Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz offers a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance surface. However, one question that often comes up is whether quartz countertops need to be sealed. Here is a comprehensive guide to sealing quartz countertops.
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is a mineral found abundantly in nature. It is composed of silicon and oxygen atoms and is one of the hardest materials on earth. Quartz countertops are made by combining ground quartz crystals with resins, polymers, and pigments. This mixture is molded into slabs and hardened.
The result is a non-porous, highly durable surface that resembles natural stone but requires very little maintenance. Quartz countertops are resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and moisture. Unlike natural stone, quartz does not need to be sealed regularly.
Do Quartz Countertops Need To Be Sealed?
The short answer is no. Quartz countertops do not require regular sealing like natural stone countertops. Here’s why:
Quartz Is Non-Porous
Natural stone like granite, marble, and limestone is porous, meaning liquids can seep into the tiny holes and pores in the material. This allows stains to sink in deeply. Sealing is recommended every 1-2 years for natural stone countertops to prevent staining.
Quartz, on the other hand, is non-porous. The resins used to make quartz fill in any natural pits and holes in the quartz crystals, making an impervious, stain-resistant slab. Liquids sit on top of a quartz surface instead of soaking in. This makes quartz very stain-resistant without any sealing required.
Most Manufacturers Don’t Recommend Sealing
Major quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone clearly state in their care and maintenance guidelines that sealing is not necessary. Since quartz does not have pores to fill, sealants only create a film on the surface that requires maintenance.
Sealers Can Cause Buildup and Dulling
On a non-porous surface like quartz, sealants can cause issues like visible buildup and dulling over time. The sealer cannot absorb and instead creates a thick film that sits on top of the countertop. This degrades the appearance of the quartz.
Quartz is Already Stain-Resistant
With proper daily cleaning, quartz counters resist stains from spills like wine, coffee, and fruit juice. Manufacturer warranties usually guarantee a stain-free surface for 10-15 years. So quartz already comes with excellent stain protection without any sealants.
When to Seal Quartz Countertops
While regular sealing is not needed, there are a couple scenarios when sealing quartz counters may be beneficial:
After Fabrication and Installation
Quartz slabs are highly polished at the factory. However, some light etching may occur during fabrication and installation. A single application of a penetrating sealer can restore the polish and finish. Consult your installer for advice.
Though quartz stands up well to moisture, sealing counters in bathrooms creates an added layer of water repellency. This minimizes soaking from splashes near sinks or tubs. Use a sealing product specifically formulated for bathrooms.
For Used/Refinished Quartz
Pre-owned quartz counters that have been refinished can benefit from a sealant application. This protects any etched or damaged spots on the surface. Be sure to use a gentle sealer recommended for quartz.
Around Food Prep Areas
Quartz is non-porous, so it does not need sealing. However, if you want extra assurance against stains from oils, dyes, and certain foods, a sealant around heavy food prep areas provides peace of mind.
How To Seal Quartz Countertops
If you determine sealing your quartz counters would be beneficial, here are some tips:
- Choose the right sealer – Use a product specifically designed for quartz rather than a generic stone sealer. Look for water-based sealers.
- Clean thoroughly first – Remove all dirt, debris, and residues so the sealant bonds properly.
- Follow instructions carefully – Apply according to the manufacturer’s directions, allowing proper drying time between coats.
- Apply sparingly – Wipe on only as much sealer as the quartz will absorb. Avoid excessive buildup.
- Cure properly – Delay using the counters for at least 24 hours after sealing to allow the product to cure fully.
- Limit traffic – Try not to place heavy items on sealed counters for 3-5 days so the sealant sets properly.
- Reapply as needed – How often to reseal depends on usage, but every 1-3 years is common.
Consult your quartz supplier or installer for their best practices on sealing quartz counters. Always test sealers in an inconspicuous spot first. Take care to apply thin, even coats following the product instructions closely.
Quartz Countertop Maintenance
While sealing is generally not needed, proper maintenance keeps your quartz counters looking like new:
- Clean spills promptly to prevent staining
- Use mild soap and water for daily cleaning
- Avoid abrasive cleaners and scouring pads
- Blot up spills rather than wiping to minimize scratching
- Cut only on cutting boards, not directly on the counter
- Use trivets for hot pans; thermal shock can damage quartz
- Reseal if counters become stained or dulled
With routine care, quartz countertops will stay beautiful and stain-free for many years without sealing required. Follow your manufacturer’s care guide for optimal results. Have any stubborn stains professionally removed.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Should I seal my new quartz counters after installation?
Sealing brand new counters is not required but can help restore maximum polish, especially if any etching occurred during fabrication. Consult your installer first before sealing new quartz.
How often should I seal my quartz counters?
Quartz does not require regular sealing like natural stone. Only reseal if counters have become stained or dull or every 1-3 years for bathrooms and heavy use kitchens.
What’s the best sealer for quartz?
Look for water-based sealers specifically designed for non-porous quartz rather than generic stone sealants. Do not use solvent-based sealers. Test sealers first.
Can I use a DIY sealer from the hardware store?
It’s best to use a sealer made for quartz. DIY sealers may contain harsh solvents and chemicals that can damage quartz. Always check with the manufacturer first.
How long does a quartz sealer last?
A quartz sealer application typically lasts 1-3 years depending on usage and exposure. Reapply as needed if the counters become stained or lose their luster.
Should I seal my bathroom quartz countertops?
Though not always required, sealing quartz in bathrooms provides extra moisture protection from daily exposure to water. Use a bathroom-specific sealer.
Can sealing quartz countertops change the color?
Some quartz sealers add a slight gloss, but they should not alter the color of the counters. Always do a test spot first and check with the manufacturer.
Sealing quartz counters requires care to apply products sparingly. Consult your installer and quartz supplier before sealing to avoid any damage or discoloration. With proper maintenance, quartz stays beautiful without regular sealing.
While quartz countertops do not require sealing like natural stone, sealing can be beneficial in certain situations. New counters may need an initial light sealing to restore polish after fabrication. Bathroom counters can be sealed to provide additional water protection. Resealing used quartz provides added stain prevention.
In general, major manufacturers agree that quartz does not need regular sealing. The non-porous material is highly stain-resistant on its own. But optional sealing every few years or around food prep areas gives added reassurance and longevity. Use only sealers formulated specifically for quartz. Follow application directions carefully to allow proper curing and prevent cloudiness or color changes.
With routine cleaning and care, quartz provides long-lasting good looks without frequent sealing. But prudent sealing can offer extra peace of mind and enhance the durability of your investment.