Silestone is a popular brand of quartz countertops known for its durability, stain resistance, and stylish appearance. However, like any solid surface countertop, Silestone can develop seams over time that become uneven or raised. This may lead homeowners to wonder – can you grind down Silestone quartz countertop seams to smooth them out? The short answer is yes, Silestone seams can be ground down and polished to achieve a flawless finish. Here is a detailed guide on how to grind down Silestone countertop seams.
What Causes Seams in Silestone Countertops?
Silestone is made from roughly 90% ground quartz mixed with resins and pigments. Slabs are cut from a single piece of this engineered stone. However, sections of the countertop need to be seamed together during installation. Over time, these seams may become more visible or uneven due to:
- Settling of cabinets or movement in the home causing alignment issues.
- Normal expansion and contraction of the stone.
- Improper installation or seam finishing.
- Cracks or chipping near the seams.
Uneven seams not only look unsightly but can also trap debris and moisture leading to bacteria growth. Grinding them down restores the countertop’s smooth finish.
Grinding vs Polishing Silestone Seams
Grinding uses abrasives to wear down and flatten the seam. This removes any protruding edges or lips.
Polishing is done after grinding to hone and shine the quartz surface. This blends the seam for a glossy, flawless look.
Both grinding and polishing are required to properly refinish Silestone seams. Simply polishing without grinding may hide but not eliminate unevenness.
Step-by-Step Guide to Grind Down Silestone Seams
Here is a DIY guide to grinding and polishing quartz countertop seams:
- Safety gear – gloves, eye protection, mask
- Variable speed grinder
- Diamond grinding pads – 50 grit, 200 grit, 800 grit
- Water source
- Polishing pads – 3000 grit, 8000 grit
- Soft polishing sponge
- Polishing compound
- Painter’s tape
- Clean the area – Remove any debris near the seam with soapy water. Dry thoroughly.
- Tape off surfaces – Use painter’s tape to cover the countertop on both sides of the seam. This protects from over-grinding.
- Mark the seam – Make alignment marks along the length of the seam with a pencil. This guides the grinding.
- Start grinding – Use the 50 grit pad wet to flatten out any protruding edges and lips along the seam. Grind evenly along the marks.
- Smooth with finer grits – Move upwards to 200 and then 800 grit pads to refine and smooth the seam area. Keep the area wet while grinding.
- Rinse and dry – When the seam appears level, rinse and dry the countertop completely. Remove all tape.
- Polish the seam – Use 3000 grit and then 8000 grit polishing pads with a bit of polishing compound to blend and restore sheen.
- Hand polish – Finally, hand polish the seam with a soft sponge and compound to match the surrounding finish.
Be patient when grinding to get a perfectly level seam. It may take multiple passes with each grit pad. Make sure to rinse and dry between each step. Work carefully around kitchen sinks and backsplashes.
Hiring a Professional to Refinish Seams
While DIY grinding is possible, it’s easy to make mistakes damaging the countertop. Professionals have specialized tools and expertise to properly grind Silestone seams without harming the surrounding areas.
They will determine if seam filling is required for any gaps or chips once ground down. Costs typically range from $200 to $600 depending on the length of seams being refinished.
Hiring a pro ensures your Silestone countertops look pristine and last for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you grind down all types of quartz countertop seams?
Yes, the grinding and polishing process works for most quartz brands including Caesarstone, Cambria, and Viatera in addition to Silestone. Always check manufacturer guidelines first.
What causes pits and rough spots near silestone seams?
Imperfect grinding, inadequate adhesive, and trapped air bubbles during installation can cause small pits along seams. Fill with a special quartz filler before polishing.
How can you make silestone seams less visible?
Proper installation and seam placement minimizes visibility. Grinding high spots and finish polishing blends the seam. Matching any filler color also helps hide seams.
Is it better to replace instead of refinishing silestone seams?
If seams are badly damaged or countertops are very old, replacement may be better. For minimal seam issues, refinishing preserves your existing Silestone investment.
Can you change the silestone seam color when refinishing?
No, the seam has to be matched to the existing quartz color. Coloring or dyeing the seam risks creating an obvious mismatched line.
Silestone’s durability does not make it totally seamless. Normal use can cause quartz seams to become uneven and apparent over time. Thankfully, grinding and polishing can effectively minimize this eyesore. With some patience and the right tools, DIYers can successfully tackle resurfacing a Silestone countertop seam. For best results without risking mistakes, hiring a professional is recommended. Refinished seams help restore the beautiful, flawless look Silestone is known for.