How Often Does Granite Have to Be Sealed?
By far the most popular countertop material, granite is found in kitchens and bathrooms across the world. It features beautiful colours, is long lasting and adds a classy style to almost any room. Another benefit of granite that many people mention is its low level of maintenance, but this isn’t entirely true. While not all types of slab granite requires sealing, the vast majority do, and many homeowners take on the responsibility of caring for their stylish stone countertops without realizing what that entails. Sadly, this can result in damaged and stained granite and unhappy residents. Discover the real work required to maintain granite’s beauty, and learn about another option that’s far more user friendly and more affordable: engineered granite.
Granite that requires routine sealing will need it annually, and sometimes more often depending on how porous it is. There are high-end sealers that claim protection for up to ten years, but they’re pricey and there’s no guarantee they will last that long. The truth is, the more wear and tear on the surface the more tender loving care it will need. If you use your kitchen countertops often, and who doesn’t, they will likely need resealing every six months. Of course, you can seal them yourself, or you can hire a professional. Either way, you’ll have to commit up to a full day every six months to a year for the process.
The first step is finding the right kind of sealer. You get what you pay for, so you’ll want to research the brands and find a balance between price and quality that makes you comfortable. Clean your granite with a gentle cleanser and wipe completely dry. Once fully dried—it can take up to 24 hours—spray the sealer onto the granite and wipe in small circles, working the sealant in, until the entire surface is covered. Add a second coating and allow to dry for at least two hours. Every sealant will have different instructions for the wait time, so be sure and follow the ones on your bottle. You’ll have to do a second coating after this first one and possibly even a third if the granite sees heavy traffic.
Many people take for granted that the chemical products they buy from the store are safe, but granite sealants are filled with lots of nasty things that you should, as much as possible, avoid. Some of the common ingredients include trimethylbenzene, propyl benzene, mesitlyne, naphtha and benzine. Some of these chemicals are more hazardous than others. The EPA, for instance, doesn’t regulate propyl benzene, but it’s thought to be a neurotoxin. It’s important to keep your workspace well ventilated and use a gas mask out of caution. Clean your hands thoroughly after using the sealant, and don’t touch your mouth or face while they have any chemicals on them.
Not all granites are high maintenance when it comes to sealing; it all depends on how porous the stone is. Really dense natural granite may not require sealing at all, but there is a type of granite that regardless of the colour or pattern never needs sealing and lasts for a lifetime: engineered granite. Made from natural granite, quartz and stone, engineered granite is bonded with resin that’s tested radon safe. It requires no sealing, resists heat, scratches, stains and breaks far better than slab granite and it’s more affordable too.
There’s no denying that granite is beautiful and stylish, but standard slab granite requires more upkeep than many people at first realize. You don’t have to give up your dreams of owning a home with stone countertops, however. Simply opt for the better performing and more affordable option, engineered granite.