much pressure is applied.

Once all the fittings are mounted, you can use silicone to adhere the cultured marble countertop to the top of your cabinet, but you do not have to do this. Often your plumber will do this for you. I've lived in my home for over 8 years, and never actually siliconed the marble tops down, and they are just fine.

Also, you can put caulk between the top of your countertop and the wall to give it a finished look. If you've built a new home, you may want to wait a year or more before you do this. New homes move and shift a lot. The wood in your home will shrink and swell. If you add caulk right away, it may crack and pull away from the wall or top, and you'll have to dig it all out and replace in a year anyway, so why not wait until the house has settled a bit. Some homes never quit settling. You'll just have to play it by ear and use your common sense.

Care and Maintenance :

Wash the top with a non-abrasive cleaner and a damp cloth or sponge. Never use anything that will scratch the tops, and always make sure the top is wet while you are cleaning it. Cultured marble countertops are durable, but scratch easily. Do not use harsh cleansers, bleaches, peroxides, or other harsh chemicals on your top.

You can periodically apply paste wax, any wax product that is designed specifically for cultured marble tops (I've even used car wax), to maintain your tops luster. Apply it with a soft cloth or sponge, and buff out with a soft cloth.

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