Quartz countertops are popular in many homes today due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance requirements. Unlike natural stone countertops like granite or marble, quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This manufacturing process makes quartz resistant to stains, scratches, and heat. However, some homeowners still prefer to apply a sealer to quartz countertops for added protection and peace of mind. This article will discuss whether you can and should use a sealer on quartz countertops.
What is a Sealer?
A sealer is a liquid product applied as a coating on natural stone or engineered stone surfaces like quartz. Sealers work by sealing the tiny pores within the material to prevent moisture, oils, and dirt from penetrating the surface.
There are two main types of sealers:
Impregnating sealers soak into the stone and form a protective barrier below the surface. They rarely change the appearance or color of the stone. Impregnating sealers are designed to resist water and oil-based stains.
Topical sealers form a protective coating on top of the stone surface. They usually provide a glossy, enhanced look to the stone. Topical sealers provide protection against water-based stains but may need to be reapplied periodically.
Should You Seal Quartz Countertops?
Unlike porous natural stone, quartz is resistant to staining and etching without any sealing required. The resins mixed into quartz fill the pores within the stone, so liquids cannot easily penetrate the surface. Manufacturers create quartz to be stain-proof and non-porous.
However, some homeowners still prefer to apply a sealer to quartz for added moisture and stain protection. The main reasons are:
- Peace of mind – Even though quartz is highly stain-resistant, sealing provides an extra layer of protection from oils, juices, wine, and other liquids. This gives homeowners confidence in the durability of their investment.
- Enhanced appearance – Topical sealers can provide a glossy, wet look that enhances the color and patterns within the quartz. Impregnating sealers bring out a darker, richer coloration.
- Easier cleaning – Sealing quartz countertops makes regular cleaning easier. Spills and dried-on messes can often be wiped away without heavy scrubbing.
- Longevity – Adding a sealer may help quartz countertops better withstand heavy use in busy kitchens over many years. The sealer fills in any micro-scratches incurred over time.
If you do choose to seal quartz countertops, an impregnating sealer is the best option. Impregnating sealers soak into the stone for long-lasting protection without altering the appearance.
How to Apply Sealer to Quartz Countertops
Applying sealer to quartz is a relatively simple process, but it’s important to follow the product instructions precisely. Here is an overview of how to seal quartz countertops:
1. Clean and Prepare the Surface
Thoroughly clean the entire surface with a general household cleaner or quartz-specific cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, or residues. Rinse well and allow the countertops to fully dry before applying sealer.
2. Read and Follow Manufacturer Instructions
Not all sealers can be used on quartz, so read the product label carefully. Pay attention to any specific directions related to quartz or engineered stone.
3. Mask Off Areas Not Being Sealed
Use painter’s tape to cover any walls, backsplashes, floors, and other surfaces not being sealed. This prevents staining from drips or overspray.
4. Apply the Sealer
Follow the product instructions for application method and drying time between coats. Typically, sealers are applied with a clean cloth or foam applicator. Allow the sealer to sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes before thoroughly buffing off any excess.
5. Apply Additional Coats
For an impregnating sealer, 2-3 thin coats are often needed to fully saturate the quartz. Always allow proper drying time between coats as directed.
6. Remove Masking and Cure
After the final coat, let the sealer cure for at least 24 hours. Then carefully remove all masking tape from adjacent surfaces. Avoid heavy use of the countertops for 3-5 days.
7. Check for Missed Spots
Look over the entire surface in daylight to check for any missed spots that need touch-up sealer applied. The sealer should penetrate evenly across the entire counter.
Regular reapplication of sealer (every 1-2 years) will maintain the protective barrier on your quartz counters. Be sure to use a quartz-safe sealer and carefully follow manufacturer instructions each time.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Should I seal quartz counters before or after installation?
It’s best to seal quartz counters after installation. This allows you to completely seal the seam where countertop slabs meet for a continuous protective barrier.
How long does sealer last on quartz?
With light to moderate use, an impregnating sealer can last 1-2 years on quartz before needing reapplication. Topical sealers may need recoating more frequently.
Can I use a granite sealer on quartz?
You can use a high-quality impregnating granite sealer formulated for natural and engineered stone. Avoid topical acrylic sealers made for granite only. Always check that the sealer specifies compatibility with quartz.
What happens if you don’t seal quartz?
Unsealed quartz countertops will be prone to staining from oils, dyes, juices, wine, and other liquids. It may also be more prone to etching from acidic foods. However, quartz itself is non-porous and does not require sealing.
How long after sealing quartz can I use the counters?
It’s best to avoid heavy use of quartz counters for 3-5 days after sealing. This gives the sealer time to fully cure and activate within the stone. After this time, treated counters can be used normally.
Can you over-seal quartz and cause damage?
It’s unlikely that over-sealing will damage quartz, but excessive coats can create a cloudy, white-ish haze on the surface. This can be corrected by stripping the sealer and reapplying thinner coats.
Sealing quartz counters is an optional extra step that some homeowners take for added protection and easier cleaning. While quartz does not require sealing, applying an impregnating sealer can be beneficial in high-use kitchens. Be sure to use a quartz-compatible sealer and follow all manufacturer application instructions carefully. With proper care, sealed quartz countertops will maintain their beauty for many years.
Although quartz countertops do not require sealing like natural stone, some homeowners choose to apply an impregnating sealer for extra protection and enhanced appearance. Using a high quality sealer formulated for quartz and engineered stone can help prevent stains, make cleaning easier, and improve longevity in busy kitchens.
To apply sealer, carefully clean and dry the counters, tape off adjacent surfaces, and apply thin, even coats per the manufacturer directions. Allow time for the sealer to fully cure before resuming normal use of the counters. Reapply sealer periodically as needed to maintain the protective barrier. With the proper sealer and application process, you can safely seal quartz counters when desired.