Stripping and Sealing a Quartzite Countertop (White Macauba)

SethGNovember 13, 2012

Hey, first time posting here, thanks for your attention.

We recently finished a remodel that included a new kitchen. We installed a natural quartzite countertop with a gloss finish-- white macauba is the exact name of the stone.

I noticed after we moved back in that although we were told the stone was sealed, the stone will temporarily darken if water is left standing on the counter. In addition, someone recently left a coffee ring from a mug on the counter, which caused a darkened ring that has faded slightly but not gone away over the past three or four days.

It isn't a huge issue--it isn't that noticable-- but I would like to prevent this from happening again and fix it if I can. I did a search and found out from other postings that I need to get a better sealant. I don't know what the stone guys used on my counter but I understand the folks on this forum seem to like the Miracle 511 sealants. I'm thinking the Pourous Plus?


1) Can you recommend a specific product/method to strip the current sealant off? I couldn't find anything on this in a search.

2. Do you think I can get the darkened ring from the coffee mug out? How?

I posted a photo of the counter from its installation. Thanks again.

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For what it worth, the bottle on the countertop looks a lot like the Miracle 511 sealant bottle (same size, shape and color anyway). It's possible your countertop guys already used 511 sealant.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:36PM
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you'll want to use acetone to strip the existing sealer. you should be able to remove the coffee stain with a poultice of
hydrogen peroxide and corn starch or diatomaceous earth.

Cover the poultice with saran wrap taped down on 3 sides so it dries out slowkly.

Dupont Stone Tech is good sealer.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:01PM
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I also have white macubus, I believe they used the dupont one, but the professional one that is not water based, it;s solvent based=make sure u use a solvent based one and not water based. Also is yours honed? mine is not it's polished. From your picture yours appears to be honed, maybe that makes a difference with staining?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Hey thanks for the replies--

It is polished, that's what I meant by gloss finish. Sorry if my wording was poor.

If they already used 511, then they didn't use enough? Is it possible they just didn't do it well?

If I leave a little puddle of water (or a water glass) on the counter for just a few minutes it will create a dark patch that slowly disappears. Seems very porous.

I just learned a new word: poultice. So I should make a mass of hydrogen peroxide and corn starch, spread it on the stain, and leave it for how long? This won't make it worse, right? I'm afraid to tinker with my brand new counter like this.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Also I know how you gardenweb folks love your kitchen porn so here is a photo of the counter in the finished kitchen. We are very happy with our kitchen but we are still working out the little kinks like this counter issue.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Another broader view.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:02PM
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OK now you've done it! Posted your very snazzy kitchen with no details but something about white macabus and water rings! For shame!
Could you please share what your appliances are and if you like them? Also that stone is so very nice. Where did you get it?
TIA and good luck with the water ring.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Range: BlueStar 36, six burner. 8 inch backguard.
Hood: Futura Futura
Fridge: SubZero 42
Dishwasher: One of the cheaper Bosches
Wall ovens: Jenn-Air

Love the range. It's a big dumb gas oven, what could go wrong? I especially like the burners, though I have had to use a diffuser to simmer soup and stocks even with the simmer burner on low.

All of the other appliances are great too, except the Sub-Zero arrived with a faulty ice maker.

We got the stone at Hindustan out on Long Island. We looked at lots of stone yards because our design called for an eleven-foot island and we wanted to get the kitchen out of a single slab. We were told over and over again that we'd never find a slab that was long enough (except in Indian granites, all of which my wife disliked). But we kept looking and then stumbled on this one slab we both loved. We also saw some fantasy white quartzite slabs that were nearly long enough, we almost went with that.

I am trying to get a sample piece of our slab so I can test out the peroxide/cornstarch and acetone before I put wither one on our kitchen slab. Thanks gain for all the advice.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:14AM
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Sorry I can't figure out how to edit my posts. Aside from the typos I also made a substantive error: the dishwasher is not a Bosch! It is a Miele Crystal. Don't know what I was thinking.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Seth-spills should not be darkening. I had the opposite effect where, because the stone is so dense-the sealer actually laid on top, creating rough areas where there was too much. They came back to scrape off the excess and wipe down with acetone. I was afraid all the sealer was off, but he did a water test where he let the water lay overnight. it was still in a puddle the next morning-it never darkened. The stone is not porous like you mentioned. It is the opposite. It is very dense and strong. Stronger than granite. That is why it is so hard to cut through and they hate templating it.You might want to go to stone Tech's website, I use their cleaners. They sell a stain remover. It's in a samll can, it's a paste u put on and it lifts up stans. It is safe for all stones. I used it on my old kitchen granite for an oil stain- it worked. I would also have them come back. Wipe down with acetone and apply dupon't proffesional solvent based sealer. Sounds like they used a water based on yours. Water should always bead off, not darken. Hope this helps. Good luck-kitchen looks great! Michelle

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Debbi Branka

Our fabricator sealed our marble after installation with 511. In front of us. Showed us how to do it. Then told us to do it 3 more times - wait a day or so in between. They gave us a new bottle of 511. Once is not enough. The first few days (before I sealed more times), a drop of milk left that dark spot inside my marble, but miraculously it disappeared within a couple hours. Actually, I think this is so cool to watch! Anyway, now after I've sealed it 3 more times, milk (or oil, or anything else) doesn't leave that dark spot. My guess is that your sealant is just fine, but you need to do it 3 more times. It's very easy. Just pour it on and wipe it, and let it dry (directions on the bottle). Water will bead when you have sealed enough times.

Your kitchen is beautiful!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Thanks for the info Seth. I am appliance shopping now and liked the look if your ovens. That island counter is wonderful. I have been looking at white fantasy quartzite but my local slabs are very gray not creamy white like yours.
That is one beautiful stone. Has there been any etching?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:02PM
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I am not sure what etching looks like although I know the specter of etching always seems to hang over these natural stone counter discussions.

I just spoke to the fabricator, who said they use a sealant called k.r. 33, which seems to be expensive and imported. He said he believes it is water based. What do you think, should I get some k.r.33 and apply more? Or should I strip it and go with 511 or Stone Tech?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:23PM
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That's a beautiful stone and an awesome kitchen Seth. I appreciate the modern aesthetic and you've nailed it!

Can you tell me what dining room chairs you've got there?

The temporary darkening seen in natural stones, I think, is just moisture trapped in the pore spaces of the rock. It takes a bit for that to evaporate since the pore spaces are tiny and intricately shaped - I think that's all there is to it.

Etching looks like an unpolished spot on an otherwise polished surface. I don't think you'll get that on your stone, which is a true quartzite as far as I know.

As for sealants, I don't know so I'll leave that to someone smarter. :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I would def. do the solvent based sealer. I had a feeling it was water based what they used.Don't do more of what they used because you'll have the same problem. Wipe with acetone and apply the solvent based one from dupont. Have them do it, they shouldn't charge you. Tell them it's darkening and not beading- it's failing the water test.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Debbi Branka

I think if you use the same thing (didn't they leave you a bottle?) a few more times, you won't have the darkening. That's what happened with mine. I wouldn't strip it; I would just do it 3 more times and I bet it would be good.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:10AM
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I did a little web searching and saw K.R. 33 is a "protecting agent on a solvent basis," which leads me to believe it is a solvent based sealer. My stone fabricator has agreed to give me some so I will apply a few more coats, which I hope will resolve the issue. Thanks everyone.

I don't remember the brand of chair, I will ask my wife and post later!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Hey, I got a remainder piece of my slab from the fabricator and put a little mix of corn starch and hydrogen peroxide on it just to test it out. I left the paste on the slab for several hours and then took it off, and predictably (because it was moist) it left a dark spot. I am watching this to make sure it evaporates to normal before I use any more of it.

I am also considering buying the professional stain remover mentioned upthread from StoneTech. Is this it?


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Late breaking update:

1. I tried the corn starch/hydrogen peroxide remedy on my little mark on the counter. I mixed it up, slopped it on, and covered it with plastic wrap. Left it for 24 hours, it became dry and chalky. I don't think it helped any.

Maybe I should have left it longer? I don't know. I decided to scrap it because we have guests coming on Thanksgiving and I need to resolve this counter nonsense. Besides, the mark only looks like a stain if you know it is a stain, otherwise you'll think it's a natural variation in the stone. It is no big deal.

2. This morning I applied the sealant my fabricator gave me, and this evening my counter passes the water test! So I think we have success. It just needed another coat, as many of you said. Thanks so much for the help.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Actually, quartzite is both very porous and very dense. It took a couple of weeks for our new quartzite counters to go from gray to white since it soaked up so much water during fabrication. Our fabricator used 511, which has good reviews but I can't get the film off of it. He suggested using windex (one time only), but I'm nervous about using it based on several blogs. I've tried mild soap and water, a well worn green scratchy, granite polish--none of which have made a difference. Sounds like I need to use acetone and start over with a new sealer, followed up by granite polish. Also sounds like denser materials such as quartzite, are difficult to seal and the sealer might 'sit' on the surface.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:21PM
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I (and at least a couple of others) have had great success using silicone-based sealants. Have a look at the thread pasted below.

Here is a link that might be useful: quartzite sealing

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:31PM
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