Sealing Granite Countertops
Of all the natural stones used for refurbishing the kitchen or home, granite is
by far the hardest and most durable material. This is the reason why it is the ideal
countertop of choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Sealing granite countertops is an
annual practice to maintain and ensure the longevity of your granite counter top. One
might argue that granite is a highly polished stone, but the fact of the matter is that it is
still a porous material and those pores need to be kept sealed.
When sealing granite counter tops, the pores in the stone or the spaces between the
crystals that make up the surface of the stone are filled with sealant with no trace of the
sealant on the outer surface. This is different from sealing wooden floor or countertop
surfaces, where a protective coat is added to the outside. Sealing granite counter tops
helps resist stains and keep its shine. Often moisture or various liquids seep into these
pores and stain the surface. Sealing them prevents this seepage and staining. However,
a sealant does not protect the stone from physical damage.
Natural stone like granite must be allowed to breathe as well. Of course stones do not
breathe like we do, so what does the last statement mean? Granite is made up of many
layers of crystals, and in order to maintain the integrity of the stone, these crystals need
to interact with air and its components, particularly oxygen. Also, any water that has
already seeped into the pores must be able to evaporate by moving through these spaces
until it reaches the granite surface.
Research has shown that, the interaction between the crystals of granite and the millions
of bacteria that reside in its pores is an important aspect of the stone structure. These
bacteria play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the stone. Taking the above factors
into consideration, it is recommended that Acrylic type sealants or impregnators be
avoided. These completely block the pores and can kill the residing bacteria or inhibit
the movement of water vapor to the surface. This can lead to the granite counter top
developing a crack if the underside becomes too wet. It also becomes very difficult to
remove such sealants if applied in excess. As a result, your granite countertop may end
up looking dull or discolored.
It is best to use sealers are natural based products and made up of fatty acids such as
soap, when sealing granite countertops. These can be applied at the time of normal
cleaning process to top off the seal and clean at the same time. These fatty acids fill up
the pores but are not as harsh or stubborn to remove as acrylic sealants. They provide
another source of nutrients for the friendly bacteria and being semi hard do not restrict
the evaporation of water.
Sealing granite countertops is a relatively easy job and no special skill or knowledge is
required to apply the sealants. If you wish, you can always call a local granite shop to
do this job, but either way, it is recommended to do it at least once a year. Twice per
year would even be better.