Granite Countertop Recaulking Tips
By Troy Cantini
Granite countertops can loose their beautiful look and appearance if the caulk has started to crack or become discolored. Often times granite countertops are installed with cheap latex caulk that will crack, grow mold and discolor over time. Recaulking your granite countertop with 100% silicone caulk is the best way to make your granite countertop look like new again.
Countertops are at eye level so it is important to get good straight caulk lines when installing the new caulk. You do not want a large obtuse bead of caulk that is uneven and crooked in the seam. Every slight imperfection in the caulk joint will be magnified when applying the caulk to a beautiful granite countertop. Removing the old caulk from a granite countertop is relatively easy due to the fact that granite is extremely hard and will not scratch when removing the old caulk with razor blade tools.
A good ergonomically correct utility knife will help you to cut through the old caulk to allow you to remove it. Angle the utility knife into the caulk joint and cut through the old caulk so that it can easily be removed with a razor blade scrapping tool.
After you have cut through the old caulking with a utility knife then you can scrape out the old caulking with a razor blade scrapping tool. You will have to scrape the old caulk away from the main countertops surface as well as the backsplash. Most granite countertops are extremely hard so they will not be scratched when using a razor blade scrapping when removing the old caulk.
When recaulking a granite countertop it can be impossible to just apply the caulk freehanded to the seam and have the caulk line look acceptable without first taping off the seams of your granite countertop. Taping the countertops seams is the best way to ensure that the new caulking will form a good looking small bead of evenly looking caulk.
When taping off the seams of a granite countertop prior to caulking you should only leave a slight gap where the new caulk will go. You definitely do not want large globs of caulking to be present in the granite countertop seams. When caulking a granite countertop you only want people to notice the beautiful granite of a granite countertop and they should not even notice the caulk that is in the granite countertops seams.
After you have taped off the seams of the granite countertop then you should apply only 100% silicone caulk. Do not use any type of home improvement store type of caulk as these will not be 100% silicone and the caulking will crack or grow black and moldy in a short period of time. Also home improvement store caulks only come in a few colors and the colors they have will probably not match the look of your granite countertop
When choosing a caulk color you should choose a color that will blend in with the granite and not even be noticed. Laticrete Latasil is a premium grade 100% silicone caulk that comes in many different colors. Recaulking most standard granite countertops will only require one tub of the Laticrete Latasil caulk. In the example in the pictures on this page Laticrete Latasil Marble Beige colored caulk was used. You should choose a Laticrete Latasil caulk color that most matches the look and color of your particular granite countertop.
You do not have to be careful when applying the caulk after you have taped the seems but you should ensure that you get full coverage of the countertops seams with the new caulk. After you have caulked all the seams then smooth over the caulk with your finger to ensure a nice even bead of caulk will form in the taped off caulk joints.
After you have smoothed out the caulk then you should pull away the top piece of tape from the granite countertop seam. It is important to peel the top piece of tape first before you pull away the bottom piece of tape. Gravity can cause uneven caulk joints if you first pull away the bottom piece of tape before the top piece of tape.
After you have smoothed the caulking bead with the top layer of tape removed then you should remove the bottom layer of tape. Pull the bottom layer of tape in a smooth motion from the granite countertops surface and do not pull the tape away too quickly. You do not want the bead of caulk to pull away from the granite countertop backsplash too quickly and cause the caulk to spread out in the caulking seam.
After you have removed the bottom piece of tape then you should go over the bead of caulking one more time with your finger. It is important to smooth the caulking out after removing the tape because if you don't then a slight ridge will form where the tape was removed. This ridge of caulking can look unprofessional and also allow dirt and contaminates to get trapped in this ridge of caulk.
After you are done recaulking your granite countertop then you should inspect the caulk joint to ensure there are no ridges or bumps in the caulking. It may be necessary to smooth over a section of the caulking a second time to ensure a perfect caulk joint is formed. You only have about 20 minutes from the time you apply the caulk till the time the caulking sets so you need to do this quickly. If the caulking starts to set and you still need to smooth out the caulk line then you can stick your finger in the isopropyl alcohol prior to smoothing out the caulk so that the caulk can still be smoothed out.
Recaulking a granite countertop or any countertop can be a difficult task. Even with the proper techniques it can still take some practice and skill to get the job done right. You may want to consider hiring a tile restoration contractor to recaulk your countertop for you.
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