Marron Cohiba Granite easily etched

iowaconsumerApril 23, 2013

I thought I'd share my very poor experience with Marron Cohiba granite -- also called Antique Brown. The main issue we've had is that it is easily damaged by wine or oil. If any wine is splashed on the granite it results in an immediate etching of the surface. I do mean immediate. As a test I dripped some wine on the surface and immediately wiped it up. Maybe 2 seconds. Too late. A permanent etching is left on the surface. I tried buffing it out to no avail. We complained to the supplier and he said that granite should not be used as a cooking preparation surface unless it is completely covered. If I had known that, I would not have spent $10k on granite. What is odd is that the remnant I got from the same supplier before ordering this granite (slightly different color) is impermeable. Nothing can etch it. Any ideas as to what can be done? The supplier swears that they treated it beforehand. I really can't get out the sander every time we cook. What if I just treated the entire kitchen with a mild acid to etch all of it? Is that an acceptable treatment? Has anybody successfully buffed out etching?

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weissman

From what I understand, Antique Brown is one of those dark, dense stones that don't stain and therefore don't need sealing. If your fabricator sealed it (many fabricators unfortunately seal everything), it may be the sealer that's etching not the stone itself. In that case you need to remove the sealer. Check out this older thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antinque Brown granite.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:38PM
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iowaconsumer

Wow. That makes sense. I bet it is the sealer. That would explain why the remnant does not etch. That remnant was out in the yard and had been exposed to months, if not years, of wind, rain, snow, sleet, dust, and who knows what else. It showed no damage and is bullet proof. So, the new granite must be sealed. The supplier did contact me to say that they were certain that this granite was sealed. I will try to find out what the sealer is made of and use some of my non-homeowner knowledge to figure out what might be the best solvent to use to remove it. I owe you!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:31PM
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cbusmomof3

I have this granite and I've had no problems at all. I have messy kids who spill orange juice and cranberry juice all the time.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:50PM
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doonie

Antique Brown granite is on our center island where I do all of my prep work for cooking. It's been in since 2010 and I have had no problems with anything spilled on it. No etching. It's a honed finish and not sealed.

I hope you can get a resolution to your granite issue because it's a beautiful stone!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:12AM
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jerzeegirl

Find out what kind of sealer they used. Isn't it odd that wine would etch sealer?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:39AM
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itsallaboutthefood

If you read the link posted by weissman, it basically says that because of the porosity of this granite, the sealer might be sitting on top of the granite and does not penetrate the granite like it normally would. As a result, it probably behaves differently.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 12:32PM
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jrueter

I agree that the etching is likely on the sealer. I have had Marron Cohiba (never sealed) for about 3 years now in our kitchen. We are not neat cooks and all manner of ingredients and sauces have been splashed, spilled and splattered on the granite with never an issue. In addition prior to installation I did a complete etch test with wine, nail polish remover, lemon juice, various cleansers, tomato sauce, vinegar and soda. Left everything on overnight and wiped off with no etching or marking at all.

Best of luck finding a treatment to remove the sealer so you can enjoy your gorgeous stone.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:36PM
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KevinMP

I have it too (in my bathroom), and no problems at all (mine is leathered).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:43PM
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srosen

Iowaconsumer,
Have your fabricator come back and remove the sealer residue.
If they wont take care of it call a stone refinisher.
He or She will be able to remove the sealer from the surface.
It can be a tough diy project if you use harsh chemicals.
Once the sealer is off you will have your countertop back.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:54PM
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iowaconsumer

Nothing seems to remove the sealer. Acetone, steel wool, nothing. A propane torch maybe?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:40AM
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weissman

You might check on the John Bridge stone forum to see what they recommend. Have you talked to your fabricator about what sealer they used? I have this vague recollection that you can use the sealer itself to remove the old sealer and then wipe it all down so no residue remains, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:01AM
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iowaconsumer

I've had the fabricator look at it and they agree something is wrong but thus far are at a loss what to do. They agree that it was a mistake to apply the sealer. I am going to find out what sealer they used and try to discuss it with the manufacturer. Of course, that can be difficult as they will probably just point me to the limited warranty. I can ask for the MSDS to see what (roughly) chemical formulation was used and run it by some chemists to see what might break it down.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:31AM
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srosen

Iowa,
It can be tricky to remove the sealer residue.
Methylene Chloride found in paint strippers will remove any type of residue left by sealer. However it is toxic and I dont like to recommend it. It will damage any coated, painted, plastic surfaces etc. Using more sealer to activate the old cured sealer will probably not work at this point but could have worked(maybe) before the sealer attained full cure.
The fabricator isnt helping much in this case-feel free to email me and I would be glad to help in any way.
I know a product that I can recommend to the fabricator to use to remove the residue.This product can be used by the fabricator,is safe and should do the trick.

I am happy to speak with them as well.
.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:00AM
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iowaconsumer

I found out that the granite is sealed with Solvent Naphtha. The sealant manufacturer says that Marron Cohiba is no better than marble when it comes to resisting acids as it is full of calcium. A slightly damp wash rag will even permanently etch the surface if it has any acidic materials in it (like lemon juice or coffee). The sealant manufacturer suggests that it be honed after each use or having the surface ground down to get rid of the mirror finish. Either the sealant manufacturer is not telling the truth or I have a problem. I am going to try to remove the sealant with a petroleum-based stripper.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:35PM
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srosen

Solvent Naptha is mineral spirits which is used as a carrier for the sealants resins. What sealer was used?
I am very surprised that the manufacturer would make such a statement that Marron Cohiba is full of calcium. He states it should be honed to get rid of the mirror finish.
He doesn't sound very knowledgeable.
That's Ludacris! Where is your fabricator?
I know you said petroleum based stripper-which one?
Please be very careful using strippers as they can be quite toxic. They can also damage everything they come in contact with.
Please consider speaking with a stone refinisher to take a look at this for you.
You cannot solve it on your own at this point . Can you send some pictures?
Again please feel free to contact me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:41PM
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karin_mt

Iowa,

Can you do the scratch test on a piece of this rock? That would shed some light on what it is. Indeed, you have conflicting information on your hands.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:05PM
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iowaconsumer

I will call the manufacturer of the sealant back tomorrow to see if I can cut through the reflexive responses.

When i did talk to him the first time, the sealant rep was pretty adamant that their product is not a sealer, but an "impregnator" and that it could not be removed since it was now in the rock.If I heated it up to the boiling point of petroleum, wouldn't it gas out? The risk is that I crack the granite, of course.

I find zero instances in which Marron Cohiba is described as containing any calcium or reacting to acids. I suppose I could just treat it with vinegar and see if that hides the etching.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:36PM
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srosen

I was thinking that because your sample hadn't etched it was the sealer that was causing the issue.
Don't treat it with vinegar .
The stone is too dense to take any sealer within the stone.
So what is on the surface may be causing the issue.
You did say that the sample did not etch.
Maybe this stone contains some calcites but it sounds like yours is etching like crazy. Hang in there don't take out the blowtorch just yet.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:47PM
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srosen

I spoke to a few folks and while it seems that Marron Cohiba can etch lightly- it seems to be rare. The fact that you tested your sample and had no issues provided the sample was from the same slab is good. I think if you can get the sealer removed by using a powdered polishing compound wet with a right angle grinder(variable speed)(low speed) you should be ok. The sealer residue is on the surface at a microscopic level but enough to cause the etches. I think if you can do a small section of the countertop as a test you may be surprised. I would recommend you get a stone refinisher to do it.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:21PM
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iowaconsumer

One point of correction. The sample that I tested was definitely not from the same slab. It was from a yard remnant and had a few different colored crystals (blue) mixed in. I'll post a very clear photo of just one of the dozens of etchings if I can figure out how to do that here.

If the sealer is what is etching, then I have to believe that there must be a way to chemically unbond it from the stone. On the other hand, if it is some sort of atomic-level bond (ion bond?), grinding it off may be the only solution.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:19AM
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iowaconsumer

Here is a close-up of a ring, a spot, and some smeared liquids that etched the surface. The actual color is quite black. The fact that my iphone has trouble with the color suggests that there is some light refraction stuff going on here with the stone. The rings do go away if the counter is wetted down.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:38AM
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snookums2

If they put a sealer on that shouldn't be there and it's causing this awful staining, why isn't this the fabricator's problem?

"We complained to the supplier and he said that granite should not be used as a cooking preparation surface unless it is completely covered. "

That's one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Customers get no respect from these types.

P.S. that does look like a sealer reacting kind of like when poly or wax absorbs water from a wet glass. But you say it's black not white.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 19:15

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:02AM
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srosen

Try the stone pro stone scrub on a small area and see if you can remove the sealer. There are more aggressive mediums but this is a good place to start. After looking at the pic I think it is sealer residue. There are some other more aggressive powders that may work.
I could be wrong but its worth a try.
Have you tried paint stripper-will remove the sealer.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:37PM
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kevdp4

Marron Cohiba or Antique Brown typically is a very good choice for countertops. It should not be sealed.
I agree your problem is probably related to sealer on the surface that is etching. That is a very common issue when dense stones are sealed when they shouldn't be.
The sealer manufacturer is not helping you at all, but he is right when he said his product is an impregnator, not a sealer. Products used on stone countertops are impregnators, not sealers. MEK should remove the product. Tenax has developed a product that will work but I'm not sure it's available in the states yet. I hope you find a solution.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 4:10PM
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snookums2

You know, if you start messing with this $10,000 stone trying to remove the sealer yourself, the fabricator will be able to relinquish himself of any responsibility. I don't understand why you are trying to fix the problem instead of him.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 5:30PM
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srosen

I think the fabricator in this case relinquished himself right after he sealed it.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:11PM
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snookums2

He may not be taking responsibility, but he still is responsible for having messed up the stone. Once she starts applying products or sanding, he's probably off the hook. And can blame her for anything. If he can't fix his error, he should replace it.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 23:44

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:43PM
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frantex

I am having the same problem. i just had the stone installed 2 days ago and i now have 3 rings from wine bottles. please tell me you found a solution.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 10:15PM
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oldryder

I am a fabricator.

your problem isn't etching, its something else.

you are making this your problem and it should be the fabricators problem. From the pics and your description it looks like the fabricator applied the wrong product as that stone does not normally have problems like you describe. your pics do not look like etching, more like a top coat of something that is getting damaged by common household liquids.

This is a blunder by the fabricator that they are responsible for and should fix promptly.

My suggestion is that you tell the fabricator "fix it or replace it" and give them a window of 2 weeks to fix it. If they can't figure out a perfect remedy tell them you want your new tops in by Christmas.

any additional charges for plumbers (and tile guys if you have tile backsplash) should be covered by the fabricator. You'll have to live with another install but it shouldn't cost you a penny!

if the fabricator balks I'd suggest legal action starting with a letter from an attorney. Its surprising how often a letter is all thats required. The fact that you have a sample that is problem free is a very nice asset if you do have to get legal.

Your paid a lot of money for a nice stone and should not have to accept the kinds of problems you describe.

one thought; some schlock fabricators will put wax (often car wax!) on stone that has less shine than they like. A terrible practice since the waxes used are not suitable for surfaces that come in contact with food.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 7:40AM
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srosen

I agree with old Ryder .
Was your stone sealed ?
Probably so and residue of the sealer left on surface.
Remove the sealer from the surface and your issues are more than likely solved.
The fabricator should be able to do this.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 11:38AM
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azstoneman01

I have come across a similar situation with what appears to be an etch in the marrow cohiba granite and would like to know if the problem was ever solved.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 6:45PM
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detroit_burb

this is interesting. a couple of years ago I posted about a sample of this showing scratches and did not buy it because of poor performance of the sample.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0610111112568.html

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 7:28PM
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iowaconsumer

As a followup, since some people are still checking this for updates, I can report that the acid etching is inherent in the particular slab and sealing has nothing to do with the problem. An unsealed sister slab was located and tested and it is equally sensitive to any form of acidic water. The etching appears to be permanent and there is no practical way to fix it short of grinding the surface away and going with a mat finish. But that does not really fix anything either, as new etching will still shows. For the next project I went with a synthetic and have had no problems.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:06PM
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