Your granite kitchen countertop is a significant addition in your kitchen, and one that will be with you through thick and thin. However, there is a but. Granite no doubt is a beautiful natural stone that aesthetically transforms your kitchen and is very durable and hard, is not stain resistant.
Why Seal Granite Countertop?
Your countertop is the focal point of your kitchen where all the work takes place. All the food particles, liquids and other solvents may seep in the granite countertop and can lead to damage of your countertop and bacterial growth as well. Properly sealing your granite countertop can last it for at least 5 to 10 years. However, if you have a non-porous surface like quartz countertop, you don’t need sealing.
Check Whether Your Granite Countertop Needs Sealant or Not
Before starting the sealing, you will need to check whether your granite countertop needs sealing or not. Some granite countertops come pre-sealed while some do not, and if you are not sure then it’s better to not delay or your granite could get damaged and stained.
To check you will need to do the water test and the oil test. Put a few drops of water on your granite at one corner and a few drops of oil a little far away. Leave it for around 10 to 15 minutes. If the water has seeped inside the granite and it has stained then your countertop needs sealing, however, if there are small beads of water on top of the countertop then you do not need to seal it. Same goes for mineral oil, if it darkens the countertop and penetrates then begin the sealing process ASAP.
Important: If the water or oil does not penetrate and stain, then DO NOT seal just like that as then sealing will disrupt the appearance of the countertop and lead to a hazy aftereffect.
Before sealing you will need to clean your granite. Remove everything from the countertop and wipe it clean with a soft cloth or preferably microfiber cloth. Then clean with dish soap and mix it with rubbing alcohol, or you can also wipe with rubbing alcohol afterwards. Wipe with a microfiber cloth. Make sure your countertop is completely grease free. Leave it for at least 24 hours to completely get dry.
Important: If there is construction or renovation work going on in your home then it is better to seal it after the work is complete as dust and dirt particles can interfere with the sealing process.
Selection of a Sealant
The selection of a sealer is very important. There are two kinds of countertop sealants, oil based and water based, both can seal perfectly well but water based is easier to apply and wipe. Use sealant specifically made for granite. The sealant will penetrate the countertop without causing any change in the appearance but will stop the impregnation of other solvents. Avoid using silicone based sealants as they are not durable and you will need to reseal every 6 months or so and can cause fading of your granite as well. The best sealant is a carbon resin sealant which is very durable and also expensive, but it will last you a good 5 years at least.
Important: Wear gloves for protection during application and also keep your windows open for ventilation as the sealant can produce a bad smell and vapors.
Testing the Sealant
Check on a small area in the corner of the countertop if the sealant is compatible with your granite or not. Spray the sealant and apply with a washcloth in a circular motion. Read the instructions well before use. Keep it for at least 15 minutes. If the sealant causes fading, discoloration or a hazy appearance, then wipe the sealant with a cloth and get another sealant. But if it causes no change in appearance then proceed with the application.
Apply the sealant evenly on the whole countertop using circular motions. Leave it to dry, usually the time is 20 minutes maximum. Do not exceed the instructed time as it may cause discoloration and damage. Sometimes a second coat is also required.
Leave the sealant to dry for 24 to 48 hours. Granite countertop installers Centreville recommend leaving it for 48 hours to completely dry. Once dried you can use your sealed countertop.