granite countertop

How to Remove Sealer From Granite Countertops

granite countertopAre your granite countertops giving you a hard time in removing the sealers? I know countertops are your investment and you deserve maximum maintenance. Well, I have got professional tips that are guaranteed to help you remove that sealer from your countertop. The tips will guide you in the process of removing worn, old or failing sealers from countertop without making a mess.

What are some of the sealer removal methods?

There are two conventional methods that you can use to remove the sealers from granite countertops:

  • Chemical – This is the use of a chemical stripper to remove the sealer
  • Mechanical – This includes grinding or sanding the sealer off the surface.

A common problem while using the mechanical method is that it damages the surface to the point that the translucent decorative finishes lose its sparkle and can no longer be applied. Your granite countertop can be susceptible to damage while scrubbing. The mechanical method also creates irritating noise.

For this reason, I recommend you use a chemical stripper to remove the sealers.

Types of Chemical Strippers

There exist three major types of chemical strippers that can be used to remove the sealer from the countertop. This includes:

  • Solvent-based
  • Caustic
  • Biochemical

I recommend that with each category of chemical stripper you may choose, you should read the instructions carefully since it contains harsh chemicals. The instructions determine precautions and cleanup procedures. You can get sick even with the ‘environmentally friendly’ strippers since they contain chemicals.

It is wise to treat each chemical stripper with caution and dispose of the waste material as prescribed by the local and state regulations.

How to use solvent-based strippers to remove sealers from granite countertops

The solvent-based strippers are the most common type of chemical strippers which are used today. They are popular since they work fast and also need only a little amount of stripper. The Methylene-chloride based strippers are universal and work very well, especially with different thicknesses and types of granite countertops.

It works well when it is wet, hence taking steps to reduce the evaporation of the solvent is essential for the performance on your countertop. When you are done with the sealer, you should scrub the countertop with soap and water and finally rinse with clean water. I also recommend the use of a high-pressure washer.

It is useful when used under cool conditions since the wind and heat tend to result in rapid solvent evaporation and slows the stripping process.

How to use biochemical strippers

It is the latest addition to the strippers and it’s gaining popularity by most professionals. This is because they are manufactured from the natural plant material and cause low environmental impact. This type of strippers contains no additives, solvents or harsh caustic chemicals. The major ingredients which exist in the biochemical strippers are composed of acids obtained from plants.

It is recommended by professional installers to use the biochemical strippers in environmentally sensitive areas.

Biochemical stripper is simple to use and has the least offensive odor hence termed as eco-friendly. It is also less aggressive and tends to remain on countertop for an extended period until you finally remove the sealer. The coating thickness has a critical effect on the amount of stripper that is needed to be applied.

How to use caustic strippers to remove sealer from your granite countertop

The caustic strippers are manufactured from strong alkaline chemicals. The alkaline nature of the caustic strippers leads to the destruction of the coating film of the sealer, thus allowing easy removal from the countertop.

How to know which chemical stripper to use?

There are various factors that you should consider when choosing the chemical stripper to get the job done. It is important to know the type of sealer that you are trying to remove. This will help you match the strength of the stripper with the strength of the sealers. High-performance sealers can be removed faster when using a solvent-based stripper. The thicker sealers can be removed easily while using either the biochemical or caustic strippers.

Tips on how to apply the chemical strippers

It is important that when working with a chemical stripper, remember to keep the stripper active or wet. In case the stripper gets dry, it will stop working. This explains why most strippers are manufactured in the form of a paste form. The paste form makes it easier to apply the stripper but also helps slow down the rate of evaporation, which keeps the stripper active for a long time.

Here are some tips to help you prevent the chemical stripper from drying off:

  • Make use of a damp sheet to cover the areas simply to slow down the evaporation while keeping the stripper active
  • Do not expose the countertop directly to the sun or wind after chemically stripping off the sealer
  • Place a plastic sheet over the cotton to prolong the activeness of the stripper
  • Never let the plastic sheets come into contact with the chemical stripper since it is likely to destroy the plastic
  • Always work in small sections of the countertop to allow for an easier application, thus ensuring an easier cleanup

How to Reseal Granite Countertops

After learning how to remove the sealer from countertops, it is handy to learn how to protect the surface by resealing the countertop. This can help you in wiping stains and other granite residues. Learning how to maintain granite countertop by removing and resealing increases its life service to you.

Steps on Resealing your Granite Countertops

1. Check Countertop

It is advisable to check your granite countertop to see if it needs resealing by pouring a small amount of water on the countertop while allowing it to remain settled for close to 30 minutes. Afterwards, wipe the water while using a soft cloth and look at the state of countertop. In case the granite has been darkened at the place where the water settled, then you require resealing it.

2. Clean

Clean your countertop before resealing. Use the sprayer to cleanse on the surface and also buff the countertop to remove the grime, surface debris, finger oils and other residues which could block the sealer from entering into the stone. Ensure that you buff the granite countertop completely dry. Give the countertop about an hour for the moisture to evaporate.

3. Pour a Sealer

Open your kitchen windows and turn on the kitchen fan for the free flow of air. Pour the granite sealer through a wide bowl. It is common for the sealer to leave behind an unpleasant smell. Hence, the open windows will refresh your kitchen.

4. ‘Brush’ a Sealer

Using a soft-bristled brush, dip into the sealer and ensure it is fully saturated. Apply the sealer on countertop by pressing the foam on the granite precisely but firmly. Start at the back of your countertop while pulling the brush towards you in gentle strokes that overlap each other. It is important that you get to the edge of the countertop together with the edge of the interior of the kitchen sink.

5. Let a Sealer Penetrate

Give the sealer some time to be absorbed into the granite countertop. After ten minutes, wipe off the excess using the absorbent cloth and dry the granite softly.

It is highly recommended that you read the instructions and guidelines as specified by the stripper which you are using.

Each stripper has different requirements, safety precautions and cleans up when it comes to application. Therefore, I recommend that you use the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of precaution and cleanup procedures. The processes mentioned above are highly recommended to make the sealer removal process from your granite countertop easier.

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