Clean and Seal Your Natural Stone Countertop

by Emmy Noel

Natural stone countertops are simple, beautiful, and low maintenance. They can be an excellent finishing touch to any kitchen or bathroom while simultaneously adding value to your home.

If properly cared for, natural stone countertops can also last for many decades before needing to be replaced. You will need to wash down your countertops with warm water and soap at least once every week in order to remove stains and to just keep them clean, but another critically important maintenance step is to apply sealant to your countertops as well.

Sealant protects from wear and tear

Applying sealant to your countertops at least once every year will essentially add a protective layer over the surface to shield it from normal wear and tear that can take its toll. Regardless of what type of natural stone you have or what the colors or patterns are, apply sealing will be one of the most essential maintenance measures that you can do.

Let's discuss sealing and cleaning your natural stone countertops in greater detail.

What Happens If You Don't Apply Sealant to Your Countertops?

If you don't apply sealant to your countertops, the bottom line is that your countertops will not last as long. Failing to apply sealant means that moisture can seep through the stone (as stone has pores through which water can transfer), damage can be sustained to the structural integrity of countertop itself, and the fine colors and patterns can become ruined.

Basically, applying sealant to your countertops at least once every year will improve the durability and the aesthetic value of the countertops over the long term.

Applying Sealant to Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are among the most popular kind of countertops on the market today. It's not overly expensive when compared to many so-called solid surface (plastic) countertops, is very beautiful, and because of its natural hardness and durabilty can last almost forever.

But as with any kind of natural stone countertops, granite will need to have sealant applied at least once a year to keep it in good standing. There are many granite sealing tips that can be found here. There is variability in the absorbancy of granite, and some lighter colors can stain quite easily, so applying sealant is extra important to get that protective layer over it.

Follow these steps when applying sealant to granite countertops:

  1. Remove all items from the countertop
  2. Remove all dirt, dust, crumbs, debris, and moisture from the countertop
  3. Saturate a microfiber cloth in warm soapy water and wipe down the countertop completely
  4. Take a dry cloth and remove all moisture away from the countertop
  5. Apply the sealant as directed by the manufacturer, either rubbing, spraying or brushing
  6. Work on only one section of the countertop at a time, and give the sealant at least five minutes to fully penetrate through the stone
  7. After the entire countertop has been sealed, wait for two hours to allow the sealer to dry
  8. Apply one more layer of sealant using the same method as above
  9. Wait for the countertop to dry again before using

As a golden rule, lighter colored granite countertops will be of a softer stone and will need to be resealed at least once every year. Darker colored granite countertops are much tougher and more durable, and may only need to be sealed once every five years or so.

Applying Sealant to Marble Countertops

Marble countertops will be sealed when they were installed in their home, but the sealant over them can degrade sometimes faster than granite countertops.

The easiest way to check if your marble countertop needs new sealant will be to splash some water over the surface. If the water does not bead, or if it soaks, it's time to seal the marble again.

Follow these steps:

  1. Remove all items from the countertop
  2. Remove all dirt, dust, crumbs, debris, and moisture from the countertop
  3. Saturate a microfiber cloth in warm soapy water and wipe down the countertop completely
  4. Take a dry cloth and remove all moisture away from the countertop
  5. Buff the marble to remove any streaks
  6. Allow the marble to air dry for another fifteen minutes
  7. Only apply spray sealant to a marble countertop; not a brushed sealant
  8. Spray the sealant evenly over the entire surface
  9. Give the sealant fifteen minutes to soak into the stone
  10. Wipe away any excess sealant using a paper towel
  11. Clean the marble countertop again with soap and warm water to remove any haze that the sealant has left

Conclusion

One final piece of advice is to be wise... apply sealant to your countertops at least once every year. The manufacturers of the highest quality sealants will claim that they can last for a full decade or more, but the truth is they will degrade over time, so it's safer to just apply the sealant once every year or so in order to ensure that your countertops are kept fully protected.

 


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