I just sealed my new granite countertops and I'm experiencing a haze or a film on the surface.
How do I clean it off?
A haze or residue left after sealing granite countertops (or marble, floor tile, or any natural stone) is the result of the sealer drying on the surface, which should not happen.
Hazy streaks after sealing can occur for two reasons:
1. The granite countertops did not need sealing. Many granite colors are naturally dense, non-absorbent and cannot (should not) be sealed. This is also true with some marble, travertine, etc.
I know you read and hear that "all" granite "must" be sealed, but that is flat out false. If a sealer is applied when not needed, it just sits on top without absorbing and leaves a hazy, streaky or blotchy granite sealer residue.
2. The granite sealer was improperly applied. If the granite countertops did need sealing but the sealer was (incorrectly) left to dry on the surface, you'll get the streaky-hazy residue.
The most important step when sealing granite countertops (or any stone installation) is to completely remove all excess sealer and residue from the granite countertop surface.
Unfortunately, many installers do not know this and will tell homeowners to apply a granite sealer and just leave it to 'soak it'. Crummy advice.
They can get away with this on many stones that are porous enough to absorb all the product applied, so no sealer residue remains on the surface.... but it is still
a 100% incorrect way to apply an impregnating stone sealer.
Never blindly slap on a sealer. First, always determine if the granite countertop (or any stone or tile) even needs sealing by testing the stone as noted.
When testing demonstrates that the surface "could" be sealed, then you make a judgement call (location, use, risk of staining) whether or not to actually apply a stone sealer, but you never apply a granite sealer "just to be safe".
When testing tells you the stone does not need or even cannot be sealed, then don't do it!
How To Remove Granite Sealer Residue:
Now that you have the streaks, you'll have to try and remove the sealer residue from the surface.
Remember, stone sealers are designed to remain on the stone for as long as possible and take a relatively long time (a few years) to break down or wear away.
Thus, removing granite sealer residue that has dried or cured on the surface can be tricky and troublesome.
Here's a few potential solutions to try:
You may get lucky scrubbing with steel wool or a magic eraser. Do this on granite or honed marble & travertine only. Such abrasives could scratch a polished finish on marble or travertine.
In most cases, you'll have to strip off the sealer residue using certain solvents. The exact choice (acetone, mineral spirits, methylene chloride) will depend on how tough it is to remove.
I don't know how to restore it to a shiny granite countertop.
No matter what I do to 'polish' it, the haze returns as soon as I wipe off the polish.
Imagine a kid covered his hands with toothpaste and rubbed it all over the counter.
You can't see it when you look DOWN at it, only when you look at it from the side. It's a combination of streaks and now water stains or spots and glass rings too.
I've only had the house one year. I don't know if it was ever 'sealed'. I've never sealed it. What can I buy to fix this?
Well, since you are not certain what has been done to this granite countertop, I can't be certain either, however, what you describe is classic granite sealer residue from improper sealing technique.
If a sealer is applied on a granite countertop (or any type of natural stone) where the stone is too dense and already naturally stain-resistant, then all that will happen is the sealer will dry on the surface leaving a dull, blotchy, or streaky haze like you describe.
This can also happen on a granite countertop that should be sealed, but the excess sealer was not removed properly and again it dried on the surface.
I suspect this is what happened in your case. Unfortunately, removing the hazy cured sealer residue can be difficult. You'll likely have to use powerful solvent like methylene chloride to strip it off.
Despite what you may read that sealing granite countertops must be done on all granite every year, it's not true.
Many granite colors need a sealer applied, however, very few granite countertops will need annual resealing.
Frequency for applying a granite sealer depends on many variables, but most surfaces will go 3-5 years before needing more sealer. Some can go 10 years and if you use a permanent granite sealer like Senguard, you'll never have to re-seal.
The "water stains" and glass rings are not actually from water and they are not stains. These are from acidic substances etching the sealer residue on the surface... not the granite itself.
Follow the e-book instructions (link near top) on how to remove sealer residue and you should get rid of the water marks and get your shine back!
Our black granite countertop has hazy rings and a hazy ghost spot. What can we do to clean it up?
Used to be that most varieties of black granite were nearly stain-proof and did not etch.
Now, many black granite countertop slabs are dog stones that will etch or have been doctored with a coloring agent to make them more black and this dye will etch creating the "ghost spots" you describe.
Improper sealer application could be to blame as well. Putting a sealer on a non-absorbent black granite countertop is trouble.
The sealer remains on the surface rather than absorbing into the stone and forms a film that can etch creating the rings and dull spots.
In any case, you'll need to remove whatever is on the surface using solvents. Try acetone or methylene chloride (found in paint strippers).
If the MC doesn't work, then likely you have a a rare granite that etches but most likely it is a sealer residue or doctoring dye issue.
We have a light granite (creamy with brown and grey througout). I used the sealer as instructed on the bottle after 1.5 years of having it. (the company told us to do it every year)
So, I sprayed the sealer, waited for it to dry, then sprayed again waited and wiped excess off.
When I returned home after the required time- 3 days to be exact. The countertops looked like someone had sneezed andit dried!
I couldnt polish it to make it look better and now it looks like it has water spots all over it and not shiny at all!
I am sooo upset and dont know how to fix this - can you guide me?? The sealer and polish and cleaner I used was "SCI" (the same they used when the counters were installed).... HELP!! Thank you so much!
The mistake the company made was telling you to re-apply the granite sealer every year. Not surprising since many sales people and others working in the stone industry have limited knowledge.
Of course, if this particular sealer does commonly need re-application every year, then it's a very poor sealer.
Very few granites need re-sealing every year. Many can go 5 years and some even ten years depending on the sealer.
The point is that granite is a natural product with wide variations in porosity, so there is no set rule for applying granite sealers or frequency for re-sealing.
It's always a case-by-case basis and some granite countertops do not need sealing at all... ever.
What occurred with your granite countertop is that it was already sealed, so it did not readily absorb liquids. The granite sealer is a liquid, so it did not absorb, dried on the surface and left the hazy sneeze pattern, which sealers will do when not properly applied.
Of course, it is possible that your granite did need re-sealing, absorbed enough to re-seal, but mistakenly you let the sealer dry on the surface.
I don't know if the bottle instructions stated, but you should always wipe up all excess before it dries. You should never let the sealer just sit and dry.
The sealer residue can be removed but it will likely require stripping with a potent solvent.
Sometimes you can remedy this problem by re-applying the granite sealer, but usually this must be done before the sealer cures.
You'll find complete information regarding granite sealers, "how to" instructions for sealing granite countertops correctly and how to strip a sealer in the All About Sealer e-book.
The water spots are likely etch marks in the granite sealer left on the surface. Granite doesn't etch easy, but dried sealer on granite countertops will often etch. Once the sealer is stripped off the surface your water marks should be gone and the surface back to normal.
I used SCI cleaner to clean my black granite and 8 hours later used SCI Sealor to seal it.
The black granite in the bathroon (which was done 24 hours ago) looks fine.
The black granite in the kitchen (which was done 6 hours ago) has black blotchy spots all over it.
Do I have a problem? If so, what should I do?
Without knowing exactly how the granite sealer was applied I can't say why one seems fine and the other blotchy, but....
Most black granite does not need a sealer. Black granite countertops are typically so dense to be essentially non-absorbent and will not stain except in extreme circumstances.
In fact, most black granite cannot be sealed since the sealer will not absorb.
When a granite sealer is applied to a black granite like Absolute Black or Black Galaxy it just sits on top until it dries leaving a dull hazy, streaky, or blotchy sealer residue on top.
Now, if the sealer is wiped off completely prior to drying like it should be, then you may not develop any problem. It's not likely the sealer absorbed much if at all into black granite, but wiping down until dry at least avoids creating a haze problem.
If applied and left to dry, it is possible that some sealer absorbed in some spots and in other areas it didn't.
Anyway, here's how to remove sealer residue:
Strip it off by washing and scrubbing with methylene chloride. You may have luck re-applying the sealer to try and get it to re-absorb the dried sealer then remove all excess and dry completely. But may be too late.
QUESTION: I have black galaxy granite countertops and my wife decided to seal the countertop... and it dried with streaks and looks like crap. I tried marble polish but it is still streaky.
How can I retain the original finish and add to the luster?
ANSWER: First, true Black Galaxy granite countertops are one of the best stones for the kitchen. Because it is so dense with tiny pores and does not absorb anything, it is essentially stain-proof.
======= NOTE: In recent years some black granites on the market have been "doctored" with a coloring agent to make it more "black." The coloring agent on these doctored stones will etch from acids. Look for black streaks on the edges of the slab in the warehouse and/or preform the lemon test on a sample... true Black Galaxy will not react. =======
Also, because Black Galaxy is non-absorbent, it will not take a sealer.
If you apply a sealer, it will just sit on the surface. If you let it dry before wiping ALL of the sealer off the surface, you will get streaks.
To remove the streaks you will need to strip the sealer off the countertop with methylene chloride.
You could do this yourself, but honestly it's a nasty job and I'd hire a professional to come take a look and restore the countertop.
Once restored, of course do not put a granite sealer on it. Just wipe it with a granite cleaner daily/weekly, every couple months use a spray on granite polish or color enhancer and it will look great longer than you or I will!
We just installed miles of beautiful countertop: Blue in the Night granite...very dark dark grey black ...with small flecks of deep blue!!
The installers applied two coats of a penetrating sealer....they told me to leave in be for a day....and then I could 'wipe' off any residue and just clean and live with the granite normally.
I think the granite didn't absorb the sealer at all......and I can't get it off the counter now!!
They said it could take a while....but I'm worried that since it should never have been applied, the sealer will be a huge headache.... and could damage my granite countertops.
How difficult is it to remove that sealer....will I need to "refinish" the granite....how toxic is the chemical that could remove this sealer (which they said was the latest greatest super expensive type of sealer)....
I'm pretty upset because it was VERY expensive granite....and the fabricator comes so well recommended....but should have known if this granite wouldn't "take" the sealing.
Thanks for any advice....i liked your website and forum... Mikal Krauss
WOW! I'm sorry to tell you that your installers may be excellent craftsmen, but they don't know their stone or anything about sealing granite.
Highly unlikely that this stone needed or could even absorb a sealer. But the most moronic, clueless advice was to let the sealer sit for a day.
The most important step in sealing is to wipe off all excess BEFORE it dries. Now, as I said... probably wasn't necessary in the first place and even if they wiped off excess you'd still have some left on the surface creating a streaky residue.
This is their fault all the way and they must correct it. I'd raise hell and I wouldn't back off or let them tell you any bogus story.
It's a shame, but it will need to be stripped with methylene chloride. The chemical itself won't damage the surface, but yes... it is nasty, toxic and will damage cabinets, paint, etc. so everything must be well protected.
I wouldn't want the same installers to do it since they are obviously inept regarding the matter, but it's unlikely they'd agree to pay for another more experienced stone restoration pro to do it.
It is sometimes possible to re-apply a coat of the same sealer, work it with a soft bristle brush to get the fresh sealer to dissolve the dried sealer and then wipe off all excess, dry the countertop and clean with acetone.
What a bummer, but it is correctable... it'll just be a hassle.