Pondering how to seal granite countertops? The best way to seal granite countertops is a bit of knowledge that you’d better have if you’re a homeowner—that is, if this granite surface is where you prep your meals. While this natural stone countertop might seem invincible, granite is actually porous (much like marble), which means that substances can easily seep in.
“Oil, water, juice, ink—any liquids or spills, really—can soak in and stain granite,” says Emily Long, a home improvement expert with SafeWise. To keep this from happening, most granite countertops are covered in a sealant. But this layer can wear off over time, so it’s up to you to reapply to your granite as needed.
Luckily, sealing granite countertops is something most homeowners can do themselves by purchasing granite sealer at their local hardware store. If you want your granite to continue looking great and last for ages, check out these steps on how to seal granite countertops.
The answer for sealing depends on what type of natural stone you have installed on your kitchen countertops.
“For a lighter-colored stone countertop—which is typically more porous—you should generally seal it with a granite sealer once a year,” says Long.
You’ll need to seal darker, harder natural stone (like quartz countertops) once every 10 years, or possibly not at all. To find out if your granite countertop needs to be sealed again, try the water test: Simply sprinkle a few drops of water on the granite surface. If the water beads up, the seal is strong. If the drops pool, that means the seal is compromised and should be reapplied to the granite.
Whatever you do, don’t seal your granite countertops if they don’t need it “just for extra protection,” as this can create a cloudy sealing residue on your granite that’s difficult to remove. But if your countertop is in need of more sealer or you spy dark spots (which indicates a below-surface stain), proceed to seal!
Before sealing, clear everything off your countertops or granite table. Clean the granite countertops with water and dish soap, granite cleaner and paper towels, or a lint-free cloth (like a microfiber cloth or an old T-shirt). Let it dry completely before you start the sealing process. Don’t use lemon juice or another acidic solution to clean granite countertops or other stone surfaces as it’ll weaken the sealant over time.
Choose a penetrating sealer specifically made for granite counters or marble, or at least for a natural stone countertop. Before sealing your granite countertops, test the sealer by spraying a small section in an inconspicuous corner or a small area of granite. Make sure there’s no discoloration or residue from the sealer on the granite before you continue.
While you should read the instructions on your bottle, for most granite sealers, you start by spraying a generous coat evenly over the surface of your countertops. Make sure you’ve covered the entire granite surface, with no dry spots left.
Once the countertop is completely covered in a layer of sealant, let it sit. After 15 to 20 minutes, while the sealer is still wet, wipe your granite countertops with a lint-free cloth to mop up the excess.
Let your granite cure for at least an hour before touching or using it again; also avoid cleaning the countertop for the next 24 to 48 hours or using the sealer again. If you’re the cornball type, this is also a good time to whisper softly to your countertops, “I’ll never take you for granite.”
After sealing, treat your granite countertops right by cleaning them with neutral pH cleaners; never use harsh or vinegar-based cleaners on granite. You can make your own granite care cleaner with a water-based solution of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% water. Sealing your countertops made from granite is worth the effort for a gorgeous kitchen, especially if you use a quality sealer.
Adriana Velez is a food, wellness, and home writer. Her work has been featured in Healthyish, Prevention.com, Lifehacker, She Knows, and CafeMom.
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