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Sealing Granite Countertops...What 2 Use

reedny's picture

Granite countertops...sealing.  What's best to use?  I remember when the countertop was installed a year ago and I could swear they said to use Acetone.  But when I went to the home store recently, they said 'no way'.  Of course, they had no idea what to use either.


Any thoughts, gentlemen?


 


Reed

(post #74355, reply #1 of 12)

If it is truly granite, sealing makes no sense.   Granite is very tough stuff.  Sealants are kinda like varnish.  That is, they are much softer than granite, so they provide no skratch resistance.   In terms of chemical resistance, again, granite is very inert.  Almost nothing touches it.


For example, I have an outdoor table made from a granite counter offcut.  It is about 20 years old.  It lives outdoors year-round, so it sees lots of water and sunlight and pollution.   It sits beside the barbeque, so it sees grease.  People eat off it, so it sees alchohol and soda.   If I ever bother to wash it off, it shines like it was brand new.  


 


Edited 10/16/2006 10:52 am ET by Jamie_Buxton

(post #74355, reply #2 of 12)

I've had granite countertops for 10 years. I even had a kitchen table top made to match (made the table and chairs myself).


I've never understood why some people call foe 'sealing' granite. The stuff's as hard as a rock (well????) and all I've ever done is wipe it down with a paper towel and Windex. I LOVE the stuff. Shines like Shinola.


I figger in another 70 years or so, my decendants will also be using only paper towels and windex.


Don't even BEGIN to worry about sealing it. God did it for ya!!!


Dicl

(post #74355, reply #3 of 12)

"In terms of chemical resistance, again, granite is very inert.  Almost nothing touches it."


Jamie:


I have a friend in the solid surface business. He got a call from a lady who bought granite from his competitor and called him to find out how to get the huge olive oil stain out of her granite island. He told her to oil the rest of the top.


Granite can be permanently stained by even such common items as red wine.


Virtually all granite fabricators advocate the use of sealers.


Cut a piece of citrus in half and place the cut side down on unresinated or unsealed 1 1/4" granite. In two days the juice stain is visible on the bottom of the sample.


Kowboy

(post #74355, reply #12 of 12)

Thanks, KB.  I have read all your responses with interest.  It seems like many types of granite do not need much maintenance.  Obviously there are some situations where people have had staining problems, but I havnt.


As to why the installer used Acetone, I can't even figure.  But I hesitate to put it on there now out of fear that I remembered the name incorrectly and would ruin the surface.  My countertop is still bright and shiny and water beads up on it.  I have no staining problem at all.


Why worry about it then?  Because I want it to stay as nice as it is.  If that means I do nothing, thats great.


I got a call back from a local countertop company called "solid surfaces".  They also install granite.  They swear by a product called "Stone Spray 'n Seal", made by Stonecare International.   she didn't hear of the "511" product the other poster mentioned.


I'll keep checking and all your responses are appreciated.

(post #74355, reply #4 of 12)

Granite has become a generic term for a variety of stones which can have widely ranging properties. Some need sealing and others don't.

I personally wouldn't seal absolute black granite as it really isn't absorbant enough to acquire a "stain". On the other hand "Kashmir White" you can pour a puddle of water onto the surface and have it drip out of the underside.

I actually liked the idea of oiling the entire countertop to deal with the olive oil stain. People get too wrapped up in having the perfect countertop. Stone is a natural material that is supposed to have inconsistencies and variations in color. If you don't want that buy silestone.

Too many people buy stone thinking it will stay the same for the duration of its installation. If you never touch it or walk on it this may be true but for most people it will acquire wear patterns and blemishes.

The thing alot of people don't realize is that a sealer generally only slows down the rate of absorption. It doesn't make the stone impermeable. Essentially it gives you more time to clean up a unsightly spill before it penetrates into the stone. One exception to all this is slabs that have been impregnated with a resin and generally they don't need sealing.

There are so many sealers out there and a lot of them are more sales opportunities than actual necessity. I personally apply SB Super Sealer on any stone that needs sealing. It is easy to apply, generally effective and reasonably priced at my local supply house.

If you want to buy something on the internet from someone who will at least appear to stand behind their product, check out MBstone.com. The guy who owns the site is an arrogant italian guy who claims to know it all. At least if his product doesn't live up to your expectations you can call him up and he will try and talk you through your concerns.

I don't like the guys style but he is very active on most stone forums and is probably one of the more knowledgeable salesmen you will find.

The only maintenance item that I find worthwhile doing is waxing my countertops with a paste wax. I do it purely to make cleaning up easier. It is just like washing a car that has a good coat of wax on it vs an unwaxed car.

Good luck with it.

karl

(post #74355, reply #5 of 12)

Yep Maurizio from MBstone can be pretty obnoxious.  I have seen him on several stone sites also. However it is unlikely that you could find anyone with a better understanding of stone and how to maintain it. He is definately a quality guy who will give  good  advice.

(post #74355, reply #9 of 12)

Kive,
I did try Maurizio's polishing powder. I don't find it as remarkable as he maintains it is but it is good to have in the stockpile of supplies should a stone come along that doesn't respond to standard polishing techniques.

His stone cleaner is way overpriced but works quite well for ph sensitive stones like limestone.

I spoke to him on the phone and I feel comfortable recommending him as a information/product source but I think it is a safe bet many will find his style disagreeable.

I am reassured to hear you confirm my take on him

Karl

(post #74355, reply #6 of 12)

From this discussion, i gather that if I spill a red wine or cool-aid juice on a lighter colored granite top, I am SOL, unless I seal it, wax it, and get the stain up ASAP. If the lighter color stones are permeable, can the stain be rinsed out through the bottom?

Jon

(post #74355, reply #8 of 12)

You are not necessarily SOL, just in for a simple but time consuming process called a poultice.

There was a pretty good summary on this old house's website (or something like it)

Do a google search for these four words and you should find it Granite poultice Fred Hueston.

Actually here is the address for the article

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/print/0,17071,202058,00.html

If you do the google search you may find additional hits of interest.

The most extreme case of using a poultice was told at my supply house. A homeowner picked out stone floor tile that was heavily patterned and they wanted to establish the layout of the stone pattern. They laid out all the tile and then as they picked each one up they marked a number or co ordinates for its placement on the back in magic marker. After the tile was set the magic marker started bleeding through to the surface in vivid red color.

Each tile was poulticed with the appropriate solvent (perhaps several times) and the way the story is told, all traces of the magic marker were pulled out of the stone.

I have poulticed berry juice stains and oil stains quite successfully but I try to opt for prevention rather than the poultice cure.

Hope this helps,
karl

(post #74355, reply #10 of 12)

Karl, Muchas Gracias!!  This article should answer just about every concern listed in this thread.  Thanks.

(post #74355, reply #11 of 12)

Glad it helped

Karl

(post #74355, reply #7 of 12)

You might try a product called 511.  Seems to do the trick.


 


Thanks for your help.