Updated: Nov 18, 2021
There are many details to consider when deciding on a countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom, from cost to durability to appearance. One factor you don’t want to overlook is what happens after installation? Will your countertop require consistent maintenance or do you want something that needs no attention? There are thousands of countertop materials to choose from, and some require more a little love to ensure a long life.
Why Do Stone Countertops Need Sealing?
There are thousands of different of Natural Stones in the market and some of them have very low porosity while others are more porous. Nowadays most stones slabs are sealed in the factory before polishing in a process called "resin treatment". This process upgrades Natural Stones' mechanical features making them more resistant than they would have been in their natural state. On top of that, after your stone is cut into a countertop and installed, you can seal it with an 'impregnator sealer" containing resins molecules that are transported by water or solvents to penetrate the stone's surface at a greater depth, creating a protective seal and barrier from liquid stains.
Which Types of Stone Need Sealing?
For some stones sealing is strongly recommended while other it may not. We like to recommend sealing every stone to our customers because the cost is very low compared to the benefits. But before you dive into a big countertop project, let’s look at some of the most popular countertop surfaces that need regular sealing, to help gauge what material fits best with your home and lifestyle.
The most luxurious countertop material available, marble will instantly elevate your kitchen or bathroom, and all it requires is cleaning daily and sealing once a year to ensure its legacy. Definitely seal it!
This super tough and very popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms is probably the one that comes in the largest selection and most of them aren't true granites. The term granite is more of a commercial term for igneous stone, and what that means is that some granites will be very porous and others not. Some granites don't need sealing but to be safe it is better to seal them.
The king of countertops, quartzites combine the natural beauty of marble with the toughness of granite. This stone is super resistant to scratching and when properly polished, its glassy luster is a hit in any room. It is recommended to seal it.
Just like quartzite, dolomite is also requires sealing at least once before the installation to protect it and preserve it for the future. The value of a home is certainly increased with the maintenance and upkeep of stone countertops.
Never Sealed Stone Countertops Before? No Problem-o!
1) Before you apply, make sure your countertop is dry.
2) Then, thoroughly clean it with a stone-safe cleaner.
3) After the stone is dry and clean, apply 1st coat of sealer using either a lambswool or sprayer.
For the lambswool, use gentle strokes and try to apply it in only one direction.
4) Tiny bubbles should appear. That means the sealer is penetrating the stone.
5) Allow area to dry for at least 10 minutes and apply 2nd coat.
6) After the 2nd coat is dry for at least 10 minutes wipe it with a clean microfiber towel to remove any excess product.
*Important: it is a good idea to also seal the stone's back, to avoid liquids in the bottom of your countertop being absorbed.
After the 2nd coat dries, the chemical reaction will seal the stone within a few hours and should be completely cured in 24 - 48 hours. The end result is a mirror-smooth shine protected from the elements.
The Water Test: Know If Your Stone Countertop is Sealed
Place a small drop of water on your stone countertop and observe its surface tension (the tendency of liquid surfaces to shrink into the minimum surface area possible).
If the the stone countertop is sealed, the water's surface tension will be high enough to allow the drop to roll on the stone.
If the water drop breaks tension, that might be an indication that your stone countertop is not sealed or that it is time to apply the sealer again!