Granite Countertop experience

ccabalJanuary 24, 2013

Hi Folks,
We just remodeled our kitchen and had granite countertops put in. Before we had laminate countertops. We were under the impression that granite countertops were pretty low maintenance, and could take some abuse, but our experience so far is the contrary, and I am not sure what we should expect. We have noticed that any water left on the countertop for a while will soak in, and leave a darker spot. But it will eventually evaporate away. But we cooked a chicken, and some drippings fell on the countertop, and we forgot to wipe it off immediately, and now we have a dark streak in our granite! So we called the contractor, and he sent a crew to try and remove the stain, and add more sealer. Talking to the countertop guy, he said it does normally soak in stuff so you have to keep it clean. But that is not what I've heard from others. So what happens if my kids leave a puddle of kook-aid on the counter? Will we have a permanent red stain? What are people's experience with granite? What should we expect?



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We have our first ever granite countertop. It is now close to six months old. We have had no issues with it. It seems pretty impervious. From what KarinMT says, not all stones that are labelled as granite have the same characteristics. Some are much more impervious than others. The stone business plays loose and fast with granite names. It is a rock. Rocks are not all alike.

I feel lucky to have an easy care granite. It sure wasn't because I knew what I was doing. I was just lucky.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Your granite obviously needs more sealer. Different granites have different absorbent properties. There are charts you can find online. The darker stones such as blue pearl or uba tuba are generally bullet-proof and very low maintenance. The lighter stones are more absorbent and need more frequent sealing.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Donaleen is my new spokesperson - nice work!

What is the name of this granite? Got some photos?
I'm especially curious that your counterop guy said that he did expect things to soak in.

Anyway, tell us more and perhaps we can illuminate this some more.
Sorry to hear of your troubles, that must be distressing!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 11:23PM
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I agree with what Donaleen, KarinMT and Weissman said. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of granites, and some are more bulletproof than others. Typically the lighter ones, for example Bianco Romano, can stain more easily and need to be sealed more often. Though there are light granites like Alaska White and Delicatus that are bulletproof. What is the name of your granite, and/or, do you have a photo?

I've had the same granite counter for 7 years, and it looks exactly like the day it was installed. I've never had to seal it. I don't baby it at all. I spill stuff all the time, no problem.

This post was edited by akchicago on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 0:35

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:34AM
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@ccabal I am interested to know what granite you chose as well. I am in the process selecting countertop for my kitchen, so your experience will help me making decisions. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:11AM
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Thanks Karin. I pay close attention to what you say.

Mine is a medium green color and is very easy to live with. It was sold as Emerald Green but I think it is really Seafoam Green. It looks like the linked photo.

The embedded photo is my granite with a piece of Zodiaq wintergreen on top of it (we are using Zodiaq for our sink counter)

Here is a link that might be useful: Seafoam Green

This post was edited by donaleen on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 1:21

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:17AM
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My fabricator recommended a product (that he didn't sell) called, I think, Tekon, which is a lifetime sealer applied by a professional. I haven't done it, but he said he thought it was a good thing for lighter granites. Maybe you can find a permanent sealer in your area.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 5:26PM
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Testing-when looking for and purchasing granite it would be wise to do the lemon test.
By squeezing out some lemon juice on a sample of stone your are interested in will tell you the porosity of the stone and also if in fact it has any acid sensitivity.
Even though granites are acid resistant there is a possibility the processor used a resin or dye to enhance the granite. While the resining of slab has become more common and accepted using dyes are not.The difference is resins will hold up to normal use. The dyes are sensitive to acids and can be degraded by common household acids such as acetic,citric,etc.There isnt a way to repair slabs that are dyed and have failed.
The lemon test is a good way to make sure you know what your buying.
As far as sealing goes if it is porous seal it using a quality sealer from a reputable company.
Dont think of the applying it in terms of coats. Think more about applications. It takes a sealer 24 hours to cure. What this means to us is that first you get an idea of how porous your stone is by doing either the lemon test or just use water.
You apply the sealer on a manegeable area say 3-4 feet wide and let the product sit keeping it wet for up to 15 minutes or so. The surface if it is porous will darken as the sealer enters the stone(dont worry it will lighten as the carrier evaporates). Then using paper towels(I like bounty)remove all traces of the sealer so the surface is dry to the touch. Overlap where you left off and countinue until the entire surface has been done. Repeat the process again then wait 24 hours and do the water test.
Puddle up a palm sized puddle of water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. If it no longer absorbs the water your surface is sealed. If you still getting absorbtion you will need to repeat the process.
Some stones like kashmir white and other extremely porous stones may never stop absorbing liquid to some degree.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:50AM
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In our current kitchen (we are remodeling in our new home and will be moving soon) we have a bluish/grey granite called Azul Aran or Blue Aran. We've had it for 5 years and it's been low maintence / bulletproof EXCEPT for THIS SPOT which bugs me to no end. About 6 months after install I moved a container of leaking (unbeknownst) liquid Tide and underneath it was a nice big etch exactly matching the shape of the bottom of the Tide container. It was the large liquid Tide jug with the spout attached. I didn't know about etching then, so I tried in vain to get it out. It is there for life! Weird thing about this etching is you can only see it if the reflection of the island pendant is directly over it. It visually disappears if you move your body 3 inches in any direction, thus moving the position of the pendant reflection. No one notices it but my husband and me. It's in a position where there is no counter stool. Alas, every time I pass it I can't help but look for it. I hate it. Maybe KarinMT can weigh in on this etch. I don't mean to hijack your post with my old problem, I just want you to be aware of the possibility of detergents etching if left for too long. This jug was left there overnight so it had plenty of time to eat its way through the lovely polished finish. You can feel the roughness if you rub your nail across it. It's a 9 ft island and is otherwise in perfect condition, like the day it was installed. I cook every day and am a sloppy cook at that. I use a lot of lemon and vinegar and surely have had chicken drippings here and there and have no other etching. I do not baby my countertop and reseal ever year with whatever sealer we find at Home Depot. I really am surprised the chicken drippings left a streak in your granite. Did you ever get it out?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:55AM
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Can you re-polish that spot? I'd be tempted to try that with whatever polishing compound your fabricator recommends. Since etching removes the glossy polish, re-polishing it seems like it will restore the uniform look with the rest of the slab.

Makes me wonder what is in that detergent that damaged the finish. Granite is not readily dissolvable, and I wouldn't think that anything in Tide would be terribly acidic.

I hope you can fix it since it drives you crazy. Gorgeous slab though!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 9:07AM
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halfwaythere: that spot could be repaired 100% by a competent stone restorer. most fabrication shops would have a guy that could do it. probably would take a couple of hours.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Hello Halfway
While azul aran should be sealed as it is somewhat porous I think every year may be too much.
Heres why-sealers for stone are impregnating which means they live under the surface to protect the stone. They are not topical but if you over seal and have a very thin layer of sealer residue on the surface it is possible that it will etch. We probably have more then ten jobs per year remooving excess sealers from surfaces.
Your stone itself is acid resistant so the stone itself isnt etching.
It can be a little tricky getting off the excess sealer if that is the case.If you feel the roughness as you mentioned
simply place a single edged razor blade at a 45 degree angle and slide it gently over the rough area.
See what happens be gentle dont force anything.
If the residue is on the surface the razor may take it right off. There is a product called MB-11 made by mbstonecare. It can work safely to remove some sealer residues. It is a marble polish/etch remover but has some fine abrasive that may work well on your issue.
Try the razor first. Remember the angle and gently slide it into the etch.Dont force too hard just lightly glide and slide into it. If you do feel any resistance move into it lightly and see what the razor is removing from the surface. let us know.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:32AM
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ccabal - just a little grandmotherly advice: toss the Kool Aid. It's bad for your kids' teeth and general nutrition as well as your counters. Water is good. Milk is good. The once-a-day fruit juice, especially OJ, is fine. Kool Aid and soda are bad as every day, or even once a week, drinks. I know you want the best for them, so offer them water when they're thirsty. Their growing bodies and your counters will thank you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:20PM
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It can be honed and repolished if it was an etch possi ly caused by the high alkaline detergent. I have seen that happen a few times.
I think the path of least resistance would be better.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Thank you very much for all the replies, very interesting information here.
So the granite is called "Autumn Brown".

Here is a picture. Right under the words "chicken drippings" if you look, you can see the darker streak that was left.

So its still there. The contractor that's doing the remodeling said they were going to send some guys to clean up the slab, and reapply sealer. So hopefully that will be fixed, but the lemon test sounds like a good idea to make sure its properly sealed.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:57PM
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Looks like an oil stain-will need to be poulticed out.
Using 40% volume hydrogen peoxide and baby powder should do the trick.Poulticing can take time and patience.
you can find instructions online at a credible site.
You must poultice the right way or it wont work well.If you have someone coming to work on it let them do their process. I think we all have different methods but if the end result is the removal of the stain thats all that matters.
To test the sealer 24 hours after sealing do the water test.That will suffice just fine-its easy just puddle up a palm sized puddle of water and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
Then wipe away if you get a dark mark then you know you have some absorbtion if not you should be good.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Debbi Branka

In response to: "So hopefully that will be fixed, but the lemon test sounds like a good idea to make sure its properly sealed."

Lemon doesn't tell you if the product is sealed. Sealing protects a surface from stains. NOTHING protects a surface from etching. Granite should not etch. Marble and some quartzes etch. The lemon test will tell if your stone is actually granite, or if it is marble or something else. The lemon test has nothing to do with whether the stone is sealed or not. If water beads on the surface, then the stone is sealed. If not, the stone needs more coats. If your granite is sucking up liquids, it is not sealed enough.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:49PM
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Yes Debs right-the lemon test is better used in the stone yard when searching for a slab.
The stones coming in to the states today are quite varied, some items being sold for granite that arent is becoming more common. Stones are being resined at origin and even worse some marginal quality stones are being dyed and sold
as higher grade stones.
The lemon test will tell you a few things.
If the stone you are considering has any calcite it will etch. Most dyes can be sensitive to acids and will etch.
Just like water it will also tell you how porous or not the stone you are considering is.
I think if you are purchasing a stone for your kitchen you should know the porosity of it. While sealers will protect porous stone from staining temporarily, so a staining agent left on the stone overnight may work itself right throught the sealer. Sealers seem to be getting better however all the time. Some companies even guaranttee their sealers for a period of 15 years. One should read the fine print just in case.
As far as etching goes there are some companies selling coatings for marble surfaces such as vitremela(dry-treat)
clearstone usa, duralok and some others.
They have their pros and cons like anything else.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Suzanne - get a life! Who are you to tell someone what to feed their kids?! Give me a break. For one, it has nothing to do with the OP problem and more importantly it is none of your business.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:14AM
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LOL!!! I actually was just using Kool-Aid (or kook-aid as I initially said) as hypothetical example. It could have easily been grape juice or beet juice, or whatever...

SO I need a clarification on something. For the water test, water does bead up on the surface, but if we let it sit there for a while. and then wipe it off it leaves a darker spot. So does that mean its not properly sealed?

So here is the latest....the countertop guy is telling us that is normal. He says that the water is making the surface of the color change, but when it evaporates fully it goes back. But I see a big problem here. If beet juice ends up on the counter, and some soaks in, wont I end up with a purple stain?
So I think we are going to do a test tonight, before we sign off on the work:
leave a puddle of oil, and a puddle of grapejuice overnight. Then try wiping it off in the morning.
Does that sound like a reasonable thing to do? Do we have the right expectations?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 5:14PM
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I'm having the exact same problem with water leaving the dark stain that eventually disappears. Our granite was just installed last weekend though, and we haven't yet had any stains from anything other than water. I will let you know what our fabricator says when he comes to inspect it tomorrow. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving grape juice on my counter overnight for fear it would cause a permanent stain. I am treating mine with kid gloves until it gets more sealer on it, even if I have to seal it myself. Mine is Giallo Ornamental.

Do you have a sample piece of your actual countertop that you could use for the test?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:13PM
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What Suzanne said is not wrong.

Would not be surprised that a portion of higher health care cost is caused by parents feed kids with wrong types of food, then it becomes everyone's business - such as paying for higher health insurance cost...etc.

The consequences of Individual's freedom are always tied to social responsibilities and common good.

Back to the subject -

Where can we find a trustworthy site that guides us to pick the right type of stone material for countertops (granite, marble or Quartzite)? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:38AM
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