Figuring out the best way to preserve the countertops in your home isn't always easy. For example, do you want to seal the counters in your bathroom but don't know if this is necessary? Do bathroom countertops need to be sealed, or do they come that way?
Well, we've done plenty of research and have the answer below!
Most times, you don't need to seal the countertops in the bathroom. Sealing bathroom counters won't be necessary unless the surface is stone or porous. In general, porous natural countertops need to be sealed to prevent staining, while manufactured materials will already have this.
For example, a natural granite or marble countertop may need sealing to keep watermarks and other bath products from staining it long-term, while a quartz countertop is fine on its own.
As we start this article, we will cover all bathroom countertops and discuss whether you should seal one. If you're renovating, building your dream home, or need other tips and tricks, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right in!
Do I Need To Seal My Bathroom Countertops?
If the countertops in your bathroom are untreated natural stone, you should seal them. However, most countertops will come pre-sealed, especially if they're a manufactured material.
One of the reasons countertops require sealant is that, over time, they can absorb stains and are challenging to clean. Therefore, adding a seal to them right away can prevent long-term issues.
According to experts, you want to seal any marble, granite, and quartzite countertops in a bathroom. Of course, if you purchase a home with installed counters, they should be sealed regardless.
On top of that, most countertops only need to be sealed once in their lifetime. So, if you purchase countertops for your bathroom and have them sealed during the installation, they're likely set for life.
Natural stone can be challenging to maintain with and without sealer, but protecting it right away is always a better idea. The more pores a countertop has, the more likely it is to stain.
With a sealer, you can fill these pores and keep unwanted stains, liquids, and damage from the actual surface of the stone.
What Happens If You Don't Seal A Bathroom Countertop?
If you install a bathroom countertop and choose not to seal it, this could mean eventual damage. As we mentioned, most bathroom counters will come pre-sealed or not be porous enough to warrant it, so that's something to remember.
However, if you buy natural stone counters, like marble or granite, you need to seal them upon installation. That's because, over time, staining and discoloration will occur.
According to Rock With Us, a properly sealed countertop repels water. If your countertop doesn't have a layer of protective coating to block moisture from entering its pores, discoloration and staining are imminent.
Unfortunately, watermarks can give a natural stone counter a dirty appearance, which you want to avoid. Without sealing your bathroom countertops, you open the door to these markings.
In addition, if someone spills a product onto an unsealed stone countertop, the chances of staining are incredibly high.
A sealed countertop should block these stains, or, at the very least, make them easier to clean/remove.
What Do You Use To Seal Bathroom Countertops?
When it comes to what product you should use to seal a bathroom countertop, we recommend impregnators or penetrating sealers.
These products will contain a resin dissolved in water or a petroleum-based solvent. Your counters can absorb these products, filling the porous surface.
Especially for granite, using impregnators or penetrating sealers can be especially helpful. Because they have resin in their formula, your countertops should also take on a glossier, easy-to-clean appearance, which never hurts.
You can use these on any porous countertop surface, including stone. Cutting Edge Countertops explains how it's crucial to find a sealer for your stone counters made explicitly for them.
Therefore, if your counter is marble, you should use a product made for sealing marble. The same goes for granite, etc. Your product's formula will be made to fill the pores of the stone you have installed, although resin-based ones tend to work for most materials.
There are also a few great clean and seal sprays you can use to do this, so you don't have to use a traditional pour-on product to protect your countertops.
Black Diamond Stoneworks 2 in 1 Cleaner & Sealer
This product cleans and seals stone countertops, works for granite, marble, travertine, and limestone surfaces, offers a streak-free clean, protects counters in the bathroom and kitchen, is made in the USA, and comes in a 32-ounce bottle.
Do Bathroom Countertops Come Sealed?
Yes, many bathroom countertops will come pre-sealed. Generally, stone counters that need sealing will be covered in the product before or after installation. However, this depends on where you get them.
Some companies may pre-seal their countertops if they are cut and ready to install, while more custom options won't likely have this.
According to pros, many countertops will also come with a seal service after being installed in your home, so that's something to consider.
That said, you might be on your own with an untreated stone countertop in your bathroom that you need to seal independently.
Luckily, doing this isn't too hard, especially if you purchase a stone-safe sealer. As we mentioned, there are sprays that can clean and seal a countertop for those wanting an extra layer of protection: so we suggest using those.
You also want to check what type of countertop your bathroom has. Quartz is one of the big players in this category, not usually needing any post-installment kind of treatment.
Recycled glass, glazed lava stone, high-performance porcelain, and Corian are non-porous countertop options that don't need sealant like natural stone.
How Can You Tell If A Countertop Is Sealed?
Spilling water on a countertop is one of the easiest ways to tell if it has been sealed. If the water beads at the surface, your countertops have a sealant on them.
If the water seeps into the countertop, there is no sealer present. That can also indicate the original sealant on your countertop has worn down, allowing moisture to pass through it.
Regardless, if you see water seep into your bathroom counters instead of bead/pool until you wipe it down, you need to grab some sealant ASAP.
Once you reapply the product, your counter should be fine and water-repellant, but it's still a good idea to do the same test again.
As simple as it seems, it's far more worth it to do a couple of water tests than to accidentally stain your stone countertops with dye or another product because you didn't know they weren't sealed.
More expensive stone counter materials tend to put up a better fight against water/liquids, but without a proper sealant, you can't expect them to look pretty for long.
How Often Do You Need To Reseal A Bathroom Countertop?
Although not every countertop needs resealing, marble and granite ones typically do. According to most countertop professionals, you want to reseal your marble/granite surface every three to five years.
Since this process takes around five minutes, doing this won't be too much of a commitment. Furthermore, many products for sealing countertops only require a quick spray or pour, followed by a sponge or rag to polish them in.
Furthermore, you might need to apply a few coats of sealant to your countertops. If you've been noticing water absorb into the pores of your stone surface, a sealant is crucial.
You might need to spray down your counters twice or three times before the water stops absorbing. In addition to a three- to five-year reseal, you might consider using a cleaner with sealant every few months.
Doing this will build up the protective top layer of your bathroom countertops. Especially if you have multiple people using a bathroom, the countertops will see more everyday wear and tear.
A once-monthly or even twice-yearly clean and polish can help your counters keep their moisture-repelling abilities until a reseal.
According to Angi, you can hire someone to reseal your countertops, as this service generally costs between $170 and $350. This has proven to be especially helpful for granite owners.
What Material Should A Bathroom Countertop Be?
When it comes to the best material for bathroom countertops, the list includes many fan favorites. Generally, you want to try using these countertops for a bathroom design:
- Cultured marble
Of these materials, cultured marble will give you the benefits of marble stone, with the protective qualities of resin. This countertop is made of real marble chips and resin, typically coming pre-sealed and treated.
Therefore, you don't need to worry about hiring someone to do this or regular cleaning/polishing. You can also choose quartz counters for the bathroom, as they are manufactured and don't require sealant.
Quartz has become one of the most popular granite/marble alternatives in the home market, so it's certainly worth considering for anyone not wanting a high-maintenance countertop.
To Finish It Up
Whether you need to choose a new bathroom countertop or have recently had one installed, it's always good to understand the sealing process. We found that many bathroom counters will be pre-sealed or made using non-porous materials.
However, for those with natural stone countertops like marble and granite, you'll likely need to apply a sealer to your surfaces. This is because, over time, watermarks can develop in the stone as well as stains from products.
Using a sealer to clean and polish your countertops may also be worth it, as well as a reseal every three to five years. Good luck!
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