Whether you have a brand-new Natural Stone countertop, or one that is several years old, you will likely benefit from a Natural Stone sealer. If properly and regularly applied, a protective sealant will not only ensure a long lifespan for your countertop, but it will also enhance the beautiful visual qualities of your Natural Stone.
With so many different kinds of sealers available today, it can be difficult to determine the best choice for your specific Stone. Let’s take a moment to explore the basics of sealing your Granite, Marble, or Quartzite countertops.
What Does a Natural Stone Sealer Do?
All Natural Stone is porous, meaning it can absorb most liquids that settle on or near it. While the Natural Stone that is used for your countertop will go through a process called “resining” to preserve its structure and appearance from the inside, the natural pores within the surface are still absorbent. No matter what kind of Natural Stone you choose for your surface, it will always have a varying degree of absorbency. That’s where a Natural Stone sealer comes in!
A Natural Stone sealer will prevent most staining and absorption from occurring from spills and other messes. By filling the natural pores of the Stone, the sealant blocks moisture and dirt from absorbing into the surface, making cleaning your countertop a breeze! A sealer will also help elevate the natural color and vibrancy of your Natural Stone countertop.
Natural Stone sealers will also come in different strengths. Some sealants provide a simple, “strippable” coating on the surface for basic protection, while others are designed to deeply permeate the pores in the Stone for a more permanent seal. A simple coat of strippable seal will be easier to apply to your countertop, but may require resealing more often than a permanent one.
All types of sealants have their merits and disadvantages, but it’s ultimately your decision to make. Are you looking for the most protective and long-lasting sealant, or are you seeking the lowest cost-per-square-foot?
How Often Should I Reseal My Countertops?
How often you should re-apply a seal to your Natural Stone countertop can be a subject for debate. Many professionals and experienced homeowners will each have a different opinion on how regularly a Stone countertop needs to be resealed. It truly depends on what specific kind of Natural Stone you have chosen, as even two similar-looking Stones can behave differently. Here is our take on sealing the three most popular types of indoor Natural Stone: Granite, Marble, and Quartzite.
Granite – While often resistant to liquid, some types of Granite can still be highly absorbent, even more so than Marble. A penetrating sealer (or impregnator) will protect most Granite countertops for up to 5-7 years before it will need any touching up. If the polish on your Granite begins to look dulled, or if water marks begin to appear, it may be time to re-apply. Learn more about Cleaning and Caring for Granite Countertops.
Marble – Due to the high porosity of Marble, it is highly absorbent to liquids, and vulnerable to acidic substances, such as citrus, wine, or vinegar. It is recommended to only use a penetrating sealer on Marble, as strippable coating will not provide adequate protection. A thorough seal on a Marble countertop will need re-applying every 2-3 years, sometimes more regularly for softer Marbles like Carrara. The seal will protect your Marble from most accidental damage and spills, but prompt cleaning is still encouraged to prevent etching or staining. Learn more about Cleaning and Maintaining Marble Countertops.
Quartzite – The hardest and least absorbent of the three, Quartzite still will have a risk of liquid absorption, especially if there is any crack or scuff in the surface. Due to its crystalline structure, it’s difficult to get through the surface of Quartzite, but it can behave like a sponge if there is any exposed area. Be sure all edges and corners are thoroughly sealed, and your Quartzite countertop should last a long time before needing to re-apply, commonly about 7-10 years! Note: White and light-colored Quartzites are more likely to have visible “water spots” or discoloration at spill sites. If the water spots do not naturally fade within a week, you may need to reseal your countertop to avoid further damage. Learn more about the Best Way to Clean Quartzite.
When first installed, your Natural Stone countertop will likely have an initial seal applied to it by your countertop professional. We recommend that you check with them to find out which sealant, if any, was used. Another important consideration will be the finish of your stone. A polished finish will require less frequent sealing than a honed or “leathered” finish, as it will be less absorbent.
How to Seal Your Countertops Yourself
While sealing your countertop is a relatively simple process, proper application is very important to get the most out of your Natural Stone. Applying a fresh seal by yourself is quite easy, whether you are a D.I.Y. enthusiast or inexperienced with hands-on home maintenance. Here are the basic steps for sealing a Natural Stone countertop yourself:
- Thoroughly clean the entire surface you will be sealing. Any dust, debris, or scum left behind will be forever enshrined in your seal, a constant reminder of how you failed the first step of this process. Basic water and dish soap will be enough to properly clean your countertop.
- Apply a small amount (or glob) of the sealant of your choice to dry rag or cloth, and simply wipe over the entire countertop in circular movements.
- Wipe and buff with another dry rag or cloth to remove any residue from the surface. Polish vigorously to ensure a thin, even coat across the entire countertop, including the edges. If too much sealant has been applied, or residue not properly removed, you will notice a hazy, dull look in the polish as it dries.
Since most sealants are permanent, they can be very hard to remove from your countertop, once applied. To remove an existing sealant, pure acetone (not nail-polish remover) can remove an existing seal without damaging your natural stone, although harsh chemicals like acetone should be handled with extreme caution, as it can damage paint and wood cabinets.
Hiring a Professional to Seal Your Countertops
For those not wanting to risk any sealant-related accidents, or simply not having the time to do it themselves, a countertop professional can be hired to re-apply sealant for you. As industry professionals can sometimes have access to more high-quality or industrial strength sealers, hiring one can potentially increase the amount of time between resealing your Natural Stone countertop. If you know the professional who originally installed and sealed your countertop, or what brand of sealant was originally used, it may be wise to call them first. If you’re not too sure which countertop professional to hire, directory sites with customer reviews like Angie’s List can help you find the right one for you.
We hope this article has helped answer your questions about sealing your Natural Stone countertops, for any other questions, or to inquire about our Superior Quality Natural Stone inventory, Contact Us here!
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