Granite countertops are beautiful and stylish, adding a nice touch to both traditional and contemporary kitchens and bathrooms. Add in their durability and strength, and you have a perfect material for your countertops.
There is, however, a small price to pay for the luxurious look and feel of granite countertops. If you want to keep your countertops looking beautiful for years to come, you’ll need to properly seal them regularly. If they remain unsealed, they can easily be stained -- and a stain on unsealed countertops may end up changing the appearance of your granite permanently.
Test Your Granite
Before you jump into this project, determine if this is the right time. Many experts recommend sealing your granite every year, but your granite may not actually need sealing right now.
Test your granite by leaving a wet paper towel or a few drops of water on your counter for 10 to 15 minutes. If the water soaks into the granite, darkening your countertop, it’s time to seal your granite. If those drops of water remain beaded on the surface, your granite is fine.
It may seem logical to just seal the granite anyway, but don’t -- sealing when your countertops don’t need it can leave a hazy residue.
Choose a Penetrating Sealer
Look for products that are made specifically for granite. Choose a penetrating sealer, rather than a top sealer, to fully protect your granite countertop. Read the instructions on the sealer before beginning.
Clean the Granite
Using dish soap and water, thoroughly clean the surface of your entire countertop, following up by drying with a lint-free cloth. You may be anxious to move on to the next step, but wait a full 24 hours before beginning the sealing process. You want to make sure your countertops are completely dry and have returned to their original color before moving on.
Test a Small Area
Open a window for ventilation. Wearing gloves, test a small, out-of-the-way corner of your granite first. If the corner is left with a hazy appearance, stop what you’re doing and find a different product.
Apply to the Entire Countertop
Cover the surface of the granite evenly with the product, using a soft cloth. You want it to be damp, not soaking wet. Leave it on for the recommended time listed on your product’s directions. If the product directions indicate you should apply a second coat, apply it when the countertops are almost -- but not completely -- dry.
Wipe the Sealer
Wipe whatever is left of the sealer with a clean rag to avoid leaving a hazy appearance.
Allow the Product to Cure
Leave the countertops alone for 48 hours so the sealer can cure.
Sealing your granite countertops will help protect them from stains. But to continue to keep your granite looking beautiful, you need to take care of your countertops each day:
- Wipe your counters regularly to get rid of crumbs and other debris
- Wipe up spills as soon as they happen
- Use coasters under drinks
- Clean with stone soap or a pH neutral cleaner
- Don’t place hot dishes directly on the counter