Granite countertops can last for decades and are likely to be the most durable surface in your kitchen. They are also likely to be one of the biggest upgrades you can make. Most granite countertops do not need to be sealed, but it does help the stone resist dirt and spills that would cause etching and standing. Granite, by nature, is moisture resistant. It is also porous – and there is a simple test you can do if you want to check if it needs sealant.
Test If You Need Sealants
Pour about a 1/4 cup of water on the surface, and then see how long it takes to absorb. If it immediately darkens, a couple of layers of sealant annually should be applied. If it takes 4-5 minutes to absorb, then apply multiple layers of sealant, but only redo it once every 3-5 years.
If it takes 10-30 minutes to absorb, then one layer should be enough and it will hold for many years. If after 30 minutes, it hasn’t absorbed then the kind of granite you have does not need any sealant.
Proper Cleaning and Maintenance
One of the nicest design elements to granite is the many styles and colors that can meet your decorative tastes. Cleaning up spills before stains can set in is part of keeping your granite looking just like you picked it out to look.
Soap and water are enough to keep your granite clean, and regular chemical cleaning can actually strip away the sealant and leave the porous surface exposed.
Avoid using acidic products and prepare food on cutting boards and wipe up anything that touches the granite surface. This includes meat products and oils. Bacteria from meats and other ingredients can get into the granite pores, and oils and acids can cause stains.
Also, take care to not leave wet containers directly on the granite. Spills are not the only liquid hazards. Leaving any wet or liquid-soaked towels or containers can act as a spill if left on the surface. Again, having your granite properly sealed can protect it the best.
Products like olive oil bottles that are hard to keep clean can cause the granite to discolor if the layer of olive oil on the bottom of the bottle is allowed to set in.
One of the benefits of granite countertops is that hot pans and pots will not cause burn marks. However, this isn’t an endorsement of using the bare surface to regularly leave your hot cooking equipment on them. Grit on the bottom of pots and pans can scratch and pit the surface, so having a trivet to place your hot equipment on is a good idea.