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Granite is an extremely durable natural stone material that is used in residential and commercial properties around the world. The stone has a very broad use in construction: granite can be used as kitchen countertops, floor tiles, around the fireplace, or as the façade of high-rise buildings. Why is it so widely used? Primarily because granite can withstand harsh conditions better than any other natural stone. Granite is also a great investment for a home, as having it installed raises the value of the property and can be enjoyed and admired for many years. It also requires little maintenance, but every responsible owner should learn how to seal granite properly to preserve the new look.
Does My Granite Require Sealing?
Every slab of granite is unique. While commercial grade granite tends to be dark in color with little to no veining, granite slabs found at a local showroom are quarried and prepared for residential use and are available in hundreds of colors and endless pattern variations. But does it all need to be sealed?
When shopping for granite you’ll find that the unanimous answer to that question is: yes! Don’t let task of sealing this beautiful stone discourage you from considering it as a countertop or a vanity top option, because once you know how to seal granite, it is a quick and easy process.
Granite is a porous material, which means the material will absorb liquids on its surface to some degree. However how often you need to seal it will vary. Professionals agree that darker color granite will require less sealing than lighter slabs, because dark granite is denser and less porous. For example, Absolute Black Granite, available at marble.com, will require 12 months or more between sealing. In contrast, some of the light colors might need to be sealed as often as once every 6 months. Honed granite surfaces might require additional sealing, because the granite is not protected by the polish and is more prone to staining.
Every so often, you may wonder whether or not your granite countertop is sealed properly. Luckily there is a simple test that will provide the answer within minutes. It doesn’t require any specialized equipment, only a few drops of water and 15 minutes of your time.
To conduct the test, drip water onto a small area on the countertop. If you see water being absorbed into the surface in the first 5-10 minutes you should immediately seal your countertop. If the water is able to penetrate the surface, so will the other every day spills such as juices or oils. While water will not leave any residue, these other everyday kitchen liquids will. If the water droplets are beading on top of the stone and is not being absorbed, this indicates that countertop sealer is doing its job and no action should be taken at this time.
Other times, you will notice other telltale signs that new sealer should be applied, especially by observing the stone throughout the day while you are performing everyday tasks. The area around the kitchen sink comes into contact with water on daily basis, and thus is most likely to show how protected your countertop is.
If you notice that the area of your countertops around the sink is darker after doing the dishes, that’s a sign the stone is absorbing water. It will return to its original color after the water evaporates, but this should serve as an indicator that the rest of the countertop should be sealed as well. Also, if you notice a condensation ring left behind after you serve glasses of cold drinks, it’s time to seal the countertop.
How to Seal Granite
After your stone has been tested and you determine that the granite needs a coat of sealer, finding the right product is key. There are dozens of options on the market, and they differ in application and lasting durability.
For long lasting protection and easy application, consider DuPont StoneTech Professional BulletProof Sealer. It’s the right product for granite countertops and tiles, and can also be used on other stone surfaces around the home, such as marble, limestone, sandstone or travertine. The sealer penetrates granite pores and can be effective for up to 3-5 year on interior surfaces.
Prior to the application, mask off any surfaces not intended for treatment. For a granite countertop, apply an even coat by a paint pad, brush, or roller, and allow the sealer to penetrate the surface for 15 to 30 minutes. Note that some stone is more porous than other, and might require a second application. If the sealer has been absorbed by the granite after the first coat, simply repeat the first step. Remove the access sealer with a dry, clean cloth. Now the sealer needs time to cure, which can take between 24 and 72 hours, for maximum protection. Always read the entire label and follow the safety warnings before proceeding with application of the sealer.
Another granite sealer option is Super Zero Ultimate Stone Sealer from mrstone.com. Its water-based, fluoropolymer nano-technology works by binding the sealer to the stone’s pores, creating a protective surface layer. Superior Zero Stone Sealer comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle, and can be applied to granite or to virtually any natural stone surface: like quartzite, slate, onyx or marble. To apply this product, simply spray the sealer on the stone surface and allow the liquid to soak into the stone for 20 to 30 minutes. If the sealer is able to penetrate the stone, a second coat might be necessary, so go ahead and apply another coat. Remove excess sealer with a clean, dry towel and allow for the sealer to cure for 24 hours.
Read the entire label on the back of the sealer to ensure proper application and follow safety warnings.
If you are looking for extra protection for your stone, consider using multi-purpose granite cleaners. AGM Granite and Marble Countertop Cleaner contains a small amount of a sealing agent and will seal the countertop as you clean. It also removes grease, oils, hairspray, and other cosmetics and spills, while adding extra layer of protection to granite. Simply spay the granite surface with the cleaner and wipe dry with a paper towel or a rag.
Certain commercial cleaners are not recommended for use on granite as they will remove the sealer from the stone. Avoid using cleaners such as Windex, 404, Fantastik, and other cleaners that contain ammonia in order to maintain the protective layer provided by the sealer.
Why Do I Have to Seal Granite?
It’s easy to think that granite is so hard that it’s indestructible. Granite, after all, is heat- and scratch-resistant, and very hygienic. It’s the most durable and safest food preparation surface when it comes to natural stone. However, it’s important to remember that it’s also a porous surface, and the pores in the surface of the stone allow for entrance of fluids.
Porosity of different granites varies greatly, and therefore the sealing intervals will be different as well. In general, granites that are light in color are more porous than ones that are dark and will require more frequent sealing. Using the simple water test can help determine if it’s time to seal the stone within a couple of minutes and is good to perform as often as every 6 months. Learn how to seal granite when you first make the purchase and keep it looking new for years to come.