People always ask me when do I seal my granite? The answer is really easy. When your new granite tops are delivered, your installer should seal your granite for the very first time. You will know when it is time to re seal your countertops when you clean with soap and water. The water should always bead on the counter. The water beads because sealers contain a certain percentage of carnauba “Wax”, silicone and other additives that repel liquids and protect the stone. If you wash your countertop and the stone changes colors, darkens, or is no longer beading on the surface. That is an indication that it is time to re seal, because there is no more wax and silicone on the surface. I have found that this will need to be done annually.
10 year sealers are available in the market; but for me, the cost out weighs the benefit. Sealers and maintenance kits are available from your local retailers. The ease of application and the difference in cost is the only reason I would not use a 10 year sealer. 10 year sealers are fabulous; it becomes a matter of personal choice.
There is a misconception that sealers provide an impenetrable barrier that the likes of Superman could not break through. Sealers only protect your granite or natural stone against staining. Sealers can not protect against etching caused by harsh chemicals. We have tested sealers in our shop to see how they perform against common things found in your kitchen. Ketchup, mustard, some cola products, wine, vinegar, etc. Mustard and Colas will cause the most damage if left un-attended on your countertop. With any spill, just wipe it up immediately and you should be fine. Certain polishes or household cleaners can affect your countertop if left on for prolonged lengths of time. Serious damage can occur if a rag soaked in a common household cleaner is left for an extended period on the stone. Efflorescence starts to take place when the chemicals from the saturated rag react with the salts and other minerals in the stone. The best rule is always being careful when using harsh chemicals around your new granite or natural stone countertops.
Another big misconception is that Granite is resistant to heat or hot items in the kitchen. We always tell clients, “If you didn’t do it with your old laminate countertops, then don’t do it with your new premium surface tops”. Heat is the Achilles heals of all surfaces. Everything reacts to heat in one way or another. Some slabs are resin coated prior to being turned into your new beautiful countertop. There is always a risk of discoloration if something hot is set on the countertop. Natural stone products dissipate heat very rapidly unlike quartz or solid surface. As we discussed, sealers contain carnauba wax. When you place something hot on the stone, the sealer could stick to it, thus breaking the seal leaving your countertop susceptible to staining. Trivets and cutting boards are always a good idea under hot pots, pans, George Foreman Grills, Crock pots and anything else with a bottom heat element. Your probably already in the habit of using them. So keep up the good work and enjoy your new premium surface countertop.