Are Granite Countertops Sealed When Installed

Date: March 5, 2021
Author: Jon Smith
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If you are like most homeowners, you probably wonder if your countertops are already sealed when they get installed, or if you should seal the countertops as soon as they are installed. Luckily, there is an easy way to check whether your countertop needs to be sealed. A water test is a simple way to help you determine whether your granite is sealed or not.

Are Granite Countertops Sealed When Installed

Granite countertops are usually sealed when they are installed but not always. Be sure to check your countertops using the water test method to ensure your countertops were sealed at installation.

To check the porosity of your granite, pour approximately ¼ cup of distilled water on your counter. To prevent the water from damaging your countertops, always opt for distilled water because it does not contain any minerals which could dull your counters. After you have poured the water on your countertop, you will need to determine the amount of time that it takes for the granite to absorb the water.

  • If the water immediately absorbs into the granite, your granite is not sealed. All spills must be wiped up immediately to avoid staining or etching. If water is absorbed immediately, it is a sure sign that your counters need to be immediately sealed with several layers of granite sealer. You should reapply the sealer each year to keep your counters sealed.
  • If it takes around five minutes for the water to be absorbed, your granite may have some resistance to moisture; however, not enough to fully protect your countertops. Multiple layers of a granite sealer must be applied to ensure maximum protection. The sealer should be applied every five years or whenever it no longer repels liquids.
  • If it takes approximately ten minutes for the water to be absorbed, your granite countertops can repel liquids for a few minutes; however, a single layer of granite sealer should be applied to maximize the granite’s ability to repel liquids. This type of granite will need to be reapplied about every ten years.
  • If it takes longer than thirty minutes for the water to be absorbed, the granite has the ability to repel liquids. At this time, a granite sealer does not need to be applied. However, you should perform the water test every five years to ensure that your counters are still repelling liquids.
  • Applying a granite sealant to your granite countertops will keep your countertops looking great. The sealant will prevent liquids, oils, and dust from being absorbed into the granite. With proper sealing of your granite countertops, your countertops are protected and look fantastic for many years to come.

What Should I Use To Seal My Granite Countertops

Sealing granite countertops is a very important maintenance step to keep your countertops looking new and stain free. Granite sealer is made to repel liquids and chemicals that could stain or etch the finish of your granite countertop. Stains are eyesores and once a stain has been imposed there is very little you can do about it. Of course, there are products which can be applied to a stain such as Mangi Machi, but these products do not always work out. They do usually lighten the stain if not completely remove the stain, but there is no guarantee that it will work 100%. It is very important to seal your countertops as a preventative method ensuring you are keeping your countertops fresh and new looking without any stains.

How Often Should Your Countertops Should Be Sealed?

Before applying a granite sealer, you should check the absorbency of the granite countertop using the water test described above. If you determine that your counters absorb liquids using this test, you will need to apply a granite sealer.

A granite sealer can be used to most types of granite; however, certain granites can be harmed by a granite sealer. If your granite easily absorbs oil or water quickly, sealing your counters with a penetrating granite sealer can make the maintenance of your granite much easier.

The first thing you should do is perform the water test to see if your granite needs to be sealed. If, on the other hand, water is not absorbed, the granite should not be sealed. Sealing a stone that does not absorb water can cause a hazy, ugly residue to appear.

If you will be using a petroleum-based granite sealer, you should test the granite by applying a few drops of mineral oil to your counter. If the mineral oil darkens the granite, you can continue and apply a sealant to the granite countertop. If the mineral oil does not darken the granite, this type of sealant should not be used.

To determine if your granite countertop is stain proof, you can perform a test using a lemon. For this test, apply five drops of lemon juice to an inconspicuous area of the granite. If the granite darkens within the first minute or two, a stain-resistant sealer should be applied. Conversely, if the granite darkens within five minutes, you can seal the granite countertop using a granite sealer, no stain resister is required. If your granite does not darken within a half of an hour, your granite countertop is stain proof; therefore, you do not need to seal your granite.

Is Sealing Granite Countertops Necessary?

Certain granite countertops do not need to be sealed because natural stone resists dirt and spills; however, sealing your countertops can prevent staining and etching from occurring. Etching occurs when acids, including citric acid (orange, lemon, and other citrus juices), cleaning products, or vinegar, coffee, soda, bleach, ammonia, or wine. When these items are left on granite, it can cause the polished granite to become dull.

Example of Etching:

Etched Granite
Etched Granite - Cup ring caused by liquids being soaked around the cup causing the granite to etch.

Colored liquids found in the kitchen, such as red wine or grape juice, can discolor your granite countertop. Food coloring is another liquid to be mindful of. In addition to this, fats and cooking oil can cause discoloration as well. Many people are surprised to find that placing a pizza box on their granite countertop can result in a stain if the grease from the pizza soaks through the pizza box and sits on the countertop for an extended period of time.

Example of Staining:

Grease Stain on Granite

If your kitchen is the center of your home and you love to cook, you should immediately test your granite countertops and seal them, if they fail the water test, to keep them looking fabulous and prevent staining and etching. A granite sealer penetrates the surface of your granite countertops to reduce the risk of etching and staining.

How Does a Granite Sealer Work?

Granite sealer contains a resin that has been dissolved into either a petroleum-based or water-based solvent. When properly applied to granite, the sealer penetrates the granite and forms a protective film over the granite countertop to prevent moisture, dust, and oils from seeping into the granite. The sealer provides a layer of protection; however, even when a sealer is applied, stains can still occur if spills are not cleaned up quickly. Because sealers soak into the stone, surface staining can occur. Granite sealer is more of a preventative method which gives you more time to react to a spill.

Sealers work by reducing the absorbency rate of granite; therefore, it can make it difficult for liquids to mar the surface of your granite surface. Unfortunately, the level of protection offered by a granite countertop sealer can vary greatly, depending on the sealer used and the quality of the sealant application. For best results, you should use a high-quality impregnating indoor and outdoor sealer like Dry-Treat.

Even if you have sealed your granite countertops, all spills should immediately be blotted up and a pH neutral cleaner used on the counter. This cleaner will prevent damage to your countertops and keep them looking fabulous for many years to come.

Choose a Penetrating Sealer Designed for Natural Stone Surfaces

When choosing a sealer, you want to find a sealer that is designed for natural stone surfaces. Read the description to ensure that it is safe to use on granite. You want an impregnator, or penetrating sealer, because this type of sealer soaks into the granite to slow down the rate of absorption of the stone, thus minimizing the risk of staining.

Read the description and the directions carefully before using it. If the wrong type of sealant is used, it can affect the structure and the beauty of your granite. For example, the wrong kind of granite sealer can cause your granite countertops to dull and have a waxy appearance. We recommend Dry-Treat sealer for all natural stone countertops.

Why Choose Dry-Treat Stain-Proof Premium Impregnating Sealer for Your Granite Countertops

Different pieces of granite have different porosity levels. Some countertops require more frequent resealing than other types of granite. The steps to sealing your granite countertops are quite easy, and any homeowner can do it. However, many homeowners prefer to leave this task to the professionals because if done improperly, it can damage the surface of the granite and not provide the protection that your countertops need.

You want to search for a high-quality granite sealant like Dry-Treat. This sealer will provide you with long term protection without the need for repeat applications. In fact, this sealer comes with a 15 year performance warranty when it is applied by the recommended applicator, and the instructions are followed explicitly.

The type of sealer used for your granite countertops should be approved for countertops. Never apply a product that is not intended to be used in food preparation areas. The deep penetrating formula technology protects against liquid, oil, dust, and salt spills.

The sealant is breathable, which allows water vapors to freely escape to prevent moisture buildup in your granite. Once the countertop has been sealed, it will be much easier to clean and will dry quickly. Finally, Dry-Treat provides stain protection. It will repel water and oil to provide superior protection against stains. See the image below to see how Dry-Treat works compared to other granite and marble sealers.

Dry-Treat Sealing Molecule Example - Sealing Granite Countertops
This shows you how the Dry-Treat sealer penetrates the surface of your countertop allowing the stone to breath while protecting your countertop. Dry-Treat is the number one brand to use when sealing granite countertops. Source: https://www.drytreat.com/

Step by Step Granite Countertop Sealing Instructions

First, you want to find a high-quality granite countertop cleaner. Although soap and water can be used for daily cleaning, you want a granite cleaner that is made specifically for granite. This type of cleaner is pH-neutral and will not damage or dull your granite. Read the cleaning instructions for the granite cleaner carefully before using it. Test in an inconspicuous spot to ensure the cleaner does not stain or otherwise damage your granite countertop.

Remove everything from your countertops, including appliances, decorations, etc. Next, dust the counters with a clean, soft, dry cloth to remove all dust, breadcrumbs, etc. Then, follow the instructions on the granite cleaner. Using a clean, dry cloth, apply the granite cleaner to the countertop, using a circular motion. * Tip: When cleaning the counters, make sure that you clean the countertop thoroughly, including the areas where the granite meets the backsplash, the countertop edge, and around all drop-in appliances or sinks. Begin at the highest point and work towards the front of your countertop.

The granite cleaner usually will recommend allowing the granite cleaner to dry thoroughly before applying a granite sealer. Drying times for a granite sealer can vary greatly, depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your home. Once the surface is completely dry, you can begin sealing your granite countertops.

First, locate some clean, soft rags and read the granite sealer’s instructions before beginning. Begin by applying the sealant to an inconspicuous area to test the product before you start. Once you have determined that the sealer will work on your counters, it is time to apply your sealer.

Work in small areas and allow the sealer to absorb the sealer for the recommended absorption times listed on the granite sealer. Typically, you should let the sealer to sit on the granite for five to thirty minutes. After the recommended time has passed, you will need to apply a second layer of granite sealer and wipe any excess sealer off after waiting for the recommended amount of time. Continue this process until the recommended number of coats have been applied.

After the granite has absorbed the sealer, you will want to remove the excess residue before the product dries completely. If the excess sealer is left on the granite, it can leave uneven spots that may appear waxy once the sealant dries.

Why Should You Hire a Professional Rather than Doing It Yourself?

Although granite sealer is easy to handle, a stone restoration professional can do a better job on a granite sealing project. A stone specialist will know the best sealing product for your granite, ensure every inch of your granite countertop is sealed, and know how long the product takes to dry. A professional also has the knowledge to safely work with a granite sealer, how many coats of sealant your granite needs, and how often to seal granite countertops.

After your granite countertops are sealed, they will not only look amazing, but they will also perform superbly. Granite countertop sealers enhance the natural beauty of granite. The sealant brings out the various colors in the granite and makes your granite pop. Furthermore, when granite countertops are correctly sealed, they will last longer and be more durable.

A high-quality granite sealer will make your granite resistant to liquids, foods, oils, household substances, and dirt. When a counter is appropriately sealed, it will be nontoxic, easy to clean, and scratch-resistant.

How Often Should You Seal Your Granite Countertops?

One common question that homeowners have is how often granite countertops should be sealed. There is no exact answer to this question as a granite countertop sealer will breakdown over time. The resin used in the product will slowly degrade with general use. Furthermore, the cleaning products used on your counters can affect the lifespan of a granite sealant.

In addition to this, the type of granite and the porosity of the granite can affect how often your granite countertops should be resealed. The sealant will last longer if it is done by a professional; however, the skill level of a granite restoration specialist can affect the length of time in between each application of granite sealer.

Light colored granite countertops should be resealed every three to five years. You should do the water test every year to determine if it is time to reseal your countertops. If the water remains on the counter for at least ten minutes, your countertop is still adequately protected and does not need to be resealed.

Darker colored granite countertops typically do not need to be resealed as often; however, it is essential to remember that sealing granite countertops protects the granite. Although there is no product on the market that totally prevents damage, etching, or staining of granite, a high-quality sealer for granite will protect against stains and damage.

Granite sealers fill the fissures on the granite surface and seal the pores that are found in granite. Both the fissures and the pores allow moisture, dust, and food particles to accumulate and enter the granite, which causes granite to become cloudy and dull. The sealant fills these areas to ensure that your granite remains looking as good as the day it was first installed.

Can Granite Countertops Be Sealed Permanently

Although there are no products on the market that guarantee a permanent solution for sealing your granite countertops, products like Dry-Treat will provide you with lasting results. Once the granite sealer has been properly applied, you can expect to get at least 15 years of protection before you need to reapply the granite sealer.

If you notice liquids are not pooling on the surface of the granite like it did right after the countertops were sealed, it may be time to apply another layer of granite sealant. You can perform the water test to determine if it is time to reseal your granite countertops.

Granite countertops look fabulous in a kitchen. This natural stone surface will provide you with many years of enjoyment. To ensure your granite counters remain looking as good as they did when they were installed, you need to prevent stains and etching by using an impregnating granite sealer designed to provide you with years of protection.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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