How to tell if granite is properly sealed

by Rita Leggett
(Rockville, Md)

QUESTION:

We just had granite kitchen countertops installed and sealed, but are seeing dark water stains around the sink.

We purchased a Dupont sealant product that was recommended by the installer who also tells me that this water staining is normal. The color of the granite is Ivory Fantasy.

ANSWER:

Yes, water will absorb into some stones and the area of absorption will be darker. This is normal.... unless the a granite sealer has been properly applied, then the water should not abosrb. At least it should not absorb quickly.

For complete information on granite sealers, applying sealers, etc. see the All About Sealing Granite & Marble e-book.

Of course, water does not leave a permanent stain. The darkness will disappear as the water evaporates from the stone.

Granite sealers do not form an absolutely impenetrable shell over the granite countertop, which would not be good for the stone.

Sealing granite is done to dramatically slow down absorption, so you have much more time to clean up any spills.

If water is left to sit on an effectively sealed surface for 15-20 minutes or more (depending on the quality of sealer, the quality of the granite sealer application and the porosity of the stone) then it may still absorb.

It may be that the granite sealer was not applied effectively. Simply putting a sealer on the countertop does not mean that it is sealed.

Sealing granite countertops effectively means that the sealer is applied in sufficient quantity, allowing it to fully absorb into the stone until absorption rate is acceptably increased.

Some granites will require multiple coats. The only way to determine when/if a granite countertop or any stone has been properly sealed is to perform the water test for sealing granite countertops.

When testing shows absorption takes 15 minutes or more (30 minutes is ideal) then the countertop/floor has been sealed.

It may be that your granite countertops have not been adequately sealed and need another coat. So, test the surface and if needed follow the instructions in the above e-book.

Good Luck,
Ryan

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Is Our Granite Sealed or Not?

by Mara
(Canoga Park, CA)

QUESTION:

We just got the granite countertops installed in both our kitchen and all the bathrooms. The color is on the light side, beige/cream color.

We place anything wet on it and the counter top will show the water stain.

I asked the contractor if it has been sealed and he said, "of course. It wouldn't be shiny if it wasn't."

I told him what I've been reading online including the paper towel test. He says that it's normal for granite to get wet and show the stain. As long as it dries up quickly, it's fine. All granite is like that.

Is my contractor telling me the truth? Or is he just trying to get away with not having to seal it properly?

ANSWER:

Your contractor is either a slime-ball or complete idiot who should find a different line of work and/or learn the truth.

"It wouldn't be shiny if it wasn't sealed."

Total BS... the shine has nothing to do with sealing. The shine is produced at the factory with high-friction industrial machines.

He says that it's "normal for granite to get wet and show the stain. As long as it dries up quickly, it's fine. All granite is like that."

Yeah... many granites (not all) are porous and will absorb water and show the stain, but that is precisely why you need to seal it. Water will dry up and won't leave a stain, but coffee, wine, oil or anything else that has a chance to absorb will stain.

If it were sealed properly, the water would not absorb at all.... well, not rapidly anyway. It would just bead up or form a puddle without any color change like a stain.

However, if a liquid is left on most granite for 30 minutes or more it could potentially abosrb (even when sealed) depending on the original porosity of the granite.

This is because granite and marble sealers greatly reduce or limit absorption, so it takes a lot longer... but they do not absolutely prevent it.

Usually water (and most liquids except oil) evaporate before absorbing into a well-sealed countertop.

The fact that the water is "staining" (if under 10 minutes) is the exact indicator that no granite sealer has been applied (or applied very poorly) and the countertop needs sealing.

This type of behavior really burns me up. It just isn't difficult to learn how to do this job right and provide the correct information.

I wouldn't trust this guy to tie his own shoes, let alone seal your countertops.

If sealing is supposed to be included in the job, then I'd ask him what the charge for sealing is and deduct that from the total for final payment.

Tell him you'll seal it yourself. It isn't hard to do correctly.

If you choose to do this, I'd suggest using these recommended marble & granite sealers.

granite countertop cleanerGood Luck,
Ryan

P.S. Get all the facts and simple step-by-step solutions to any problem with our Granite & Marble Maintenance Manuals.

Find the recommended best product brands for cleaning marble, sealing, cleaning granite countertops, quartz and all natural stone.


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Sealing Granite Countertop Problem

by Cindy
(RI)

QUESTION:

We have a light granite (creamy with brown and grey througout). I used the sealer as instructed on the bottle after 1.5 years of having it. (the company told us to do it every year)

So, I sprayed the sealer, waited for it to dry, then sprayed again waited and wiped excess off.

When I returned home after the required time- 3 days to be exact. The countertops looked like someone had sneezed andit dried!

I couldnt polish it to make it look better and now it looks like it has water spots all over it and not shiny at all!

I am sooo upset and dont know how to fix this - can you guide me?? The sealer and polish and cleaner I used was "SCI" (the same they used when the counters were installed).... HELP!! Thank you so much!

ANSWER:

The mistake the company made was telling you to re-apply the granite sealer every year. Not surprising since many sales people and others working in the stone industry have limited knowledge.

Of course, if this particular sealer does commonly need re-application every year, then it's a very poor sealer.

Very few granites need re-sealing every year. Many can go 5 years and some even ten years depending on the sealer.

The point is that granite is a natural product with wide variations in porosity, so there is no set rule for applying granite sealers or frequency for re-sealing.

It's always a case-by-case basis and some granite countertops do not need sealing at all... ever.

The only way to determine when/if to apply or re-apply a granite sealer is to perform the water test for sealing granite countertops.

What occurred with your granite countertop is that it was already sealed, so it did not readily absorb liquids. The granite sealer is a liquid, so it did not absorb, dried on the surface and left the hazy sneeze pattern, which sealers will do when not properly applied.

Of course, it is possible that your granite did need re-sealing, absorbed enough to re-seal, but mistakenly you let the sealer dry on the surface.

I don't know if the bottle instructions stated, but you should always wipe up all excess before it dries. You should never let the sealer just sit and dry.

The sealer residue can be removed but it will likely require stripping with a potent solvent.

Sometimes you can remedy this problem by re-applying the granite sealer, but usually this must be done before the sealer cures.

You'll find complete information regarding granite sealers, "how to" instructions for sealing granite countertops correctly and how to strip a sealer in the All About Sealer e-book.

The water spots are likely etch marks in the granite sealer left on the surface. Granite doesn't etch easy, but dried sealer on granite countertops will often etch. Once the sealer is stripped off the surface your water marks should be gone and the surface back to normal.

Good Luck,
Ryan

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