10 August 2016

The subject of sealing granite countertops and benchtops can be a tricky one to navigate. There are many theories on when and how stone countertops, particularly those made of granite, should be sealed. With so much information flying around, it’s hard to know the truth from the false information, making it harder for people to make a sound decision.

There are a couple of tests that one can perform to identify the type of stone that your countertop is made of, whether or not it can be problematic for you on how to clean and take care of it and also to check whether sealing for your granite countertop is necessary.

The lemon juice and oil test

The lemon juice and oil test is performed to identify the type of stone your countertop is made of and the degree of absorbency of your stone countertop. Specifically, the test will tell you whether the stone is calcite-based or silicate-based or a mix of both. The importance of the test is to help you determine the characteristics of different stones, thus helping you pick a good countertop material.

The water drop test

The water drop test on the other hand is used to determine whether or not your granite countertop requires sealing. The test is basically the lemon juice and oil test done with water. The oil is used because if absorbed it is visible, while the lemon is used to determine whether or not the stone can handle acidic substances.

To perform the test, drip a few drops of water onto the granite, note the time and observe any changes. If the water puddle darkens almost immediately, your granite countertop needs to be sealed. Multiple coats of seal every year for the next three years is a great idea if you want to maintain your granite countertop. In addition, make sure that you wipe spills as soon as they occur.

If it takes about five to ten minutes to darken, you should consider sealing your countertop. Resealing may also be required every three to five years or longer depending on the quality of the sealer. Stains won’t pose a lot of issues unless a spill sits for a few hours. Only one coat of sealer is required if it takes ten to fifteen minutes to darken. Once you seal, it will be many years before re-sealing is necessary.

If darkening occurs after half an hour or doesn’t occur at all, sealing is not required. This implies that the granite is not susceptible to staining and as such, a seal should not be applied. It’s almost impossible for these types of granite countertops or granite benchtops to stain.

What you should know

• Applying a sealer even when it’s not necessary will not be problematic to the granite countertop

• Dark granites tend to be dense and even more so when sealed. This is because the seal just sits on top of the granite rather than get absorbed. Sealing therefore distorts their appearance and as a result, the sealer may have to be stripped.

• If you notice a stain on your granite countertop or benchtop, clean it with soap and water. Afterwards, let it dry.