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Do You Need To Seal Granite Countertops?




Because sealing is not a challenging process and only has to be repeated occasionally, all granite from BT Kitchen and Bath is sealed. Here's why, and what you can expect from your countertops. Even the Hardest Granite Has Variations Some manufacturers might say that certain slabs of granite are so tough and minimally porous that nothing can seep in. But what if there is one area that's more porous than the rest, and that's the spot where a grease spill happens? Granite that isn't sealed is at risk of darkening stains, particularly oily ones, and bacteria buildup. Because granite is a natural material with equally natural variations throughout, sealing makes the whole surface more uniform and more predictable against stains and bacteria. Home improvement expert, Tim Carter, of Ask the Builder fame, agrees in his Q & A at the Washington Post. Sealants Don't Mar a Surface There's a difference between coatings and sealants. A coating would sit on top, but sealants soak in without affecting the stone's surface. That super glossy finish that you've seen on most granite countertops isn't a shiny material that's been applied; it's the result of high polishing, not unlike the way you might buff your fingernails for shine. Incidentally, that's another reason granite is so prized. In the rare event of a scratch, it can be polished back out. Sealants on a denser granite might not be critically important, but they can't hurt. What they do is soak in wherever they're needed. What remains is simply wiped off, leaving the surface without any sort of filmy residue. You can re-seal your own countertop, or have it professionally done. Sealants Protect Your Investment BT Kitchen and Bath granite countertops are typically sealed. That's the best way to protect your investment. It takes a little effort up front and occasional re-sealing through the years, but the payoff is that you have much less to worry about. Without a sealant, you really don't know which areas of your countertop might or might not be vulnerable to water, oils and other materials that can linger or stain. With a sealant, the whole countertop performs in a more uniform way. Fewer worries are always a good thing. Some denser granite does give you the choice. And if you prefer not to have a sealed countertop, there are tests that can show whether the material is susceptible to damage. It's a risky test since it must be performed on the counter, but it will reveal what you need to know. A drop of oil left to stand for about 5 to 30 minutes tells you how susceptible it is oily stains. And a drop of water left for the same amount of time tells you how much liquid it can absorb. The longer it takes, the harder and denser the stone is. Just know going in that while water will eventually dry, a small oil spot might be there for a long time. Sealing granite is usually a good plan. It doesn't coat the stone. You can still use the surface the way that you had planned. It soaks in and seals the stone's pores, which means deeply embedded stains and liquid infiltration are less of a problem. Contact us at BT Kitchen and Bath to learn more about the wide range of granite choices, and how it can perform in your home.