Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz counters are valued for their durability, low maintenance, and visual appeal. However, some homeowners wonder if sealing their quartz counters is necessary or beneficial. Here’s an in-depth look at whether you can or should seal quartz countertops.
What is a Sealer and Why Seal Stone?
A sealer is a liquid product that is applied as a coating on porous stone surfaces like granite, marble, and some types of quartz. Sealers work by binding to the pores and holes within the stone to create a protective barrier that prevents stains from penetrating into the material.
Sealers are commonly used on natural stone countertops because materials like granite and marble are prone to absorbing liquids, leading to stubborn stains if a sealer isn’t applied. The porosity of the stone also makes it more vulnerable to etching from acidic substances like wine, coffee, and fruit juices. A good sealer provides a critical stain-resistant barrier on porous natural stone.
The Porosity of Quartz Counters
Quartz has become such a popular countertop choice largely because it lacks the porosity issues of natural stone counters. By nature, quartz counters are non-porous, meaning there are not open pores or holes that allow in stains.
During the manufacturing process, the ground quartz crystals are combined with polymer resins under intense heat and pressure. The resins bind the quartz into a homogenous slab that lacks the nooks and crannies found in a material like granite. This makes quartz an incredibly dense, stain-resistant material without natural pores that require sealing.
Does Quartz Need to be Sealed?
The simple answer is no – quartz counters do not require sealing in most cases. The non-porous quality of quartz makes it highly resistant to stains without a sealer applied. Liquids remain on the surface rather than absorbing into the material. Quartz counters can be wiped clean without any need for sealing.
In fact, since quartz lacks pores, sealers have no way to properly bond to the material. Attempting to seal quartz will produce a coating that beads up and eventually wears away. This leaves the quartz just as unsealed as before. So sealers are not able to provide any real lasting benefit on quartz surfaces.
Can You Seal Quartz Countertops?
While sealers don’t properly bond to quartz, it is technically possible to apply a sealer coating to a quartz countertop. However, this will only result in a temporary topical barrier that provides minimal protection and will require frequent reapplication.
Quartz can be sealed, but the sealer will just sit on the surface rather than soaking in and won’t last. The sealer can help with very minor resistance to some staining, but overall will provide little benefit. Any protection offered is temporary at best compared to sealing porous natural stone.
Reasons You May Want to Seal Quartz
Though sealing is generally not necessary for quartz, some homeowners still opt to apply a sealer to their counters. Here are some of the reasons people consider sealing quartz:
- Enhance shine – Sealers can provide a temporary boost in gloss on the surface, making colors appear a bit richer. This may enhance the appearance initially after application.
- Marginal stain protection – A freshly applied sealer may provide a bit of protection from some liquids for a short period of time before wearing away.
- Ease wiping – Sealers can sometimes make a stone surface slightly easier to wipe down for a short period before wearing off.
- Peace of mind – Some homeowners seal quartz for a feeling of reassurance against stains, even if the protection offered is nominal.
So in certain cases sealing quartz may provide an extremely small degree of benefit. But overall, it remains unnecessary for most quartz countertop owners.
Best Practices for Sealing Quartz Countertops
For those who do opt to seal their quartz counters, here are some best practices to get the most out of the application:
- Use a premium sealer – Higher quality sealers, especially those made for stone, tend to last longer on the surface of quartz compared to hardware store varieties. Look for an impregnating sealer labeled for use on quartz or stone.
- Clean counters thoroughly first – Sealers adhere better to perfectly clean surfaces without any residue. Clean with an ammonia-based cleaner to remove any grime.
- Apply thin coats – Thick sealer coats on quartz will puddle rather than soak in. Wipe on thin coats following the product directions.
- Allow to fully cure – Sealers may take up to a few days to fully harden on quartz counters. Avoid cleaning the area until completely cured.
- Reapply often – Expect to reseal quartz every 1-2 months to maintain what little protection it offers. The smooth surface causes sealer to wear off quickly.
How to Seal a Quartz Countertop
For those determined to seal their quartz counters, here is a simple step-by-step process:
- Clear counters of any items, dirt, or residue. Clean thoroughly with an ammonia-based cleaner and water. Allow to fully dry.
- Tape off any areas you want to avoid sealing, like walls or fixtures. Open windows to allow good airflow.
- Apply a thin, even layer of impregnating sealer labeled for quartz or stone. Use a microfiber cloth or foam applicator.
- Allow sealer to soak in for 5-10 minutes. Completely wipe away all excess sealer from the surface.
- Permit the quartz to cure fully for 24-48 hours without water or cleaning. Avoid use until completely cured.
- Reapply another thin coat of sealer every 1-2 months to maintain the coating.
Things to Avoid with a Sealed Quartz Countertop
If you do decide to seal your quartz counters, be aware that the sealer coat can still be compromised or damaged. Avoid the following:
- Harsh cleaners – Stick to gentle PH-neutral cleaners to avoid stripping the sealer away. Avoid bleach, alkaline, or acidic cleaners.
- Abrasive pads – Don’t use rough sponges or scrubbing pads that might wear through the sealer coat. Stick to soft cloths.
- Hot items – Extreme heat can damage the protective quartz sealer layer. Always use trivets and hot pads.
- Impacts – Dropping heavy objects on a sealed quartz counter can chip or crack the sealer. Handle with care.
- Neglecting resealing – Sealers wear off quartz relatively quickly. Reapply every 1-2 months to maintain protection.
Quartz Countertop Maintenance
While sealing quartz counters isn’t strictly necessary, proper maintenance is important to keep them looking like new. Follow these care tips:
- Clean spills quickly – Although quartz resists staining, wipe up spills promptly to be safe.
- PH-balanced cleaners – For routine cleaning, use a non-abrasive PH-neutral cleaner and soft cloth or sponge.
- Prevent etching – While resistant, quartz can etch from prolonged exposure to acidic foods. Quickly wipe any spills.
- Avoid abrasives – Don’t use scouring powders or pads. Stick to soft cloths and gentle cleaning.
- Cut on boards – Use cutting boards instead of slicing directly on the quartz to prevent dulling over time.
- Coasters and trivets – While quartz stands up to heat, using hot pads maintains the surface and prevents accidental cracks or burns.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about sealing quartz counters:
Should I seal my quartz countertops every year?
No, there is no need to seal quartz counters annually. In fact, sealing quartz yearly would be overkill. The smooth non-porous surface causes sealers to wear off in just 1-2 months. Only apply a sealer to quartz 2-3 times per year if you choose to use one.
Can I use a granite sealer on quartz?
You can safely use a sealer made for granite on quartz counters. Look for an impregnating sealer formulated for natural stone. Be aware it will still only provide temporary protection and need frequent reapplication. Always check the product label to verify it is safe for use on quartz.
What kind of sealer is best for quartzite counters?
For quartzite counters, which are naturally porous unlike quartz, an impregnating sealer that soaks in is best. Look for a brand designed for marble, granite, and quartzite to get the most durability. Avoid flimsy water-based acrylic sealers that sit on top.
Do I need to seal Caesarstone or Silestone quartz?
The most popular quartz brands like Caesarstone and Silestone maintain the non-porous qualities of quartz. Their countertops do not require sealing. While you can apply a sealer, it won’t properly bond or provide lasting protection.
How long does quartz sealer last?
On quartz countertops, sealers typically only last 1-2 months before wearing off. The slick surface and lack of pores causes sealers to wipe or wear away quickly. Reapplication every month or two is needed to maintain what little protection it offers.
Although quartz counters are highly stain-resistant on their own, some homeowners still wish to apply a sealing treatment. While sealers can technically be used on quartz, they offer minimal protection at best and require frequent reapplication. Following proper maintenance guidelines for cleaning and avoiding damage is generally the best practice for quartz countertops rather than relying on sealers. But if you do opt for an added sealer layer, be sure to use a premium stone product and reapply often. With the right care, beautiful quartz counters can provide many years of enjoyment without showing stains or wear.