New Kitchen Counter isn't smooth after install?

by Ralph

granite countertop

granite countertop


We just had new granite kitchen countertops installed, using a high-movement stone with lots of veins and embedded crystals.

The sample we were shown in the storeroom (picture attached) was smooth as glass, but our countertops will snag paper towels when wiping and I can feel the transitions from the main material to some of the veins with my fingernails.

I asked the installer about this, and first he told me that's just how this particular granite is. When I pressed him on the store sample being different, he said it could be some kind of epoxy residue from the factory (?) and took a razor blade to scrape the counter, which did scrape off some kind of whitish material (and also left a light scratch in one area).

Then he said it still needed to be sealed, and put on sealer and told us not to mess with it for 8 hours. It's been 6 hours now, and the counter surface feels kind of "plastic" when touching, but it's still not smooth everywhere. I feel cheated - are we being blown off by this guy?


The shiny smooth surface of the granite slab you saw in the showroom is exactly how a properly polished granite countertop should be.

And just FYI... no chemical or sealer makes the countertop smooth or shiny. The "polish" comes from intense friction and abrasion on big machines at the factory.

Your installer is ignorant. A granite sealer will ONLY slow down the rate of absorption to help prevent staining.

For some reason many stone salespeople and clueless installers think applying a granite sealer solves nearly any problem you may encounter.

And much like a doctor prescribing antibiotics for a cold (colds are viruses.... antibiotics don't work) he just "did something" to make it seem like he was solving a problem.

Whats worse is that he doesn't even know how to properly apply a sealer. You don't leave it on for hours. In fact, a granite sealer should not be left on the surface for more than 10 minutes in most cases and then wiped completely dry.

Thus, in addition to the existing issues you probably now have granite sealer stuck to the countertop surface... it should only be below the surface in the pores.

So, don't listen to anything your installer has to say.

Most likely what has occurred is you picked out a color via the sample and then the installer purchased a cheap low-grade version of that granite variety.

There could be something on the surface... what that may be I have no clue. A resin is often legitimately used to fill voids, etc., but it is applied prior to polishing and absorbs into the pores... does not sit on the surface.

The long and short is that you should have got the exact slab you picked out at the warehouse. This is the only acceptable way to purchase granite or any stone.


Because granite and natural stone are "natural" products meaning there isn't any strict consistency from one slab to the next even among the same colors.

Now most slabs of the same color will be similar, but you can certainly get an extreme difference in characteristics and quality.

And if you entrusted your installer to pick out the slab, then at least you can hold him accountable to the fact that you chose a sample that was perfectly polished and that is what you expected.

So, do not pay any remaining money owed. I'd demand a brand new slab be installed. The exact slabs that you pick out. It isn't likely that any type of fix can be satisfactorily made to the current tops.

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Stone Type
by: Ralph

Some follow up - you were right about the sealer, it was left on way too long and that is what is causing the "sandy" feel of the surface. I tried polishing it off with steel wool in one spot, and that helps, but its way too much work to do myself.

The granite material is called "Mascarello". From what I've learned this material is prone to breaking, and needs to be filled in with epoxy to hold it together in the polishing process. However, the places were it was filled are really obvious (and in some places it has remaining chips), so I still agree with your assessment that I got a cheap/poor-quality slab (which was indeed picked by the installer).

I'm now trying to work out some resolution with the guy, but it's an uphill battle ...

I can feel the veins in my granite
by: Linda

We recently had granite installed. It is a level 2 Fashion Gold and beautiful, but, it has lots of veins and many of them can be felt, especially with the fingernail. The guy came out and said that was normal. I'm still concerned. Should I be?

===Admin Comment:

Yes, sometimes you can feel the natural fissures, but the surface should be essentially flat and smooth. I wouldn't worry about it.

White Alaska Granite Countertop
by: Anonymous

Recently had installed a White Alaska granite countertop and felt some ruffles in isolated spots. The salesman explained that the fissures (?) can be a little ruff to the touch.

Is this true?


Yes and (mostly) no.... fissures can be seen of course and are a normal feature of natural stone that typically do not cause any problem.

In some cases it is possible that a fissure in a granite countertop could be felt as a slight ruffle in the surface. But in most cases no... the surface over the fissure will be just as smooth as the entire countertop surface.

If so, there really isn't anything that can be done about it. The stone was originally finished on a huge specialized machine, so not likely to improve it. Also, the fissure probably creates more of a dip than a ridge.

Finish on my Granite counter top
by: Danny

I just had a granite counter top installed (Juprana Saint Cecilia color) on my kitchen counters and the finish appears dull in spots as though it has water spots all over it.

The owner of the company came out to inspect it and he said that was the nature of the stone. He attempted to clean it with some type of granite cleaner but it did not help.

The granite countertop does not have a consistent shine like the ones you see in the store displays.

I personally went to the factory to pick the stone myself and I'm sure he used my stone.

Is this common that a certain stone will not have a consist shine. The granite looks awful with the dull water spots.

I don't know how long it takes to cut, finish and polish a stone but this company did it all in one day.

===== Admin Comment: Yes some stones will take a shine better or achieve a higher gloss than others. And sometimes a stone will have an uneven shine (but these should not be sold or installed).

I'm sure you've read how each granite countertop slab is unique in pattern/color. Well, the same applies to physical characteristics of the stone.

There is significant variance among all natural stone in many ways.

The quality of the granite countertop slab is key. A poor quality slab will not take a shine well.

So, in a sense the fabricator is correct... it's the nature of the stone.

Is it common? No, because any true pro in the industry will not buy poor quality granite slabs and any reputable company will not install an obviously inferior slab.

They slip through for a number of reasons, but someone should have informed you of its condition.

Gritty surfaces and spotting polishing does occur more often with Santa Cecilia granite. It's a popular stone, however, with a wide range in color and quality.

You say you picked it out and are sure it's the same. Well, then you don't have much recourse. The possibility that the surface was damaged in this way during fabrication and installation is near zero.

If, however, you had simply picked out a color from a sample or picked a granite slab and this one is not it... then you have every right to complain.

No stone warehouse wants bad slabs and shady dealers will pawn them off if they can.

Also, some fabricators will quote a cheap price, but the only way to make money is to buy a super cheap slab, which often is very low quality and then make excuses.

It's a bummer, but most likely this stone cannot be improved. The installer didn't polish the countertop entirely... only the edges. The countertop surface was polished on a industrial machine at the "factory".

So, it is probably polished about as good as it can get already. Maybe get a granite countertop restoration pro to take a look, but I wouldn't get your hopes up I'm sorry to say.

Finish on my Granite counter top
by: Danny


Thank you for the insight. The info was "right on" and helped me to understand quality differences in Granite counters.

My only regret is that I didn't do my own personal research on granite counter tops and find your website before I invested $1800.00 in a counter top.

I relied on the expertise of both the warehouse and the fabricator, whom I ask, if this was a good quality stone and if it would buff up nicely.

Both of them told me this was a great stone and would shine up really nice. It wasn't until after I had made my deposit and the stone was installed and I complained about the blotchy spots that I was informed that I picked a bad piece of granite.

I will say the fabricator did come back and pick up the granite countertop and try to buff it out, which helped a little, but not much. Again, thank you for you assistance.

Grade 4 granite veiny
by: J. A. F.

I just had my house built and went with my son to pick out the granite for my entire house (kitchen, baths). I picked a Grade 4 granite (the same throughout the house).

The granite was purchased from a large granite place in AZ but was finished, cut and installed in a different part of AZ.

I noticed many grainy dips in the finished and installed granite as well as pock marks. I was told that that is the nature of this granite.

I have had granite before and never had anything like this anywhere in my finished granite before.

Is what the installer told us a true fact or is it just an excuse for a lousy job?

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Yes, granite can come in several different grades.

It is supposed to be representative of the relative quality of the stone for ornamental purposes like countertops, monuments, etc.

Problem is that it depends on who is doing the grading and the criteria for each grade. A grade "1" or "A" may be the best or worst.

However, often the "grades" are just different price levels. Not based on quality, but only because it is more rare or carries a higher production cost.

So, there really isn't a universally accepted system, and most stone warehouses don't bother with it. Poor quality slabs are generally avoided when purchased at the quarry since no customer wants a poorly polished, pocked or heavily fissured countertop.

Some varieties are more prone to poor quality slabs or a wider range of quality. So, in that sense he was telling the truth.

Bad slabs still make it into the marketplace and unscrupulous warehouses and fabricators will try to pass them off on unsuspecting customers as "normal" somehow, when they know very well that a problematic slab with a poor surface finish, rough patches, excessive pitting, fissures, etc. simply should not be installed.

Who is going to be happy with such a countertop? Very frustrating.

If you just picked from a sample and "grade" level and then the fabricator picked the slabs... then you have a solid complaint.

If you picked out the exact slabs, then it falls largely on your shoulders, except when a fabricator notices that the slab is crap, he should say something.... like you need to pick another.

If he doesn't, then I say you still have a valid gripe because this is a big deal. It is very difficult and usually impossible to really improve the finish of a poor quality slab.

If it could be finished to a uniform, smooth gloss, then it already would be.

granite countertops are sandy
by: Anonymous

We bought a 12 year old house. Everyday I felt sand or grit on the granite counter tops. At first I thought we spilled salt but when it happened all over the kitchen I became suspicious.

Should I seal it? The directions say it should be wiped on and then excess wiped off.
Thank you.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

A sandy or gritty granite countertop is not an issue that a sealer can solve.

Some slabs are poor quality and lack surface integrity. If these countertops are 12 years old... not likely to solve the issue.

This is normal in the sense that some granite slabs will be like this, but they should never be installed.

Search "gritty granite" in the search box at the top of the page or on the Questions page and you'll find a few articles addressing this issue.

Rough granite
by: Anonymous

I built my home almost 2 years ago. We chose granite countertops and found out later the original one for kitchen broke and the installer over nighted a new one.

I informed him when I was cleaning it my microfiber towel kept sticking, he said it needed to be sealed. He came and sealed it with a spray, didn't work at all.

So my husband called him again, he came out and said he didn't know what the problem was and he would check with the company he purchased it from.

We never heard from him again. Should I have him replace the entire kitchen countertops because the problem is getting worse? It's rough and cracking all over. Is it too late for him to replace it?

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, it is not too late to replace it. The real risk is in removing it and potentially damaging adjacent slabs in the process.

Sounds like an inferior grade of granite that could not be polished smooth in this one area. This is not common, but it does happen. Some granite will polish to a higher shine than others and some slabs are of such poor quality they can hardly be polished at all and are not suitable for kitchen countertops.

Others in the middle can be polished, but not well or with rough spots. Typically, there is not remedy. If the huge specialized machines at the factory could not finish the surface smooth, then polishing by hand tools is unlikely to be successful.

Rough surface
by: Scott

My kitchen was done with two separate slabs, due to a mistake made by the installers (cut the sink hole backwards).

The first two pieces installed are not completely smooth... you can feel all the lines, crystals, etc. when rubbing your hand or a rag across it.

The last piece installed (from the second slab) is as smooth as glass.

It seems to me that they simply didn't buff/polish/whatever they do to the slab enough on the first slab. Is that accurate?

Is there anything I can do to fix it?

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

Usually, the reason a granite countertop is continuously gritty is because it needed to be resined, but was not. Not much you can do except apply a resin or other topical coating.

Permanent topical coatings are not typically recommended since they can change the look and then you need to maintain the coating. But if you can find someone to apply a resin like done at the factory, then you may have a solution (although it may change the color slightly).

A countertop that is simply rough in spots is likely a slab that just could not be polished very well. Some granite countertop slabs can be polished to a higher shine than others and some stone just can't be polished very well.

Re-polishing at this point won't likely do it better than was achieved by the big machines at the factory.

Your fabricator lost money on the error with the sink cutout and probably chose the cheapest slab he could find in the same color. Cheap because it was not the best quality.

Very very good and real world info
by: Anonymous

All these comments relate and we too have these issues... Just too bad we all didn't know about it when choosing our slabs.

frustrated and disappointed.
by: Anonymous

I am very frustrated right now, as in the letter about rough granite install, I too have the same problem, they say they will take back the one counter and then fill in the problem areas on the other, I am refusing that, I feel the company needs to remove the two counters and install a new slab, what do you think? Should I allow them to fill the installed counter, or remove it?

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

Certainly it will be better to have new slabs that do not have any issues. Sometimes these rough or unresined slabs get through to the marketplace, however, it is my opinion that it is the designer's or installer's responsibility to warn the homeowner of any unnoticed defects in the chosen slab.

In other words, the fabricator / installer should have recognized that this slab was not of adequate quality and alerted you to choose different slabs. But technically, if you chose it, it was your decision. Sometimes homeowners are not savvy enough to see or recognize possible defects.

However, if you simply picked out the stone based on a sample in a showroom, then it is the installer that chose the slab and should definitely be held responsible.

You were expecting a smooth slab with a quality polish and that is what you should get.

Yellowish-Green Spots in Granite
by: Anonymous

We just had Alaskan white granite installed. When we went to look at our slab, we noticed a rust looking spot and said we DID NOT want that spot on our counters.

We were assured that it would be cut out as waste. After installation low and behold there is that spot. I think it's rust and we are going to try and lift it out with a granite stain remover.

The company we bought it from is also going to "look into it" but now I'm seeing these little yellowish-green spots on granite. Very faint, but there. Is this normal, and if so what is it?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

To remove rust stains use this Rust Stain Remover for Marble & Granite.

It could be just a weird anomaly in the composition of the granite. It's not at all uncommon for a particular granite color to have a relatively consistent pattern and color and then also have a patch or stripe of a different color not see anywhere else in the slab.

If this is the case, then obviously it cannot be removed. But as you had requested, such anomalies are usually cut out.

If it is rust, the above product is your best bet. But note that rust stains can be extremely difficult to remove even with multiple applications of the Rust Stain Remover.

If the stain is too old or too deep, it is permanent.

The yellow-green spots are most likely glue stains. This can occur when an activator or accelerant is added to the adhesive used to secure the granite to the cabinets during installation.

The activator can react with some stones causing a greenish stain on the surface of the granite.

It's called a "green bloom".

Usually, these stains occur along the edges, around sink and cooktop cutouts, or as a definitive pattern across the surface (like circles evenly spaced).

Installation adhesive stains will sometimes go away on their own, but sometimes can be permanent.

Most often you'll need to remove them with a specialized process using the Green Bloom Glue Stain Remover.

Rough veins in older granite
by: Anonymous

I have had my granite countertops for a few years. Some of the veins feel rough and not smooth like the others.

I did not notice these when it was first installed. What could have caused it and what is my remedy?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Veins or fissures in granite are weak spots, however, they normally polish to a smooth shine like the rest of the surface.

Very unlikely that they were polished and smooth and have become rough. Granite is so hard that not much can wear it down.

Have a stone restoration or stone fabricator assess the issue.

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