This is fairly easy if your countertops were already sealed by the manufacturer. Sealing countertops prevents damage to the stone and makes cleaning up spills easier. In most cases, countertops, especially granite ones, do not need to be sealed. What this means is no two slabs of granite or marble have the same level of absorbency.
The easy way to tell if your countertop needs a sealant is to use a solvent test. To test your countertop, apply mineral oil to a small area on your countertop and leave it for about 10 minutes. If there isn’t darkening, it’s an indication your countertop won’t be stained by anything else. Also, don’t worry about the darkening from the mineral oil as it will evaporate. There is one caveat with marble which is an impregnating sealer will not protect the stone from etchings as a result of chemical reactions. When we think of sealers, most of us think about a protective layer that sits over a material.
Knowing how stone sealers work relates back to the absorbency test. You’ll need to avoid using the surface during the time you’re cleaning and sealing it. Take everything off the surface and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth to collect any dust. Generously spray the countertop with the mixture and wipe the counter off with a microfiber cloth. Also, open a few windows or doors to allow a cross-flow of air to move through the room in which you’re sealing. If there’s some discoloration, wipe up the remaining sealer, take a picture of the countertop, and ask someone at your local hardware store to recommend a different sealer. Depending on the instructions, you’ll allow your counter to cure for two to 48 hours. In reality, you only need to seal your countertops once a year or so if you use siloxane resins and even less if you use fluorocarbon aliphatic resins. It’s only a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it to protect counters that need it.
If your countertops aren’t already sealed, you can seal them yourself. That uniqueness comes not only in the pattern of the stone but also the porousness of the stone.
Even if the two pieces of stone come from the same quarry, there is a chance they will have different levels of porousness. This means you test to see whether a solvent or petroleum-based liquid will enter the stone and stain it. When you wipe up the mineral oil, check to see if there’s any darkening in the stone.
This type of sealer is most similar to the veneer layer applied to wood furniture or hardwood floors. Instead, they sit below the surface, or impregnate, the stone and protect the pores of the stone from below. If a piece of stone doesn’t absorb the mineral oil, it’s not going to absorb a sealer. You’ll see those with silicone resins, siloxane resins, and fluorocarbon aliphatic resins. Fluorocarbon aliphatic resins are the most expensive sealers and also the most durable and long-lasting. Next, mix one teaspoon of dish detergent with two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in the spray bottle and fill it up with cool water. Before starting, thoroughly read the instructions on the bottle of sealer.
Put on your rubber gloves and apply the sealer to the test area according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the sealer hasn’t discolored the countertop after the allotted time, proceed to the next step. Working in patches, apply the sealer with sweeping circular motions to ensure even coverage.
Once that time has passed, wipe up any remaining sealer with a soft cloth using the same circular motions you used to apply it. Most countertop professionals recommend you wait the full 48 hours before getting the counter wet again. Keeping your counters clean will also help lengthen the lifespan of the sealer. Doing this encourages homeowners to over-seal their countertops which is bad for them. Sealing counters also isn’t difficult like some would have you believe. If you have more questions about sealing countertops, get in touch with us today.