With marble and other porous countertop materials, sealing the surface from liquids is vital. By looking at marble, it’s hard to picture such a robust, classic stone getting stained. Yet marble can stain. Kitchen countertops are especially prone to stain since they’re near water all the time.
So, let’s clear up all the secrets to properly sealing marble countertops. In the following six steps, we’re going to break down a simple, fool-proof method for assuring your marble is sealed up from all stains and liquids.
GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
Before we get started, we’re going to need a few basic items. Besides the marble cleaner and sealer (which we’ll discuss in a moment), you’ll need the following:
Three to four soft rags, small towels, or cloths
A container with a wide-mouthed opening
A foam brush to apply the sealer
For a marble cleaner, we recommend one with a spray applicator. A rub-on cleaner is also manageable, but spray cleaner disperses the solution more uniformly in general.
Marble sealers come in several varieties matching how you want to treat your marble counter. Impregnating sealers are best for marble because they effectively slow liquid absorption without sitting on top of the marble itself. Also, be sure your brand is food-safe (for obvious reasons). Finally, check the fine print to ensure that your sealer of choice is both oil and water repellant. With both types of protection, you’re more likely to avoid a rare stain or etching.
CLEAR OFF THE COUNTER
Now, before cleaning the marble, remove all items from the countertop surface and scrape away any food grime or stubborn messes. Although it might be tempting to give the surface a wipe-over with a wet towel, don’t. If you apply water, you’ll just have to wait for it to dry again.
With the surface dusted off and scraped clean, it’s time to apply a specialty marble cleaner. Strictly speaking, this stage isn’t critical to the sealing process, but we find it provides a better finish.
Spray the entire surface evenly with the cleaner solution. If you don’t have any cleaner on hand, some marble countertop owners have used acetone in the past. It evaporates quickly and works just as well as some cleaners to leave the marble surface ready for sealing. Buff dry.
APPLY STONE SEALER
Before opening the sealer, ensure that you’re in a well-ventilated area. Sealers contain lots of VOCs and other chemicals that can have bad health effects if smelled in closed spaces. Open the windows and perch a fan on the kitchen table to get a good airflow going.
Using your wide-mouthed container, pour in a small pool of sealer–just enough to cover your brush. Apply the sealer with even strokes, vertically or horizontally, so that each stroke overlaps an inch or so. Let it sit for fifteen minutes.
Continue around the marble, keeping your paintbrush fully loaded with the sealer with each stroke.
If you’re applying stone sealer with a spray bottle, use a generous amount. The goal is to cover every inch of the marble evenly without missing any areas. Likewise, let the spray sealer sit for fifteen minutes.
DRY AND OBSERVE
As the sealant sits on the marble for fifteen minutes, take the time to observe the surface as the sealer dries. If you don’t let the sealant dry long enough, it won’t have the waterproofing strength you need. If you let the sealant dry too long, you’ll likely get a smoky, temporary residue covering the surface.
If you don’t notice that the marble has absorbed the sealant in five to ten minutes, that’s fine. It’s just a sign that you need to apply another coat of sealant.
REST FOR 24 HOURS
Now your marble countertop should be up and ready for the next few months of heavy-duty baking and cooking. After fifteen minutes have passed, you’ve completed the sealing process.
However, hold back from placing any items on the marble for at least twenty-four hours. This extra time serves to protect your marble as it absorbs the sealant entirely over a longer period.
With our marble sealing method, we hope we answered all your questions about the process. In fact, it’s a relatively simple procedure once you learn how to apply the paintbrush—and be patient for twenty-four hours before piling up around the marble countertop. You’ll soon have a virtually oilproof and waterproof counter ready to face months of use.