Granite has blotchy appearance

by Lu
(Indy)

blotchy white granite

blotchy white granite

QUESTION:

I hope somebody can give me some advice! We just had new granite counter tops installed in our kitchen -- White Spring?

It is absolutely gorgeous with lots of colors – white, cream, reds, black, greys, even gold!

However, the surface is blotchy and looks dirty, scratched, and old.

It feels smooth to the touch (not perfectly smooth…but smooth!) and it looks fairly glossy... but underneath all that, it looks as if the surface has been beat up!

It’s hard to explain, you can see what look like “etchings” all over the counter, especially when the sun is shining, and from many different angles.

We’ve been told from the installers that because there are so many colors in this granite, what we are seeing is the “veins” of different colors at the surface.

But we just stopped in at a high-end kitchen place, and they had a similar white-ish granite countertop where you could see these etchings if you really really REALLY looked for them at weird angles.

Ours doesn't have as "deep" a gloss as the one we saw, and I feel compelled to tell every visitor, “Don’t worry – the counter’s clean. It just LOOKS dirty!”

Is this NORMAL? It doesn't seem right to me! THANKS so much!! Hard to see in a photo, but I tried. Lu

ANSWER:

Lu, the short answer is.... Yes, it's normal. And I agree with your installer. Let me explain why...

Granite has many different minerals with different colors and properties. This composition will vary from granite to granite. So, when viewed at an angle they will reflect light differently and you can see what appears to be a "blotchy" surface... which will vary from granite to granite.

But as you note, the granite counter top is uniformly smooth as it should be and I'll bet when you look down on the granite (or at any angle except sideways)the surface looks uniformly shiny, you can see your reflection and it isn't blotchy.

You just aren't used to looking at granite and your guests will not think they are dirty or notice a thing unless they decide to inspect the granite countertop at all angles.

Regarding the "other" granite... well there are 2500+ granites, so just a bit of variety!

No two stones have the same composition nor will they look the same. Some with tighter patterns or fewer colors won't appear as blotchy or at least it will seam more uniform.

Consumers (especially in the US where knowledge of stone is almost non-existent compared to Europe) certainly love the idea that every granite or marble countertop has a "unique" pattern and color. What they can't seem to get their mind around or accept is that the entire slab including all it's minerals, performance characteristics (absorbency, acid-sensitivity, maintenance and repair capabilities) is "unique" as well.

And it isn't just that granite is different from marble. No.... the difference exists between different colors/patterns of the same type of stone (one granite is different from the next) and even between different slabs of the same variety from the same quarry.

Quartz countertop manufacturers of course have tried to eliminate these differences by making a stone-like product with uniform composition, only with different colors.


Ahhh... this consumers like because it ought to be predictable. It should look and behave exactly how the manufacturers want it to.... so no surprises or differences between yours, the sample in the store or your friend's countertop.

But even quartz countertops have performance and maintenance differences between different colors, etc.

Polishing granite is the same. In other words, there are differences. Some granite slabs will polish to a higher shine than others.... and some stones can't be polished at all. It's just the nature of "natural" stone.

Also, granite countertops can have a number of different "finishes". A shiny "polished" finish is the most common type.

But in general, all granite countertop slabs come from the stone warehouse already polished to it's full shine. (Or finished to some other finish like a honed surface.)

In fact, it comes to the stone warehouse already polished. Granite is quarried in big blocks, cut into slabs and then finished at the factory on big machines that use intense friction to smooth the raw granite surface into a mirror-like finish.

Finished slabs are then purchase by and shipped to stone warehouses. Granite is very hard, so this finish is difficult (but not impossible) to damage.

It's true that fabricators typically just cut and polish edges, but do not do anything to the top finished surface except clean it and seal it if necessary and requested.

..... although FYI... most fabricators do not apply a sealer as part of an installation. It's up to the homeowner or it's an "add-on". Ironically (and unfortunately) many fabricators/installers do not know the proper way to apply a sealer... go figure!

As noted, some stones do take a polish better than other stones and sometimes you can get a poor grade or "bad" slab. A few varieties like Santa Cecilia or New Venetian Gold can have such crappy composition (but not every slab) that they hardly polish at all and can have a gritty appearance.

Fabricators should clean the granite counter top prior to sealing, but granite sealers penetrate into the stone and do not form a "film" or "coat" so even if there was debris left on the surface it could be cleaned off after sealing and wouldn't be the cause of what you are seeing.

Unfortunately, if you have such a dog stone, there isn't much you can do about it especially if you picked it out.

Sometimes there is good reason to complain about the look or finish on a slab, but it's pretty rare and usually involves a bad slab.

In your case I think you're just driving yourself a bit crazy trying to find something wrong with your lovely new granite countertops.

What you see is just how granite looks. Or more accurately.... it's how your particular granite countertop looks... like no other! Enjoy it!

granite countertop cleanerGood Luck,
Ryan

P.S. Get all the facts and simple step-by-step solutions to any problem with our Granite & Marble Maintenance Manuals.

Find the recommended best product brands for cleaning marble, sealing, cleaning granite countertops, quartz and all natural stone.


Comments for Granite has blotchy appearance

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Blotchy white springs counter top
by: lisac

We remodeled our kitchen with white springs granite counter top and I have dull blotchy patches all over it.

But I will say it runs with the different grains in the stone and some places I can feel the difference in the stone.

I was told it was normal because of the different variations in the stone. It looks like they missed spots while sealing it.

I kinda excepted his explanation as I can only see it in the light but wonder if it is a bad slab.

This is something they should point out to people while picking there granite slab out.I would have gone with something else.Buyer beware

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

What you are describing actually sounds completely normal.

Granite is made of many different minerals and crystals that form patterns. Light reflects differently off all these and when looking at certain angles it can appear blotchy.

But as you note, the blotchy pattern follows the pattern of the granite. Normal.

Now, it should feel uniformly smooth though. And if you do have rough patches, then could be an iffy slab. But if generally smooth all over, then nothing to worry about.

Remember, granite is a "natural" product. That means it has all the unique variations of nature.

Got used to it
by: Sara

It bothered me at the beginning, but I got used to it and now even don't pay attention to it. I love my granite countertop (White Galaxy ).

Blotches after adhesive put down
by: Diana

Just had our granite countertop installed and it looked good until we came home from dinner and found where the adhesive is coming through.

The installer wanted to wait and cut for the sink until the adhesive was dry so it didn't crack. He said they would seal it tomorrow after cutting for the sink.

Problem is isn't there dust in the air when the sealer is being out in and I really don't want the granite sealed until the marks from the adhesive is dry to the naked eye as it was before putting the adhesive in it.

Any suggestions, really not wanting to pay until I know it is right.

=== C. Specialty comment:

Wait for the adhesive stains to either evaporate and disappear (sometimes happens) or the installer removes the stains (which is usually necessary) before applying a granite sealer. And final payment should not be made until all issues are resolved and you are satisfied with the installation.

Blotchy granite with some pits
by: Anonymous

We had Camelot Dream 11 granite that we picked out the two slabs. They were patterned, cut, polished, sealed and installed yesterday. When we awoke this morning, we saw that there were many blotchy, dull spots and pits that you could feel and touch along with what looked like small scratches.

We called our kitchen designer and the granite company and they will be coming out next week to look it over. They already told us that we picked out the slab but also, in our defense never educated us in any way what to avoid in doing so.

Do we have any rights in complaining? We cannot express how disappointed we are. The counter just looks dirty and old beside the fact it was very costly. HELP!DELUXE

===== Admin Comment:

I'd say yes, you some ground for a complaint. You should always pick out the slab, so you can hopefully rule out problems.

And if you hired a designer then he/she should definitely be helping you with granite slab selection. At the very least inform you what to watch out for.

Everyone works differently, so if your kitchen designer brought in the granite fabricator to work with you directly, then the fabricator should have helped you pick a slab... but ultimately it falls back to the designer in my opinion.

Some designers and/or fabricators try to get away with just telling you to go to the warehouse and pick one out.

Well, they are just being lazy. They know that you don't know how to pick out a slab other than "yeah... I like that color". The very reason they need to be there is to evaluate the granite slab integrity and quality.

Now the granite warehouse could help you some, but it's really a job for the fabricator and/or designer.

The entire job of a designer is to pick out and coordinate materials. So, if he/she didn't go with you, then yeah... I'd put it back on them.

How that could play out legally is anyone's guess, but ethically there is some negligence here as you describe it.


One finger sized spot in 74 ft of granite
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your response. I wish they would have showed it too us and we could have actually chosen a spot to 'hide' it. But as I mentioned, no one said a word to us that this one spot existed.

It honestly looks like a spill, the way a liquid might pool and then spread a little. That's why I used the description of a finger.

Very smooth edges all the way around. We did not sign anything as far as the granite individually - they gave us several choices and we picked what we liked.

We have the kitchen island, the counters, a half wall, a bar and a slab to go under a wood burning stove. All of those options, they could have 'hid' it, or better yet, asked us if they could 'hide' it, like under the stove, in the back splash in the corner.

It's close to the corner of the island - 4" or so off either side. I wish I could send you a picture..... I don't see how I can ignore it or get used to it, since it's only one spot, and it's such an obviously different color and one distinct shape.
Thanks again.

=== Comment:

Yes, it sounds like they were a bit lazy and inconsiderate about where they located the spot. But it could be this was the only way they could cut all the pieces.

I'm guessing this job required multiple granite slabs, so usually that provides many more options for cutting pieces, but it's a possibility.

Again, I'd state your displeasure and try negotiating a discount before making final payment. I know you'd rather pay full price and not have the spot, but I don't have too many hopes they will replace it.

one spot in 74 sq feet of granite countertop island
by: Dani JOhn

We got ours granite countertop installed 2 days ago in the middle of a re-model. There is a large, finger sized/shaped spot, of a different color, in the center kitchen island.

The color doesn't appear anywhere else on the Granite. (Granite is Grey Pearl type - the stain is green) It stands out like a sore thumb. No one told us about it, warned us, or asked us.

We have pictures where they set a roll of tape at that very spot, almost like they tried to hide it.

We didn't notice it till last night when everyone was gone and all the work had stopped for the day/weekend.

It was covered by dust from the tearing up of the tile floor, and it was very hard to see. They will be back to finish tomorrow, 10/22/12 and I don't know what I can expect them to do or what I should be able to ask of them.

A new piece? We picked the granite color from a a 4 X 4 sample, but did not pick out the granite slab / pieces - they did. I'm so upset!! It's so obvious and it's in such an obvious place.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

==== Admin Comment:

Well, if you had picked out the granite countertop slabs yourself (which you should always do for just this reason) then you wouldn't have any argument.

However, since you only picked the granite color and not actual slabs, then yes... you may be able to argue the point.

The fact is thought that this isn't abnormal to have an area, spot or line of color that is very different from the overall granite color and/or seen in only this spot.

It's a natural product afterall. So, I don't know if you signed any paperwork, but read it... it may say something regarding such occurences.

Wouldn't be too surprised if they did purposely try to hide it and if so, then they likely will make every excuse possible to keep from replacing it.

Actually this slab has probably been sitting in their warehouse forever and they were finally able to use it since you didn't pick it out yourself.

So, I'd expect to live with it. Although I would negotiate a nice discount.

Maybe you can find a creative way to cover the spot if it is truly unsightly, but often after a while you don't even notice these and it's just part of the organic look of a natural stone countertop.

Re: Blotchy granite countertops
by: Anonymous

Thank you for setting me straight on "blotchy" countertops. I have Giallo Vencenza granite counter tops installed one year ago, that have a high gloss shine when I look directly down at them, and a blotchy appearance if I look sideways or in different lighting.

Everyone who sees my countertops comments how beautiful they are. So I guess I just need to get used to what granite looks like.

Thanks for the information which helped me understand what granite should look like..."natural stone".

blotchy granite
by: Miss Joanie

Our installer came returned and the determination was to 'blame' the manufacturer. I guess that is where the slab was originally cut and prepared. The installer agreed to replace the most prominent piece (we looked at several slabs before finding one that would work without blotchy places) and also came in and applied another finish, sanded and polished and re-applied sealant. It looks so much better. We are pleased with the response that we received from our vendor.
Hope this helps others.

BLOTCHINESS FROM ADHESIVE
by: IRVINE-PHIL

We had 'black and white' granite counter installed today. Tonight, 7 hours later, there appears darker round ~5-inch areas above where the adhesive to the particle board had been applied applied. I have a photo before the granite was dropped in place, a photo immediately after, and now the photo with the darker splotched areas showing. Is this normal because solvent is coming up through the granite? Does it dissipate with time?

==== ADMIN COMMENT:

This is not great, but it can be "normal" sometimes. However, it is usually due to using accelerants with the adhesive and can often be permanent.

Installers will tell you... "oh don't worry it will go away in 3 days, 2 weeks, a few weeks, etc."

Personally I would then not make the final payment until the spots disappear.

You may get some improvement following instructions in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains e-book.

However, the glue has saturated all the way through the granite and will continue to do so. Thus, you remove some of it from the surface, stains go away, but then reappear.... or just never go away.

Hopefully yours will dissipate quickly on their own. If not the e-book methods may help some, but you may have to continually repeat the steps over a long time to completely remove.

If not, then nothing else you can do except have the slabs replaced.

Good Luck!

Re-polish Blotchy granite countertops
by: Miss Joanie

Interesting that many of us have the same concerns. After repeated calls and visits, we have finally had someone (we think) that can remedy our blotchy granite countertops. The plan is to completely replace one piece and repolish/seal or something on the others. Will keep updated on the outcome.

More Explanation: Blotchy Granite Countertops
by: Ryan

Thanks to everyone for commenting and sending your questions.

This is a popular thread, so I'm adding an update...

There can be several reasons why a granite countertop could look blotchy.

First, as noted originally it can simply be when looking at a low angle you notice a difference in color and pattern reflection that can seem like something "blotchy" is on the surface. But when you look straight down the surface simply looks smooth and evenly reflective.

A second problem is regarding improperly applied sealer, which leaves a dull, streaky or blotchy haze on the surface that can be seen at all angles, but is most pronounce when viewing countertops at low angles.

Third, it could be a problem with resins (not common) or "doctoring". Doctoring is applying a coloring agent to the surface that is easily etched or altered or removed by almost any chemical and many foods.

Doctoring is almost exclusively a problem with black granites though.

A fourth problem could be a "bad slab". Since granite countertops are a natural product the "quality" of the stone can vary from slab to slab.

And yet another blotchy problem that can produce weird spots on new granite is related to the adhesive absorbing and bleeding through to the surface of the granite countertop.

Sometimes these spots will go away, unless the wrong adhesive is used or chemical accelerators are used... then the glue spots can be permanent.

Some varieties (colors) are more prone to bad slabs than others, but this can happen with almost any granite color. A bad slab will not polish well, make look spotty or blotchy or dull, may have a gritty feel to it, etc.

To sum up....

There isn't "one" answer to why a granite countertop is "blotchy". With enough information we can usually diagnose the nature of the problem without first-hand inspection, however, often this is not possible.

We are always glad to provide answers and help regarding such matters, but it is also always a good idea to have a stone fabricator (your installer and another fabricator) come take a look.

Good luck to all!

Ryan

update
by: Sara

I have the same situation with my granite countertop,(Apr.'12) . How did it end? Are you satisfy now?
Sara

blotchy granite
by: LM

We are in the midst of a kitchen remodel. The granite was installed yesterday and has not only a blotchy look - I know exactly what you are describing. It also is rough on over 80% of the countertop. When it was installed I asked about both the roughness and the blotchyness and was told to just wash it "tomorrow" with soap and water. I am waiting on the GC and fabricator to call me and come out to discuss a resolution. I am disappointed, bc I too, look at the counter and it looks dull and old. Frustrating to say the least - wondering what replacing would do to my brand new cherry cabinets....UUGH! So, I would love to hear the resolution to this.

====

Probably a bad slab... nothing will correct it. Not normal or acceptable and should be replaced. The installer knows this. Of course, if you picked out the slab, then can't blame them.

outcome?
by: Anonymous

I really want to know the outcome of this story. I too just had granite installed and have the same problem. I have gotten down eye level with the reflection of the light and it does seem to be the veins. However, I am concerned that we too have a sealer problem. So what was the outcome?

==========

Don't know the outcome, but veins and the various different minerals and pattern variations will be seen when looking at a low angle. That's normal.

The surface will all be smooth/shiny and should not look add when looking down. Again, only at low angles do you notice the different pattern elements, but I would not describe it as "blotchy" so something else must be going on... a sealer issue being the most likely.

outcome?
by: Anonymous

I really want to know the outcome of this story. I too just had granite installed and have the same problem. I have gotten down eye level with the reflection of the light and it does seem to be the veins. However, I am concerned that we too have a sealer problem. So what was the outcome?

Blotchy granite
by: Anonymous

This was great. I just purchased countertops and had the same problem. I thought I was going crazy but am glad to know I am not. Very useful information.

Plan of Action...
by: Anonymous

Of course, the installer & granite supplier agreed that "it's just the nature of granite". The supplier also kept commenting on how much natural light we have in our kitchen...I only wish he had come on a sunny day (it's raining, so there's actually not much natural light today!) He said the lighting causes much of what we're seeing. Again, if the granite were mildly blotchy -- okay. But this is really BAD!

To try to help at least a little bit, the installer is going to re-finish HALF of a spare chunk of our granite with some kind of non-wax polishing compound to try to make the shine "pop" more to see if that makes the blotchiness less noticeable.

On the other half, he's going to do a "honed" finish to see if LESS gloss makes the "imperfections" less noticeable.

I guess it's worth a try. Nothing we can do about the natural light in the kitchen...except maybe block out the sun!

Thank you again for ALL your advice and information! At least I felt armed with a little more knowledge when they were here!

Lu

RE: Really Blotchy Granite
by: Ryan

Lu,

Good that the installers are coming to take a look. Everything I told you is true of course, but it certainly is possible that your granite could benefit from more polishing... especially if you are seeing a lot of scratches.

Even at an angle, you should not see scratches in granite. Granite is very hard and difficult to scratch beyond faint surface scratches, but even these are not common or usual really. If you have a lot then it could indicate neglectful handling of the stone on transport, storage or install.

Also, the most common cause of a "blotchy" appearance is improperly applied sealer.

If a sealer was applied and any excess sealer was left to dry on the surface it will create a dull hazy and/or blotchy appearance.

A sealer should not be left to dry, but it is too common that the installer will apply the sealer and then just leave, telling the homeowner to let it soak in for a day or two.

No, it should be applied to saturation and the excess wiped completely off the surface until dry not more than 10 minutes (for most stones) after it was first applied.

Often letting the sealer dry is not a problem on lighter granites since they have higher rates of absorption and will drink up all the sealer even when left to dry. But it is not the correct way to do it, can and often does lead to a poor appearance.

If this has occurred then the sealer will need to be stripped off using methylene chloride and then re-applied properly.

Good Luck!

Re: Blotchy granite
by: Lu

Thanks so much! Your input means a lot. It wouldn't bother me much if it was ONLY at funky angles that the blotchiness showed, but it's really visible at every angle except for when you look straight down on it from above. So...if I'm standing at the sink -- my view is BLOTCHY granite that looks old and scratched. And it's not just a little bit...it's VERY VERY VERY blotchy & scratched looking. My husband commented tonight that his "white glove" Mom would probably never eat at our island bar because it looks dirty.

The granite people (the installer AND his supplier) are scheduled to come out tomorrow to check it out. They haven't actually seen it yet...have only heard my attempts at describing it over the phone. I'll see what they have to tell me...and see if they have any tricks up their sleeves to make it look better.

I really LOVE the color and the overall beauty of the patterns and all...but if they had told me that it would look like this, I would have selected a more uniform pattern with fewer color variations for this SUNNY location.

Thanks again for your comments. I TRULY appreciate it! Lu

We, too, have blotches on the new granite!
by: MelMikulak

So interesting to see all these posts on blotchy granite countertops. We had new granite (Madera Gold?) put in our kitchen about two weeks ago. The first thing I noticed was that it appeared there were dried water spots on every surface. However, they don't come off and you can't feel them. You also don't have to look hard to see them - as someone else also posted.

The fabricator said to wait 4-5 days and the spots will dissipate. He said it was the water-based adhesive coming up through the granite and it just needed to bleed out. 14 days later and my granite counter tops are still covered with "water spots" or blotches.

The GC called another granite guy who said "maybe they mistakenly used oil-based adhesive." Now we've got the rock-yard coming out to look, because the fabricator has no idea what to do and no recommendations.

I've never seen anything like this in any other home I've been in, nor have I heard of it before.

I'm also interested in the comment made that my fabricator probably did NOT seal the granite..? Really? Why don't they tell us that?!

Spot remover needed!

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