You may already have a granite countertop and wondering is sealing granite countertops necessary? Whatever the case, you don’t have to worry anymore. Here’s what you need to know about is sealing granite countertops necessary.
Granite countertops are found in many homes because they improve the aesthetics of your kitchen, bar, and other parts of the house. This item also enhances the value of your home by positively impacting the interior. So you may be thinking of investing in this countertop.
Why Do You Need To Seal Granite Countertops?
Granite countertops do not necessarily require sealing, but the overall decision depends on your needs. It also relies on whether the kitchen countertop has already been sealed or not.
The best part is that this action provides many benefits. Here are some reasons to help you understand why you should seal granite countertops:
1. Prevents Bacterial Growth
A kitchen is more prone to being affected by bacteria and other microbodies because it becomes dirty every day. You may spill something on your countertop which will attract contaminants. The worst part is that granite is porous like materials such as marble and limestone. This means it has tiny surface openings through which particles can seep into the material.
Bacteria and other microbodies can easily grow on your granite countertop using tiny openings. So even if you clean the top surface, the populations will remain inside the minor holes. The good news is that you can tackle this by sealing your granite countertop as it closes the openings.
2. Helps You Keep The Environment Safe
A primary feature of granite is that it does not require high maintenance like other materials. Keeping the item clean is relatively easier, depending on the condition. If the granite countertop is sealed properly, it will become eco-friendly because of the closing of the openings.
The sealing ensures that you will not have to use harsh chemicals for cleaning the countertop. This is better for your indoor home environment because chemicals significantly reduce air quality. So you can indulge in eco-friendly practices by sealing your granite countertop.
3. Improves Lifespan Of The Kitchen Counter
Granite is a natural material that is highly strong and offers many aesthetic benefits. Many people believe that the component is indestructible because of its high strength and durable construction. However, that is not true. The material may be strong, but it can get scratches or cuts.
Luckily, sealing helps you protect your granite countertop from multiple things. The sealant bonds deeply with the surface and ensures that the material does not suffer from scratches. This will also enable your granite countertop to last longer than other kitchen counters.
4. Keeps The Countertop From Dulling
Many people polish their granite countertops from time to time to ensure the item’s aesthetics do not degrade. However, it can be tough to select the right polish for returning the shine to your countertop. An essential tip is that adding a sealant to the mixture enhances the material’s glow.
The layer of granite sealer ensures that the polish does not wear off promptly. This means you can enjoy an aesthetic and shiny structure for an extended period. Your granite countertop will not look dull after polishing it with polish and sealant. So people will always think the item is new.
Also Read : How To Strip And Reseal Granite Countertops
What Happens If You Don’t Seal Granite Countertops?
Now that you understand the importance of a sealed granite countertop, here are some side effects of not sealing the item:
1. The Material Will Stain
One of the top drawbacks of granite countertops is that the material will stain easily during spills and other incidents. The component has porous holes, which improves the absorbing ability of the countertop. This means that the item will absorb the contaminant and may become stained.
However, a sealant will help you eliminate this issue without making much effort. The component will seal all the pores to ensure that the material does not seep into the countertop. So you don’t have to worry about cleaning the part instantly after cooking.
If you don’t seal the countertop, water spills will cause the liquid to seep through the stone. This will damage the finishing, color, and structure of the countertop. Food stains will also harm the stone and may cause pits depending on the ingredient.
2. Becomes More Prone To Damage
Granite countertops may not be high-maintenance, but they still require some superficial cleaning after working on the countertop. The worst part is that an unsealed material is more prone to damage. If you use citrus cleaners, the stone’s calcium will degrade.
So using a citrus cleaner will cause your granite countertop to have pits on the surface. Other chemicals can also seep into the material and erode it from the base. This will damage the color and finishing of your kitchen countertop significantly.
Another bad news is that you cannot determine if the cleaner is safe unless you use it. This is why it is better to seal the countertop. The process will minimize the damage suffered from harsh substances.
3. The Countertop’s Lifespan Decrease
The primary effect of not sealing the granite is that the countertop will suffer more damage from cleaners. This will decrease the item’s lifespan significantly, and your kitchen aesthetics will reduce. The material’s durability will also decrease because of food ingredients.
If vinegar or lemon juice falls on the unsealed countertop, it will suffer from etching. These substances are harsh on various natural stones, including granite. The material will suffer from water stains which affect multiple parts of the countertop.
Typically, unsealed granite countertops will not last more than a few years in your home. The worst news is that the damage will be permanent most of the time.
How To Know If Your Granite Countertop Requires Sealing?
As mentioned earlier, granite countertops do not necessarily require you to seal them. This is because the item may already be sealed during the production process. So you will not have to make any effort, and you can use the countertop without worries.
However, you will have to seal the countertop if the process isn’t done during production. You should also remember that the sealing of your granite countertop may have worn off. The good news is you can know this by doing the following two tests:
The Water Test
Here are the steps to follow:
- Fill a quarter cup with cool tap water
- Set a timer of thirty minutes on your phone
- Pour water in different places on the countertop to make small pools just like you do when you take some liquid into your palms
- Start the timer or note the time you made the pools
- Wait until the timer runs out or you don’t have any water left on the countertop
Interpreting The Results
After you’re done with the steps, you must observe the countertop. If the material absorbs water immediately and shows a dark mark, it needs resealing once a quarter. This is because the stone is highly porous.
If it takes the material 4 to 5 minutes for absorption, you will have to apply a sealant yearly. Meanwhile, 10 minutes indicate that the material may not need sealing for another two years.
Lastly, 30 minutes show that the countertop does not require sealing, but you may still redo it to prevent etching. Besides that, if the material does not absorb water at all, it does not require sealing.
The Oil And Lemon Test
The water test will require spending at least 30 minutes to understand whether the material needs sealing. The oil and lemon test will be more suitable if you want a faster method. Here are the steps to follow:
- Dust the granite countertop thoroughly
- Put a few drops of oil and lemon juice on the material’s surface
- Make sure to use different spots for both substances and avoid mixing them
- Let the liquids sit on the countertop for at least five minutes
- Wipe the material dry after the time runs out and understand the results
Interpreting The Results
If you see dull spots where you put lemon juice, the material requires sealing. This is because it indicates that granite contains many calcites and acid-sensitive minerals. The result is the same if the material immediately turns dark after application.
Besides that, 30 seconds to turn dark indicate that the material is less porous, but it is best to apply a sealer. Meanwhile, five minutes for dulling or no mark shows that the material does not require sealing. You can also perform this test before buying the countertop to avoid issues later.
How Often Do Granite Countertops Need To Be Sealed?
There is no fixed time for a granite countertop to require sealing because each item is made differently. Besides that, every kitchen stone does not experience the same amount of wear and tear. If your countertop was sealed at the factory during production, it might take ten to fifteen years for the protective layer to wear off.
Meanwhile, if you used a store-bought sealant, the protection will wear off within six to twelve months. The exact time depends on the wear and tear, countertop cleaning frequency, and the previous sealant type. You can understand whether the material requires sealing by conducting the water test or the oil and lemon test.
How To Seal Granite Countertops?
Here are the steps you can follow to seal your granite countertop at home:
Get The Materials
Sealing requires you to conduct a thorough process that is not much time-consuming if you have the relevant materials. These include:
- Microfiber cloths
- Liquid dish soap
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Empty spray bottle
- Granite sealant
The microfiber cloths will help you apply the sealant to the granite surface. Meanwhile, the liquid soap and isopropyl alcohol are mild detergents for cleaning the countertop before applying the sealant. Lastly, the empty spray bottle will help you with easy application.
Clean The Granite Countertop
A store-bought sealant can last for a long if you apply it correctly and take precautions to improve the lifespan. You can do this by thoroughly cleaning the countertop before application. This will ensure no contaminant remains on the material.
Avoid using acidic agents such as lemon juice, bleach, and harsh chemicals. You should also not use baking soda or vinegar for cleaning. Instead, prepare a mild solution by mixing a small quantity of liquid dish soap and isopropyl alcohol in cold water in the spray bottle. Clean the surface with this solution and wait for at least one day before applying sealant.
Apply The Sealant
There are many granite sealants on the market to help protect your countertops. Of course, not all of them are effective. This is why you should do some research before choosing a specific type. A salesperson at the shop may also help you get the best sealant.
One or two days after the cleaning, you must apply the sealant to your granite countertop. Be sure to read the instructions on the relevant packet and follow them strictly. You should also ensure the room has proper ventilation when applying the sealant. Opening a few windows may help you improve indoor air circulation.
Wait For The Sealant To Cure
The curing time depends on the sealant you are using, but it is usually less than one hour. You should avoid using wet items on the countertop during the curing. Once it’s done, you should wipe the excess liquid immediately and return the kitchen tools to the countertop.
After a few hours, you may also check the sealing through the water test. You should also avoid using the sealant if the countertop shows marks after application. This may happen in the earlier step or during curing.
This is everything you need to know about is sealing granite countertops necessary. If the material is not already sealed and highly porous, you must take this step. If you want to save money, you can do the sealing yourself using a store-bought sealant. However, getting professional help is more suitable to avoid using a harsh fluid and damaging your countertop.