The importance of sealing granite counter tops
Out of all the kitchen counter top materials, granite is probably the most solid and durable. It is no surprise that granite has become the most popular choice in counter tops, and it is featured on countless home improvement shows. Granite is a costly investment, though, and it must be properly maintained to ensure a long life of the investment. For this reason, it is very important to have counter tops sealed at the time of granite countertop installation, and to have them resealed regularly. Granite sealing and resealing is important because it is a naturally porous stone. The pores in granite slabs and the spaces between the crystals in the surface are filled with sealant without a trace being left on the outer surface when the job is done right. This is different from sealing wooden surfaces, which simply requires a protective coat being added to the outer portion. The sealing and resealing of granite counter tops will help avoid staining. Regular maintenance also keeps the kitchen countertop shiny. Without regular resealing, moisture seeps into the pores and stains the surface. A sealant does not, however, protect the granite from physical damage. Granite must also be allowed to breathe, because it is a natural stone. Granite slabs are made up of several layers of crystals which need to interact with the components of air, particularly oxygen. Any water that has already seeped into the pores of granite slabs must also be able to evaporate by moving through these spaces until it reaches the surface. Research has shown that the interaction between the crystals found in granite and the millions of bacteria in its pores is a very important aspect of the stone’s structure. These bacteria play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the granite countertops, so they should be taken into consideration. It is recommended that acrylic sealants or impregnators be avoided, because they will not allow the granite to breathe. Those sealants block the pores and kill the residing bacteria, or inhibit the movement of water vapor to the surface. Granite counter tops might develop cracks if the underside becomes too wet, and it also becomes very difficult to remove those sealants if they are applied excessively. Granite countertops may end up looking dull or discolored as a result. Sealers that are made from naturally based products and fatty acids such as soap are the best options when sealing granite counter tops. These can be applied at normal cleaning times to top off the seal and clean the surface at the same time. Fatty acids fill up the pores in a granite counter top, but they are not as harsh or difficult to remove as acrylic sealants. They also provide a source of nutrients for the friendly bacteria and restrict the evaporation of water. Sealing granite counter tops is a pretty easy job that some homeowners may be able to attempt at home, but busy homeowners can always call a local granite shop to do the job. Either way, it is recommended to reseal granite counter tops at least once a year. Homeowners should also avoid excessive heat and sharp objects, because they might cause damage to the stone surface.