I just installed a black beauty granite counter top in my kitchen and asked my contractor about sealing it.
He said that he and the fabricator have never sealed granite in the 20 yrs they have been working together. Any suggestions?
There's nothing wrong with what your fabricator/installer said or the fact that they have never applied a granite sealer.
Sealing granite countertops and other stones is a fairly recent invention that has really developed in the last 10-15 years. Sealing can be a tremendous benefit, but the whole topic has reached near hysteria in some circles and has created lots of confusion about "when to", "how to", "how often to", etc.
Here's the deal....
You never have to apply a granite sealer. Sealing granite countertops is something you can choose to do as a matter of convenience to help prevent staining and reduce stone maintenance.
People are often mislead by marketing or ignorance of sales people, etc. that stains in granite or stone are permanent and that sealing granite countertops and all other stone is absolutely necessary.
So, it's always a choice based on the stone (can it even be sealed) and the location of the installation (what is the risk of staining).
Depending on the porosity and propensity of any one stone to stain, applying a granite sealer can save a lot of repeated hassle and granite countertop care or marble maintenance removing stains.
Even though it's easy to remove stains, if you have a porous stone in the kitchen, then chances are your will have to remove stains fairly regularly and that's pain.
Applying a granite sealer dramatically reduces or eliminates that chore.
Other factors to consider...
Some granite countertops (and marble and travertine, etc.) are so dense that they do not need, in fact, cannot be sealed because the granite sealer will not absorb. And nothing else will either, so these denser stones are virtually stain-proof naturally.
Naturally, these denser, low-absorbency stones are the best choices for a kitchen countertop, but with over 2500+ varieties of granite these represent a small percentage of all possible choices.
On the flip side, there are a few granites that are so porous that it is almost impossible to seal them. These varieties really shouldn't even be installed (not in a kitchen anyway).
The majority of granite countertop colors/varieties fall in the middle and can be sealed. Or said another way... could benefit from application of a granite sealer especially in the kitchen.
Of course, granite countertops in the kitchen are the most heavily used and abused, so it makes perfect sense to apply a granite sealer to tops in a kitchen IF.... IF the stone is absorbent enough to warrant a sealer and a sealer can be applied effectively.
How do you know if/when granite or any stone can be sealed?
This test will give you a good idea how absorbent your granite countertops are and thus, if the stone can be sealed. Then it's your choice to seal or not.
Incidentally, performing the water test and/or lemon juice test on samples taken from any stone slab you are considering purchasing is a must to rule out overly absorbent stones and stones that will etch too often if installed in a kitchen.
The beauty of the water/lemon juice test is that you don't have to know anything about the stone (name, type, etc.). The test tells you exactly what you need to know regarding important performance characteristics of that exact stone slab.
So, the short answer Sam is to test your black beauty granite countertops in several areas to determine absorbency.
If testing shows the granite could take a sealer, then I'd recommend you do it since this top is in the kitchen. And sealing granite countertops is something you or any homeowner can easily do.
We highly recommend using one of these impregnating sealers with SenGuard being the most advanced, durable and best sealer currently available.
I've read that only 2% of all granite stones are really 'true' granite. I have Labrador Black Silver Flake, installed in 2004 and the installer "sealed" it (don't know with what) after installation.
If I wipe my countertops with a wet rag or spill liquids on it, you can see the streaks and drops when they dry.
If I use a granite cleaner daily spray to wipe them down, the streaks and drops go away. I think there may be a thin layer of some residue on the countertops as well because they only stay 'perfect' looking until someone touches them.
Then you can see finger prints everywhere. I notice that in restaurant bars, they don't seem to have the same issue. Can you tell me what steps I should take to get rid of this issue?
Well, the main reason you can see finger prints, streaks and such so easily is because you have dark granite countertops. Dark colors will show dried liquids and especially finger prints much more readily.
Remember, finger prints are from oils in the skin deposited on the surface and not necessarily some reaction or impression made with a residue on the surface.
All I can say about restaurants is that if they have dark granite countertops they most definitely do have this same problem. Most likely they just clean more and you don't inspect it as closely as your own.
From what you've described I don't think there is anything "wrong" with your granite countertops, nor is there anything particular that needs to be done.
When wiping down the countertop with a wet rag you'll get streaks if you don't completely dry the granite countertop... just like a mirror.
The fact that the streaks go away when using a granite cleaner verifies that the streaks are not "stains" (I never thought they were) and thus sealing is not an issue. The granite cleaner is designed to dry quickly and be "streak free." Not so with water or most liquids.
Regarding sealing granite countertops: I highly doubt that a granite sealer was necessary in the first place with this stone since it is very dense and typically won't absorb the sealer anyway (or anything else either).
It is possible since you had it sealed that you are having an issue with some sealer residue; however, you stated that the tops were installed and sealed in 2004... after 4 years I doubt that sealer residue is the culprit.
If you were getting some sort of spot or stain that you couldn't remove, then I'd say there could be some abnormal problem, but it just sounds like you need to buff your countertops dry after cleaning.
And really, the only time anyone's countertops look perfect is right after cleaning. Normal... granite is meant to be used.
And yes.... it is true that a relative few "granites" are true geological "granite." Many different types of stones with properties similar to granite are sold as "granite." This is not necessarily bad because some of these stones are more durable, stain-resistant, etc. than granite is.
Really, I think it is done for simplification. If you had 30 different types of stones to choose from, you'd never be able to decide and would always have questions about its qualities and characteristics.
This is why it is important to forget what the stone is called and simply test a sample with water or lemon juice (see other "test" links) so you know what you will be dealing with before you install it.
Labrador Black is a good stone... however it is not granite. It is anorthosite. Sexy huh!
I gave my neighbor a high-priced granite sealer which I used on our granite counter tops. We had no problem with it.
However, he applied it to his black counter-top, let it dry and buffed it off with a terry-cloth towel. What was a shiny surface now shows streaks. What options do we have to get it back to the original look? I feel terrible...
Sealing black granite countertops is usually unnecessary (or impossible) since most black granites are very dense and naturally stain resistant.... some blacks are nearly stain-proof.
So, it had nothing to do with the sealer itself.
You can determine the need for a sealer by performing the simple water test for sealing granite countertops (see links on this page).
So, even if you wanted to apply a granite sealer it won't do you any good and often results in problems exactly like your friend has.
Since the granite is essentially non-absorbent, the sealer can't absorb either. And if a sealer can't absorb it can't work and the fact that it can't absorb is THE sign that it isn't needed.
But this really isn't your fault unless of course it was understood that you were advising your friend and she/he was relying on your knowledge.
One more thing... as noted the black granite likely didn't need sealing in the first place, but the most critical error was leaving the granite sealer to dry on the surface.
We hear from many people that their installers tell them to apply the granite sealer and just let it dry....
This is the worst possible mistake you could make and absolutely WRONG advice.
You must allow the granite to absorb as much sealer as possible to saturate the stone, but you also must wipe off all excess granite sealer and residue BEFORE it dries.
If you don't, guess what.... you get hazy white streaks that now must be stripped off... nasty job.
Remember, granite is a natural product. There is no uniformity from one slab to the next either regarding color/pattern or the various performance characteristics.
Stones are grouped together based on looks and similar performance, but there is always variation.
So, you may have applied the granite sealer to your granite... let it dry and no problem. Well you got lucky in that your granite was porous enough to absorb all the sealer before it dried. But this still is incorrect application.
You'll likely need to use methylene chloride to strip off the dried sealer. You'll find detailed information about granite sealers, sealing and complete instructions on how to strip a sealer in the All About Sealing ebook.
I have a polished black with some shiny specs granite counter top.
Now I have a ring on it from a proactive toner bottle. Which from reading this website it will "stain" the countertop.
Does this show me that my counter top needs to be sealed?
If so how do I get the "stain" away or less noticable before sealing. Do I need to used a sealer specific for polished granite countertops. Thanks for your help. Nat
Black granite countertops tend to be pretty dense and most often do not stain easy and do not need a granite sealer. If the toner sat on the surface for several hours or more, then even dense granites could stain.
SenGuard being the most advanced granite sealer available.
No... you don't need a product specific for sealing polished granite countertops. Yes, there are a couple products labeled as such, but any impregnating sealer will "work" (how well depends on the quality of granite sealer of course) on any stone absorbent enough to take the sealer.
And none are more durable than SenGuard.
However, if the ring is not darker, but is actually lighter in color than the granite countertop, then you have an etch mark.
Now, granite typically won't etch upon a one-time exposure unless it is a mutt or mixed stone that contains calcite (like marble that easily etches)... or it has been "doctored" to make it look more black.
Mutt stones and doctoring are a somewhat recent problem with granites coming out of China and India. Often stone warehouses and fabricators do not know there is a problem.
My husband and I installed black granite tiles on our countertop, ourselves. Not sure the color of black etc?
Do we need to do a one-time sealant?
Maybe... maybe not. No matter what kind of stone you have and especially when trying to decide which stone and/or color to install you should test (see other links on this page) it to see how porous/absorbent it is and if it needs sealing.
Obviously, a stone that doesn't need sealing is a winner... won't absorb a thing. And if one you like is really absorbent then you may decide against it, etc.
In your case, test a sample/left over tile with water, oil and lemon juice. Unfortunately some black granites are doctored to make them more "black" which results in problems with sealing and etching in the future.
This problem occurs mostly with slabs, so probably no worries for you, but test anyway to know exactly what you are dealing with.
When sealing, prepare well and follow the directions especially about wiping off any excess before it dries.
What should I use to remove peeling sealant from black granite floor tile?
I had some painters doing work, and when they were cleaning spilled paint from the floor, the sealant on my floor tile started to peel.
You may have some type of "sealant" or coating on your tile, but a standard granite sealer is an impregnating sealer that absorbs into the granite pores below the surface.
So, it does not peel off. Now this could be some complication related to a granite sealer applied to the floor... since this is black granite chances are that it is too dense to even absorb a sealer and never needed it in the first place.
Often when a sealer is applied to black granite it just dries on top, but this usually leaves a very noticeable haze on the surface.
And paint should not strip anything... paint thinner, paint remover.... yes.
I'd suggest two things:
1. Use methylene chloride (a paint stripper) to clean off whatever is on the surface of your granite floor.
Now this stuff is noxious, crummy to use and you'll need to adequately protect everything (cabinets, floor boards, etc.) and provide excellent ventilation. Won't harm the granite, but will definitely remove a granite sealer if that's what it is.
2. You can use DEEP CLEAN Stipper/Degreaser for stone. Much easier to use and may do the job just fine, but not nearly as potent as methylene chloride and won't remove a true granite sealer.
Given that something is peeling off after exposure to paint (not a potent chemical), I'd say give the DEEP CLEAN a try first.
Good Luck, Ryan
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