How to Seal Granite Countertops
Formed under intense heat and immense pressure over millions of years before finally cooling and being thrust up to the surface of the earth's crust, your granite has gone through one heck of a journey to arrive at your house and adorning your kitchen. It would be a shame for it to make it all this way to just be neglected now, wouldn't it? Sealing your granite will not only help to protect that gorgeous surface from stains, but also from damage such as etches. While granite is certainly a tough material, acidic chemicals like vinegar, wine and lemon juice can chemically etch the surface, marring that sleek finish. By using a properly formulated sealer, you're giving your natural stone its first line of defense against these pitfalls to help ensure that it stays as beautiful as it is now for the lifetime of your home. So, let's get into everything you need to know about sealing your granite, starting with when:
How to Know When to Seal Your Granite
In general, it is recommended to seal your granite every 6-12 months (or more in high trafficked areas), but it's a good idea to test your stone's seal periodically if you're not sure. Different compositions of granite are more porous than others, with a general rule of thumb being that lighter color granite tends to be more porous than darker examples. Lifestyle also impacts the integrity of the seal. A large family that is constantly using the surface will re-seal more often than a much smaller family will. Truth is, you can never over-seal granite and other natural stone – the more often you seal, the more assurance you’re giving yourself that you’re protecting the stone against stains and etches. This is where the water test comes in: Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface in several locations and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you see a dark mark or ring, the water is penetrating the stone and it’s time to reseal.
How to Reseal Your Natural-Stone in 3 Steps
1: Make Sure the Surface is Clean
To ensure the best seal for maximum coverage, always thoroughly clean the surface of your granite with a stone-safe solution. For best results, use a pH balanced cleaner that doesn't cause streaks or leave behind any residue -- this rules out most typical household cleaners, as many rely on harsh, acidic chemicals for cleaning and products like many dish soaps can contain organic compounds called tallow that leave behind a film on the surface (and dish soap isn’t formulated to clean stone). This will interfere with the sealer's ability to do its job. Instead, we recommend a solution like Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® that is formulated specifically for use on natural stone. It is pH balanced, contains no phosphates or ammonia, and does a great job of deep-cleaning the stone, wiping away clear to allow the sealer to take hold.
2: Sealing Your Granite Properly
Sealing should be done in roughly 3-foot sections at a time. Spray an even coating of your stone sealer over the designated section (without soaking it) and immediately wipe the solution into the stone with a lint-free cloth (we recommend a fresh microfiber). It's important to not allow the sealer to dry on the surface, as this can lead to hazing in those areas. Next, buff the area with another microfiber cloth, and wait roughly 20-minutes or until the surface is dry to the touch between applications. For best results, it's not a bad idea to repeat the process 2-3 times. Better Homes & Gardens chose Granite Gold Sealer® as their Handy Pick of 2019 for its effectiveness and ease of use. It's safe for use on food-prep surfaces and is equally effective in sealing your grout as it is the natural stone around it.
3: Time for Polish
Not only does giving your countertop a nice polish bring out and accentuate its natural beauty, but it also helps to reinforce the protective seal and protects against water spots and fingerprints. It's important to wait 24 hours after sealing your countertop, allowing it to fully cure before polishing. The process is just as easy as sealing: spray the stone polish onto the surface and buff to a shine with a clean microfiber cloth (a paper towel can also be used in a pinch). Once you're done polishing the surface, wipe the countertop dry with a fresh lint-free cloth. Note, this process is best left to countertops and other non-flooring surfaces, as this process can make the stone quite slippery. To polish stone floors, seek a professional stone restoration specialist with the proper tools and training.
Tips for Daily Granite Upkeep
Wipe up spills quickly: In order to preserve the integrity of your seal, the all-around playing-it-safe move is to quickly soak up and wipe away spills. Getting into this as a habit will not only make clean-up easier, but also ensures that a possibly acidic liquid doesn't begin to eat away at your seal, or worse, etch and dull the surface.
Avoid abrasive cleaning products: Things like steel wool, scouring pads and gritty cleaning products can quickly wear down the protective seal and dull your stone's sleek surface. A clean microfiber, paper towel or stone-safe sponge, like the Granite Gold Scrub Sponge®, are all better bets for your cleaning needs. Keep liquid containers off the counter. Soap dispensers, bottles of cooking oil and toiletry items (such as moisturizer) can leave rings of build-up underneath them.
These chemicals can eat away at the sealer, and substances like cooking oil can seep into the surface, leaving a stain. Have more questions or concerns on how to care for your natural stone? Consider reaching out to our team of stone care experts with more than 50 years of stone-care experience at 1-800-475-STONE. Be sure to check out our full line stone care products to make sure you're doing that beautiful stone justice.