Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for home kitchens and bathrooms. Made from ground quartz stone combined with resins and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance surface. However, there is some debate around whether quartz countertops need to be sealed to protect them. Here is a detailed look at the pros and cons of sealing quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz blended with resins and pigments. It is molded into slabs and polished to create a finished product. The quality, durability, and appearance of quartz can vary based on the materials and manufacturing process used.
Benefits of Quartz Countertops
There are several reasons why quartz has become such a popular countertop choice:
- Aesthetically pleasing – Quartz comes in a wide array of colors and patterns that mimic natural stone. The seamless look makes it an attractive option.
- Extremely durable – Quartz is resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and cracks, making it ideal for heavy-use kitchens.
- Low maintenance – Unlike natural stone, quartz does not need yearly sealing. Simple cleaning with soap and water is often enough.
- Non-porous – The resin binds the quartz particles together in a tight formation that prevents liquids from penetrating the surface.
Should You Seal Quartz Countertops?
The biggest debate around quartz countertops is whether or not they need to be sealed. Here are the key considerations:
Quartz is non-porous
Unlike granite, marble, and other natural stones, quartz does not contain tiny pores that can absorb spilled liquids. This non-porous quality means sealing is generally not necessary for quartz counters. Liquids will simply bead up and sit on the surface rather than soak in.
Sealing provides marginal benefits
Most manufacturers agree that sealing quartz provides very minimal benefits. At best, it may slightly improve stain resistance. However, quartz already resists stains remarkably well unsealed. The polymer resins make quartz surfaces stain-proof.
Can create maintenance problems
Sealing quartz can actually lead to maintenance issues down the road. Sealants wear off over time and need reapplication. Once you start sealing quartz, you are committing to continual upkeep. Chips, flaws, or uneven sealing can also become visible.
Warranties do not require sealing
Major quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone provide warranties without requiring owners to seal their counters. This demonstrates that sealing is unnecessary for normal residential use. Always check your specific warranty terms.
When You May Want to Seal Quartz
While sealing quartz is generally not required, there are a few scenarios when you may want to consider it:
- In heavy commercial use settings like restaurants with greater risk of damage.
- If your counters will be exposed to strong chemicals like paints, dyes, solvents, etc.
- If you have light-colored quartz that you want to keep as pristine as possible.
- For peace of mind if you prefer to seal despite manufacturer recommendations.
Use a penetrating sealer made specifically for quartz if you choose to seal your counters. Reapply yearly or as directed. Make sure to test in an inconspicuous area first.
Caring for Unsealed Quartz Counters
Caring for your quartz countertops is simple if you decide against sealing:
- For everyday cleaning, use a mild soap and water. Rinse thoroughly.
- Disinfect periodically with a stone-safe disinfectant.
- Blot up spills immediately to prevent staining. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Use trivets and hot pads under hot pans to prevent thermal shock.
- Keep quartz looking polished with an occasional reapplication of quartz polish.
FAQs About Sealing Quartz Countertops
Does quartz need to be sealed like granite?
No, quartz does not require sealing like natural stone countertops. The resins make quartz non-porous so liquids do not absorb into the surface.
Can quartz be stained if not sealed?
Quartz has excellent stain resistance due to its non-porous quality. Not sealing quartz does not make it more prone to staining. Blotting spills quickly remains important though.
How often should you seal quartz?
Manufacturers do not recommend sealing quartz counters. If you choose to seal, an annual reapplication of quartz sealer would be appropriate in most cases.
What’s the best sealer for quartz?
Look for a penetrating sealer specifically formulated for quartz rather than a topical coating-type sealer. Do a test spot first before sealing the entire surface.
Does sealing quartz change the look?
Sealing should not significantly alter the appearance of quartz. However, it may give the surface a slightly darker, enhanced look. Heavy sealing can lead to a visible film.
Can I seal just part of my quartz countertop?
It’s best to seal the entire quartz surface evenly or not at all. Sealing only a section can lead to visible differences between sealed and unsealed areas.
While sealing quartz counters may provide some marginal benefits, it is not required or recommended by most manufacturers. For most homeowners, simply cleaning and caring for quartz properly without sealing is sufficient. Only consider sealing quartz in special situations like commercial use. Be sure to read your warranty and consult your quartz supplier for their care recommendations. With simple maintenance, quartz counters will retain their beauty and durability for many years whether sealed or unsealed.