The kitchen is one of the most central rooms in any house. It does not matter if you only prepare meals once in a while. Or if you are the type who loves to have an excuse to cook.
There is one thing that is bound to happen when you are cooking. The gaps between the countertop and your stovetop will get a taste of the meal.
At first glance, these gaps might seem negligible because of how tiny they might look. But they can accommodate small food crumbs, sauce spills, and small wrappers. So while it may be tempting to encourage an “out of sight, out of mind” behavior, this gap is a problem.
Cooktop Vs. Range Top: How Bad is the Gap?
The gap between your stove and countertop depends on the size and the cut-out space. It also depends on the type of stove in your kitchen.
A cooktop is a stove that has its controls on the surface where the burners are. It is designed to drop into the cut-out space on the counter. This space is in the shape of a complete square.
Because of this design, most cooktops have a lip that rests flush against the countertop. For this reason, the issue of gaps is not usual with cooktops.
Range tops, on the other hand, are a different story. These stoves are simply ranges without an oven. They have their controls in front and are designed to slide into their compartment.
Like with range stoves, no matter how perfect the cut-out is, there is always a gap between your range top and counter. This gap can measure anything between 1/8 inches to ½ inches.
This tiny gap will attract pests and cause your kitchen to smell if left unattended. The amount of cooking you do and how long you ignore it to determine how bad the effects will be.
How to Clean the Gap Between the Stove and Countertop?
Cleaning out this stove-countertop gap is an arduous task. The smaller the space, the more impossible it is to clean.
The best way to do this tricky business is to pull out the stove entirely and clean all the sides and walls.
This is the only way you will be able to get to the crumbs as well and the spill marks. This general cleaning should be done once in six months or a year, depending on how much cooking you do.
In the meantime, there are a few ways to get those crumbs out. You can use a spatula, metal ruler, butter knife, chopsticks, or toothpicks. Your choice depends on how wide the gap is.
Next, gently insert the instrument of choice into the space and scrape the particles towards you. Using a knife, ensure the sharp edge is not facing you.
The next step is to spray some countertop cleaner on a small piece of cloth and wrap it around your makeshift scraper. Push this into the gap and clean it carefully.
It is not in the design of range tops and cooktops to be moved often, especially after installation. So, the makeshift option is the best for these stove types.
If you have a range, you still have to be careful when moving it. It is advisable to ask for help. Doing this will help reduce any chance of scratching the floor or the stove itself.
One tip to prevent scratching the floor is putting a doormat under the front corners of the cooker. The doormat makes it easy for the stove to slide on and helps take most of the weight off.
Always be careful with the gas or electric cord when you want to move the stove.
How Can I Eliminate the Gap Between the Stove and Countertop?
The saying, “prevention is better than cure,” also applies to stove-counter gaps. So instead of looking for a makeshift cleaner, the best thing is to cover the gap.
Below are different ways to eliminate this gap.
#1. Use a Plastic Tube
This method involves using a PVC tube to close the gap. The first step is to measure the width of the space using a tape or ruler.
The next step is to use a tube at least a quarter-inch thicker than the measurement. The reason for this thickness is to guarantee that the PVC stays firmly in the gap.
While it is advisable to use a transparent tube, these tubes come in different colors. Therefore, you can purchase any color of your choice according to your taste.
To install it, use your fingers to push the tube into the gap. It is better to start from a corner. Also, try to keep the tube flat with the stovetop and countertop.
If it goes too far in, it will create another gap. Finally, use sharp scissors or shears to cut off any excess tube afterward.
#2. Use a Gap Cover
Gap covers are pieces of material shaped like a T. They are made of metal, plastic, or silicone. The vertical part of the T fits into the gap. While the flat side that is longer lies over the countertop and the stove.
A metal gap cover is very rigid but is a good choice if you want a cover that matches your stovetop. A silicone gap cover, on the other hand, usually fit better and is very flexible.
The first step with gap covers is to measure the depth of your counter to gauge the required cover length. If both lengths do not match, fit the gap cover over the space closest to you.
Then, you can install the cover by sliding it in from the front. With plastic or silicone gap covers, you can trim down excesses. Gap covers are easy to clean. You can take them out, wash them and fix them back.
#3. Use a T-mold
T-molds are cheaper alternatives to gap covers. They have the same working principles and are installed the same way. If t
The vertical part of the T-mold does not fit well, you can wrap it around it with duct tape to make it fit snugly. Be careful to make sure no part of the tape is exposed.
#4. Use Silicone Sealant or Caulk
Sealants are another method of eliminating stove-countertop gaps. First, load a tube of sealant into a silicone gun. Ensure to adjust it for easy operation.
Next, clean the surface area properly and dry it. Dirt and wetness will reduce the efficiency of the sealant. Once the surface is ready, run painter’s tape on either side of the gap.
The purpose is to guarantee a neat job with the sealant or caulk.
When all that is ready, cut a hole in the tube at a 45° angle. This hole should be as close to the tip such that you can easily control the amount of sealant that comes out.
Then gently and evenly apply the caulk. When you have covered the gap completely, run a wet finger over the silicone bead at least twice.
Proceed to remove the tape before the silicone begins to dry. Give your work at least 24 hours to dry properly. Caulks are cheaper than silicone sealants but are just as effective.
As much as we want to cover up these gaps, they have their importance. They allow for the expansion of gas stoves when they become hot during cooking.
These methods of covering the gap on your countertop and range top or cooktop are easy to do on your own. You do not want to hire a work-man.