It's fixed! And thank goodness replacing our ceramic stove top was much easier than we thought. In fact, it took only about 30 minutes from start to finish.
When the cooktop first cracked, I was extremely frustrated that I couldn't find any good information on the internet about how we could replace the cracked cooktop ourselves. Consequently, I'm going to illustrate exactly what we did to replace the cooktop so others who find themselves in the same situation as we found ourselves can do it themselves, too.
So here's what we did:
1. We determined the exact model of our range (after much sweat and tears), and then we purchased the replacement part online at Repair Clinic. They had fantastic prices and shipped quickly and cheaply—more than $80 cheaper than if we had purchased the part through GE.
2. Once the part arrived, we moved the range away from the wall and unplugged it from the wall outlet.
3. Jeff unscrewed the cooktop section by unscrewing two screws located at the front lower edge of the cooktop, accessible by opening the oven door.
4. After unscrewing the screws, we lifted the cooktop and unplugged the burners and the ground wire from the range.
5. We lifted the cooktop off the hinges (it was very easy to remove after we played with it for a bit) and placed it upside down on some towels we had placed on our kitchen table.
6. Jeff unscrewed the clips that were securing the burners to the cooktop.
7. We placed more towels on the table and set the new cooktop next the the cracked one.
8. We carefully moved the burners (all at once in one unit) onto the new cooktop. We made sure we didn't touch the elements at all.
9. Jeff secured the burners in place with the clamps from the old cooktop.
10. We placed the new (uncracked!) cooktop back on the hinges of the range.
11. Jeff reconnected the wiring and screwed the ground wire back into the frame of the cooktop.
12. Jeff secured the cooktop back to the frame with the two screws at the front near the oven door, and voila! A perfectly repaired smoothtop range—with NO CRACKS!!!!
12. I want to emphasize this last, crucial step that we took to prevent further breakage of the cooktop—not that I don't trust my husband not to break it again, but…okay…I don't trust my husband not to break it again (sorry, Jeff).
Back to the point—I went to Wal-mart and purchased two 15 by 21 inch cutting boards. These boards will remain in place atop the cooktop unless we're using the burners. So not only will they help protect the glass, but we will also have extra countertop space. How cool is that?!