Is It Necessary to Seal Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are popular in many modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, stylish appearance, and low maintenance requirements. However, some homeowners wonder if they need to seal these countertops to protect them. Is it necessary to seal quartz countertops?

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically makes up 90% or more of the material.

Compared to natural stone like granite or marble, quartz offers superior durability and stain resistance. The resins bind the quartz particles into a hard, non-porous surface that repels moisture, oils, and acids.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

There are many reasons quartz has become such a popular choice for countertops:

  • Durability – Quartz is very hard and scratch-resistant. It can withstand heavy usage without showing wear and tear.
  • Stain resistance – The non-porous surface makes quartz highly resistant to stains from spills.
  • Low maintenance – Routinely cleaning with soap and water is all that is needed to keep quartz clean.
  • Stylish options – Quartz comes in a wide array of colors, patterns, and finishes to suit any decor.
  • Hygienic – The nonporous surface does not harbor bacteria.
  • Heat resistance – Quartz can withstand heat better than many materials, making it ideal for kitchens.

With all these perks, it’s easy to see why many homeowners choose quartz. Protecting these investments with a quality sealant seems wise. However, quartz does not actually require sealing like natural stone does.

The Debate – To Seal or Not to Seal Quartz?

Many homeowners assume sealing is essential for quartz since it contains natural stone. Granite, marble, and other natural stones are porous and prone to staining, so sealing is recommended every 1-2 years. But quartz has very different properties.

The resins used to make quartz fill in the natural pores of the stone, making an impermeable surface. Liquids and debris have difficulty penetrating the solid quartz material, so stains are less likely to occur.

However, some sources still advise applying a sealant to quartz for added protection. So what’s the real answer?

The Purpose of Sealing Stone

Sealers work by getting absorbed into the microscopic pores of natural stone. The sealing agent then hardens and provides a protective barrier that prevents stains from seeping in.

Since quartz has very minimal porosity, the sealant does not have pores to penetrate. Most of the sealer just remains on the surface without binding to the material.

The lack of penetration means any protective benefits of the sealer will be temporary. Wear and fading will occur relatively quickly compared to a sealed natural stone.

Does Sealing Enhance Quartz in Any Way?

While sealers do not provide long-term improvements to quartz, some home experts report a few temporary benefits:

  • Enhanced shine – Sealers can give the surface extra luster and sheen shortly after application. But this will fade with regular use and cleaning.
  • Easier cleaning – The hydrophobic surface repels water, grease, and debris. This allows for residue to be wiped away more easily. However, quartz already resists sticking and staining quite well even without a sealer.
  • Spill resistance – Having a coating offers a brief protective window if spills are left sitting. But the protection is fleeting and limited.
  • Peace of mind – Some homeowners feel more secure knowing they have an extra preventative layer, even if the effects are minimal.

Potential Drawbacks of Sealing Quartz

While applying a sealer may provide peace of mind for some, there are also some possible disadvantages:

  • Added costs – Sealers range from $30 to $100 depending on the product. Professional application also comes with labor fees. This cost provides very little practical improvement.
  • Temporary benefits – The enhanced shine and protection wears off relatively quickly compared to sealing natural stone. Reapplication would be needed frequently to maintain any effects.
  • Residue buildup – Excess sealer that does not absorb into the quartz can leave residue on the surface that requires removal.
  • Altered appearance – Some sealers slightly darken or change the look of quartz until the coating wears away. This may or may not be desirable.
  • Debatable effectiveness – Since quartz is nonporous, there is no consensus on how well sealers work on this material or if benefits outweigh possible drawbacks.

Quartz Manufacturer Recommendations

With conflicting opinions on whether sealing quartz is beneficial or not, the recommendations of quartz manufacturers provide valuable insight.

The majority of quartz suppliers, including big brand names like Silestone®, Caesarstone®, and Cambria® do not recommend applying sealers to quartz for the following reasons:

  • Quartz already has excellent stain protection without sealants when properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Sealers diminish the natural beauty of quartz by creating residue or discoloration.
  • Any protective benefits of sealants are temporary and do not justify the added costs.
  • Improper application of sealers could damage the quartz and void warranties.

Reputable quartz companies stand behind the durability and stain-resistance of their products right out of the box. They do not endorse using sealers to try and “enhance” their materials.

Best Practices for Quartz Maintenance

Rather than sealing, quartz manufacturers emphasize proper care and cleaning for maintaining the pristine shine and appearance of these counters. Here are some best practices:

  • For daily cleaning, use a soft sponge or cloth with warm water and mild soap. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads.
  • Rinse off acidic spills like juice or wine immediately to avoid etching.
  • Regularly wipe down quartz with a cleaner made specifically for engineered stone.
  • Use trivets and hot pads under hot pots and pans. Quartz can withstand brief exposure to heat but prolonged direct contact could cause cracks or marks.
  • Cutting directly on the quartz will dull knives. Always use a cutting board.
  • Although durable, quartz can chip if subjected to heavy impact. Handle counters gently.

Following the manufacturer’s care guidelines allows you to enjoy quartz surfaces for decades without the need for extra sealers or treatments.

Is Sealing Really Necessary?

Given all the facts, the answer for most quartz countertops is no – sealing is not necessary.

The nonporous composition means sealers do not provide lasting protection or benefits. Any enhancements are temporary at best.

Save your money and avoid potential drawbacks. Instead, properly care for your quartz surfaces by regular gentle cleaning with soap and water and immediate spill removal.

Consult your specific brand of quartz provider for their recommendations, as some products may have unique traits. But the consensus agreement is quartz countertops do not require sealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sealing quartz make it shinier?

Sealing can provide a temporary boost of added shine and luster. But this benefit fades relatively quickly as the sealer wears off the nonporous surface. Ongoing care and maintenance have a greater impact on quartz’s long-term appearance.

How often should I seal my quartz countertops?

Most manufacturers agree sealing is unnecessary. If you do choose to apply a sealer, reapplication may be recommended as often as every 1-2 months for any effect. This frequent resealing makes the effort somewhat impractical and not cost-effective.

Can sealing quartz damage it?

In most cases, sealing quartz does no harm but provides no real benefits either. However, some lower quality sealers could interact poorly and leave residue or discoloration that requires repair. Always test sealers in an inconspicuous spot first.

What happens if you don’t seal quartz?

With proper daily care, quartz performs extremely well for years without any sealing. The nonporous material is stain-resistant in its natural state. Not sealing quartz will save you unnecessary work and expense with no real downsides.

Does quartz need to be resealed over time?

While natural stones do require resealing every 1-2 years, quartz does not. Its nonporous nature means sealants do not penetrate or bond long-term. Any protection would be temporary and require frequent reapplication to maintain.

Is there a sealant specially made for quartz?

Some sealant products may claim they are formulated for quartz, but reputable quartz manufacturers agree their products do not require any sealers. Always verify with your specific quartz company, as some specialty quartz may have unique sealing needs.

The Bottom Line

Quartz offers an ideal balance of beauty and durability with minimal maintenance needs. Unlike natural stone, quartz requires no sealing to achieve optimal stain protection. Saves your money and effort, and simply keep quartz clean with mild soap and water to enjoy lasting shine and luster. Trust in the quality of quartz; no sealers needed!