If you have a stunning granite countertop that you would like to keep in a “showroom” condition, you should really think about sealing it. Certain countertops already come pre-sealed, yet if you are not sure if yours is sealed, rather provide it with the protection that it needs. Neglected spills, incorrect cleaning methods, and other everyday uses can scratch or mar your surfaces. The correct impregnating or penetrating sealer soaks deep into the surface of the granite. This will fill in any porous gaps and helps to prevent unforeseen damages. A good quality sealant will only provide protection for a while, and any spills that are not wiped up immediately will eventually start seeping into the granite, yet choosing the correct one, along with using the tips found below will help to safeguard your investment for a lot longer.
The sealants come in water-based and solvent-based options. The water-based is the greener or environmentally-friendly choice, while the solvent-based option is said to penetrate further down into the granite. Yet this is usually only needed for polished granite. Look for an active ingredient called fluorocarbon aliphatic resin on the solvent or water-based sealant label. These products may be more expensive when compared to those that contain ingredients such as silicon or siloxane. Yet fluorocarbon aliphatic resin provides protection between 5 to 10 years when compared to 6 months to 3 years with the other types of sealants. At the same time, fluorocarbon aliphatic resin will repel water and oil, protecting your granite from forgotten spills. One quart of a sealant containing fluorocarbon aliphatic resin will cost around $35 while covering around 150 to 250 square feet, which will depend on the brand. The 24-oz spray bottles that contain lesser solvents usually cost in the region of $15, but you will probably need to reapply the solvent every 6 to 12 months.
In the steps below you will find a general overview on how to seal granite countertops for both varieties, yet the exact instructions may vary when it comes to the active ingredients and the actual brand. It is very important that you follow the instructions carefully with these helpful guidelines to achieve optimal results.
Decide whether your countertops need a sealant. In an inconspicuous area such as a corner, apply a couple of drops of oil and then apply a few drops of water two inches away from the oil. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes and then assess whether the oil or water has absorbed into the granite leaving behind a darker color. If this doesn’t happen then your countertop is sealed already. If you apply a sealant over the granite it will leave behind an unsightly hazy film.
Cleans your countertops thoroughly at least a day before you seal the granite. Avoid the use of potentially damaging ingredients such as bleach, baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, or any other harsh chemicals. Start by removing any items from your countertops and wipe the areas down with a dry and clean microfiber cloth. This will remove the surface dust. Now combine 1 solution containing 2 Tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol and 1 Teaspoon dishwashing liquid into a clean 1-pint spray bottle. Fill with cold water. Spray the countertops generously and wipe away using circular polishing motions with a clean microfiber cloth. Wait 24 hours before you move onto the next step. The cleansing solution must evaporate fully before you apply the sealant.
Read the label on the sealant to find out how the application procedure works. Should this guide vary from what is stated on the label, rather follow the manufacturer’s advice. Open all the doors and windows in the room for ventilation. On a rainy day avoid opening any windows, as water may land upon the area that you are working on. Rather open doors and windows in any adjacent rooms.
Grab a few rags and put on a pair of strong rubber gloves. In the areas on the countertop that usually have small appliances, test out the sealant to make sure it doesn’t affect the surface. Use a small amount according to the directions from the manufacturer, by either pouring or spraying the solution onto a rag, followed by rubbing it over your test area.
Allow the sealant to penetrate into the countertop (this usually takes 15 to 20 minutes), but in some cases a lot longer. Do not allow the solution to sit for longer than what was stated on the label, as this could change the color of the stone.
If the test area that you used the sealant on looks good, you can move onto the next step. If the area has discolored, use a rag to wipe away the remaining sealant. Then take a couple of photos of this area and take it to your closest home center to ask for professional advice on what product you should be using. Once you have purchased a new sealant, follow this up by cleaning your counters again, and test a small area with this sealant.
If the test is successful, you can now apply the solvent across your countertops, starting on one side working from wall to wall. Apply the sealant in sections. Use circular motions to ensure you have covered the entire area. Wait for the recommended time-frame to allow the product to penetrate into the surface.
Once the product is fully absorbed, wipe away any sealant that is left behind with a soft and dry rag, using circular, rubbing motions. Certain products will suggest that you apply a 2nd coat, so make sure you read the instructions carefully. If the sealant only needs a single coat, then allow the solvent to cure, which usually takes between 2 to 48 hours. Granite experts suggest that you wait 48 hours anyway before you wipe granite that has just been sealed with anything that is damp or wet. You should also not place anything on the granite while the surface is still curing.