Stone benchtops, whether made of engineered stone or natural stone, can crack under certain specific circumstances. When inspecting any cracks in an installed stone benchtop, assessing the cause of the crack will ensure the most effective remedy in repairing the material and help avoid future cracks from forming. There are a few reasons why a stone benchtop would crack from exposure to excess heat to instability in a home’s flooring system.
Cracking in Stone Benchtops: High Temperatures
Sudden fluctuations in temperature can result in a crack forming in your stone benchtop. When in contact with a source of extreme heat the molecules of the benchtop will expand suddenly, a process referred to as thermal shock. This can occur when hot trays straight from the oven are placed directly on the benchtop for example. It is always recommend that trivets or chopping boards be used as a barrier between hot items and the benchtop’s surface to avoid these extreme temperature fluctuations. Small appliances such as slow cookers or air fryers for example should also be used over a protective surface such as a chopping board rather than directly on the stone benchtop; although these small appliances will not release as much heat as an item taken out of a hot oven, they do often release consistent heat that is directed to a single point on the surface beneath them which in turn can also lead to cracking in a stone benchtop.
As can be expected with any material, excessive force on your stone kitchen benchtop can cause cracks to occur. It is important that care is taken in the kitchen to avoid large and heavy items from falling onto the benchtop’s surface. Should this occur and a crack forms in your stone benchtop, you can contact your kitchen installer or stonemason who will diagnose the issue and advise on the next steps required to tidy up your stone benchtop.
Inadequate Support Beneath the Benchtop
It is important to ensure the stone benchtops have been properly supported. This includes ensuring the structural stability of the floor itself as well as the cabinetry beneath your stone benchtop. Large, un-supported spans should include a support system beneath them as well: an example would be installing a steel support beneath the stone benchtop that sits over appliances such as a side by side washer and dryer in the laundry. Un-supported spans over a single appliance (such as a dishwasher for example) are usually structurally sound however, should the benchtop span over a larger opening then necessary precautions will be required in order to best support the weight of the stone and prevent cracks from occuring.
Incorrect Placement of Cut-outs and Joins
Cut-outs are made in a stone benchtop to install your cooktop or sink. It is important to seek out the best installation advice directly from the stone supplier/manufacturer in order to ensure that these appliances and fittings are installed correctly and the stone benchtop is being cut and treated properly in order to prevent cracks from occurring. In the case where two pieces of stone are joined together, once again it is crucial to check in with the supplier/manufacture of your selected stone benchtops to ensure these areas are connected using their recommended methods.
Natural and engineered stone benchtops can crack as a result of any of the above noted scenarios. Should any cracks form in your stone benchtop it is advised that you reach out to your kitchen installer, builder or stonemason who will assist you in diagnosing the issue and advise on the next steps required to repair your stone benchtop. Our team at Perini Renovations will assist and guide you through the renovation process, ensuring all necessary precautions are taken to ensure a high quality finish every time – Contact us here to discuss your project!