Granite is a beautiful, natural stone that comes in a wide variety of colors to suit any interior design or personal style. And it is currently enjoying an extended run as the preferred surface for high-end countertops.
But like any type of natural stone surface, granite requires specialized care to keep it looking beautiful for years to come. And although your countertops likely arrive and are installed with a seal coating already in place, part of maintaining these gorgeous surfaces involves re-sealing them every so often.
While you can certainly hire a professional to take care of this essential task for you, you’ll find that with the right products and a few simple guidelines, it’s not very difficult to manage on your own. Here are some easy tips to help you out.
The place to start is by seeing if your granite even needs to be sealed. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you seal your granite every six months, although this may depend on usage and how well you treat it in the meantime.
You can test your granite simply enough by pouring a small amount of water on the surface or setting a wet towel on it for a few minutes. Be sure you try this in an inconspicuous area, just to be safe. If the water soaks into the surface or the towel leaves behind a dark patch, it’s time to seal your granite. If the water beads up and/or there is no color change, your sealant is likely intact.
In some cases, your sealant could last up to a year, but you don’t want to chance marring the surface. So you should test it at least every six months to see.
And when it does need to be sealed, you can follow a few simple steps to make sure that it remains in good condition, starting with a thorough cleaning with an appropriate product for use on granite or natural stone.
From there, you’ll want to find an appropriate sealing product. This can often be found at a local hardware store. There are a variety of products to choose from, although some are specifically for floors while others are made primarily for countertops (and some are okay to use on any granite surface).
You’ll want to follow the instructions on the packaging to the letter, but you’ll likely have to evenly spray on a coat of sealant, wait a short time (half an hour perhaps), and then lightly spray on more sealant before wiping the surface with a clean, dry rag. Within 2-3 hours, you will probably need to apply a second coat, although it depends on the specific product you choose.
Once the sealer has dried completely, you can carry on using your granite countertops as you normally would. Of course, you might also want to consider solvent-based sealers, as opposed to water-based options.
Solvent-based sealers are much easier to apply. In most cases, you’ll only need to spray on one coat, wait about 10-15 minutes for it to soak in, and then wipe the surface. In truth, both water and solvent-based sealers are comparable in terms of protection.
What you want to make sure of is that the product you choose is an “impregnator,” meaning it will soak into the stone rather than sitting on the surface.
But you do need to take some pains to care for your granite in the interim. And there are a number of products and practices that can help to keep your granite looking great and even protect it in the meantime.
Rather than spending beaucoup bucks on special cleaning solvents and super-soft shammies, you might want to consider an all-in-one cleaning product like the Granite & Marble Wipes produced by Tub O’Towels.
These wipes can not only be used to clean your granite surfaces, but they also polish the surface, removing dirt and grime to maintain a beautiful shine.
And you might be surprised to learn that this product can also extend the life of your seal coat. Unlike some products, it won’t leave an undesirable film behind. Instead, it will help to preserve the barrier against staining and damage that your sealant provides. Potentially, this will allow for a greater duration between instances of countertop sealing.
Sealing your granite countertops is not a difficult undertaking, perse, but it is something you need to take care of regularly if you want to protect this pricey investment. And when you take the time to select the right products for cleaning, polishing, and protecting your sealant in between, your efforts will be rewarded with a beautiful, natural stone feature that lasts as long as you remain in your home – and probably beyond.