Do Your Granite Countertops Pass The Water Test?

New Stainless Steel SinkGranite countertops add an air of sophistication to your bathroom or kitchen remodel, but the expense and upkeep turn many buyers away. The porous nature of granite leaves it susceptible to water damage, so it’s important that you have the granite slab water tested after it’s installed. The test will determine whether or not the slab needs to be sealed, a process that adds a waterproof barrier to the stone, which causes moisture to bead on the surface instead of leaking into the granite.

Sealing your countertop takes only a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the stone, and the number of coats you need to apply. You’ll need some granite cleaner and a bottle of granite sealant. The application process varies slightly from brand to brand, so follow the instructions on the bottle that you use.

An unsealed or improperly sealed granite countertop can cause several problems. First, any liquid that gets spilled on the surface will penetrate into the stone and leave a stain. This is especially true of acidic drinks, like soda, citrus juices and alcohol. Each of these stains detract from the aesthetics of the stone, and make it look dirty. Second, unsealed granite is a potential health hazard for the family. Bacteria and other germs love to hide in the crevices on the counter, and it’s almost impossible to kill them all.

The water test is a straightforward test that you can perform on your own.

  1. Start with a small water sample, usually about 1/4 cup.
  2. Pour the water onto a small section of the granite and start a timer.
  3. Stop the timer when the granite becomes darkened, an indication that the water penetrated the granite.
  4. Water absorbs into granite at different speeds
    • Less than five minutes: This is a very porous piece of granite. You’ll need to apply sealant regularly and be vigilant about cleaning up spills quickly.
    • About five minutes: At this point the granite resists penetration, but still allows the water in. You’ll need to include a couple of layers of sealant, but the seal should last several years.
    • About ten minutes: The granite shows signs of significant water resistance. You’ll want to add at least a single layer of sealant; however, it will be years before you need to address water proofing the granite again.
    • More than thirty minutes: If the water doesn’t absorb for more than half an hour, the granite is not porous enough to require a sealant, or the fabricator already applied a sealant coating.

5. In all cases you’ll want to take a few minutes to check the state of the sealant every year or so, depending on the color of the stone. Light colored granite needs to be checked every 12-36 months, but dark colored stone can go as long as five years between tests if you gave the stone a good seal the first time around. The test takes a half hour at most, and spotting a potential problem with the seal on your granite is well worth the time.

Being proactive in granite countertop maintenance is the key to avoiding etching and other damage on your beautiful stone. The design team at Synmar & Castech can walk you through all of your choices in granite countertops, and leave you with a stunning kitchen or bathroom. Contact us today, and don’t waste any more time making your dream home become a reality.