How to Choose the Right Type of Sealer for Your Needs
If you’re new to granite sealers and are still on the hunt for the right one, you’ve probably seen the terms “penetrating sealer” and “film-forming sealer” come up as you search. What is the difference, exactly?
Penetrating Sealer. Penetrating sealers are all about offering superior protection to your granite. They seep down into the pores to provide protection against water and stain damage. However, don’t expect a high-gloss finish from them.
They leave a natural, matte finish, so if that’s the look you’re going for, then this is the best granite sealer for your needs.
Film-Forming. Rather than penetrating into the stone’s pores, a film-forming sealer blankets the top of the granite to help prevent stains. It also gives added water, oil, and chemical protection to the granite.
When applied to the surface of the stone, a film-forming sealer will make it appear darker and glossier. It really helps bring out the color of the natural stone, enhancing the different tones already present.
There are two different types of acrylic film-forming sealers: water-based and solvent-based mixtures.
Water-Based. Using a water-based mixture will yield a low-gloss, semi-darkened appearance on your granite surface. It also makes it more chemical-resistant.
Solvent-Based. With the solvent-based formulas, you will have an even higher gloss and darker contrast of colors, so it will really come to life when you apply it.
Do You Prefer a Multi-Purpose Sealer?
Some products do more than just seal; they are designed to clean and polish the granite, too.
They’re great for “in-between” sealing sessions to help you maintain the luster and shine of your granite while cleaning it and removing dirt, grime, oil, and any chemical residues.
If you’re worried about the safety of using spray-on granite countertops where you’ll be preparing food, then look for products that specifically state on the label that they are safe food-prep surfaces.
These formulas are usually non-acidic, pH balanced, biodegradable, free of phosphates, and free of ammonia.
Tuff Duck’s non-acidic sealer is perfect for offering long-term protection to your granite surface.
The water-based formula contains fluoropolymers, which are known for their high level of resistance to acids and solvents. As a penetrating sealer, it will seep into the pores of the granite and offer superior water protection with just a single coat.
You will be able to cover up to 200 square feet of granite with one quart and get up to 5 years of protection on indoor surfaces!
You can use this outdoors, as well, and it will also help seal the grout between granite tiles.
Expect a matte, satin finish from this. If you want a shine, you’ll have to follow up with a film-forming sealer once this has dried.
We liked TriNova’s formula and the fact that it comes in a spray bottle. It is much easier to apply than the previous penetrating sealer, which came in a one-quart jug.
It also contains a blend of polymers that penetrate the pores and help prevent stains and water from seeping in, but unlike most penetrating sealers, this one does leave a glossy finish.
You’ll also notice that this formula is designed specifically for granite, but they also say it can be used on any stone surface in case you need it for something else. We double-checked to see if it is safe for both indoor and outdoor use and the manufacturer gave the OK for both.
Just remember that you may need to re-apply to your outdoor surfaces after it rains if you want to ensure that the surface stays protected.
The fact that it comes in a spray makes it very user-friendly. You don’t have to worry about any creamy or messy products leaving any residue. Just spray it on and buff clean with a dry microfiber cloth.
The next option in our list is from Black Diamond, a brand that is well-known in the stone care world.
Any of you looking for a cleaner and sealer wrapped into one will love this product, especially since it is safe for use on food preparation surfaces.
Just spray it on and wipe it off. The formula is pH neutral and hypoallergenic, and you can use it on any granite surfaces in or around your home. Clean the countertops, showers, flooring, or outdoor tiles while lightly sealing as you wipe.
We didn’t experience any streaking after using it, but the shine wasn’t as high-gloss as some of the other film-forming products we tried.
If you’re in need of something for regular cleaning and light sealing that won’t break the bank, this product will meet your expectations.
Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold is a no-sheen, natural look, penetrating sealer that gives the effect of a newly-sealed floor. The water-based formula is ideal for granite, limestone, marble, slate, travertine, porcelain, saltillo cement, and masonry.
This high-quality sealer is designed for use in food prep and serving areas as well as a pre-grouting sealer for kitchen and bathroom tiles. It provides stain protection and maintains the look of natural stone and porous tiles.
Excellent in food preparation areas and lasts up to 15 years on interior and exterior applications.
It is CARB and EPA approved as a low volatile organic compound (VOC) sealant that will not outgas harmful chemicals or harmful materials containing VOCs into the indoor environment.
Aqua Mix will provide a deep, natural-looking finish for your granite countertops and other stone surfaces.
Miracle Sealants 511 QT SG 511 Sealer is a penetrating sealer that creates an invisible barrier for protection against water, stains, and slippage. The oil and water-resistant formula is easy to apply and will not alter the natural look.
This sealer is safe for use around food prep areas and is effective on tile, marble, granite, terrazzo, and stone surfaces. It is ideal for interior or exterior use.
It penetrates and seals to keep granite sealed and help maintain its stone luster.
Designed to enhance the original natural color and luster of your stone surfaces, it includes UV inhibitors to help protect your investment against fading.
Easy to use
Safe around food preparation area
May require several bottles if you have a larger area
Tenax Proseal Granite Sealer is a solvent-based sealer for natural stone. It gives an even gloss and imparts a non-stick, abrasion-resistant surface to stone. This product is easy to use, adheres well to the raw stone, and has excellent penetration into the pores of the stone.
It is easy to clean up with water. It is designed to penetrate deep into the pores of surfaces like limestone, marble, terrazzo, sandstone, bluestone and more!
Tenax ProSeal Granite Sealer is a water-based, solvent-free sealer that penetrates deeper and seals more effectively than solvents. This cleaner forms a molecular bond with the stone.
This sealer is excellent for floors and countertops because it works on engineered stone as well as natural stone. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly with a nice sheen, and makes cleanup easy.
Granite Gold Sealer creates a barrier which provides maximum surface protection against stains from oil, water, coffee, wine and many other liquids. It protects against etches and soil build up.
Its versatility means that it can also be applied to grout lines between tiles and to shower stalls. It comes in 24oz spray bottle, for easy and fast application.
Granite Gold seals porous surfaces into a glassy surface that’s easy to wipe clean of any spill. It keeps granite looking beautiful for years.
With just one application, it penetrates deep into the pores of the stone to react with the minerals to create a protective barrier from staining caused by everyday spills and other elements. This sealer dries fast and easy to apply.
When properly sealed, granite repels water. Without sealing, granite absorbs food, liquids, grease, and pigments. This leads to your granite having large stains that give your stone a dirty appearance.
Can I Put Hot Pans on Granite?
Yes, if it is for a short time. If you plan to do it regularly, you should use a barrier such as a trivet to protect your granite against staining and cracking.
How Often Should Granite be Sealed?
The amount of time it takes for granite to show wear will vary from home to home. If you cook daily and use the countertops frequently, they may need resealing more often than homeowners who do not use their countertops as frequently.
Be vigilant of signs of wear like marring, light discoloration, and stains that are hard to clean. Those are all good indicators that your countertops could use a sealer application soon.
This is why it’s so important to seal a granite countertop each year. After all, we frequently spill small amounts of food and liquids around the kitchen — even if we clean up right away, residual will still stain the counter and make them look dingy in just a few months time.
By resealing an unsealed granite countertop every year, you’ll save yourself the trouble of cleaning up any new stains over time—as well as any full-on spills.
How Do You Clean Granite Before Sealing?
Despite its durability, granite is a natural stone and should be maintained in order to maximize its beauty. We recommend cleaning granite and marble surfaces with warm water and mild soap.
It’s important to dry thoroughly after washing the granite with soap and water. If necessary, you can use a slightly dampened towel to absorb any moisture. After drying, leave the surface alone for four to six hours before applying sealer.
If used correctly, this will effectively cleanse the surface of debris without damaging the granite or marble. Avoid using any products containing acids, bleach, ammonia, or abrasives that may damage the sealer on your countertop.
What Happens If You Put Bleach on Granite?
While bleach can be effective at disinfecting other products, it has a corrosive effect on granite. This will dull the finish of your stone and potentially even change its color.
For successful cleaning, try using warm water and soap or a mild, non-abrasive household cleaner.
How Long Does Granite Sealer Last?
Most granite sealers should last 3-5 years and some are rated for 10 years if the stone is diligently and properly cared for.
It is important to understand that not all granite countertop sealers are equal.
A quality sealer will ensure that your granite countertops stay beautiful for years to come with little or no maintenance. It should be low VOC, high gloss, have UV protection and water repellency.
Does Sealing Granite Make it Darker?
A common fear is that sealing a dark granite countertop will darken or change its color. For most impregnating sealers this is not the case. An impregnating granite sealer is typically a semi-synthetic water-based product.
The sealer penetrates the stone, chemically bonding to the surface molecules and causing those surface molecules to become more resistant to liquid penetration and staining of oil or food-type substances compared to untreated surfaces.
Technically, a granite sealer should not change the color of your stone at all. Granite is quite porous and when it’s wet or right after applying a product to it, you’ll see the color of your stone alter, but only for a few minutes.
A good stone sealer should fill in the natural pores of the granite, which creates a beautiful, natural-looking finish in your kitchen.
Does Water Ruin Granite?
If you live in a region where the water is very hard and contains a lot of dissolved minerals, it can discolor your countertops. Also, some household products can cause staining or etching in your stone.
No water will ruin your granite countertops. The only thing that can ruin them is letting them get a lot of scratches and scrapes on them, or using harsh chemicals on them.