Granite countertops can elevate your home with their natural, unique charm. Each slab of granite is unique since it is a natural product and many homeowners are very particular when selecting the exact slab that they wish to use for their home. Understandably, this beautifully natural and unique look can be quite the expense depending on what slab you select for your home. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your investment and keep those granite countertops looking new.
Granite is a natural, very hard igneous rock composed of quartz and feldspar often with mica and other materials mixed within. The characteristics of the stone make it a prime choice for countertops due to its resistance to weathering along with its durability. However, granite countertops are porous and not impervious to staining.
Sealing your granite countertops will help protect it from absorbing liquids that leave unsightly stains. Depending on the specific stone that you’ve chosen for your granite countertops, the frequency at which you should reseal your countertops can vary greatly.
Often times, the company that you purchase the granite from, such as Granite Huggers, can provide insight as to how often you should seal your granite countertops. Unfortunately, if you’ve purchased a home with the granite countertops already installed then you may need to ask a professional or test the granite yourself to see if it needs to be sealed.
It’s important that you don’t assume anything about your granite countertops since each piece of granite can vary from the next. Some stone will need to be sealed as frequently as every three months, while other may only need to be sealed once a year. There are some slabs that may only need to be sealed once every five years, or even not at all. The only way to tell for sure is to test the stone yourself or have a professional inspect your granite countertops.
It’s very easy to test your granite countertops to determine if it needs to be sealed. This can be done by pouring a small amount of water on top of a portion of your granite countertops and letting it sit for around 15 minutes. After the time has passed, simply wipe up the water with a towel. Now you simply examine the stone. Notice the difference in color between the area where the water was and a dry portion of the counter. If the area of the counter that had the water on it appears to be darker than the rest of the counter, this means that your granite countertops absorbed some of the water and it will need to be sealed. Don’t worry about the darkened spot on your counter, it should completely dry within a day.
If you’ve determined that your granite countertops need to be sealed, then you can easily do this at home on your own. If your countertop passed the test there’s no need to attempt to seal it as it will not absorb the sealant. If you try to seal a countertop that does not need to be sealed then you may end up coating your granite countertops with an unappealing hazy residue.
To seal your granite countertops you will want to clear everything off of the counter so that the entire surface is bare. You’ll then clean the entire countertop with a mild soap such as dish soap. Be sure to carefully scrape away any built up residue that you may find. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your countertops, gently wipe dry with a lint free cloth and allow them to dry for 24 hours. This waiting period ensures that your stone has returned to its natural color.
A professional can help you determine what type of sealer will be the best for your granite countertops and your needs. Carefully read the instructions on the label of the sealer. Some brands have specific steps that you will want to follow closely for the best results. Wear gloves and make sure that the room is ventilated. You’ll want to begin by following the instructions and testing the sealer on a small area of your granite countertop that is not easily noticeable. This will help you determine if the sealer is compatible with your granite.
When you’re ready to seal the remainder of your granite countertops then you will want to cover the entire surface evenly, unless the instructions indicate otherwise. You will then allow the sealer to absorb into the stone. Typically this takes around 20 minutes, however this varies from sealer to sealer so it is important to reference the label. Some sealers may advise applying a second coat. Wipe the counters with a clean, lint free cloth when instructed to do so by the label.
Depending on the product you’ve chosen to seal your granite countertops, you may need to leave your counter alone for the next 24 to 48 hours. This gives the sealer time to cure so it is fully effective. Pay close attention to the instructions on the sealer that you use to make sure that you are following the timeline as instructed.
Once your granite countertops have been sealed, you can perform the water test every few months to determine how long you should go between sealing treatments. When water begins to darken the stone again then it is time to seal the counters once more. Since each granite slab is different, this may mean different times for each counter if you have used different slabs in different rooms or for different areas of your kitchen.