Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, given its beautiful natural appearance, durability, resilience, and ease of cleaning. However, in order to preserve its natural beauty and bolster its lifespan, do you need to seal it? Or is sealing the countertop simply an unnecessary step?
This article addresses these questions surrounding granite countertops, so continue reading to learn more!
In This Article
Do I Have To Seal My Granite Countertop?
Technically, the answer to this question is no, but only because it’s your countertop, and you can choose to do what you like. However, by not sealing the granite, you’re playing with fire, figuratively speaking. This is because unsealed granite is prone to stains and damage, more so than its safely sealed counterpart.
So, while you don’t necessarily have to seal your granite countertops, we recommend it.
Why Do You Have To Seal Granite?
Sealing granite helps prevent liquids from seeping into the stone and causing damage. Granite is a porous natural stone, which essentially means it’s easier for things to damage and stain the stone.
What Happens If You Don’t Seal Granite Countertops?
If you decide you don’t want to seal your granite countertops, you might end up with unpleasant stains on the counter. Stains and damage can occur from a variety of things, including:
- Food and grease: Unsealed natural stone will happily absorb foods and liquids, which can lead to deep, well-set stains. Staining can happen rapidly, even if you catch the spill quickly. Red wine and grape juice, two highly-pigmented liquids, will leave a dark splotch on your otherwise flawless countertop.
The worst part, though, is liquids aren’t your only concern. For example, if you left a plastic carton of fresh strawberries on the counter, you may end up with a red square marring the countertop.
- Cleaning products: Dozens of household cleaning products should never be used on natural stone, sealed or not. Unsealed stone is considerably more susceptible to damage from cleaning products. Certain products, such as those with citrus, can eat away at the calcium in the stone, leaving pits and inconsistencies in the stone.
Chemicals that saturate deep within the stone can damage the finish and even discolor the natural appearance. The sealer helps prevent this damage as it gets into the tiny cracks and fissures, sealing them off and preventing liquids from seeping into the stone.
Make sure you only use cleaning products approved for use on natural stone, even if your countertop is sealed. While the sealant should help withstand the chemicals, specific chemical cocktails may be able to penetrate the sealant, damaging the stone.
- Water: You probably didn’t realize that water, of all things, can become your nemesis with natural stone countertops. Water can penetrate the stone when it isn’t sealed, leaving watermark remnants. This can cause the stone to appear perpetually dirty, which is a nuisance in itself.
When the stone is sealed correctly, it will repel liquids, preventing them from seeping into the stone.
How Often Does Granite Need To Be Sealed?
There isn’t a single set-in-stone rule for how often granite needs to be sealed. Some experts will tell you it needs to be sealed every 6-12 months, while others advise sealing it every 3-5 years. Yep, that’s a big difference.
The frequency at which you should seal granite hinges upon the granite itself. The porosity and absorbance will tell you all you need to know. Generally, the lighter the stone is, the more often it requires sealing. However, that’s not a catch-all rule since all stones are different.
How Do I Know if My Granite Is Sealed?
Luckily, you can easily test your granite countertop to see if it needs to be sealed or is already sealed. All you’ll need is a few drops of water and a few minutes of your time.
Start by sprinkling a few drops of regular tap water directly on the granite. If the stone absorbs the water and darkens in four minutes or less, you need to seal the countertops. After you reseal the counter, try the water test again. This will help you determine if the surface is effectively sealed or needs a few more coats.
As a general rule of thumb, you should do the water test on your granite every few months to determine how often you need to reseal the counters.
How Much Does It Cost To Seal Granite?
Sealing granite isn’t an expensive project, provided you do it yourself. If you choose to hire someone to handle the task for you, it can get a bit pricey.
You’ll need a few materials to seal a granite countertop. The national average cost for these materials is $0.19 per square foot. Depending on the size of your countertop, it could range from a few dollars to around $50.
If you hire a professional to seal the granite, you’ll probably end up paying between $150 to $300, which is the average cost of labor for granite resealing.
Can You Seal Granite Yourself?
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to shell out a few hundred dollars to have someone else reseal your granite countertop. The process isn’t complicated, so if you’re willing to do it yourself, you can save a little money.
The most important thing is to recognize when it’s time to seal the counters again. You don’t want to over-seal them, as too much sealant can leave behind a hazy residue. Additionally, ensure you use a granite sealer specifically designed for natural stone.