Does my stone worktop need a sealer?

Store bought sealers are created specifically for different materials, most commonly: granite and wood. They work by being sprayed onto a worktop surface, then once adsorbed they form a protective layer that helps avoid surface discolouration.

Sealers are used to make a surface stain-proof, so when you purchase a new stone; or even wood, worktop you might naturally assume you’ll need a sealant to keep it in top condition. But given the durability of stone, are these really necessary?

Granite colour will affect discolouration

Quality granite makes strong, resilient worktops. But granite itself is made up of various interlocking crystals that are so tightly packed, they are likely to damage a knife before the knife can damage the worktop.

While it sounds impressive, the flaw in a handful of granite worktops is that they are still vulnerable to discoloration over time. Particularly from acidic based foods and liquids that can be absorbed.

The reason darker granites, such as absolute black granite, are unaffected by these stains and discolourations is because it is highly polished. This means that it is unable to absorb anything. Including acidic products and the granite sealer.

Some lightly colored granite worktops on the other hand can still absorb liquids, meaning they are subject to discoloration. The more absorbent the surface, the more it merits using a granite sealer.

How can you tell if your stone worktop needs a sealant? Test it!

Many professionals have described granite sealers as an overrated and over promoted product. It has caused plenty of confusion as it is marketed as a general-use product.

Granite itself is a very resilient material, so the use of sealers are an option and never an obligation. If you plan to use it, you need to check with your installer whether or not the worktop is porous. If you are unable to find out, there are two tests you can try.

One test only requires you to dampen a paper towel and place it on the worktop for 20 minutes. If the beads of water remain on the worktop, you do not need a sealer. If there is instead a clear damp mark, this proves it is absorbent and can therefore take in granite sealers.

A more accurate test is the lemon juice test. In this one you either use a piece of the granite leftover during the installation process, or a section of your worktop that is out of view and place a few drops of lemon juice on it. If dark spots develop quickly then it is unsuited for a kitchen worktop, if it takes a few minutes for dark stains to appear then you should use a granite sealer. If it isn’t absorbed at all, you have the perfect worktop so don’t ruin it with a sealer.

If you want to keep your worktop in tiptop conditions, be sure to also check out our other granite worktop maintenance tips.

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