Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, there is some debate over whether sealing quartz countertops is necessary or beneficial. Here is a detailed look at the pros and cons of sealing quartz countertops to help you decide if it is right for your needs.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz makes up over 90% of the material, making it an extremely hard, non-porous surface.
Unlike natural stone countertops such as marble or granite, quartz does not need to be sealed regularly since it lacks the cracks and pores that allow liquids to seep in. The polymer resins create a water-resistant barrier that prevents staining and damage.
The Benefits of Sealing Quartz
While quartz already repels liquids, some homeowners still prefer to add an extra layer of protection by sealing their countertops. Here are some potential benefits of sealing quartz:
- Enhanced stain resistance: Sealing provides an added barrier against oils, juices, wine, and other stubborn stains that may penetrate the surface over time.
- Easier cleaning: Sealing quartz creates a smoother surface that makes daily cleaning easier. Food and grime have a harder time sticking.
- Preserve beauty: Sealing may help maintain the glossy, like-new appearance of your quartz by preventing etching and dulling from acidic foods and cleaners.
- Peace of mind: Some homeowners seal quartz for extra assurance and confidence in the durability of their investment.
Reasons You May Not Need to Seal Quartz
On the other hand, there are also good reasons why sealing quartz may not be necessary:
- Already non-porous: The resins used to make quartz make it impervious without any extra sealant. Liquids cannot penetrate the surface.
- Sealants wear off: Sealants do not last forever on quartz. They must be reapplied every 1-2 years to maintain effectiveness.
- Maintenance required: Resealing requires thoroughly cleaning and preparing the quartz first, adding periodic work.
- May alter appearance: Some sealants give quartz an unnatural look that homeowners dislike. Testing in an inconspicuous spot is advised.
- Manufacturers don’t recommend: Major quartz brands like Caesarstone and Cambria do not advise sealing their products. It will not void warranties but is considered unnecessary.
- Not a foolproof stain preventative: Sealants help with regular maintenance but do not make quartz 100% stain-proof against all damage.
How to Seal Quartz Countertops
If you decide that sealing your quartz counters is worthwhile, use these tips for best results:
- Consult your manufacturer’s care guide for their recommendation about sealing products.
- Clean counters thoroughly and let dry completely before sealing. Remove all oils, food, and debris.
- Apply a high-quality sealant designed for stone and quartz. Penetrating and enhancement sealers tend to work best.
- Follow sealant directions carefully. Put on thin, even coats and allow proper drying time between applications.
- Cure the sealant for 24-72 hours by avoiding water or cleaning. This allows it to fully harden.
- Test effectiveness by dripping water on the surface. If it beads up and remains on top, the sealant is working.
- Reapply sealant every 1-2 years as directed by the product instructions.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Should I seal quartz countertops before or after installation?
Sealing is recommended after installation. New quartz slabs are often sealed by manufacturers and installers anyway. Wait until counters are installed in your home before deciding if you want to add an additional sealant layer.
What is the best sealer for quartz?
Look for sealers specifically designed for quartz, stone, and engineered surfaces. Penetrating silicone sealers provide the best stain protection without altering the look. Enhancement sealers can also enrich color and gloss. Avoid flimsy water-based acrylic sealers.
Can I use wax to seal quartz counters?
Wax sealants are not very effective or durable on quartz. Wax tends to build up and cause a hazy, filmy residue over time. Use a specially engineered quartz sealing product instead for the best results.
Do I need to sealquartz every year?
Reapplication depends on the sealer product, but typically quartz sealants last 1-2 years with proper care. Heavy use areas may need resealing more frequently. Inspect counters and test water beading annually to determine if it is time to reseal.
Can sealing quartz damage the countertop?
Using the wrong sealer product or applying excessively can sometimes damage quartz. Always test sealers in a hidden spot first and follow manufacturer instructions for curing and drying times. Harsh solvents can also degrade sealants over time.
Sealing quartz countertops provides an added layer of protection against stains and etching if desired, but is not an absolute necessity. Non-sealed quartz resists damage well on its own. Evaluate your particular use and expectations when deciding if sealing is worth the effort. Be sure to use specialty quartz sealers and proper application techniques for the best results with no harm to your counters. With routine care and cleaning, beautiful quartz countertops will maintain their sleek, durable surface for years whether sealed or unsealed.