You just spent hours picking out the perfect countertop for your new kitchen. The color is spot on, the style is just what you wanted, and the countertop installer is coming in a few days. The only thing left is choosing the right caulk to seal the deal.
Or picture this – the old caulking on your quartz or granite countertops getting discolored with time. You know, all those nooks and crannies that are near the backsplash or edge of the counter where water can splash and pool. Yeah, those areas are especially susceptible to problems and you need to replace the caulk for a newer look.
Whatever the case is, 100% silicone caulk works best on granite, quartz, or other stone countertops. ASTM C920 silicone sealants offered by brands like Titebond, Laticrete, and Dow Corning are excellent materials to use, and they come in a variety of colors to choose from to match the counters.
So, if you are looking for a specific color to match your sink backsplash, there’s a good chance you can find it.
If you prefer to use clear caulk, go for it. Just be sure that it’s also 100% silicone and meets the ASTM C920 standard as suggested by Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants.
Caulking the Stone Countertops
If your kitchen or bathroom already has latex caulk on granite counters, it’s not as strong and will likely become discolored or moldy with time. But the good news is that you can avoid all of that by redoing the right type of caulk on your countertops – in one quick and easy job.
How? Let’s get into the nitty gritty details of re-caulking the counters…
Step 1- Choosing the Right Caulk
Titebond 100% Silicone Sealant, Latasil by Laticrete, and 795 and 790 by Dow Corning are all great caulking products to use for getting strong, permanent, and flexible seals between tile backsplash and granite counters.
The formulation comes with excellent mold, mildew, and weather-resistance properties which means it won’t shrink, become brittle or fade over time once applied correctly.
They are also all easy to apply with a caulking gun and can be smoothed out with your finger, a putty knife, or even a toothpick if you’re precise.
As for the color, there are plenty of options available to choose from. If you want a shade to match your grout, go for it. If you, however, want it to contrast and stand out, that’s an option too. Just know that darker colors may require more cleanup.
Before picking your option, I recommend checking the specific product to ensure it is acceptable to use for your particular stone or surface.
Also, some sealants can potentially cause staining on specific stones. So it’s good to check with the manufacturer if you doubt that your surface is in that sensitive category.
Step 2- Removing the Old Caulk
If it’s an old dull-out project you need to work on, you’ll almost certainly have to first remove the old caulk that’s present in the gap between the backsplash and the wall.
Use a utility knife to cut around the caulk connection, starting with a downward stroke and moving upward. Then use a razor blade, scraper, or caulk-removing tool to scrape away any remaining caulk carefully.
Keep in mind that to prepare for your new endeavor, it’s critical to remove as much of the existing caulk as feasible because if you leave some of them, it can affect the adhesion of new caulking.
Step 3- Cleaning and Taping
Once you have removed the old caulking it’s important that you clean the area thoroughly before putting up the new sealant. Even if it’s a new installation, quick cleanup is essential so that your new caulk will last a long.
Using isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol), gently scrub the seam between the backsplash and wall with a washcloth or rag. Then with a rag, clean the seams where the granite countertop meets the tile backsplash.
Redoing caulk (and refinishing) will often be a messy task, so to avoid any unwanted paint or stray lines, always apply blue painter’s tape or masking tape over the surface you’ll be working on. Especially focus on protecting the wall areas above the seam and the backsplash below the seam.
Step 4- Applying the Silicone Caulk
Applying the caulking sealant to your stone countertops is pretty straightforward once you have prepared the area well and chosen the right caulk material.
To put it up correctly, you will need a caulking gun, a utility knife, and a wet sponge. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s directions on the product before starting.
- Start by cutting off the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle and load it into the caulking gun.
- Now, begin by running a small bead of caulk along the seam where the granite countertop meets the tile backsplash.
- Work your way slowly and steadily until you’ve gone completely around the perimeter.
- Once you’re done, smooth it out with your finger or a putty knife to ensure it fully enters the cracks and forms a reliable barrier.
Step 5- Peel the Taping and Allow the Caulk to Cure
When you are satisfied with the caulking result, gently peel away the painter’s tape.
Avoid using the surface or collecting any dust, debris, water, or other materials for at least 24 hours after applying silicone caulk.
Although it will begin to dry within 20 minutes, it will not be fully set for one day. So, make sure you allow this much time for caulking to cure completely.
Should Granite Backsplash with Counters be Caulked?
Sealing the seams where the granite countertop meets the tile backsplash or the wall is important in the first place when you install them.
Even if it was done before, as time passes, the caulking material can become old, cracked, or peeling.
Re-caulking it is, therefore, also critical. If you do not do that, water or other debris can start to seep into the gaps, which could lead to all sorts of problems like mold or mildew growth.
Other than that, distorted caulk will also just look bad, so it’s best to avoid that by regularly maintaining it. The good thing is that re-caulking is not a difficult task, and it’s something you can do on your own. But if you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s always best to hire a professional to do it for you.
For newer installations, this type of work is usually included in the price of installing granite countertops. And if you are redoing it after a while, the entire project should cost roughly around $200 to $300, including all the materials and the tools.
The most important thing is to use the right type of caulk for the job. And as we’ve seen, for countertops, the best choice is silicone caulk.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.