Which granites do you consider 'bulletproof'?

dpmomto3June 2, 2008

We are in the process of trying to decide on countertops as we give our kitchen a "facelift" (i.e., not a complete remodel). We had been leaning toward quartz (Silestone, etc.) due to the lower maintenance and being less prone to stains and etching (as an aside, can someone explain what "etching" is, exactly?). However, from reading here, I understand that at least certain types of granite are basically "bulletproof," and that sealing may not be necessary with all types of granite -- and when sealing is recommended, it's really not such a big deal to do.

Just from an aesthetic point of view, I'd really prefer to go with the less-uniform look of granite. (It also seems funny to pay more for something that's trying to emulate granite when I can pay a bit less for the "real thing.") So I am wondering if you "experts" can give me some advice about which types of granite are on the less stain-prone, lower maintenance end of the scale. Or put another way, what granite would you recommend for a family with 3 young, messy children, where spills probably won't ever sit overnight, but they might not always be wiped up immediately?



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Dawn, I am FAR from being one of the experts around here, but I know what you are thinking - I worried about the same things! Haven't had my granite put in yet, but work starts next week. I originally wanted a light granite but worried about staining with my messy teenagers! You think your young kids are messy - wait until they start cooking for themselves!! LOL!

I ended up getting uba tuba because it has a reputation of being more 'durable', although it can still crack, chip, whatever, I'm sure! I ended up liking it better - I like the contrast with my cabinets. I have read that uba tuba doesn't need to be sealed, although I don't know if my fabricator feels this way.

I don't think any countertop is 'bulletproof' - my old laminate has a hole in it to prove it - unless you want to go with cement or stainless steel.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:57PM
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Generally, from what I understand, the darker granites are the least porous, and therefore, are less prone to staining than the lighter granites, and don't really need to be sealed (although my fabricator insisted on sealing my verde butterfly). So, some to look for are the blacks and dark greens, like absolute black, black galaxy, uba tuba, etc. I have 2 young, messy children, and a busy household, so I wanted a low maintenance countertop. I started off wanting quartz, like you, but ended up with granite because it cost a lot less than quartz. I love the ease of maintenance of my VB, the fact I pbly don't need to re-seal it, and its pattern tends to hide fingerprints, dirt, etc., when not wiped up immediately, whereas I think absolute black or black galaxy might be a little less forgiving in that area.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:58PM
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When we were pondering countertop, one possibility was Blue Pearl, and people used "bulletproof" to describe it then.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:17PM
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As I understand the geology, the granites with lower water absorption rates are less likely to pick up water based stains. Here's a chart (which I found through this wonderful forum). Tom Cordova and Maurizio might also have some comments.

My granite is medium blue/grey and it survived my smear test -- choc syrup, ketchup, lemon juice, tomatoes, and other items left on kitchen countertops by slobby kids. I do recommend that (like me) you test a sample, and (unlike me) you do so before you fall in love and spend the money.

Here is a link that might be useful: Granite table

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:24PM
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I took multiple samples of granite & 2 soapstones home before deciding on ours - we basically did science experiments - knives, oils, mustards, lemons, wine, ketchup, salad dressings -

The one that withstood all the abuse was the "Victoria Classico" which I got honed - similiar to a verde butterfly

Good luck

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:30PM
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I have Butterfly Blue (for the time being- being replaced soon), and some of it is bullet-proof, and the last replacement piece that was installed isn't. Now, I could try sealing it and see if that makes a difference, but I'm a cheapskate, and since it is going to be replaced, I'm saving the sealer for my new granite. So, I don't know if my first pieces were sealed really well or because they obviously come from a different 'spot in the mountain' they're less pourous, but it proves that there is variability even within one kind of granite! I am getting a lighter granite, so will be able to tell you the difference, but one with lots of variation, so if something stains, you won't be able to find it...(well, that's the plan).

Best thing is to do the 'torture' test, but as in my case, if you're ordering by the sq ft. and not a specific slab, no guarantee that the actual piece that arrives in your kitchen will have the exact qualities of the sample piece.

Good question, and it will be interesting to see what kind of response you get.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:37PM
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I did the same thing that jejvtr did. I brought all my samples home, poured red wine, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and coffee grounds on the samples and let them sit over night. The ones that wiped up with no staining moved to the "serious consideration" column. I ended up with a pretty light stone, it was called Saara diamond, but it looks like maybe gold & silver or delicitus to me. It's bulletproof.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 1:50PM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone! We'd been thinking of going with a darker granite in order to provide contrast with our cabinets and backsplash, so it seems like that may put us on the right track in terms of finding something "durable." I'll definitely follow the advice about taking some samples home for a torture test!

Susanilz5, your granite is just breathtaking. Wow, it's making me kind of reconsider our preference for darker granite, but I think we'd need to rethink our paint and backsplash if we went with something like that. (In which case, my husband might kill me, LOL!)

Thanks again, everyone, for the input! (And I hope that others will continue to weigh in!)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 3:31PM
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Another compliment to susanilz' granite! Beautiful rock!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:06PM
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We have Marron Cohiba and it is absolutely bullet proof. Dh dropped a full Allclad Pasta Pot on it - nothing. Someone left a ring of fruit punch on the bar and who knows how long it was before I saw it -wiped up no problem.

We cook a LOT with oils, lemons, red wine, you name it and the granite looks and has held up amazing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:20PM
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anyone have giallo ornamentale?

It's a pretty common one.... Wondering how it holds up.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:40PM
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I have giallo ornamentale in my master bath. It's sealed with a water based sealer. It's a lighter granite so I'm sure it would be susceptible to staining but as long as it's kept sealed, there should be no problem.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 6:06PM
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OMG, Monica, your sink is fabulous! I'm going to admit that when I was a child I used to stare into rain puddles in the street that had car oil in them. I was looking for beautiful colors like those in your sink.

As for bulletproof granite: I did test my sample but I confess I fell in love with a light colored one and just prayed that it would be good for me. It has lots of interesting patterns so like susanliz I thought any stain would be well hidden.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:32PM
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Monica, I want that sink! It's gorgeous. Spill the beans, what brand, material etc so we can all copy your great taste:)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:45PM
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our uba tuba that just came out of the old kitchen was most definitely bulletproof. it is also very uniform so maybe not to your liking. it was in place for 7 years, sealed once at the beginning and looked like brand new when it was removed, not a scratch or stain on it (it was polished, not honed).

uba tuba is also one of the lower priced granites in case price is a consideration.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 8:11PM
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I have the same sink as Monica in a vessel style in my 2nd bathroom. If I might say so myself I think it's GORGEOUS! Even though every time my brother comes over with his family he calls it a salad bowl! It's by Oceana Glass

Here is a link that might be useful: sink info

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 8:43PM
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remodelfla, your brother has great taste in salad bowls! I'd like to switch to a vessel sink someday! (In the bathroom, lol!)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:06PM
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my granite is called thunder wave. it passed the etch test (etching is where you lose the shiny finish). my supplier said its one of her favorite becai=use its so hard to damage. they do seal it annually, but she says not everyone does and its still fine. you want to try soysauce overnight as well as the others listed. soy is one of the worst etchers out there and this granite was fine after 48 ours.

and i'm not sure you'd find a stain if it could take one lol!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:49PM
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I'm no expert but here are the ones I or my family have had personal experience with over the years that were bulletproof with no sealer:

Fashion Green (I think it's called Gaugain or Waterfall sometimes)
Antique Brown (aka Marron Cohiba or Coffee Brown)
Absolute Black
Volga Blue
Blue Pearl
Verde Maritaka
Verde San Francisco
Verde Butterfly
Copper Green

Most of these are so hard that they won't even accept a sealant; it leaves a haze on top because the stone won't absorb the sealant.

I hear lots of talk on this forum about granite being delicate, staining easily, etc., but I've had many different granites in the baths and kitchens of the homes we've lived in over the years (different stones in every home) and all have been virtually bulletproof except for unsealed Giallo Veneziano (which absorbed water by the sink but showed no other stains in 6 years). I have a friend with Delicatus and it does absorb red wine.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:53PM
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I'm thinking of doing a light granite, probably Bianco Romano. Anyone know if it's prone to staining?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:22PM
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mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

My boyfriend has Volga Blue. It is dark blue (almost black) with opalescence spots in it. Really, really pretty. It is supposed to be one of the hardest granites around. It is very uniform in color but again very pretty.

If you want one with lots of movement and dark in color, what about this one? Not the best picture since it was a very bright sunny day.

There is also beleza honed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:30PM
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We have Mascarelo granite with big pieces of quartz in it. Everyone loves it. since we spent 10 grand on 3 slabs and installation. we paid an extra 800 for a 15 year commercial sealer so we don't have to worry about anything. So far so good. My daughter moved into a luxury apt (rent deal on new units)with roommates and had granite countertops-light granite. Obviously not sealed since her roommate left sangrio sitting on the counter and it stained. Luckily when they moved out there wasn't a charge for this. When they moved in I asked if the granite was sealed and the manager said absolutely. I said absolutely not. Would never pay for granite at any price and not have it sealed if the installer recommended that. If you are testing samples my question would be are they sealed already so you can get a fair appraisal.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 4:33AM
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Drooling over Igloo's granite - too bad you are soooooo darn far away otherwise I may request to see it irl to literally drool on it


    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:45AM
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