Ceramic top stoves consists of large pieces of ceramic glass that conduct heat from electric heating elements below them to cookware placed on their flat surfaces. While ceramic stove tops are sleek and efficient, they are also prone to cracking. While the smallest cracks can be ignored or cleaned to reduce their appearance, large cracks can't be repaired.
Large cracks in a ceramic top stove are impossible to repair and require that the entire cooktop assembly be replaced. Conventional repair solutions, such as replacing the broken pieces using epoxy or filling them in with a synthetic caulk are impractical because of the ceramic top's exposure to intense heat and its need to be safe for contact with food. If your ceramic stove develops a large crack you should avoid using it until you can have it replaced.
Very small cracks in a ceramic top stove's surface may be too small to notice, or easy to live with. Other cracks that don't go all the way through the ceramic surface may turn into eyesores as they fill with dust and food debris over time. Ceramic stove repair kits come with cleaning solutions and soft pads that clean cracks and other small imperfections in the surface. This may minimize the appearance of slight cracks. However, cleaning doesn't actually eliminate cracks.
A large crack in a ceramic top stove can present a potential source of electrical shocks. This is because the ceramic surface is the only thing between the cooking area and the electrified elements that produce heat. Cracks don't need to be located close to the burners to expose wiring that poses a danger. This is why some ceramic top stove manufacturers suggest replacing cracked surfaces rather than attempting to repair or ignore them.
Replacing a ceramic top stove's surface is complicated process. It involves disassembling the stove to remove one of its major components. Depending on how the stove is installed in your kitchen, you may to remove cabinets or countertops, or partially remove the stove itself, to gain access. Ceramic top stove warranties cover cracks that are due to manufacturing problems and occur shortly after purchase, but not those that come from improper use or normal wear and tear.
Dennis Hartman is a freelance writer living in California. His work covers a wide variety of topics and has been published nationally in print as well as online. Hartman holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo.