Is leathered granite a bad idea for kitchen counters?

threeapplesMay 1, 2012

I'm thinking to do a dark color on the perimeter counters, a black granite or marble that is leathered, and a carrera on the island. The island will be stained and the perimeter cabinets and wooden hood will be painted some kind of white. I've not decided on a back splash, which is a whole other issue, and that likely will be dictated by the counters. Anyway, the slab salesman suggested leathering the tops of the perimeter counters to achieve an older look. The white will be honed. Any thoughts?

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I'm not sure I'd use it in a kitchen because of the crevices and nooks, but I love the combination of honed marble and leathered granite (or marble). You may already have seen the post I made regarding the leathered antique brown granite I used in my bathroom with calacatta gold honed tile. I think the contrast works well.

I've posted the link below in the event you (or others) haven't seen it and are interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leathered Antique Brown Granite with Honed Calacatta Gold

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:40PM
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We just had leathered absolute black laid down on the perimeter of our kitchen with white macaubus quartzite on the island. The AB also on our wet bar. Because of all the dust from the build, it's hard to tell if it's a good decision or a bad decision at this point. The dust has, of course, settled in the indentations. But I took a damp rag and swiped the counters and it all came up just fine. So I'm crossing my fingers that they won't be a maintenance nightmare. For some reason the kitchen has more texture than the wet bar.

The reason I chose this finish was because we had polished antique brown granite in our previous home. It was gorgeous but took so much maintenance to keep it smudge, goop and fingerprint free that I swore I'd not do a dark shiny countertop again. I intended to just do honed but saw this at two yards I visited and thought it felt and looked so nice. Now that it's down, it seems nice and earthy and stone-like to me. I think we'll really like it.

I anticipated we would be answering questions about the island surface because of its unique appearance. We've only had a handful of people come through the house since the island top was put in and they've "ooo'ed and ahh'ed" over it. But now I'm realizing that the perimeter will raise some brows too since it's not a finish people are that familiar with here. Suddenly I feel very cutting edge. LOL!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:18PM
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Are antiqued and leathered the same thing? The textured granite I've seen has texture, but nothing I'd call crevices. Seems better than the honed or polished that shows finger prints smears, each in their own ways.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:42PM
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I hope it's not a bad idea because mine will be installed in a few weeks!

I chose a leathered kodiak brown granite and the texture is light enough that it's hardly noticeable. The kids can do homework on it with no problem. I've heard of polished and honed dark granites being a maintenance issue, but I've never heard of a problem with the textured finishes - and believe me I searched!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I have honed black labrador which and polished statuary marble. Because of the stone, the honed black labrador has a texture to it which is a lot like leathered. I love it - it is basically bullet proof. And, it offers a great compliment to my marble. I have a stacked statuary marble back splash behind the black labrador which sort of ties it all together. A picture is below (for some reason the upper cabinets look very yellow/creamy in the picture?).

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:04AM
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I think that the crevices, etc. are more the result of the character of the stone. I've seen leathered absolute black that has a great texture but not many crevices because that type of granite if very uniform and has no veining. Others, especially the marble and limestone I have seen in a leathered finish and granite like the antique brown that has a lot of variation (and some veining) have slightly more texture and, thus, crevices, etc.

I wasn't commenting to much on maintenance as I was bacteria, etc. If a good sealer is used and you clean thoroughly, it shouldn't really be a problem.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:10AM
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I have leathered Magma Supreme and I don't think it will be a problem. One thing I've noticed is that the black portions of the granite seem to have more of the texture. Mine has a lot of texture (as in bumpy) but it is very smooth (not rough or jagged) and I think will be very easy to clean. It doesn't have deep pockets or anything where food will get caught.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:11AM
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Kevin, your post is what inspired me to ask. Your photos are gorgeous.
What are the problems with honed dark marble or granite kitchen counters?
Thanks. We intend to go to the slab place this weekend and, if we make a decision, I'll post back!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:21AM
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I don't really think there are any "problems." As one of the posters commented, the texture is not rough; it's very soft to the touch. It's that it's not a perfectly flat surface and sometimes has crevices and dimples. You will be able to tell at the slab yard whether the stone is right for you and to pick one with a good texture. As long as it has been properly sealed, and you clean it thoroughly, it should be fine.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:41AM
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I think it's a great idea!!

I have Cambrian black granite with what I believe they called an "antique leather" finish... I don't know if they "antiqued" it and then "leathered" it or if the name is just redundant... Anyway, I LOVE it. It is durable, easy to clean, doesn't stain, doesn't etch, doesn't show fingerprints (unless one of the kids has eaten something really greasy!) I can put hot things right on it. I have had it for 3 years and it looks like the day they put it in. If something oily sits on the counter, you can see the oil but it washes right off with cleanser or soapy water.

The texture is smooth, with just slight indentations. There is absolutely no place that could trap anything (I roll dough on it with no problem) and I clean it with either a soapy cloth or cleaning spray, whatever is handy. My kids do their homework at the table, we spill food coloring, paint, glue, etc.

Here are some pictures. From a distance it looks almost solid black; up close it is lighter than black with lots of silver and copper-colored flecks. Hope this helps!

This shows how soft the indentations are:

This shows some of the flecks:

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:47AM
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I also have the Cambrian Black on my island. When I bought it, they called it brushed, but I have seen the same look called brushed, antique or antiqued and leathered. When you look at it, the the crystals in the background of the stone are either different colors or different degrees of opaque/translucent so that the crystals that are darker/more translucent make the stone look more textured than it actually is. It made me concerned about using it in the kitchen until I realized the texture is really more subtle as shown above. It is very easy to clean and the entire surface is sealed, both with the acid wash that was part of the finishing process and with sealer (the fabricator said he couldn't assure that any actually went into the stone, but they would apply it and try forcing it into any open pores just to be sure. I've lived with it for 4 years now -- all kinds of prep work, kneading and rolling dough (usually rolling cookies on parchment but other things directly on my stone --granite or marble). I figure that any surface that allows me to work doughs and cleans up easily is pretty much ideal.

Those light spots on the Canbrian -- my fabricator calls them ice flowers. I still try to wipe some of them off, but I love them.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:28AM
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roulie and lascatx - great to see your leathered Cambrian Black. We got a piece from a local dealer and it seems a lot less uniform than yours. There are longish slim crystals that don't "take" the leathering but I don't think I see that on yours.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 5:47PM
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We have Kodiak Brown granite with a leathered finish and pencil edge in our kitchen. We absolutely love it. There are no issues with cleaning and nothing to do for maintenance. The play of light on the surface is beautiful and different flecks of color within the granite are visible depending on time of day and by natural or artificial light.

In a previous house we had polished granite counters. Comparing the two, I'd go leathered hands down. Polished shows dust, finger prints, marks or scratches. Leathered does not.

If we ever move or remodel a kitchen again, without hesitation I'd choose Kodiak Brown granite with a leathered finish again in a heartbeat!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 5:33PM
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My sister has had antiqued absolute for several years and it is awesome. I would call it textured but it's not like the crevices appear deep and stuff doesn't seem to get caught. Love her countertop! That said, DH was afraid of crumbies in the crevices, despite what we've seen, so antiqued or leathered granite was not an option in our new kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Missed when this was posted earlier...but, we just bought a leathered granite, so I hope that it's going to work just fine. There were a few spots where it was a little "rougher" than others, but it was mostly just a bit bumpy. We liked that it looked a bit different than what EVERYONE is getting now and that it seemed like we wouldn't have the light reflection pools as much as you do a polished granite. It also seems like it won't be as likely to show every single crumb or scratch.

Totally different material, but growing up, we had the shiny Formica countertops, but in the last house we had, it was more of a matte finish...the matte finish and the pattern made it easy to care for and aesthetically reasonably palatable.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:50PM
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I have leathered (or antiqued) black pearl and absolutely love it. It shows NO finger prints, wipes clean as easily as the polished granite on the island, and doesn't reflect glaringly when the setting sun hits it. NO PROBLEM AT ALL WITH CREVICES. THERE AREN'T ANY.

Roulie's pictures perfectly showed why the surface is easy to clean.

This pic shows a slab with setting sun and deep shadow. No glare

A fingernail or finger dragged across it never hits a snag. Nowhere for dirt to lodge.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:34AM
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so is it safe to say that leathered or antiqued granite in any color will NOT show fingerprints? or does it still depend on the color?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Mine does not show fingerprints at all, but it you leave behind oil from the bottom of bottle or other drips, it will show. But it will also wipe right up.

AboutToGetDusty, it may be too late for you, but I had some of the same concerns as your husband -- even more because I bake and knead and roll bread doughs, roll cookie doughs, make pasta, etc. I have worked on parchment for some (cookie dough I roll and then chill) and directly on the granite for others (kneading, rolling bread dough, rolling and cutting fondant). Any uneveness in the surface is relatively wide and shallow. Things don't get caught in it and it is not hard to clean at all. My Cambrian is onthe island and my counters are honed marble. I figured I would have that soft, smooth surface if the Cambrian was not smooth enough. I work bread doughs and fondant on both counters without any problems. Really. The same Cambrian is also on the counter level of our breakfast room hutch where we make sandwiched for lunches during the school year. Lots of crumbs, a little peanut butter and some jelly drips --coffee or water from the espresso maker at times -- just a wipe and it's clean again. Mine is almost 6 years old and gets more of a workout than most and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:54AM
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I second everything that roulie said. I have antiqued/leathered cambrian black granite in my kitchen. I've had it for years now. It has been bulletproof. We love the countertop and would pick it again in a heartbeat.

My hard water spots do show up on the counter from drips (since they are white-ish on a black surface,) but they rub right out.

drbeanie2000 - The texture on my granite is very uniform and there is nothing I would call a dimple or crevice. There are no long crystals that stand out. Just tiny specks. Can you take a photo of your sample and share? I haven't seen any slabs similar to what you mention.

"so is it safe to say that leathered or antiqued granite in any color will NOT show fingerprints? or does it still depend on the color?"

Mine showed fingerprints for the first month or two, which made me nervous. I don't think my granite was sealed at all, so it was thirsty to absorb some oil into it. :) Or, at least that is my theory. Regardless of the reason, after a short break-in period, I haven't seen fingerprints for years. I can't say for sure about other granites, though...

I did just see a new home at our Parade of Homes with the same granite. I touched it, and it left a print mark. I suspect it's for the same reason.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:14AM
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A couple photos:
Without flash, with sunlight on it:

With flash to accentuate the mica flecks:

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Keep in mind that those dark spots are actually darker and more translucent crystals in the stone. They are not deep pits as they might first appear.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Does anyone have suggestions on how to remove small scratches? We installed Leathered Brown Sequoia quartzite, and it doesn't stain, but we do have some small scratches. Towards the bottom center of the picture - the small white spot. Anyone have suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 9:03AM
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For 10 bucks, I'd give this a try:

Here is a link that might be useful: HF

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 11:50AM
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