Quartz countertops are popular in many modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. Unlike natural stone countertops like granite or marble that require regular sealing, many homeowners wonder if sealing is necessary for quartz. Here is a detailed look at whether you need to seal quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. The remaining 6-10% consists of polymer resins that bind the quartz particles together and pigments that tint the material.
The resins make quartz non-porous, so it does not need sealing like natural stone. The quartz provides strength, durability, and scratch resistance. Meanwhile, the polymers allow quartz to be molded into countertop slabs. The pigments introduce color and patterns that mimic natural stone.
The Benefits of Quartz Countertops
Quartz offers many advantages as a countertop material:
- Durability – Quartz is very hard and resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, and heat. It can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
- Low Maintenance – Since it is non-porous, quartz does not need periodic sealing like natural stone. It is also easy to clean.
- Stain Resistance – The non-porous surface makes quartz highly resistant to stains from spills. However, prolonged exposure can allow some staining.
- Consistency – The manufacturing process creates a very consistent surface pattern and color throughout the slab.
- Variety – Pigments introduce almost unlimited colors and patterns. Quartz can mimic granite, marble, and other natural stones.
- Non-Toxic – Quartz does not emit radon gas like some natural stones. It is considered a safe countertop surface.
Do You Need to Seal Quartz Countertops?
In most cases, you do not need to seal quartz countertops. The polymer resins make quartz non-porous, so sealing is generally not required. Unlike natural stone, quartz does not absorb spills and stains by allowing them to seep into pores. The tight surface blocks penetration.
However, some quartz manufacturers do recommend occasional sealing:
- To Enhance Stain Protection – While quartz itself is stain-resistant, sealing can provide an added layer of protection, especially for darker colors that show stains more easily. It fills in any natural flaws or small scratches in the surface that could allow stains over time.
- For Grout Lines – If the quartz is installed with grout lines rather than tightly butt-joined, the grout may be porous and need sealing to prevent stains. Apply a penetrating grout sealer.
- Around Sinks – Sealing around the sink edges and backsplash can prevent moisture penetration that may cause swelling or damage, especially for undermount sinks.
- For Used/Older Quartz – Older quartz that has accumulated stains, scratches, and wear may benefit from sealing to refresh the surface. It can fill in damaged areas.
So in summary, sealing quartz is not absolutely necessary but can provide added protection in some circumstances. Using a quartz-specific sealer is recommended no more than once or twice per year.
How to Seal Quartz Countertops
If you choose to seal your quartz countertops, follow these steps:
1. Clean the surface – Remove all debris, dirt, dust, and oily residues. Scrub with a non-abrasive quartz cleaner and rinse thoroughly. Allow to fully dry.
2. Apply the sealer – Use a sealer specifically formulated for quartz following the product instructions. Avoid silicone-based sealers. Apply a thin even layer with a clean cloth or foam applicator.
3. Allow it to soak in and dry – Let the sealer sit for 15-20 minutes to fully absorb. Then wipe away any excess sealer with a clean cloth. Allow to dry completely.
4. Apply a second coat (optional) – For added protection, apply a second thin layer of sealer. Let it penetrate for 15-20 minutes, then wipe away any excess.
5. Cure time – Avoid using the countertops for at least 24 hours to allow the sealer to fully cure. The countertops are ready for use after curing.
6. Check for gaps in coverage – Look for any dry spots that may have been missed. Reapply sealer to any bare areas.
Be sure to use a high-quality sealer designed for quartz rather than a generic stone sealer. Read the product instructions carefully. Reseal every 6-12 months for maintained protection.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops
To keep quartz countertops looking like new with minimal sealing required, follow these care tips:
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining, especially oils, wines, and acidic juices.
- Use a cutting board to protect the surface from knife scratches. Never cut directly on the quartz.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners, pads, or sponges that could scratch the surface. Use a soft cloth with warm water and mild soap instead.
- For stubborn stains, use a cleaner made specifically for quartz. Check the manufacturer’s care guide.
- Disinfect the surface periodically with a quartz-safe disinfectant.
- Reseal localized damaged areas like cuts, scratches, and sink edges as needed.
- Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc.
- Use trivets or hot pads under hot pans, skillets, or appliances. Quartz can withstand brief exposure to moderate heat.
Proper care will keep quartz countertops looking like new for many years without the need for frequent sealing. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations for your particular quartz.
FAQ About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about sealing quartz:
Should you seal quartz countertops after installation?
It is not necessary to seal new quartz right after installation. Sealing may be done periodically later on if you wish to enhance stain protection.
Does sealing quartz change the appearance?
High-quality quartz sealers are designed to penetrate below the surface and should not alter the look of the stone. Low-grade sealers may leave a film that creates a wet sheen. Test in an inconspicuous spot first.
Can you use a granite sealer on quartz?
It is best to use a sealer formulated specifically for quartz rather than a generic granite or stone sealer. Quartz sealers are designed to work with the engineered resin materials.
How long does a quartz sealer last?
Expect a quartz sealer application to last 6-12 months with proper care. Reapply as needed based on the condition of the surface. High-traffic kitchen counters may need more frequent sealing.
How do you know when to reseal quartz?
Signs that quartz needs resealing include increased staining, water droplets sitting on the surface rather than beading up, areas where food or liquids absorb rather than wipe up easily, visible wear around sink edges, and overall cloudy or dull-looking areas.
Is sealing absolutely necessary for quartz?
No, sealing is not required at all for quartz since it is non-porous. However, it can provide added stain protection and freshen the look of surfaces that have accumulated stains over time. It is up to you whether to seal.
While sealing is not mandatory, it can be beneficial for quartz countertops in some circumstances, such as around sinks, grout lines, scratches or cuts, and darker colors prone to showing stains. Annual or biannual sealing will make stain removal easier. Always use a sealer formulated specifically for quartz. With proper care and maintenance, high-quality quartz countertops will remain beautiful for many years whether sealed or unsealed.
Quartz countertops are designed to be low maintenance and do not require regular sealing like natural stone. Most quartz manufacturers agree that sealing is not necessary under normal conditions. However, occasional sealing may be desired to enhance stain resistance, fill surface flaws, refresh older counters, and protect sink edges and backsplashes. If sealing, be sure to use a sealer made specifically for quartz rather than a generic stone sealer. With routine care and cleaning, quartz counters will stay looking fresh and Damage and Stain free with or without sealer applied. Sealing is optional but can offer added protection.