...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We have two different countertop materials in our kitchen. The island is topped with walnut and the perimeter countertops are kashmir white granite. I love the mix and the contrast. We had a similar setup in our previous house with butcher block on the island and absolute black granite along the perimeter. We like having solid stone at the sink and stove. It holds up well to daily abuse, water and food splatters. The wood topped island adds warmth and richness to the black and white kitchen and also makes the island feel inviting to us and guests. We use the island for most meals and it is always the natural gathering spot when we entertain. Our installer suggested sealing the granite right away and then annually from there on out. But with a move, a newborn, two other kiddos and a bunch of other projects on our to-do-list, sealing the granite slipped right through the cracks. Luckily, we made it over a year without anything staining the granite. Thank you granite gods. I made sealing the granite a priority last week.

sealed 1

Although it was my first time sealing granite in this house, I am not new to sealing granite. I did it several times in our previous house. I’ve found the best time to do it is on grocery shopping day or when you’re pretty much out of food. The counters need to be left alone for a while after sealing so it helps to seal them on a day when you can’t/won’t be using the kitchen for a ton of food prep. The night before I sealed the counters, I cleared everything off and wiped them down really well with a damp microfiber cloth. It’s really important to remove any food splatters or drips. You don’t want them getting sealed into the stone! Likewise, the granite must be completely dry before sealing. That’s why I wiped down my counters before going to bed then let them dry thoroughly overnight.

sealed 2

I set my alarm to get up early before anyone else the next morning. All of these photos were taken that morning. {It was barely light outside.} You can see the granite countertops are cleared and free of any debris.

sealed 3

Basically, I threw everything from the perimeter countertops onto the island. Nevermind the balloons. They were leftover from a party and Mabrey LOVED them so I kept them up for a while. Btw, how long is too long to leave party decorations in place once the party is over?

sealed 4

For this project I only used three items: SCI sealer, a flattened cereal box and a microfiber cloth. The sealer does have an odor so I opened the windows and ran the hood fan for adequate ventilation.

sealed 5

sealed 6

I used the empty cereal box to protect anything I didn’t want/need sealed from overspray. My method was to work in sections. I would start near the wall/backsplash and work my way out to the edge of the countertop. You can use plastic wrap to protect faucets and stovetops but I was feeling confident in my spray skills so I just used the cardboard box.

sealed 7

The sealer needs to be shaken well before spraying and should be applied thoroughly but you shouldn’t saturate the surface. Apply one coat, let it sit for 3-5 minutes then spray another coat and let it penetrate the stone for 30 minutes.

sealed 8

After waiting 30 minutes, I wiped up the excess sealer with a microfiber cloth. Truthfully, there wasn’t that much to wipe up. In my experience with sealing granite, what the pros say is true: the lighter the granite, the more porous it is. The kashmir white soaked the sealer right up while the absolute black in our previous house barely soaked up anything.

sealed 9

I was left with smooth and sparkling countertops. The sealer says to give the stone 24-48 hours to fully cure. I took the kids out to breakfast {such a treat – we never do that!} and we ate lunch outside that day. I did make dinner at home and wash dishes that evening but I was careful not to splash food and water all over the granite.

sealed 10

I can tell a difference since *finally* sealing the granite. When wiping up spills, there aren’t dark spots remaining anymore. Before I sealed them, wet spots would leave a dark circle and take a few hours to dry completely. Also, shortly before sealing, the counters were getting a gritty feel to them but now they feel just as smooth as when we had them installed.

I’m not sure why I put this project off for so long. It’s super easy and inexpensive. I had a partial bottle of sealer leftover from our previous house and it was just enough to seal these countertops. Next time I’ll have to buy. A bottle of sealer will run you ~$10 and it should last through several sealings. You can pick it up at a home improvement store.

If you are thinking of/have granite countertops, what have you been told about maintaining them? I’ve heard so many different recommendations on sealing granite! I always listen to our installer in the end. I figure he knows best since he is the one installing it and we’ve used him twice now with no problems.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

23 Comments

19.August.2013

Is there a post on how you made the island anywhere? Thanks!

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replied on August 19th, 2013

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that went on but here’s a look at how we DIY’d the island out of IKEA base cabinets…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/05/24/installing-the-walnut-butcher-block/

Before the base cabinets were in, we had to jackhammer up part of the concrete slab to run electrical to the island per code regulations. Of course, there was some concrete slab patchwork that went along with that. If you have any specific questions about the island, please ask!

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replied on August 20th, 2013

Thanks! Did you have to add something to the back/sides/bottoms of the base cabinets or is that just how they came with the countertop and plinth strips then added? How far does the butcher block hang over the edge?

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replied on August 21st, 2013

We used side panels to cover the sides and back of the island. These are separate from the cabinets. The seams on the back of the island are covered by plinth and I like the detail they add.

19.August.2013

Hi, I enjoy your blog very much! I had granite counters installed when I remodeled our kitchen a while ago but my installer never mentioned resealing them. Should I resealed mine as per your suggestion of twice a year? Thanks!

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replied on August 20th, 2013

We reseal annually per the recommendation of our installer. I’ve heard so many different opinions. I think if you notice dark spots staying for several minutes where something wet was laying then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reseal.

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Wow I never knew granite had to be sealed! I hope our landlord knows this since we’ve been here for over 2 years and it’s never been done!

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19.August.2013

I think you can pretty much leave up celebratory decorations for as long as you want the party to last! Sometimes I even repurpose them into bedroom decor (like when I stuck leftover birthday decorations on my girl’s bedroom wall and called it “art” – haha).

And on a counter note, your sealing process sounds intense, especially waking up at the crack-o-dawn to do it. We’ve sealed granite before with stuff that you can use straightaway – wish I could remember what it is called! But regardless of the method, so nice for you to have it sealed now!

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19.August.2013

I orginally found your blog when I was researching how to reseal granite and you were writing about your previous home. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get my act together and get it done.

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20.August.2013

I’ve been putting off sealing the granite in our bathrooms also. Thank you for inspiring me to do it this weekend. I regret putting granite in my boys bathroom, I don’t think it’s a “boy friendly” product. It looks great in my bathroom, but I don’t routinely grind toothpaste into the counter : )

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“Btw, how long is too long to leave party decorations in place once the party is over?”

We left the bunting from my Lil’Man’s first birthday up until the day before we moved out of that house, so….about 10 months. And we still have the balloons from birthday #2 in our family room as I type. I say leave them up as long as they don’t look droopy and sad (which balloons tend to do after a while).

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20.August.2013

We sealed our granite countertop with olive oil. It was “gneis”, a light grey local stone that ended up a nice charcoal grey. I tend towards edible treatments for kitchen surfaces!

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21.August.2013

My boy’s birthday was the beginning of January. He still pets the Elmo and Cookie Monster tissue paper pom poms I put up as decoration on a weekly basis. So I say leave them up as long as they make someone smile!

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21.August.2013

We moved into a house with black granite countertops and I’ve never had them before. Mine are showing spots when I try to wipe things so I am definitely going to try resealing them in the next week or two. Thank you for this post and I love the color of your granite – looks like marble!

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21.August.2013

I just have to say that I love your Wayfair blog & stuff there! I just found that round wood/glass table on your ‘big ticket’ page and dropped my jaw since I saw an identical one in a consignment store this weekend for $125.

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27.August.2013

Sealing my own granite counters has been on my to-do list ever since you blogged about the process in your old house. I still haven’t done it and now you’ve done it in two houses! You’re putting me to shame, lady!

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replied on August 27th, 2013

I highly doubt that! Aren’t you looking for a farmhouse??!!

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replied on August 27th, 2013

We are indeed looking for a house outside the city – both for the break from urban life and for a new project for yours truly. We thought we had the. perfect. house. but it fell through due to a bad septic system. So now we’re back to looking.

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[…] off, we would like to thank Dana from housetweaking.com for allowing us to use her kitchen as an example of what kashmir white […]

04.December.2013

Yeah, that’s true. Sealing granite counter tops has to be done twice or at least once a year to keep them in top shape. Some installers just forget to remind their clients about it.

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04.December.2013

I seriously had no idea that granite had to be sealed. Yours is absolutely gorgeous by the way! I love how it looks with the dark flooring too.

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10.March.2014

Hey Dana – Do you recall where you picked up the microfiber towels you use? Those look like great multipurpose cleaners and would be awesome for replacing paper towels and easy to clean – I’d love to pick some up for myself!

Thanks!!

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replied on March 10th, 2014

My grandma is the cleaning queen! She gifted me the microfiber towels. I’ll have to ask where she found them.

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