Granite counter tops with their color and natural characteristics add a touch of distinction to your home. They are invulnerable to heat and last for a lifetime. Despite its hard surface, granite is riddled with small cracks and fissures which become permeated with debris and stain the finish if not maintained properly.
Granite sealing is an application of low VOC (volatile organic compound) formulation which soaks down in to the stone, preventing the counter top from breathing and retards staining and corrosion.
Importance of sealing granite counter tops
The porous nature of granite allows absorption of damaging liquids such as oils, water borne salts and water. These particles cause the building material to depreciate prematurely and in doing so they reduce their usefulness.
The main purpose of sealing granite counter tops periodically after its installation is to fill down the natural fissures and prevent them from deterioration and staining.
Sealing the granite counter top prevents it from,
Loss of strength
Efflorescence: It is usually the water carrying mineral salts that exists naturally, which rise from below the surface of the stone and then evaporate. While evaporating, it leaves the white powdery substance behind on the stone surface.
Salt attack: It is one of the common problems most noticeable on unprotected installed stones. When the water evaporates, the minerals remain over the surface and grow in a crystalline form creating massive pressure within the top layer thus resulting in salt attack.
Freeze-thaw cycles: This results when the water present in the surface pores freeze. Due to freezing, water expands causing the stone to crumble or crack.
Acid Attack: Milk, cola, wine, lemon juice and vinegar are few products which contain mild acids and can lead to damage of vulnerable types of stone.
Types of sealers
The two main groups of sealers are topical sealers and penetrating sealers
Topical sealers: These are thin film coatings easily applied to granite counter tops. They protect the counter tops from corroding, staining, etching, scuffing and scratching.
Applying a topical sealer between the penetrating sealer applications is a superior way to prevent etching and corroding, in case, if calcite is present in your granite counter tops.
Penetrating sealers: These are resin based sealers also known as impregnators or penetrants. As the name suggests, it penetrates in to the microscopic cavities and cracks of the counter tops.
The main purpose is to block the contaminants from getting in to the stone and simultaneously driving out the interior moisture.
Impregnators are one type which can either be water based or solvent based. The water or solvent acts as a carrier for taking the chemicals into the stone. As the carrier evaporates, the active ingredients present in the sealer remains in the stone and do their job.
An oleophobic impregnator repels water or oil based liquids whereas a hydrophobic impregnator repels water based liquids.
Advantages of using Granite Sealing
It seals the counter top surface from penetrating dirt and liquids (oils, grease).
It protects the granite surface from weathering and staining.
It creates a more hygienic surface
It renders a smoother surface and permeates the porous surface thus making it easier to clean and maintain.
Finally, Sealing restores or add glaze to your granite counter tops with a beautiful finish.
While granite counter tops make a favorite choice due to their durability and beauty, they are not resistant to damage. Regular care includes effective cleaning and use of sealers to give a hygienic and beautiful look.