Do Granite Countertops Need Sealing?

QUESTION:

Do granite countertops need sealing?


Some say "all" granite needs sealing every year and others say only sometimes. How do you know?

ANSWER:

The entire "sealing" issue gets twisted because everyone wants a one-size-fits-all answer and those giving advice tend to generalize too much. Neither work.

The only truthful or accurate answer is... maybe, it depends on the specific granite color and the slab in question.

That may seem ever more fuzzy, but relax... you can find out for yourself with 100% certainty if your granite countertop needs sealing.

Let me explain the whole deal...

While it is true that most new granite countertops need sealing to help prevent stains this does not mean that all granite needs sealing or that you should blindly apply a sealer to all granite countertops.

Many granite countertops do NOT need sealing... at all... ever.

Many darker granite colors do not need application of a granite sealer since they are already too dense to absorb liquids and stain.

Additionally, some colors/varieties are known to either always need sealing or never need it but it still comes down to the specific slab or countertop you are looking to seal.

You can't simply go by the "name" or "color" of the granite (or any stone).

Test to Determine if Granite Needs Sealing


The only way to know for sure if granite needs sealing (or re-sealing) is to perform the water test for sealing granite step-by-step .

Granite is a natural product, therefore, the particular characteristics (like absorbency) of different colors
and even different granite slabs of the same color can vary... sometimes widely.

No need to guess, just test your granite to accurately determine if it needs sealing.

If testing shows your countertop could use a granite sealer then the best sealers will be one of those we recommend at the Stone Care Center with SenGuard being the very best currently available.

You should not apply a granite sealer "just to be safe" when testing shows your countertop or floor doesn't need it. You risk creating unwanted sealer haze problems and/or the sealer simply won't absorb, so it's an exercise in futility.

Another great thing about the water test is that you don't even have to know the name, or type of stone, or anything else about the stone.

The water test will tell you if it should be sealed or not. If not, great. If so, then applying a sealer is as simple as painting a wall. No big deal.

Thus, performing the water test (and/or the Lemon Juice test) prior to purchasing any stone is very useful.

You'll learn the characteristics of that stone are and what will be required for maintenance.

In other words, testing tells you if the granite you want to buy will stain easily or if a particular stone etches from acids.

Staining can be controlled by sealing but, in general, more porous stones and those that etch from acids are way more troublesome as kitchen countertops.

For your kitchen countertops, you want a stone with very low absorbency and does not etch.

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Sealing Dark/Green Granite

by Tony
(Miami, FL )

sealing granite countertops butterfly green

sealing granite countertops butterfly green

QUESTION:

Do granite countertops need sealing? From what I understand dark/dense granite countertops do not require sealing at all.

I have the BUTTERFLY GREEN (Brazil) countertops and would like to know if this particular granite requires sealing. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Very often Verde Butterfly will not need sealing, but since all granite is a natural product even granite countertops of the same color or variety can have slightly different characteristics.

With some colors it can be stated with near certainty that it will or will not need sealing. I'll say that most likely your butterfly green (verde butterfly) will not need it, but......

The best way to determine for sure if your particular slab needs a granite sealer is to run the test for sealing granite countertops.

Very simple and you'll get a definitive answer.

If the test shows you should apply a granite sealer, I suggest using one of these recommended impregnating sealers.

And thanks for the photo... always helpful.

Good Luck,
Ryan

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Lapidus granite pitting almost everywhere there are black spots
by: Anonymous

We remodeled our kitchen a little over one year ago and chose a Lapidus granite countertop that has many black spots in the pattern.

We're noticing pitting in many places and we're worried that it'll worsen into deeper divots.

Recently our installer come out to fill 2 divots/chips were told that the rest should be fine.

Now, a month later, we're seeing and feeling several more rough pitting areas (on flat areas and especially on edge surfaces where there is a black spot) and don't know if we should call back, or expect that they can help.

Should we re-seal though we were told we shouldn't have to but every 2 years, or, knowing granite, does this sound like a defect that we should address further with the installer/fabricator?

Side Note: We are following all granite cleaning guidelines and only clean with mild dish soap and follow with a soft dry towel.

Do you have any recommendations to halt the pitting or are we alright and just need to live with the pitting and try not to worry.

This is our first experience with granite countertops. We want to preserve the investment but don't know what is reasonable or a concern to deal with.

====== Admin Comment:

Pitting in granite countertops is not common... meaning the percentage of installed granite countertops with pitting is low, however, this is a potential issue with granite.

Unfortunately, some slabs tend to pit more than others and when it starts you can expect that more will occur.

In your case, yes... you'll have to learn to fix each pit as you find them.

You can have your installer do it, but I'd recommend you use the Marble & Granite Repair Kit for Chips/Pits. The "gel" is for level surfaces and the "paste" for edges and vertical surfaces.

It's very easy to use, dries clear, allowing the natural color / pattern to show for an invisible repair. Hard acrylic for a permanent repair.

Typically granite countertop installers will use color-matching epoxy resins that are always very obvious, but that was the best that could be done until the above product, which is far superior.

Again, easy for you to do-it-yourself.

Yes, you should seal as often as needed based on water test for sealing granite countertops. Sealing is not done on a schedule even though that's what is usually suggested. Every countertop is different.

Also, using soap to clean is okay, but not the greatest suggestion. It won't harm the granite, but it builds up over time & makes granite look dull. Use hot water for wipe-ups and a good granite cleaner daily.


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Should Kashmir Gold Be Sealed

by John M
(PA, USA)

QUESTION:

I am having kitchen countertops installed using Kashmir Gold granite, from India.

The absoption is given as 0.38%, I don't know if this is average or better.

I was wondering if this is a good choice and if this type of granite should be sealed and how often?

ANSWER:

Yes, Kashmir Gold must be sealed and often, so you're smart for looking at absorbency rates and asking before installation because I would advise that you do not install this stone in your kitchen.

Kashmir granite is typically highly absorbent and easily stained even after sealing.

In fact, this stone tends to be difficult to seal.... it's just too porous. You may end up having to apply several coats and then re-seal every year. I've known some Kashmir to need re-sealing every 3-6 months.

Of course, every slab is different (kashmir can range from .3 to .5!), so one slab of Kashmir may seal well enough to be satisfactorily stain-resistant, but you are risking endless frustration with this stone.

Even if you got a great deal on this stone, it's worth it to pay more for a better quality stone.

There are so many beautiful granites that have low absorbency rates (.05 - .3 where .2 is essentially non-absorbent), not prone to staining or staining can be easily controlled with a granite sealer... so why chance it with Kashmir.

Look for something else and perform the "water or lemon-juice test" (links above) on a sample chipped off the exact slab you are considering to determine if it will be suitable for the kitchen.

Good Luck,
Ryan




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White Tiger skin granite sealing
by: David

Hello. We just purchased White Tiger skin granite. Is this typically absorbent, and so would typically need a sealant? How soon after installation should the granite be sealed?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, white and lighter-colored granites do tend to be more absorbent and do usually need a stone sealer, however, as the article notes... when determining whether or not to apply a granite sealer you should disregard the name of the stone and the color and simply perform the water test for sealing granite.

Remember, this is natural stone. No two slabs are identical, so you can never definitively say that granite "XYZ" must be or never needs sealing. Stone pros can make very good guesses on many stones, but the only accurate method to know for sure is to water test the stone.

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To Seal or Not To Seal Tropical Brown


(West Salem, WI USA)

QUESTION:

We are purchasing Tropical Brown granite countertops (not installed yet).

We've never had anything but laminate countertops until now. I have read about people having trouble with etching and hazy or discoloration issues with their countertops.

You mention that sometimes sealing granite is unnecessary. How do I know if mine needs sealing?

Have you heard of a product line called "Granite Gold"? I also have seen a product called "Perfect Counters". How do I know if a cleaner is good or will be harmful to my countertop over time?

ANSWER:

Tropical Brown is a very dense granite with low absorbency. Good choice! Granite does not etch. Marble, travertine, limestone and slate can etch or become discolored upon contact with acids... not granite, so you're safe there.

Tropical brown granite is very stain-resistant (nearly stain-proof really) and almost certainly will not need sealing and would just create a problem with it drying on the surface creating a dull haze if you tried to apply it.

Accordingly, you should never apply a granite sealer "just to be safe." You should only apply it if testing (described above) reveals liquids absorb quickly.

This is the case with any stone. Even though we know of many stones that don't need sealing, it is a natural product and variations can and do exist.

So, test your granite and you'll get a definitive answer for yourself whether or not to seal it. But I'll tell you that this is one variety/color of granite that I'd be surprised if it needed or could be sealed.

Regarding granite countertop care products....

There are many out there and I have used plenty, but still there are some I haven't used or heard of. Many new "granite cleaners" have popped onto the market in the last few years as stone countertops and floors have become so common.

Some are good and some are mediocre to worthless.

The products I think are the very best and recommend with complete confidence are found at our Stone Care Center.

Good Luck,
Ryan

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To Seal or Not To Seal New Granite Countertops

by monica
(omaha, ne usa)

QUESTION:

not sure if new granite counter top (uba tuba) needs sealed.

ANSWER:

Whether or not to seal granite countertops is a common question and point of confusion for many.

Unfortunately, even many working in the stone industry don't have accurate knowledge regarding granite sealers and sealing granite countertops.

In reality, it's very easy to determine if and/or when you should seal or re-seal or not. All you need to do is perform the water test for sealing granite countertops.

This simple test will give you all the information you need to know to decide if you should apply a granite sealer or not to any stone even if you don't have a clue what the name or type of stone it is.

Ubatuba granite most often does not need sealing because it is typically a very dense, low-absorbency stone that is naturally stain-resistant.

Of course, being a natural product performance characteristics such as absorbency can vary (like the color and pattern), which is why you test it.

If testing reveals that your ubatuba is absorbent enough to warrant application of a granite sealer, then use one of the sealers we suggest (links above) with Senguard being the most advanced, durable and best granite sealer currently on the market.

However, if testing shows that it takes a long time for liquids to absorb into your ubatuba granite countertop then sealing won't be of any benefit.

In fact, if this is the case, then this stone likely cannot be sealed even if you try since the granite sealer must absorb to work.

And you should never apply a sealer "just to be safe". Doesn't work that way. All that will happen is the sealer won't absorb and will leave a streaky, hazy film that will require chemical stripping.

So, perform the water test and you'll have your answer!

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Do Granite Countertops Need Re-Sealing

by Carolyn
(New York)

QUESTION:

I just bought a house with granite countertops. I know the kitchen was re done within the last 6 years.

I don't know much about granite, are they installed already sealed? Do they need to be resealed and how often should this be done?

Does the color of it change the frequency of sealing? It is on the darker side, it has brown, gold, black and tan. By the condition of the house the previous owners were not very good at maintaining.

So my concern is that if the granite countertop needed to be sealed more often than every few years that the previous owners did not do the required maintenance on it. Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Most granite countertops will need a granite sealer at least on install. "Most" not "all". Many granite countertop colors and patterns are dense enough that they never need sealing and don't stain.... they just don't absorb any liquid.

Mostly these non-sealing types are the darker colors.

Whether or not the granite countertop needs resealing is a function of:

1. How porous the particular granite is
2. What type/how good of sealer was used
3. How well it was applied
4. What type of cleaning products used (harsh cleaners will degrade the sealer, which is why you should only use products safe for cleaning marble & granite countertops.

The great thing is that it's easy to determine if and when your granite countertops or any stone installation needs sealing or re-sealing.

All you need to do is perform the "water test" or "lemon juice test" as noted above.

If it does need a granite sealer re-applied we recommend using SenGuard Marble & Granite Sealer. It's by far the most advanced and durable available forming permanent bonds.

Frequency of sealing is not exact. You may read (mainly from granite sealer manufacturers) that you should do it every 3-5 years. Well it all depends as noted above.

So, you re-seal when testing shows you need to re-seal whether in 1 year, 3 years or 10 years.

Cheers,
Ryan

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Thanks for your quick reply
by: Carolyn

Thanks for the very helpful information and your speedy reply. I did the water test and my countertop passed with flying colors. Its been 40 minutes so far and it hasn't darkened at all!!! If I hadn't asked the question I may have just gone out and bought a sealer (probably not the right one either) and ended up doing damage to a counter that didn't even need sealing. Well we just bought the house and I'm sure I'll have more questions, I won't hesitate to come back to this site. Thank you again!!!!

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oversealed granite
by: Anonymous

If I left the sealer on to long how do I get it off and restore my granite to it's natural beauty?

=== ADMIN COMMENT: You'll need to strip it off with solvents. Not fun. You'll find complete instruction in the All About Sealing e-book.

Good Luck!

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