The kitchen is where you learn heirloom recipes and meticulously prepare your family’s meals, so it’s only fitting that you think of it as the sacred space of your home—that’s why it should be as beautiful as it is functional.Of course, great kitchen design isn’t just about following the latest trends or installing a luxury island; it’s also important to stay grounded.One example: your natural stone countertops.From spilled pasta sauce to the occasional coffee stain, there’s a lot of wear and tear on these porous surfaces.That’s why sealing (and resealing!) them is so important.
While your contractor may seal your natural stone surfaces during installation, and may offer maintenance services for an additional fee, this is a relatively simple project that most homeowners can tackle on their own.
Marble, quartz, granite—there are many types of natural stone countertops, and their respective maintenance requirements are not always uniform.Fortunately, the stone type didn’t change the sealing process in the end.At most, you may see a difference in dwell time and the number of coats needed to get the job done, says David Akenhead, director of construction at Block Renovation.
“Some stone varieties are more porous and more absorbent than others, and the dwell time of the sealant may take more or less a few minutes,” said Ryan Burden, owner of Countertop Specialty. “Also, like many white granites, porous Stone requires two to three coats to effectively seal the surface and adequately prevent stains.”
Before you can assume that every countertop needs to be sealed, you need to make sure that the surface in question is actually composed of natural stone.”Natural stone is porous and can become damaged or stained if not sealed,” says Akenhead, which is why these surfaces require this level of care.
However, thanks to modern technology, some well-appointed countertops look like the real thing.Akenhead points to common engineered alternatives masquerading as natural materials, such as quartz and Caesarstone.Silestone and icestone are other popular non-natural countertops that do not require traditional sealing processes.”These equivalent products that don’t require sealing are easier to maintain and more cost-effective,” he said.
First, you need to choose the right sealant.According to Akenhead, there are two types of sealants: water-based and solvent-based.
“Water-based sealants are more environmentally friendly, but they don’t penetrate deeply and are not as durable as solvent-based sealants,” says Akenhead. Most compatible with water-based formulations.These sealant types contain virtually no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), giving them an eco-friendly reputation, are odor-free and very easy to apply.They’re also more budget-friendly, although you may need to reseal your countertops more frequently (consider every 6 to 12 months).
Akehhead explains that solvent-based sealants are not as environmentally friendly as water-based sealants (they are higher in VOCs) and can have a strong odor.However, they penetrate deeper, which is why they are often necessary on granite, a dense natural stone.This is also why they are slightly more complicated to apply, more durable (and provide better protection for your stone surface), and generally more expensive.
Once you’ve determined the best sealant for your needs, you’ll also need to grab a paint brush, dry towel, plastic tarp, and tape.
Before starting the sealing process, it’s important to remove all clutter from the counter and clean them thoroughly.(If you don’t wash your counters before sealing, you’re basically locking in dirt particles and food debris.) “Use a stone cleaner and a cloth to wipe off any debris,” Burden says.”Then, wash your stone countertops with mineral spirits or acetone to remove any sticky substances or glues stuck to them. These solvents will not harm natural stone.”
Once done, Burden recommends letting your counter dry for 15 to 30 minutes.While you wait, cover surrounding cabinets, floors, and furniture with a tarp to prevent the sealant from dripping and damaging non-stone surfaces.
Material?Check.A clean, dry surface?Check.Now is the time to start sealing.Fortunately, this process can be done in a few simple steps:
One of the biggest mistakes DIYers make is not using enough sealant, Burden says.”It’s necessary to completely cover the area with a thin coat of sealant, rather than simply dampening the surface with a light spray,” he says.
Nothing lasts forever – including your now perfectly sealed countertop.But don’t worry: resealing your countertop next time won’t be any different.In fact, Akenhead thinks the future of sealing will be easier.”Think of resealing as repairing, with the initial seal being the primary foundation,” he shares.”It just means that as long as the countertop is in good shape and the initial seal is done correctly, you don’t have to be so thorough in the resealing process.”
So, how often should this recurring item be dealt with?While how often you seal will ultimately depend on the condition of your countertops, Akenhead says they generally need to be resealed once a year.However, pay attention to visual clues, such as water stains around the sink; these are signs that your countertop needs to be resealed soon.
“A better approach is to do an annual water test to determine if it’s time to reseal your countertops,” Burden says.”First, sprinkle a puddle of water on the surface. Wait and see how long it takes to create a black spot with the clock or stopwatch on your phone.” What if you see a black spot in 10 minutes or less?Time to reapply the sealant.
While sealing a countertop is a relatively easy task — as Burden explains, “If you can paint a wall, you can seal your counter” — not everyone is up for it.If you are working with a large kitchen or damaged stone with cracks, you may need to call in a professional.”To find a reputable and competent company to seal or reseal your countertops, interview a countertop manufacturer or stone restoration professional,” Burden says.”Ask them to describe how the sealant will be used and which sealant they will use.”
Burden also recommends purchasing your own sealant to ensure a high-quality or permanently bonded sealant is used.Whether you take advantage of DIY opportunities or hire an expert, you’ll have peace of mind knowing what your counter needs to look its best.
Post time: Jul-19-2022