Why do I need to seal a granite countertop?
Sealing the counterop
Granite countertops typically need to be resealed every 1-3 years, depending on the level of use and the type of sealer that was applied initially. Factors that can affect the frequency of resealing include the porosity of the granite, the type of sealer that was used, and the amount of use the countertop receives.
When thinking about the level of use in relation to resealing granite countertops, it refers to the amount of activity and exposure that the countertop receives daily.
Countertops in high-use areas such as the kitchen, for example, will be exposed to more wear and tear than countertops in less frequently used areas, such as a guest bathroom. The kitchen countertops are more likely to be exposed to spills, stains, and acidic substances like lemon juice and vinegar, which can break down the sealer over time. Also, kitchen countertops are more likely to be exposed to heat from hot pans and cooking oils, which can also cause the sealer to break down more quickly.
On the other hand, countertops in low-use areas like a guest bathroom may not be exposed to as many spills or stains and may not be exposed to as much heat. Therefore, they may not need to be resealed as often.
It’s important to note that even if a granite countertop is located in a low-use area, it should still be resealed regularly to ensure the countertop is protected and to maintain its appearance.
Determining if your granite countertop needs to be resealed
A granite countertop that is used frequently in a kitchen, for example, may need to be resealed more often than a countertop in a bathroom that is used less frequently. To determine if your granite countertop needs to be resealed, you can perform a water test. To perform the test, you will need a clean, dry countertop and a few drops of water. Here are the steps to perform the test:
- Clean the countertop thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
- Allow the countertop to dry completely.
- Place a few drops of water on the surface of the granite in an inconspicuous area, such as a corner or near the sink.
- Observe the water droplets for 15-30 minutes.
- If the water beads up and sits on top of the surface, the granite is still sealed and does not need to be resealed. The sealer is still protecting the granite from water penetration.
- If the water droplets are absorbed into the granite, it means the sealer is wearing off and the granite is becoming porous. It’s time to reseal the countertop to prevent staining and damage.
- This test should be done on an inconspicuous area to avoid visible water marks, and also should be done in an area where the countertop is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat because these elements can affect the result of the test.
This test should be done on an inconspicuous area to avoid visible water marks, and also should be done in an area where the countertop is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat because these elements can affect the result of the test.
Types of sealers for granite
When it comes to sealers, several types can be used on granite countertops, including:
Impregnating sealers: These are the most common type of sealer used on granite countertops. They penetrate into the pores of the stone to form an invisible barrier that protects the granite from stains and liquids. They are usually a type of solvent-based or water-based sealer and are easy to apply.
Topical sealers: These sealers sit on top of the granite and form a protective barrier that is visible on the surface of the granite. They can be used to enhance the color and shine of the granite but they can be less effective in protecting the granite from stains and liquids.
Enhancing sealers: These sealers are designed to darken or enhance the color of the granite and also to protect it from stains and liquids. They are usually applied after the impregnating sealer and can be used to give the granite a more polished look.
Epoxy sealers: These are a type of topical sealer that can be used on granite countertops. They are made from a combination of resins and hardeners that are mixed before application. They are known for their excellent durability and resistance to heat, chemicals, and stains but are also more difficult to apply.
When sealing you should use sealers that are specifically designed for granite and natural stone surfaces, as other types of sealers may not be appropriate and can even damage the granite.
Sealing the granite countertop
Once you have determined that your granite countertop needs to be resealed, you can follow these steps:
- Clean the granite countertop thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Use a mild detergent mixed with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse the countertop with clean water and dry it thoroughly.
- Allow the granite to dry completely.
- Apply the sealer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will typically involve applying a small amount of sealer to the surface of the granite and spreading it evenly with a paintbrush or roller. Be sure to work in small sections so that the sealer doesn’t dry before you have a chance to spread it evenly.
- Allow the sealer to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. This is usually around 24 hours.
- Once the sealer is dry, you can buff the surface of the granite with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess sealer.
- Perform a water test to ensure that the granite is properly sealed.
Different sealers have different instructions and drying times. Always be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before applying the sealer and make sure you have all the necessary materials and equipment ready before you begin. Additionally, it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area when applying the sealer, as the fumes can be harmful.