Permanent Seal On Granite Countertops

QUESTION:

I've been shopping for granite countertops.


The one I'm leaning toward has not been sealed or treated.

Some other places that I've looked say their granite countertops have a permanent seal.

Is this possible? It is more expensive?

Is it worth the extra expense?

ANSWER:

When necessary sealing granite countertops is certainly a benefit. Of course, some granites do not need a granite sealer since they are naturally highly stain-resistant.

So, you should always perform the water test for sealing granite countertops to determine if you need to apply a sealer.

As to your specific question.... yes, it is possible to apply a permanent bond sealer. A couple companies (Sensa, Permashield) are offering granite with a permanent sealer pre-applied "at the factory". Of course, you pay a steep premium.

You can also hire a certified professional to apply a few other permanent bond sealers (Granite shield, Permatreat, Sensa), but also very expensive $350-$500.

Or you can choose to apply SenGuard Marble & Granite Sealer, which is the best permanent bond sealer available and is the only one available retail directly to homeowners.

It comes with a instructional DVD and booklet and all tools needed.

In fact, one of the first companies to sell "pre-sealed" granite countertops (Sensa) uses SenGuard to do it.

However, you can save a bunch of money (like a few hundred dollars) by applying SenGuard yourself, which is what we recommend since sealing granite is a simple job.

We used to recommend getting the "pre-sealed" granite because at that time it was the only way to get the most advanced sealer applied since the sealers weren't available retail.

But now that homeowners can buy the most advanced permanent sealer, it's a much better value to do-it-yourself.

You're mostly paying for the "warranty" offered by companies "pre-sealing" granite countertops, which as we've discussed before is pretty useless.

Why? Because once the permanent bond sealer is effectively applied your chance of staining the granite is near zero. And even if you did stain it, stains are easy and cheap to remove. So, you end up paying a lot for something you don't really need.

The short answer.... applying a permanent bond sealer is the way to go, but having it "pre-applied" isn't worth it considering you can easily do it yourself and get the same protection for far less money with the SenGuard homeowner granite sealer kit.

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Yes its worth!
by: Anonymous

Yes a permanent seal on granite worktops is worth every penny you are paying extra for it. The most important thing is that it will save your yearly expense and time you would otherwise spend finding a professional to do it year after year.

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Yes it's worth it
by: Ryan

Yes, anonymous.... it is worth it to apply a permanent sealer like SenGuard IF... IF you do it yourself. Buying "pre-sealed" granite or paying a professional to apply a permanent sealer is not worth it financially speaking.

Very few stones need sealing every year. "Annual sealing" is a total myth. Just about any stone will go at least 3 years when properly sealed.... many will go 5 years and sometimes the better brands of the "last" generation of sealers can go longer before needing re-sealing.

And even when re-sealing is necessary, you don't need to hire a professional. Sealing is a simple DIY job.

So, it's our opinion as a consumer oriented site that with pre-sealed granite or professional application you pay for a lot more than you are getting in return.

You can get the exact same results for 50% to 70% less when you do it yourself. This is "worth" doing.

When choosing which sealer to apply, by far the best and cheapest long-term option is to apply a permanent sealer like Senguard yourself.



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Perma-Shield/SenSa Sealers

QUESTION:

Conflicting opinions exist on whether or not the 15-yr warranty sealers are of any real value to provide a worry-free granite countertop.

Seems the same care that should be given them with or without the extra protection is necessary. Dealers want what you want and aren't forthcoming about not having a perma-shielded stone.

Any last word? Just pick out the granite countertop slab and don't worry about the seal if we are using proper cleaners?

Apply a granite sealer every 1-3x years and enjoy? We're gearing towards the ornamental gold color of granite which is a mix of light/dark colors. I'll get a sample and let some stain-producing liquid sit on it awhile...Thanks!

ANSWER:

Actually, the "permanent granite sealer" is a topic I've investigated a lot. Technology is always evolving and sealers are getting better, but it is rarely a yes/no answer or apples to apples comparison. There are so many variables.

So, I try to emphasize the process you need to go through when buying granite countertop slabs, assessing what your needs and expectations are choosing the right stone for the purpose and/or determine if and when you need to seal it.

The great part is that it is easy to find the answer to the seal/no seal question.

Whether you are shopping for stone, just bought a house with stone, or have had it for 10 years.... if you are wondering about sealing granite countertops, all you have to do is water test for sealing.

Test your samples like you intend to and you'll be able to rule out any granite slabs or other stones that are more absorbent than you'd like, etc.

The Perma-Shield and SenSa products are very good products. They are applying the sealer "at the factory" so the application can be the best possible.

Now, many of the granite countertops that are offered by them are already very stain resistant. And polished marble is also very stain resistant.

So, you have to consider how much of an improvement are they actually making to the original stone and how much extra do you have to pay for it vs. buying the same stone and sealing it yourself.... possibly multiple times.

Plus, their warranties come with stipulations. However, most companies are not going to offer a warranty that is going to get them in trouble or cost them a lot.

What is true is that there can be a BIG difference in the quality of sealers. Buying the better/best sealer is the way to go.

As I said, I've investigated....

SenGuard (used on Sensa) is a newer generation sealer using nano-technology and chemical vs mechanical bonding.

It is an excellent permanent bonding granite sealer that will provide superior protection with less frequent application.... really only once is needed.

In fact, we like it enough that we will be offering it for sale on this site. (UPDATE: Since this article was first published we did more research and now do highly recommend the SenGuard Marble & Granite Sealer over all others.

It's quite a bit more expensive, but the technology is so much more advanced and since it eliminates the need for repeated re-sealing it is a better value and better protection. Plus, it is available in a DIY kit version.

Sealing is not a big deal to begin with. Testing is the important part. Knowing when you need to seal. If your granite needs sealing, then do it. Test every few years to see when it needs it again. And yes.... you should use stone safe cleaning products.

SenSa and Perma-shield are simply offering a product that takes the uncertainty of staining/sealing out of the equation for the consumer. Most people want that.

I don't doubt they can deliver, but you can achieve similar/same results on your own if you do your homework.

So, it's just a matter of looking at the cost and which road makes the most sense for you.

Again, our updated recommendation is in favor of using the Senguard DIY permanent granite sealer kit.

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Radon or no radon from granite
by: Anonymous

It would be helpful to know if the Radon from Granite scare is real or a ploy.
Is it recommended? Would the sealing help?

===Admin Comment:

The radon is very overblown and studies have shown it is basically a non-issue.

But no, sealing would have little impact on any type of emissions.

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Perma treat sealer

QUESTION:

I have paradiso light granite countertops. Over the last several years they have started to look darker in color to me.

Will the cleaning and sealing with the perma treat sealer help maintain a lighter color and prevent stains? I have previously sealed them with HMK 34, a very smelly job.

ANSWER:

If your countertops have an even color all over, then they aren't getting darker. Areas may be darker if stains have occurred, but the tops won't just "get darker."

Permatreat is not a cleaner. It's for sealing granite. It will protect against stains, thus maintaining the current color, but some sealers can slightly darken color (most won't) and if you have previously applied granite sealer, they may not need it.

Just test them to determine if your granite countertops need sealing again.

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Sealing Travertine with Permatreat

by Ross
(Portland, Oregon)

QUESTION:

We are going to start a major bathroom remodel to mitigate mold.

We purchased 18"x18" Pendio Beige travertine from EM for the floor and shower and then we bought a really cool piece of travertine for the counter tops. The counter tops are small. One is 61" x 22" and the other is 46" x 22".

I have heard about a new product called Permatreat, although I cannot find anything about in on the internet. It is supposedly the latest and greatest of sealers for granite/stone and my tile guy says it will last for 15 years.

My questions;

a. What do you know about Permatreat?
b. What sealers would recommend?

ANSWER:

If your guy is calling it "Perma-Treat," most likely it's what an Oregon dealer is calling the sealers they use made by Dry-Treat I believe.

It seems they are saying that they must be applied by a licensed professional and are not sold to the homeowner. There's another called PermaShield that requires pro application.

Dry Treat makes good sealers and yes... in some cases these are the "latest, greatest" with a price to match.

We recommend a proprietary sealer made by them called SenGuard.

It's a permanent bond sealer and also comes with a 15 year warranty IF applied by a pro. However, you can also buy it direct for your own use.

You may decide that you want your guy to apply the sealer, but you could do it yourself and most likely still get 15+ years out of it... or maybe never have to seal again.

SenGuard Sealer comes with an instructional video and booklet. Sealing is really pretty easy. There's a couple key steps you must follow, but it doesn't require skill, just the ability to follow directions.

Usually, it's better if you do it vs. the installer because too often they do a quicky job. Now your guy may do it right, especially if he's responsible for a 15-year warranty.

And as I said... Dry-Treat makes quite possibly the best on the market.

So, for most it comes down to the difference in cost... having the installer do it vs. buying the sealer and doing it yourself.

SenGuard is an excellent sealer and long-term may be your cheapest option, but I also recommend these standard marble & granite sealers as the best "non-permanent" sealers that should give you many years of protection.

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Permanent Sealing Called Granite Shield

QUESTION:

I have millenium cream granite countertops in my kitchen. In our area there are 3 places to buy granite. I am now going to put granite vanity tops in both of my bathrooms. My granite slab choices are peacock and baltic brown.

One of the places offers for $300 a permanent granite sealer that they call a "shield". They will come in and do the kitchen and both bathrooms for that price. They are the only place in the area that has it.

This is so confusing..I loved reading what you wrote because granite has gotten a bad name over quartz in our area because of the sealing. Is that for real? Is there really a permanent shield? Thank you very much...

ANSWER:

Well, a few of the next generation marble & granite sealers on the market today do offer chemical technology that forms permanent bonds with the stone.

I've talked to the developer of Granite Shield and the process is different and much more complicated than all other sealers. It is a multi-step application that can be done ONLY by licensed franchise operators.

Sealers have advanced to the point where they are making chemical bonds with the stone that companies state are as strong as the bonds holding the stone itself together and in that regard they are essentially "permanent."

So, I think Granite Shield is a good product... quite possibly one of the best sealers now available.

But, I'm not convinced that it will give you performance so much better than other top sealers to warrant the higher cost. Now $300 for a one-time sealing is not too bad....

However, other sealers like SenGuard Marble & Granite Sealer have developed similar technology with "permanent" bonds that cost less and can be applied in the traditional fashion by the homeowner if desired for about half the cost.

Obviously, this is a big advantage, which is a major reason we recommend Senguard DIY over the much more expensive "professional" only or "at the factory" granite sealer applications.

And Baltic brown may not need sealing anyway. Verde peacock probably will.
---
Quartz countertops are excellent and I have no problem recommending them, it's just that companies/people that market and sell quartz countertops want you to believe there is a HUGE difference between granite and quartz and that quartz is sooo much better it makes granite seem about as good as particle board.

Absolutely not true. They are practically the same. Sealing is NOT a big issue and quartz CAN stain.

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Granite Shield email response
by: Anonymous

I recently wrote an email to Granite Shield. Below is the email I wrote, plus their response.

My question is this: Does SenGuard provide the same "shiny" finish that Granite Shield does? They do not think so. I feel your replies have been very non-biased so I'm hoping to get a better response!

My email:

Hi,
I am interested in purchasing one of your DIY kits, but you only sell a kit for sealing 60-80 sq. ft. Do you sell a smaller kit? I would really like to purchase your product but since I wish to seal less than 1/4 of the product that comes in the kit (and the kit is expensive at $249), I just need a smaller more affordable kit. Is this possible?

Also, the black granite was never sealed properly (sealed from the mfg .. home depot sink). It now has some small pitting. Will your product take care of this?
I am also considering SenGuard, only because it is more affordable for my 2 small bathrooms.

Their response to me:

Hi Karen, Thanks for contacting Granite Shield. Yes Granite Shield will make your granite smoother and shinier which Senguard won't. The $249.99 is the smallest kit we sell we are unable to sell a smaller kit.
Thanks,
Debbie Phillips

NOT very helpful!!
Thanks, Karen
===== ADMIN COMMENT:
Hi Karen,
I had to edit a bit for space considerations.
Yes Granite Shield does seem to provide a bit of shine (or extra shine) to the surface.

And no... Senguard is an impregnating sealer that will not change the color or look of your countertop. It will not make it "more" shiny.

For most polished granite this is desirable. If you have a honed surface and you want to change the look of your countertop, there are specific products to do this.

FYI... the shine on a granite countertop does not come from sealing. And the pits are not from poor sealing. This "polish" is produced by grinding and smoothing the surface to a reflective surface with specialized abrasives. And granite will sometime pit from wear. You can easily repair pits with Marble & Granite Repair Kit for Chips/Pits.

Your polished granite countertop should already be shiny. True some granites do polish to a higher shine than others and if you have installed a bad slab (rare, but sometimes happens) then applying a product that could make the surface "shinier" may be beneficial.

But in most cases you want to do as little as possible to change the stone and rarely is there a need to apply a product in the hopes of making it just a bit more shiny.

Personally I would not choose to use Granite shield just for this reason.

In reality, your polished granite is as shiny now as it ever will be. No product will make it much more shiny than it already is.

I'd suggesting choosing Granite Shield or Senguard based on sealing properties (very similar) and ease of use(Senguard is a very quick and simple one-step process... apply and wipe off).

Hope this helps!
Regards,
Ryan

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Granite Shield - Any Experience?

QUESTION:

I am using Labrador antique granite for my kitchen countertops... Does this stone need sealing and/or will it take a granite sealer? Someone told me about granite shield any advise, comments, etc? Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

Typically Labrador antique is essentially non-absorbent. It is very dense with a low rate of absorption, thus it does not need to be sealed. It just won't stain because substances will evaporate before they are able to enter the stone.

Having said that, the one and only true way to determine if any granite or stone should be sealed is to perform the water test for sealing granite countertops.

Testing will tell you how likely it is a stone will stain and roughly how long it would take to produce a stain, if at all.

Regarding Granite Shield: I have seen and heard good things about it. I have talked to the developer... learned all about it, but it's a franchise/licensing deal with territories, etc.... not to keen on that set-up and although I think it is a good product, I'm not convinced it is a significantly better product, so I have never used it can't give a true recommendation)

They have an excellent unlimited lifetime warranty, which is better than any other sealer. However, the reality is that most/many stones once sealed with one of the newest 15-year-warranty sealers (like SenGuard) is that you will get lifetime performance too.

Granite Shield was smart to just give a full lifetime warranty. They know they won't have to replace many if any countertops, which is likely the case with competitors too.

The catch is that you can't buy it yourself. It requires a complicated, multi-step process, so only your fabricator or a certified applicator can apply it (the only sealer like this). Likely to be more expensive than even the most expensive sealers.

But, with Labrador antique you are not likely to need it or benefit from it (or any sealer) and it possibly could be difficult to apply if you try. Since sealers have to absorb into the stone to be effective... if it can't absorb, it can't be applied.

I say test with water or acetone. Most likely neither will absorb in 30 minutes or more or not at all and no need to bother with sealing. If testing does show a need to seal, then try granite shield if you like or use a top sealer you can apply yourself.

Good luck with your project!

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PermaSheild Toxicity???

by Anet
(California)

QUESTION:

Is there any information about the product PermaSheild used by Stonemark? Specifically regarding the possible toxicity of the process/product? Does any one know how long the product has been on the market?

ANSWER:

Well, it is not classified as a "hazardous" product and PermaShield has been certified by Greenguard (independent organization assessing indoor air quality, etc.) as okay for indoor use.

Most sealers are toxic prior to and during application, but once the solvent/carrier evaporates they are no longer reactive or toxic. The actual ingredients that do the "sealing" that remain on your countertop/floor are not toxic.

Permashield is applied prior to granite countertop installation, so unless you have some hyper allergy to solvents or chemicals, you really have nothing to worry about.

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