Sealing vs Polishing Granite


I am looking for the easiest maintenance method for polishing granite I have that edges the marble floor I service.

It also surrounds the entire entrance on my store face and could use a shine. I am new to these materials, please help me with a solution.


A sealer will not polish granite or make it shine.

Standard impregnating sealers absorb into the stone and do not affect the color or surface finish, so you can rule out applying a granite sealer.

Granite and marble polishing (or polishing any stone to a shine) is done on big machines using intense friction. The process gradually grinds and smooths the suface until it is shiny.

A very highly-skilled granite counter top maintenance and stone restoration craftsman can polish marble and granite "in place" using hand tools as well. However, this is not a DIY job even for a superb "handyman".

This shiny surface is called a "polished" finish as opposed to say a "honed" finish, which is smooth, but not shiny.

The word "polish" is confusing since it is used in many different ways in the stone industry. Consumers often (mistakenly) think the shine comes from some product, potion or lotion that is applied as part of normal granite counter top maintenance. Not true, as explained.

And many think all stone is supposed to be shiny, but there are many different types of "finishes" and only one (polished) is shiny.

Now, there are products like the Topical Polish/Shine Enhancer that can be applied to a "polished" surface to enhance the shine, but such topical conditioners do not actually create the shine.... just make it look it's best. And they are temporary needing periodic re-application.

In other words, if your granite or marble is dull, this product will not make it
all shiny again.

Also, some stones will take a polish better than others meaning they can be polished to a more glossy shine. There may not be anything wrong with your granite... possibly it's as shiny as it will ever get.

To improve the shine on your granite tile you can either apply the temporary topical polish noted above or hire a granite maintenance and restoration professional to re-polish your stone.

I'm sure you understand that stone restoration is a completely different process than servicing or cleaning granite and marble.

Small dull spots from wear or chemical damage (etching) can be restored to a shine on polished travertine, limestone or marble (but not granite) using the ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste. Polishing granite cannot be done by hand using DIY methods as noted above.

Permanent topical coatings which will affect the finish sometimes making it look more shiny, but also like plastic are made by a few companies. These are marketed as "sealers" I think to make consumers think they are somehow better versions of a standard "impregnating" sealer, but are really completely different products.

These are typically NOT a good solution in most cases and cannot be applied to floors. They don't allow the stone to breath effectively, which can be very detrimental to the stone. Also, the coatings require additional ongoing granite care and maintenance.

You should consider that the reason for the dull appearance may be that some type of topical coating or wax has been applied in the past.

These coatings will scratch and scuff and get dull much more easily than the actual stone surface will and need to be regularly stripped away... which is why they are not recommended by stone pros.

To strip a coating use this De-Greaser / Wax Remover / Stripper.

Comments for Sealing vs Polishing Granite

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Granite Swimming Pool Tile Sealing
by: Eddy Tiler

Hi, great site, and thanks for all the tips.

I have tiled our swimming pool with polished salt and pepper granite tile scraps in jigsaw fashion and used a waterproofing agent with the mixed concrete.

I am not concerned about stains but worry that the chlorinated water will damage the stone. Should I apply a masonry sealer to the stone before filling the pool with water?

==== Countertop Specialty Comment:

Granite is not very reactive to chemicals and not easily damaged except by very harsh or acidic chemicals.

While it is possible that the chlorine in the pool water could over time cause some dulling of the polished granite tile it isn't likely.

Also, applying a stone sealer wouldn't really help in this case. Impregnating stone sealers work by slowing down absorption to help prevent staining.

But they won't guard against chemical damage or physical damage to the stone.

So, applying a sealer won't help to prevent any possible dulling from the chlorine or other chemicals (which likely won't occur anyway).

And just FYI... a sealer wouldn't prevent staining in a case where the granite is constantly exposed to liquid. Sealers slow down absorption but don't absolutely prevent it so liquids will eventually absorb into the stone.

The pool water will absorb some into the granite tiles.

The one reason you may consider sealing the tiles is to prevent any pool tile efflorescence. That is salts leaching from the earth or pool lining materials (cement) through the tile.

These calcium and other mineral salts form a white crusty film on the surface of the pool tile and can be removed by brushing off.

If the salts a not brushed off, then they could adhere more tenaciously and require more rigorous cleaning. ​

Applying a stone sealer like the Stain-Proof Permanent Marble & Granite Sealer can prevent efflorescence.

It blocks the salts from emerging through the tile.

However, pool tile efflorescence is usually a temporary problem with new pools while the concrete cures.

And it's just an aesthetic issue and not a structural problem.

Honestly, I'd just leave the tile alone and keep your pool clean and the chemicals well-balanaced.

Cleaning kitchen granite countertops
by: Anonymous

Is it ok to just wipe granite countertops in kitchen with soapy dishcloth from dishwater? Will this dull or etch polished granite over time?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

No, it will not etch granite, but it will cause a soap scum film to build up over time that will dull the shine.

And this will happen no matter how well you rinse the area. Or rather you'd have to rinse it excessively.

Think of the shower / bath where soap scum is the primary cleaning problem. It builds up even with all that water washing soap away.

Certainly, it's okay to use soap or just hot water for quick clean-ups but to avoid the soap scum film it's best to not use soap (just hot water) and then a quality granite cleaner over the entire surface as your "regular" cleaner.

Granite polish
by: Anonymous

I use Endust on my outside granite bar. It is a dark granite with brown flecks and shines up beautifully. I am sure this is unconventional, but it works and has no waxy build-up. I am currently having a white granite installed in my kitchen and plan to do the same unless someone tells me differently.

==== Admin Comment: Well, you may never have a problem using Endust for cleaning granite countertops, however, it may take a couple years to find out.

Windex is often suggested for use on granite because it leaves the surface so shiny. But Windex is acidic. It will damage marble right away and could damage granite with prolonged use.

It is best to use only products made specifically for use on stone to avoid possible damage.

Many/most common household cleaners are too harsh or acidic for use on stone. They will corrode and etch the stone.

Now most granite is not prone to etching from common acids so you won't ever "see" the damage occur from a single use, HOWEVER, repeated, prolonged use of acidic and/or harsh chemicals can etch and dull the granite.

So, it's a gamble if you choose to use products made for general household use on natural stone.

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