Kashmir white variations

AfcolbrieMay 30, 2013

We're in the process of building a new home and our Kashmir white granite was just installed yesterday. It looks great for the most part but on one side of the island there are some gold/orange areas that looks more like stains than a natural color variation. It really sticks out because the rest of the granite only has the white and gray tones I was expecting. At the selections we did sign a paper acknowledging that there are natural variations and we understand and accept this, but is it really supposed to look like this?

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Here's another picture.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:11PM
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That looks like natural variation to me, not a stain. I'd say it's iron oxide, aka rust. Granite has some iron in it and it does weather like that in places.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Thanks for your reply! Good to know what it is. I've just never seen that color on Kashmir white before. I guess I'll have to get used to it. ;)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Sure, it's natural for a chunk of stone from the earth, but is it acceptable as a countertop you paid thousands of dollars for and will live with for many years? It could possibly have been templated around, if your builder cared enough about the final look of the product he was selling you. I personally would raise a stink.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Did you approve the slabs? Were you involved in the templating? I'm not sure how successful you'll be if you raise a stink, depending on what the stone selection and approval process was. I did have a friend in the exact same situation who successfully convinced the fabricator to tear out and replace her counters.

The variations aren't not ideal, but also not terrible. The granite is still beautiful. It definitely looks like natural variation and not a stain. I could get used to it.

We've all made plenty of mistakes during the process, and learned from them. IMHO, FWIW, it's important to approve the actual slabs to be used, and to be involved in the templating process so that you can select which parts of the slabs will be in the finished counters. A good fabricator will understand this and have the patience to work with you.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Thanks for your input everyone!

Unfortunately this is not a Custom Home Builder. We made all our selections in a design center and were not involved in picking the slabs or templating. We got to see samples of the granite at the design center and we liked the grays and whites of the Kashmir white, none of the samples had any orange in it. We also had to sign a paper stating that we understand that there are variations to natural stones etc.

We talked to our sales rep at the design center today and she was very surprised at the orange spots in the Kashmir white. She said she's never had a client have issues with that granite. I sent her some pictures and she didn't like it herself so we'll see what she's able to do. She's getting in touch with the builder and the supplier. So far we've been able to resolve any issues we've had with the builder so I'm hopeful that they will replace the granite on the island.

I can live with it if I have to but it really is an eye-sore to me at this point. We'll see what happens.

Here's another picture that better shows the size of the area and location.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Not only does Kashmir white have a high iron content it is considered by some To be technically impossible to seal.
It may be possible to remove the oxidation but it wouldn't be easy or cheap.
Call your local stone refinisher and he or she would be happy to discuss what they could or couldn't do.
Do the water test.
You will need a pro to seal this stone.
Be very careful it is like a sponge and will soak up anything.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Just to step in an make a few friendly corrections, Kashmir White does not have a high iron content. It's a true granite, which by definition are low in iron. But it does have some iron in the dark colored minerals within the rock. In your case there is iron oxide around the edges of some of the light-colored feldspar grains. In fact, that iron may not even be from the rock itself, it may have been from water circulating underground and depositing tiny amounts of iron in tiny fractures and cavities. In fact, now that I look again, that'd be my bet as to where the iron came from.

As for porosity, the data I have seen shows the Kashmir White and Gold having 0.3 to 0.5% water absorption. That is still quite low as rocks go, but it is higher than, say Absolute Black which has absorption of 0.1%. If that info is correct, then I would expect your rock to be sealable. The white granites do tend to show stains more and be slightly more porous so a sealer is the normal way to go.

Srosen has much more experience than I do about how these rocks behave during fabrication and in kitchen environments. I don't mean to discount what he said, because he has seen how rocks hold up in these conditions. While I can chime in about the rocks themselves, my geology info may not always translate to countertop situations.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 10:13PM
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Thanks srosen and karin_mt!

We did do some research before selecting the Kashmir White. I heard about it being more prone to staining and that was a concern, but both our sales rep at the design center and a rep at a local granite store said that it was a very popular granite and that they hadn't heard many people having problems with it. As long as we take care of it, seal it, wipe up spills etc we should be fine. I hope I won't regret this decision.

I still hope they will replace it but if not I will contact a stone refinisher and see if anything can be done about it.

Thanks karin_mt for the detailed information regarding Kashmir White!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Good Stuff-my mentor Maurizio bertolli always spoke(actually screamed) about Kashmir white. If you google it up under staining or issues you will have more articles than you would care to read. While some may be biased or misrepresented there is a high occurrence of issues with this stone. I must say that I have seen Kashmir's that exhibit no issues but may be related to the lifestyle of the owner. In an active home environment if not sealed and maintained properly there could be issues.
In Maurizio's Rants he stated that Kashmir was not a true granite but a stone of the gneiss group/granulite.
There are also many articles of issues relating to the oxidation of ferrous minerals within the make up of this stone. As far as porosity try to stain a piece of unsealed polished black absolute (which isn't a true granite either) and see if you can. Go ahead use oil, water whatever you choose. Leave it on for a good amount of time.
Do the same with Kashmir white then try it again after only one application of sealer(wait 24 hours for the sealer to cure) and see what you get. Maurizio always said that any stone that exhibited an average absorption rate of 0.2% or less doesn't need to be sealed. I don't know how the numbers play out or why a stone with an average absorption rate of 0.3%-0.5% absorption seems to be so much more porous than the 0.1%-0.2% one. I find it interesting that the iron minerals may come from circulating water underground. However I think that water underground would spall or damage the stone.
I also think the sheer mass of the mountain or quarry would make it hard for water to circulate thru the stone without leaving more prominent signs of its existence.
I think the amount of water used in the fabrication process and the possibility that the slabs are stored outside or even shipped wet may cause the oxidation.
Sorry alcolbrie I am sure this is more info than you wanted to hear. If you do run into any issues or if I could help in any way feel free to send me an email.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:51AM
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I have this granite on my covered outside grill area. I did not seal it since I expected it to be exposed to the elements somewhat. Neither did I do a tone of research on it. I went solely on the light color tone that I wanted.

I think your slab looks lovely. It's a natural product and I don't find the little bit of gold/red markings to be distracting or unattractive. In my opinion they add a little warmth and interest to the white kitchen ; ) I can respect your frustration though at expecting one thing and then getting something different.

As far as the stone, we did not seal ours and I was bummed out to see how very easily oil soaked into it/discolored it. It's faded with time, but always frustrating to get your first mar on a shiny new thing. Since ours is outside on either side of the built in grill, I had to let my angst go since I knew I'd be accumulating more of the same and I refuse to live being worried about ruining something that I need to use all of the time. Grilling with some a nice Merlot in hand does help!

In the kitchen, I would definitely seal it. Find out if it needs to be done by a specialist or if you can do it. Maybe one of the smart stone folks will chime in to help? Looks like @Srosen had some good info for you!

Congratulations on your new space!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Ah! Kashmir White is a granulite not a granite - good point! It's about the same in terms of composition (low iron but some iron in the darker colored minerals) but it has garnets and is metamorphic rather than igneous.

I also don't understand why there is such a big difference in behavior of a stone with 0.1% and 0.3% water absorption. Either the numbers are wrong or there are other factors at play. That part doesn't make sense to me either.

As for water circulating through the rock - that happens everywhere. Groundwater is present just about everywhere in the subsurface. Water is also present in magma and forms all kinds of interesting chemical reactions with rocks. Sometimes the groundwater has a profound effect on the rock and sometimes not. Depends on the temperature of the water and the chemistry involved. The "cement" that binds sedimentary rocks together is deposited by groundwater, and calcite-filled veins are also a result of groundwater. When the water is warm you get hydrothermal deposits and all kinds of crazy stuff like metallic ores and other things that I do not totally understand. :)

Ah! I was just googling around for the porosity of Kashmir White and I came upon a relevant bit of info. The rock Madura Gold is from the same quarry, but at a higher level (closer to the natural ground surface) where it has been more oxidized, hence the warm, "rusty" color of that stone. So yeah, that tells me that the rock does tend to oxidize and my hunch is the groundwater is playing a role. Not much air circulates down in the ground, but water does.

I still didn't find any numbers about the porosity though, just lots of claims of high porosity. Hm.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 4:49PM
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We installed Kashmir white granite in our kitchen approx 1 year ago. We sealed with a sealer my dh bought at home depot and which he insisted would be fine. We were not too happy with the results as water does soak in but eventually dissipates As long as you seal I would not worry too much about staining. I am somewhat careful about wiping up spills in the kitchen but DH is definitely not. He leaves coffee marks near the coffeemaker daily and when I finally see them after work they always wipe up. We did have one tiny red stain from him on our island in which we were planning on using a poultice to eliminate. When I looked a few days later it was gone.
We are planning on resealing very soon and have purchased miracle sealants impregnator which we have read good things about on this forum. They also make one called porous plus which is more expensive but I have read great reviews on. I would recommend checking these two products out when you do finally seal.
Also on the orange color variations I hope they do something to remedy that even if it means replacing the island. We have a few small orange spots but nothing to the extent of yours. Your new kitchen looks lovely and congrats on your new house.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Thanks again everyone!

Thanks for sharing your experience Melissaki5 and for the tip on sealers! I was told it would be sealed before getting installed and that we'd have to do it after 6-9 months or so. I will double check on that though.

We'll see what they say this week and I'll post an update when I know if they will do anything to it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:01PM
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The granite company agreed to redo the island at no charge. We are very happy! The new granite will be installed the day after tomorrow. Hopefully the new slab will not have any orange to the extent of this one.

Thanks again everyone for your input on this!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:59PM
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