If you have a stunning granite countertop, you want to maintain its show home condition. This means you should take some time and effort to seal the granite. Some granite countertops are installed already pre-sealed. But if yours is not pre-sealed, you should work quickly to apply sealer to shield it from mars resulting from neglected spills, improper cleaning and other problems that everyday use can cause to the surface.
Protect Your Granite Tops with Penetrating Sealer
Applying an appropriate penetrating sealer will ensure filling the porous surface and preventing unfortunate damage. Keep in mind that a sealer does not prevent all damage. You still need to take care of your granite countertop. Spills left for too long will eventually seep into even sealed granite. However, a good sealer lengthens the life of the granite and helps it keep its original luster. Follow the steps below to apply a sealer to your granite countertop and protect your investment.
Which Type of Sealer is Best for Your Granite Countertop?
A water-based sealer is a green, environmentally friendly choice, while a solvent-based sealer will typically seep in deeper into the granite. This is especially important for polished granite. When shopping for a sealer, check the labels of both water- and solvent-based products for the following ingredient: fluorocarbon aliphatic resin. This particular ingredient will make the sealer a little more expensive than those that have agents like silicon and siloxane.
However, fluorocarbon aliphatic resin can offer up to 10 years of protection. The others will provide between six months to three years of protection. In addition, the fluorocarbon aliphatic resin repels oil in addition to water. If you happen to spill some salad dressing, your gorgeous granite countertop won’t be ruined.
You will find some general steps to apply sealer to a granite countertop. These will work with either type of sealant. However, pay particular attention to specific directions supplied by the maker according to the active ingredient. It is very important to follow the label directions of the sealer you purchase as well as using this guideline for the best results.
How to Apply Granite Sealer
Tools and Materials to Gather Before Proceeding
- Soft, clean rags
- Rubber gloves
- Granite sealer
- Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Spray bottle
1. Check Whether Countertop Needs Sealing
First, you need to determine if your granite needs sealing. Use an inconspicuous area such as a corner of the countertop. Place a few drops of water on it, and put a few drops of oil on it a few inches away. Wait 15 minutes. Then check to see if the oil or water has seeped in resulting in a dark spot on the granite. If you find a darkened spot from the oil or water, then continue with the project to seal the granite. If you don’t find any change in color, then your granite is already sealed.
2. Clean Thoroughly
Clean the countertop thoroughly 24 hours prior to applying the sealer. Do not use any potentially damaging harsh commercial cleansers, bleach, baking soda, lemon juice or vinegar. Remove everything from the countertop and wipe it down with a dry, clean microfiber cloth to eliminate all surface dust. Mix two tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol and one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent in a clean spray bottle. Then fill the rest with cool water.
Spray the countertop generously with the solution and wipe it dry as you polish in a circular motion. Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Do this a full 24 hours prior to applying the sealer.
Read the label and directions on the sealer to ensure you understand the application method. If these instructions are different from what the label says, always follow the manufacturer’s directions. Open windows and door for appropriate ventilation.
You can open windows and doors in adjacent rooms to have adequate ventilation.
4. Pour it
Put on the rubber gloves and gather up the rags. In another inconspicuous area, test the sealer to make sure it won’t negatively impact the finish. Apply a tiny amount according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can do this by pouring it onto a small cloth or spraying it on. Then rub the sealant evenly across the test area.
5. Wait for Sealer to Absorb
Again, follow the manufacturer’s directions. A general guide is to wait approximately 15 to 20 minutes for the sealer to absorb into the granite. It may take longer than that. However, don’t let it sit for any longer than the manufacturer recommends. It could discolor the granite, which is why you first perform a test.
If the sealer left the test area looking good, then move on step 7. However, if you notice any discoloration, remove any remaining sealer with a clean rag. Take some photos of the results and show them to the home improvement store where you bought the sealer. Ask for their advice on a different, more appropriate sealant. Once you have purchased a different product, repeat steps 2 through 6 before proceeding.
7. Cover All the Surface
If the test worked out successfully, you can move forward with the rest of the project. Apply the sealer over the whole granite countertop by starting at one end and moving across to the other end. Apply the sealer in sections.
Wait the manufacturer’s recommended time to let the sealer absorb into the granite.
8. Wipe the Excess
After you let the sealer sit for the recommended time, wipe away any remaining sealer with a clean, dry rag. Again, use a circular motion. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if a second coat is necessary. If the sealer needs only one coat, let it cure fully by waiting up to 48 hours.
9. You’re Done
Once you have let the sealer fully cure on the countertop, you can go ahead and put your kitchen back together. Keep the cleaning solution in the spray bottle to use for a thorough cleaning every month or two. To keep the granite clean on a daily basis, use a small amount of dish detergent on a damp rag to keep the countertop look great. Always wipe up spills quickly and let the countertop dry fully to maintain the beauty and luster of the granite.