How to Strip and Reseal Granite Countertops
Lee has over two decades of hands-on experience remodeling, fixing, and improving homes, and has been providing home improvement advice for over 13 years.
Learn more about The Spruce’s
Updated on 11/30/22
Beautiful Modern kitchen with a counter height bar
Jodi Jacobson/E+/Getty Images
Granite, while hard, is surprisingly absorbent. In terms of practicality, synthetic surfaces such as Corian, solid surface, or quartz countertops are often better than natural stone. Homeowners sometimes buy granite countertops more for the product’s natural beauty than for its functionality.
Sealing your granite is one of the many things you just need to do if you want to own this type of countertop. In fact, it should come as no surprise that granite needs to be sealed. It is like any other natural material. Wood has its grain, and stone has its pores. Fortunately, it’s easy to seal a granite countertop. It takes just a few minutes and requires little more than a granite sealer and a clean pad.
Equipment / Tools
- 5 microfiber pads
- 5 microfiber towels
- 1 nylon scrubbing pad or fine steel wool
- 1 bottle granite sealer
- 1 bottle granite cleaner
Strip Off Old Sealer
Unless the old sealer is sticky, hazy, or otherwise in bad condition, it should not need to be stripped off. If you do need to strip off old sealer, begin with very fine steel wool and rub gently. Alternatively, chemical strippers applied with a nylon scrubbing pad may help to strip off the old sealer.
Clean the Surface
Whether or not old sealer was removed, the granite still needs to be cleaned prior to sealing. Spray a daily granite cleaner on the surface and wipe off with microfiber pads. The pads must come up clean (no dirt or residue) before proceeding to the next step.
Spray the Granite Surface
After the granite cleaner has dried, spray the granite countertop in 2-foot-square sections
A little granite sealer usually goes a long way. Just a few squirts are usually enough to coat an average-sized kitchen or bathroom counter thoroughly. Two or three coats will be needed, but you will find that each subsequent coat spreads even a little bit further and soaks in less.
Wipe the Granite Surface
Immediately after spraying the granite, wipe off the sealer with the microfiber pad. Do not let the sealer sit on the surface for a long time as hazing may occur.
Buff the Surface
With a clean microfiber towel, buff the surface to a smooth glossy finish.
One coat of granite sealer is not enough if the granite has been completely stripped of sealer. For this type of countertop, apply up to three coats of sealer.
Tips for Removing Stains from Granite Counters
Some types of stains can be removed from granite by making a simple poultice.
Make a paste mixture of hydrogen peroxide and diatomaceous earth and place it over the stain. Diatomaceous earth is an inexpensive sedimentary rock that can be purchased in small bags online for $10 to $20.
Cover this with plastic wrap and seal the edges of the plastic with masking tape. Leave it on the stone for a couple of days.
Remove the plastic wrap and let the paste dry. Repeat if necessary. Also, sometimes, bleach can be added to the mixture.
When to Call a Professional
A countertop fabrication and installation company that deals with natural stone can help with stripping old granite sealer and applying new sealer. Even if you plan to apply sealer by yourself in the long-term, you may want to have the first sealer applied by professionals.
The 11 Best Grout Sealers of 2023
How Do I Know if My Granite Countertop Needs to Be Sealed?
August 8, 2022
Although granite countertops remain very popular, one issue can make some people reluctant to use this material for their new countertops. That’s the issue of sealing.
The question about sealing granite puts a crack in the countertop’s reputation for ease of use and durability. People worry that having to seal their granite counter will make them a pain to deal with or reduce their durability if they don’t do it often enough.
The truth is that most (but not all) granite countertops need to be sealed. There is a simple test to see if you need to seal the countertop you’re choosing and determine when your countertop needs to be resealed (typically every 5-7 years, depending on the sealant). However, if you try to seal a granite countertop that doesn’t need it or reseal a countertop too frequently, it will develop a buildup that makes it dull and scratchable.
Here’s how to know if your granite countertop needs to be sealed and, if so when it might need to be resealed.
Understand What You’re Buying
It’s important to understand that not all granite is the same. Part of what makes granite countertops popular is that they come in an almost infinite variety of patterns and colors.
But along with the variety in patterns comes a variety of physical properties, including their permeability (the amount of water that can soak into them). More permeable granite needs to be sealed more often. In general, granite with a darker color is likely to be less permeable. It might not need to be sealed at all. A slab with a known defect might have been treated with resin to seal it.
It’s important not to rely too much on this rule of thumb. Not only is this general tendency not always true, but two individual slabs of the same type of granite might have slightly different properties. When you visit our gallery-style showrooms in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Utah, you can view the specific slab you choose for your project. You can talk to a knowledgeable stone specialist who can inform you about each slab you consider.
Test the Stone
Once you understand the properties of your granite countertop, it’s still important to know how to test the stone. The good news is that this is simple to do.
When considering a stone slab, request a sample of the stone for testing. The sample should be large enough to accommodate two dime-size puddles (or you should get two samples). Make a puddle of lemon juice and a puddle of olive oil. Observe the puddles every five minutes.
If the surface under the puddles darkens right away, the stone may be too porous for a kitchen or bathroom application. Alternatively, if the surface darkens after approximately five minutes, the stone is a good choice for a kitchen or bathroom – if you seal it. A stone that takes 10 to 15 minutes to darken still needs to be sealed, but it doesn’t need much sealant, and you can likely go many years between applications. If the sample takes 30 minutes or more to darken, the granite countertop doesn’t need to be sealed.
Also, watch for bubbling and surface changes under the lemon juice. If lemon juice damages a stone, it’s not a good choice for a kitchen or bathroom application.
Know Your Sealant
Granite Kitchen Countertops
Once you know whether your countertop needs to be sealed, it’s time to understand how your sealant is applied and how long it is likely to remain in place.
Our Resource Library has technical information on many granite countertop sealants. Looking at them, you’ll see they can protect your granite countertop for five to ten years, or even longer!
You don’t want to apply sealant too often. If you do, sealant will pool on the surface instead of absorbing into the stone. This will create a dull surface coating that makes your countertop less attractive. The surface coating is easier to damage than the granite, so you might notice scratches and burns. A surface coating is hard to remove, so it’s best not to reapply sealant until necessary.
You can tell it’s necessary to reapply sealant by spilling a little clean water on the countertop and watching for discoloration and absorption. If the surface gets discolored in about 10 to 15 minutes, it’s time to reapply your sealant.
Pick the Perfect Slab for Your Kitchen
Are you looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance granite countertop for your project? At the Stone Collection, you can pick the perfect slab from our galleries in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Utah. Contact us today to learn more.
Visit a Showroom
Visit a showroom today!
Granite worktop – care instructions
Granite worktops are easy to care for. Cleaning granite is very easy.
Everything you need to know about caring for your granite countertop is explained and detailed below. You can handle this very easily and keep all your countertops looking great for decades to come.
How to Protect Granite and Natural Stone
As a general rule, an impregnating sealant should be applied to all natural stone.
Many granites and other stones never need to be sealed, but there is a lot of confusion about granite care. The process of impregnating the “stone pores” is not difficult, but it can be a disaster if the wrong information is given
Do’s and Don’ts when cleaning granite countertops
The easiest way to keep stone looking great is to avoid bad habits that can cause it to damage. Granite, marble, travertine, limestone, quartz countertops, and other hard surfaces like these are similar in many ways, but their differences require varying degrees of maintenance.
However, if you maintain your granite countertop according to the guidelines that apply to all stone countertops, you will eliminate most potential problems.
Wipe up spilled liquids from countertops immediately
Acidic substances such as wine, coffee, fruit juices, tomato sauce, and sodas will not corrode granite like marble, but can potentially stain the surface. Cooking oils can also stain if not wiped off.
Clean surfaces with a sponge or soft cloth
It is recommended to use special cleaner for natural stone and granite to keep your countertops in the best possible condition. However, hot water is fine for a quick cleanup.
Dishwashing Liquid won’t permanently damage your granite, but repeated use of soapy water will cloud (yes, even if you rinse it out) and dull your countertop’s shine. Therefore, it is not recommended to regularly use soap to wash granite countertops.
Use coasters for all glasses, bottles and jars
Again, granite is chemical resistant and using coasters on dense, properly sealed granite is not an absolute necessity as it is with marble, but using coasters is just good practice. to protect countertops.
Use pot and pan holders
Yes, you can remove the hot pot from the stove and place it directly on the granite countertop. Granite (or any stone or quartz) can undergo “thermal shock” and crack, but rarely.
But you should know…
Sand caught between the pot and the countertop surface can scratch the surface – even the granite countertop. Granite is very hard and durable, it can withstand a lot of stress without any significant damage, but its surface can develop light scratches or pits in high-use areas around the sink and cooktop.
If this does happen, don’t worry too much. Most chips and scratches can be repaired, but it’s best to avoid them by following our granite countertop maintenance tips.
In addition, as soon as you remove a hot pan from the countertop, the surface will be very hot and may burn you.
Use the cutting board
You will avoid scratches and protect your knives. Cutting through stone will dull and quickly damage the blades of your knives. Never use a granite countertop as a cutting board.
Do not use general cleaners
Cleaners, including bleaches, glass cleaners, and other degreasers, as well as common household cleaners that you buy in the store, contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals that will attack the finish of granite (and chemically burn the marble), making the stone more vulnerable to staining.
Trying to save money with these chemicals will ensure that you spend much more time and money refurbishing your granite countertop in the long run.
Do not use vinegar, ammonia, lemon, or orange as cleaners
Most common and branded household products are not suitable for cleaning granite countertops (and certainly cannot be used on marble, travertine, or most other stones). It is better not to use anything that is not recommended by the manufacturer. Just use warm water and a soft cloth.
Avoid ammonia and vinegar based cleaners.
Do not use bathroom, bath and tile or grout cleaners
Powders and even “mild” creams contain abrasives that scratch and matte surfaces.
Do not sit or stand on top
Unlike laminate tops, hard tops made from granite, marble and quartz are very hard but not flexible. Also, they do NOT have a plywood backing, so if too much weight is applied in one place, it can cause cracking.
Do not store liquids or toiletries directly on the countertop
Cooking oils, hair products, perfumes, colognes, nail products, creams, lotions and potions tend to spill or leak and are often overlooked.
Even when sealed, a substance left on a granite surface for a long time can stain the granite (and damage marble and other stones). Practice preventive care for your granite countertop by storing these products on a shelf or tray.
Granite Counter Care
Warm water and a washcloth or sponge are all you need to clean up spills and crumbs to keep your kitchen countertops clean and tidy throughout the day .
A quick spray and wipe down of key areas of use with a good granite cleaner is enough to clean, sanitize and protect your countertops and provide a streak-free shine. A large selection of stone cleaners can be found here.
Remove (or move aside) all items from the countertop and use a granite cleaner all over, including the edges.
This procedure will remove all dust, debris, and hidden debris or spills that collect around appliances, containers, dish racks, etc.
Using a specific granite cleaner also serves to condition the stone, protect the sealant, and help maintain its overall luster. Of course, this process is much easier if you maintain order in the kitchen.
A granite polish such as Liqui Polish Granite, Marble, AKEMI can be used intermittently (weekly or monthly, as you like) to enhance the shine.
Polish “enhances” the shine (like waxing a car), improves cleaning, helps remove fingerprints, and provides a little protection.
You may have heard that it is necessary to seal granite every year or every three years, but the correct frequency of application of granite sealer depends on a number of variables. Testing will tell you when the time is right. (Tests for lemon juice and a drop of water).
You will know that resealing is necessary anyway when you start noticing that the water around the sink is darkening the stone; this is a sign that the granite is beginning to absorb water.
Granite countertops: daily maintenance and scheduled maintenance
Apr 25, 2022
While quartz stone surfaces are gaining popularity, there is nothing better than a beautiful and functional granite countertop in the kitchen or bathroom. Granite is durable, versatile and heat resistant – the perfect surface, no matter what the challenge is. This material is suitable for everyday use by all family members – from cooking to homework and entertainment.
There is one detail associated with granite that homeowners should not only be aware of, but also take into account – hygienic care. Due to the crystalline nature of granite, you will need to invest some time and energy in keeping surfaces clean and free of stains, germs, viruses, bacteria, mold and fungus. Every kitchen surface needs proper and regular cleaning, and your gorgeous granite countertop is no exception.
How to disinfect granite countertops
We are always asked the question: Which cleaning products are safe for marble and granite?
Choose acid and solvent free sanitizing sprays specifically designed for granite, marble, travertine and other natural stone surfaces. Use a soft cloth when wiping to keep the surface smooth and maintain the original look of the countertop.
You can also mix equal parts isopropyl alcohol and water, spray onto the surface and leave for a few minutes. Wipe with a paper towel and you’re done – the countertops sparkle beautifully.
Like any kitchen countertop, granite requires a targeted approach to ensure it is food safe and to prevent the spread of germs and fungus. Whether you’ve carved food on it, or just want to make sure your countertop is germ-free, it’s important to disinfect your kitchen surfaces regularly.
Daily Care and Restoration
For daily care, simply wipe dust off the granite surface with a microfibre cloth. This helps maintain the condition of the sealant and the granite surface. Blot stains and disinfect countertops with a solution of mild antibacterial dishwashing detergent and warm water. This can lead to streaks, so you will need to remove the streaks and soap scum with a dry microfiber cloth.
To make your granite countertops airtight, seal them with a special sealant (this is done at the time of manufacture) and then reseal once or twice a year depending on the amount of use and the type of surface. You can check if granite countertops need to be resealed by simply sprinkling water on them. The water will either collect in drops or flow freely over the granite surface. When the water begins to flow freely, it means it’s time to reseal.
During cooking and daily use of granite countertops in the kitchen, different things happen and stains too. It’s not the end of the world if vegetable oil, tea, coffee or red wine gets on your granite surface. Generally, two types of stains can form on granite: oil-based and organic-based. Oil-based stains can be removed with a paste of baking soda and water or pure acetone. A common misconception is that nail polish remover can be used like acetone, however with the addition of chemicals used specifically for nail polish, it can actually harm your countertop. Stubborn organic stains can be removed with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a small amount of ammonia.
For more tips, design inspiration and information about natural stones for countertops and more, visit our blog or contact our team!
You will be interested in
CRISTALLO BOTANICO quartzite.