Quartz countertops are popular options for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. However, there is some debate around whether quartz countertops need to be sealed. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at sealing quartz countertops to help you make an informed decision.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments. The quartz provides strength and durability, while the resins bind the material together.
Compared to natural stone like granite or marble, quartz offers superior resistance to stains, scratches, heat, and water. The polymer resins make quartz non-porous, so liquids don’t easily penetrate the surface.
Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns to suit any decor. Popular brand names include Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, and MSI. Regardless of the brand, all quartz contains over 90% crushed quartz crystals blended with resins.
The Question: Should I Seal My Quartz Countertops?
The big question many homeowners have is whether sealing quartz countertops is recommended or even necessary. After all, the appeal of quartz is that it resists stains without requiring a sealant.
The quick answer is that sealing is not required for quartz since it is non-porous. However, some homeowners still choose to seal their quartz for added protection and peace of mind.
Below we’ll examine the pros and cons of sealing quartz countertops to help you decide if it’s right for your situation.
The Case For Sealing Quartz Countertops
While quartz manufacturers maintain that sealing is unnecessary, some homeowners still prefer to seal their countertops. Here are some potential benefits of sealing quartz:
1. Added Stain Protection
Sealing quartz provides an extra layer of protection against stains, especially from oils and acidic substances like wine, juice, and tomatoes. The sealant can make spills easier to wipe away.
2. Prevent Dulling and Etching
Over time, quartz surfaces can start to lose their luster and develop a dull, etched appearance. This is mainly caused by exposure to acidic foods and spills. A sealant can help minimize dulling and etching.
3. Easier Cleaning and Maintenance
Sealed quartz repels everyday messes like dirt, grease, and food debris. This allows for easier routine cleaning with just soap and water. The sealant helps prevent the buildup of stubborn surface grime.
4. Restore Showroom Shine
If your quartz has lost its original sheen and luster, sealing it can help restore its glossy just-installed look. The right sealant provides a protective barrier and buffs the surface to a brilliant shine.
5. Personal Preference for Added Protection
Some homeowners simply feel more comfortable sealing their investment in quartz countertops. The sealant provides peace of mind against potential stains and damage, even if it’s not required.
The Case Against Sealing Quartz
On the other hand, there are also several reasons why sealing quartz countertops may be unnecessary or even counterproductive:
1. Quartz is Non-Porous
Quartz surfaces are impervious to liquids, so a sealant cannot penetrate or bond effectively. In fact, manufacturers warn that applying a sealant could damage the surface and void the warranty.
2. Adds Costs and Labor
Sealing quartz adds more time and money to the installation or maintenance process. Homeowners need to factor in the cost of the sealant product plus professional application.
3. May Need Frequent Reapplication
Unlike natural stone, quartz sealants can wear away more quickly. This means reapplying a sealant as often as every 3-6 months to maintain effectiveness.
4. Can Change Surface Appearance
Some quartz sealants leave behind a residue, cloudy film or sheen that alters the original appearance. This could detract from the desired look.
5. Offers Minimal Added Protection
Since quartz is highly stain-resistant already, a sealant provides minimal if any enhanced protection according to experts. The risks may outweigh any potential benefits.
How to Seal Quartz Countertops
If you decide to seal your quartz counters, use these tips to properly apply the sealant:
- Consult your manufacturer – Check your warranty and use recommended products to avoid damaging the quartz.
- Clean thoroughly first – Remove all debris, dirt, oil, and residue so the sealant can adhere.
- Use a quartz-safe sealant – Look for a non-toxic sealant designed for engineered stone.
- Apply sparingly – Only use a thin, even layer following the product directions. Overapplying can cause buildup.
- Cure completely – Allow the sealant to fully cure for 24-72 hours to avoid sticking or transfer issues.
- Reapply as needed – Expect to reseal quartz every 3-6 months to maintain protection.
Quartz Sealant Options
These sealant products are specifically formulated to work safely on engineered quartz surfaces:
- Tenax Hydrex: Water-based acrylic sealant. Adds shine and repels stains.
- Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator: Penetrating sealer for stain protection. Doesn’t alter appearance.
- GranQuartz SQ Sealer: Designed for quartz. Minimizes etching and improves stain resistance.
- Lithseal: Provides long-lasting stain protection and easier cleaning.
- Dry Treat: Silicon-based sealant provides premium stain, etch, and scratch protection.
Always test sealants in an inconspicuous spot first to ensure compatibility with your specific quartz material and finish.
Maintaining Quartz Countertops
To keep your quartz counters looking like new with or without a sealant, follow these care tips:
- Clean spills promptly to prevent staining, especially oil and acidic liquids.
- Use mild soap and water or a gentle stone cleaner for routine maintenance.
- Avoid abrasive cleansers, pads or scrubbing that could dull the finish.
- Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a soft cloth.
- Use trivets, mats and cutting boards to protect from hot pans and sharp knives.
- Don’t expose quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc.
- Re-polish minor scuffs and scratches with a quartz repair kit.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Should I seal quartz counters right after installation?
Sealing new quartz is not required or recommended. Most manufacturers advise against applying any sealant to brand new quartz.
How often should I reseal quartz countertops?
Plan to reapply a sealant to quartz every 3-6 months for optimal effectiveness. Frequent use, cleaning, and exposure to sunlight can break down the protective barrier more quickly.
Is it better to seal quartz before or after installation?
It’s best to seal quartz after installation. Sealing beforehand can lead to problems like transfer of sealant onto cabinetry during the installation process.
What’s the best quartz sealant?
Look for water-based acrylic formulas designed specifically for engineered quartz. Popular options include Tenax Hydrex, GranQuartz SQ Sealer, and Dry Treat Premium Impregnating Sealer.
Can I use a granite sealant on quartz?
Sealants made for natural stone like granite are not recommended for quartz surfaces. Always use a sealant engineered to work with quartz’s unique composition.
How can I remove sealant buildup from my quartz?
If a sealant leaves residue or clouding, try gently removing it with a stone polish or mineral spirits. Test on an inconspicuous spot first. Avoid harsh chemical strippers.
Will sealing quartz change the look of my countertops?
Some quartz sealants leave a glossy sheen or tone that alters the original finish. Test the sealant first and opt for options that penetrate without changing appearance.
Can I seal just part of my quartz countertop?
It’s best to seal the entire countertop surface to ensure even, uninterrupted protection. Avoid sealing only partial sections.
The Bottom Line
While sealing is not required for quartz countertops, some homeowners still choose to apply a sealant for extra protection and peace of mind. There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to seal quartz counters.
Use a sealant product specifically engineered for quartz surfaces. Clean thoroughly and apply sparingly in thin, even layers. Reapply every 3-6 months. Always maintain quartz properly by promptly cleaning spills, avoiding abrasives, using trivets, and gently buffing out minor scratches.
With the right care and precautions, you can keep your quartz counters looking like new for years whether you choose to seal them or not. Have your countertop installation professional advise you on the best methods to maintain your specific quartz material and finish.