To seal or not to seal - that is the question!
This is by far the biggest misconception that
has been put out to the masses about granite.
It has been shoved out there by the solid
service industry as a last ditch effort to
preserve there plastic products.
Lets start with what a sealer is and is not.
A sealer for stone is a surface penetrating sealer, not a topical sealer
you would use for wood. It is delivered into your stone by natural
absorption through a catalyst, typically water or a solvent. As the
catalyst naturally evaporates, the "resin" is left behind thus
clogging any pores in the stone. A sealer offers no protection to the
surface of your stone whatsoever.
Now some commercial grade granites do not need to be sealed.
Because of there natural density, the surface of the stone is
impenetrable even to a sealer. What about stones that do need to be
sealed and how do you know what stones even need to be sealed?
Use the lemon test. Here is the Lemon Test described by Maurizio
Bertoli, one of the foremost experts on the subject -
"Take a piece of the scrap "granite" you want to test and spill a few
drops of lemon juice onto it. If you see that under the drops of
lemon it develops very quickly dark spots, it means that it's a very
absorbent stone and I would advise you (and anybody else, for that
matter) against it. If it takes, say, a minute or so to be absorbed,
then you're dealing with a degree of absorbency that's easily
manageable with the application of a good-quality impregnator-type
sealer. If it doesn't absorb at all, then you have a winner right there!
Go for it, and don't bother sealing it.
But hold your horses for an extra minute!
Now, why lemon juice and not simply
water? Because lemon juice is highly acidic,
and, if for any chance, the "granite" you're
considering is a mixed stone (with some
calcite in it), it would etch. That is, it would
have a permanent dull spot where the
lemon was sitting, after you clean it up. If
that's the case, you do NOT want that stone
in your kitchen.
Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist
If your stone does need to be sealed, it will need to be sealed once
every few years. Sealing your counters really is "no big deal". A
QUALITY sealer will last 3-5 years while there are some sealers that
require resealing every ten years.
The biggest concern a consumer (and YOUR SALESMAN) should be
thinking about is every day care and maintenance. Using a generic
store bought cleaner will run the risk of either eroding your sealer, or
damaging the counter top itself. Use only cleaner designed for natural
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