Weekend Projects

Do the “Water Test” Once a Year to Help Keep Your Kitchen Counters in Perfect Shape

published Aug 7, 2020
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Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Invisible home maintenance tasks are some of the most important ones to check off your list. Take having your dryer vent cleaned out: Not doing it won’t cause any additional visible dirt in your home, but leaving it undone causes energy inefficiency at best, and is a fire hazard at worst. It helps to tie these jobs to certain times of the year—such as making it a habit to change your fire alarm batteries when you change your clocks.

Doing these more hidden chores around the house doesn’t always have an immediate perceptible payoff. But the peace of mind of knowing that you’re properly taking care of the items and people in your house feels good.

This weekend’s project involves seeing if it’s time to perform one such less-noticeable maintenance job: sealing your granite countertops, or other natural stone surfaces. Leaving your granite counters unsealed leaves them susceptible to both etching, which dulls the overall luster of your granite, and staining, especially from dark-colored or greasy spills.

Sealing them, on the other hand, not only protects your counters, but also gives them a reflective sheen that will elevate the look of your whole kitchen. This weekend we’re going to see if it’s time to seal your surfaces, and if it is, sealing them.

This Weekend: Do the water test on your stone surfaces.

The water test is super simple: Drip a small amount of water on your surface and check on it in half an hour. If the water is still beaded up, your counters are sealed and safe. On the other hand, if the water stays splotchy or seeps into the granite (you’ll know if there’s a dark spot on the counter), it’s definitely time to seal.

Sealing counters sounds involved, but it’s the same amount of work as just wiping them down. Instead of a granite cleaner, you’ll use a sealant spray like this one. Remove all the items from your counter. (I like to work in one section at a time.) Then spray the sealant, wait a minute or two, and buff it into the counter with a soft lint, free rag.

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Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.