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A real person helping real people with real estate

By Amy Mullen, Realtor CPA | Agent in Marlborough, MA

Repair and Replace Kitchen Counters to Stay on Top of Scratches

The spring market is upon us!  It seems a tad early this year but with all the news articles about rising interest rates many buyers are making their choices now instead of waiting.  As a seller or soon-to-be-seller, don’t wait!  Get your home ready and on the market now to take full advantage of this early market.

This is the first in a small series of articles to help you get your home “sale ready”.  The kitchen is often the first room that a buyer will go to during a viewing and is vitally important to the overall impression of your home.

You can repair kitchen counter mishaps with only a little time and money. Big boo-boos, however, will need professional help.


Even granite counters suffer kitchen wear and tear. But you can make them shine with a little time and know-how. After you fix them, don’t forget to reseal them.

Cracks, chips, scratches: Fill nicks in granite by building up layers of epoxy resin colored to match the stone. Clean the area first with acetone, which breaks down grease. Be sure to open a window for ventilation.

Stains: The type of stain–wine or ink, oil or bleach–determines the type of poultice you’ll need to suck it out. A paste of flour and hydrogen peroxide pulls out grease, oil, bleach, and ink stains; a mix of flour and bleach cleans wine stains. If you want to go commercial, check out Alpha, Aqua Mix, and StoneTech stone cleaners. Cost: $6 to $20.

Solid surface counters

Solid surface countertops, such as Corian, are man-made from resin, acrylic, and other materials. They’re tough but not impervious to scratches and stains. To repair minor scratches, rub a white polishing compound on the area with a wool pad, then apply a countertop wax.

For deeper scratches or cuts, call a professional. Figure labor costs at about $15 to $35 an hour. If you need to replace portions of the counter, figure at least $35 to $65 per square foot.


Fixing gouges or covering burns in laminate is tough for mortals, though repairing minor problems is doable.

  • Fix small chips with laminate repair paste that matches the color of the countertop.
  • Cover scratches with countertop polish or car wax.
  • Fix peeling laminate with contact cement applied to both surfaces and pressed back into place.
  • Remove coffee and tea stains with vinegar or a paste of baking soda and household cleaner.

Bigger problems will require replacing the damaged stretch. Laminate comes in a billion colors, but finding an exact match for an old counter could be difficult.

To get the look you want, replace the counter. Labor will cost $15 to $35 per hour; countertops range from $3/linear ft. for Plain Jane straight-edged laminates to $100/linear ft. for laminates with a beveled edge that look like granite.


If you’ve planned ahead and stockpiled old tiles, then grab a few and replace cracked or scratched areas. If you don’t have extra tile, then attempt the following first aid:

  • Wipe away scratches with a dab of toothpaste on a clean cloth.
  • Work epoxy glue into cracks with a toothpick, then color with matching oil-based artist paint.
  • Remove old grout with a utility knife, then replace with a rubber trowel.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel countertops become scratched, stained, and dull over time. While you’ll never completely remove scratches, you can buff them into a warm patina by massaging with vegetable oil.

Remove stains with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. A sprinkle of Barkeeper’s Friend will remove stains without scratching.

If you are getting ready to sell – call or email me.  I would be happy to provide you with a free market analysis of your home.  To get your home sold, you need a great marketing plan and accurate pricing.  I can give you both!


By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Fri Feb 8 2013, 13:51
Thank you very much for this great information.

By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Tue Mar 26 2013, 11:20
Thank you for this great information.

Samuel Rifkin
The Rifkin Team

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