Question for Deee and anyone with honed black granite

grapeleavesJune 28, 2008

I was all set to put honed granite on my island, but when I brought it home, it seems to be more of a dark charcoal than a black. For those of you that have any sort of honed black granite, is it more charocal looking than black? I'm wondering if when the whole counter is done if it will look more black than my sample looks. My fabricator got my sample and I think he put on a color enhancer sealer.

Deee, I love the way your granite looks. I can't tell from the picture, but does it look more charcoal than black next to your black glass stove top.

Also, does anyone find that greasy splatters from the stove are a problem with the honed. My gas cook top is in my island.

Here is a link that might be useful: my island

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I don't have black honed granite but have considered it because it is very beautiful. In researching, I remember reading some very negative things about it by some people that had it and some epxerts. It is beautiful but may not be worth the problems that seem to be associated with it. Apparently it absorbs liquid and stains very easily and is a pain to maintain. Here is of portion of what they said, but there was more about it on the page, so you may want to go to the link to read more (I'll include it below).

We have recently installed granite counters in our kitchen, they are a honed absolute black. I am having a hard time with the fact that the counter looks filthy all the time even when cleaned, not what I pictured they would be like. They show every fingerprint, drop of water, sponge tracks, etc and always look awful. One granite company told me that they oil the honed absolute black to give it a darker look. Others have told me that you should never oil a granite. My thought is that if the counter is oiled, perhaps it wouldn't show every oil and water spot. I am looking for any advice on what I can do to make the counter less blotchy and dirty looking, this counter is supposed to be for a lifetime and I feel I made a very bad choice. Thanks , I think your website is great! Amy, May 14.
R2: Think of it like this: The stone is finished only partway. Therefore when it gets wet it will darken to black.
I agree that you should not oil the top, The stone will not absorb it except at the surface and the blotching will occur every time you use something acidic. Try stripping everything off the surface until it is an even gray color. Color enhance with a good color enhancer. Once done impregnate 5-6 times at 1 per day. Plan on doing this every so often. Regards, Steven, USA
R1: Dear Amy: Yes, you did make a bad choice. But don't blame anybody; we've been warning consumers against honed black granite for well over a year by now. No, oiling the stone is a very wrong and unsanitary procedure. If you use an inorganic oil (mineral or synthetic) it will be harmful to food coming in contact with it. If you use an organic oil instead (vegetable), it will degrade and rot. You don't want that, do you! Your best bet is the application of a good quality color enhancer, providing that you fabricator / installer didn't make the grave mistake of applying an impregnator / sealer to your countertop (you do NOT want to seal black "granite"). If that's the case, the sealer must be stripped first with a strong paint-stripper based on Mythelene Chloride (anything else won't do), then the color enhancer will make your top permanently black, though still dull, which will minimize the visual effect of the surface staining you're reporting. Do read my two answers to problems related to black granite a little below yours. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA. Expert Panelist.

Here's the link:

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 4:41PM
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Thanks. I'll check out the link. After I posted, I searched over on Kitchens and did see that it might not be the best choice. I'm not a big fan of shiny black granite and that is about all I can think of to go with my perimeter granite.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 9:37PM
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Hi Chloe,

The color of my granite varies a bit depending on the light and the angle you look at it. In general, I would say it is more dark charcoal and really doesn't look solid black.

I don't get grease spots when I cook but I do notice when I'm cleaning that the area next to the stove is sometimes a bit darker than the rest of the stone. I think it is from grease that gets rubbed around when I'm wiping the counter. It is only noticeable if you really examine it and it fades away pretty quickly.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 8:12PM
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I have honed absolute black - it is not enhanced (because I like the charcoal color) but it is almost impossible to keep it looking good. I love the look when I've just cleaned the whole thing, but anytime I do anything on it - pour a cup of coffee, spill a drop of water - it leaves spots that won't go away until I clean the whole counter with granite cleaner. I find myself trying not to use the counters!

Enhancing might get you the black look you're going for and also mitigate some of the water spot problems, but in general, I can't really recommend this as a surface for counters. Here are some photos of what mine look like on a typical day. The color looks lighter than it should in the one with the fingerprints. The one taken farther away is more accurate for color.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 8:08AM
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I, too, prefer the charcoal look of my honed black granite so I'm not interested in enhancing it. But it looks much like metromom's photos--smudges, fingerprints, splotchy, watermarks, etc. I've tried many products and found Krud Kutter to be the best cleaner, but it's expensive and time-consuming trying to keep it clean. Does anyone else have luck with another product that will bring it back to a uniform charcoal color and KEEP IT THAT WAY?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 2:33PM
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It looks gorgeous in your kitchen, but those closeups, not so good LOL.
Juilied, sounds like you have the same problems as metromom.
I've read the info from the site Karoloke posted, especially the part about not using a sealer and only an enhancer. I've talked to my fabricator and he says he uses a sealer/semi enhancer and I could tell he wasn't about to do anything different, such as use only an enhancer. I mentioned to him that I've read black granites don't need sealers. His attitude is you can only improve performance with sealers.
I've done all the tests( on the sample he has sealed with this sealer/semi enhancer), oil, ketchup, lemon juice, ared wine and I've tried to rub finger prints on it and nothing seems to affect it. It is black andes granite which has more texture to it than AB.
I really, really love the look of honed black granite (when it is clean)
It is only on the island and I don't have any little children at home anymore so I'm trying to convince myself it will not be too big a headache.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 6:17PM
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Thanks, Chloe45.

I'm more confused than ever! I'm quite sure that when my honed BA was put in 5 years ago that they sealed it (my fabricator was also unresponsive to my "I heard it's not supposed to be sealed!" comment and went ahead and did it anyway). It seems to me that it has always been splotchy--even right after it was sealed.

Here's my question:
Does sealer last forever? or does it have to be reapplied? I would think that with all the harsh cleaners I've tried over the years that it has definitely worn off. Should I reapply it and see if it becomes more stain repellent? I don't know. I've been reluctant to re-seal because of the recommendations NOT to seal honed BA...but I'm SO tired of living with the splotches/fingerprints/stains. I HAVE to do something, but I don't know what.

Should I reseal?? Or should I strip and leave it unsealed and un-enhanced (I like the charcoal color; not deep black)??

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Boy, I don't know what to tell you to do. Does yours look as bad as Metromoms?
I did ask him about resealing this morning and he said no, that I would not have to do it again. I think most sealers are penetrating. It might make a difference if you knew what product he used. He said that when I read on line about having to do it yearly or whatever, that they were just trying to sell their product. He also told my daughter that she didn't have to ever reseal hers again 3 years ago when he installed hers. She has Shivakashi (a light granite) She has had no staining issues and she is NOT careful in the kitchen and has little children.
I have AB in my laundry room. It was supposedly honed by the installer, but it doesn't look very honed to me. I now wish I had not accepted it. It is quite shiny. It has been terrible for showing everything and the only way I have been able to get it clean was to use Bon Ami scouring power. When I first got it I thought I could improve it by adding more sealer and it didn't help a bit.
Last night, after reading that website, I decided to clean it with acetone to see if I could get some of the sealer off. The granite looks great, the best it has looked since I had it installed 3 years ago. I'll see if there is any improvement in staining and fingerprints.
What I would install on my island is a lot duller. It is what I had in mind for my laundry and unfortunately didn't get.:)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 10:56PM
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I'm not sure if I posted this pic over here. This is my honed Virginia mist. It looks very similar to metromoms but it has faint white veins. Fortunately, I do not have any staining problems. It's not bullet proof like some of the shiny granites but spots and stains wipe up easily. I have to say that I think soapstone has a warmth and a depth that my stone doesn't have. But, soapstone wasn't an option for me and I am very happy with what I have.

I hate that some of you are having granite problems. I know how I agonized over my choices and how I would feel if I were in your shoes.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:18AM
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julied's what I did this morning to my honed black AB:

I had Zip Strip Paint and Clear Finish Remover (yellow & black can) around the house which is a semi-paste product. I applied it to my island by pouring it on a microfiber cleaning cloth. Then wiped it all over the island (using refinishing gloves). Results are good--the paste rubbed off and evaporated quickly with a minimum of elbow grease and odor seemed minimal (these products give me headaches! I had all the doors/windows was manageable).

It appears that this product did a very good job of dissolving the oily film that collects on the countertop, so the surface looks and feels smooth and dry (not filmy). I can't tell if it removed the sealer. The results are much the same as when I've scrubbed the top with Krud Kutter or with an abrasive cleaner (such as Bon Ami) but with much less effort required. There are still some faint rings/splotches but generally the overall appearance is much better.

My only concern is the chemicals--I should probably scrub the countertop now to remove any traces of the methylene chloride. I hate that I've just applied these toxins to a food surface!

Chloe45, I'm going to buy an acetone product today on your recommendation and apply that to the rest of the granite in my kitchen so I can better compare results between the two strippers. I'll report back later with those results.

I'm still not clear on whether or not to re-seal. Or enhance. I guess I won't do either and see how soon the fingerprints-and-smudge problem reappears.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:30AM
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Julied, from the research I've done, the only thing that would really help us is to use a non-impregnating color-enhancing sealer. This would darken the entire counter so that the spots will be less noticeable (right now I have a grayish counter with blackish spots - if I were to darken the whole thing to black, the blackish spot problem would be significantly reduced). So far, I haven't wanted to give up the lighter color, so I haven't done it.

I do find that Method Granite cleaner works well for cleaning up daily spills and getting rid of all the spots - it's just that as soon as I use the kitchen again, new spots get produced.

I'd love to hear how your experiments turn out and whether you have similar results.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 1:29PM
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Here is my take on this: First - the hone on the counters could have been taken up another grit or two to give a darker, more satin appearance, as opposed to a dull gray color.

It may be too late for that at this point, unless you want to get a well versed stone restoration guy in there able to do just that. It is possible, but you will have to search long and hard to find a good resto guy and he will charge well for his services.

Your other option is to enhance the stone. Now you do have a quandary here: Black Absolute is dense. It will not absorb sealer and should not stain. "But I do have stains on my stone?!" is your reply to this. And yes - the operating word here is "ON" . The relatively rough surface as a result of the honing process traps oils (be it from fingers or dishes) in the micro pores on the surface of the stone. It does not absorb into the body of the stone - that is why you had such good and fast results with the strippers - all the oils were still on the surface of the stone.

So what to do?

First: Do NOT - absolutely NOT - get a topical sealer to try and fix this. It is not a good idea for a food prep surface and these topical sealers WILL flake and peel and be just nasty after a very short time.

The answer is this: Get a good quality IMPREGNATING stone enhancer. Be sure that it will not react to acids. MB6 is a super product and the one that we have used for years. It has a super longevity and does not react to acids. (And no - I do not work for MB Stone - I am just a very satisfied client)

Your next question is bound to be: "But the stone will not absorb anything. Why use an impregnating product?" The answer will be this: The product will indeed not be absorbed as it was designed to be. The stone is indeed too dense. In stead, it will be trapped in the micro pores on the surface of the stone similar to what those nasty finger prints and oil rings were. It will sit "IN" the surface of the stone. You are in essence making the product work where it was not designed to, and that is why it is important to get a product that will not react to acids. The acids you use in everyday cooking - wine, coffee, juice etc. - will come in contact with the sealer and you do not want strange things like ghost rings to turn up after spending all the time and effort enhancing your counters. The stone tops will now have an all-over satiny, darker appearance and those oil and finger marks will not show up any more.

Depending on how often you clean your kitchen, and with what kinds of products you clean it, you might need to re-apply the enhancer on a periodic basis. (As an aside here - we have installed a brushed AB kitchen enhanced with MB6 about 3 years ago. We are still in contact with the homeowner - they have become good friends of ours - and have not had to re-apply the sealer as of yet. They both are pretty active cooks and entertain a lot, so the kitchen sees a good amount of use)

For daily cleaning, use a couple micro fiber towels - one damp and one dry. Clean with the damp one (you could add a few drops of detergent or stone cleaner to this one) and dry the tops with the dry towel. If you want to you could use a stone specific spry cleaner like MB's or the 3-in-1 Stone Cleaner from GranQuartz.

Hope this helped :)

Here is a link that might be useful: MB6 Enhancer

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 10:17AM
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Our AB honed granite was treated with MB6 enhancer when it was installed 18 months ago. Cleaning it with a very soapy sponge and drying with microfiber cloth or dry dish towel keeps our counter looking spotfree.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Dee I like the Virgina Mist granite honed that you have.Can you tell me what sealer if any was put on it? I am worried about staining and it sounds like whatever you did was the right choice.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 11:10AM
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I love the look of the honed absolute black, but if you could afford it, I would absolutely go with soapstone. You canNOT beat the warmth of the stone. Gorgeous !

I couldn't afford granite OR soapstone, so I went with the basalt slate with a honed finish laminate from Formica. And I never thought I could love a laminate, but I DO!! Someday I will upgrade to soapstone, but right now, I am loving my basalt slate. Here's a picture (during construction still!):

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:21PM
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Hi Linda - I used Miracle 511 Porous Plus on my honed granite. You can find it at Home Depot. Garden Web's stone and tile guru Bill Vincent reccomends it and I have been happy with it.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:14PM
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kbmaso, telll me about your beadboard.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:50AM
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Hi, I'm about to get Virginia Mist granite for our kitchen and I would love to know from others how well it has held up over time? Staining problems? Sealing frequency? Any updates would be appreciated!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I've read all of the thread about honed AB. I am going to go with the unsealed stone and apply the MB6 color enhancer. My question is: Should a sealante be applied after the enhancer? Or is enhancer alone, enough? Many thanks -- I'm desparate!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:34AM
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I'm just wondering if anyone has an update. My AB honed counters are going in tomorrow, so I would like to hear what has worked long-term. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:25PM
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My installers got silicone caulk and seam putty on the AB granite. They don't know how to get it off...


    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:45PM
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I really like your countertops. My only objection to formica has been that I wanted the rounded edges all around - even on the bar. The formica I have seen at HD appear to have nice edges on the front but the sides are cut flat with the veneer strips glued on. Yours doesn't look like that does it? How did you do that?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:49PM
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I have leathered absolute black granite and have not had one single issue with it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 11:41AM
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So surprising to see my user name and pictures of my old house and the counters that I installed six years ago. A good lesson about being very careful about what you post on the internets.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:05PM
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Help! I had honed AB installed yesterday. There is etching in one area, the place where they put tape on either side of the seam to keep the glue from harming the countertop has now left marks where the tape was and I can't rub it off (not residue from the tape, the area where the tape was is now two darker black strips running down either side of the seam!), there are stains already on the granite when they brought the pieces in that they said it was just moisture and it would go away (it hasn't after 24 hours) and the silicone they used to caulk the backsplash is so shiny that it looks almost white against the honed black. It looks awful. Any suggestions, please? I started to seal it, but stopped thinking I might be making it worse. Thank you for reading!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2015 at 10:55AM
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