Cleaning & Sealing Black Granite

QUESTION:

I want to know... how to clean black granite countertops before sealing?


And then... what is the proper application technique for sealing black granite countertops, and drying time?

ANSWER:

Prior to sealing you should clean black granite countertops with acetone or denatured alcohol.

Both are completely pH neutral and won't harm granite countertops at all.

Simply pour on a little acetone or denatured alcohol and rub the surface with a clean, soft cloth or a scrub pad. Buff dry.

This will remove any gunk or grime on the surface for optimum penetration and absorption of the granite sealer.

For general or daily use when cleaning black granite we suggest using one of these Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning sprays that are specially formulated for granite and natural stone and won't degrade the sealer.

Spray on the granite cleaner and wipe or scrub the entire surface until clean, dry, and streak-free.

And it's a good idea to
learn about cleaning granite do's & don'ts .

Does black granite need sealing?

Usually, the answer is no.

Many black granite countertops are very dense, highly stain-resistant, and do not need sealing.

In fact, often black granite will not even absorb an impregnating granite sealer.

A honed finish is more porous than a polished finish and thus is more likely to need sealing.

But the only way to know for sure if your black granite needs sealing (or if any natural stone needs a sealer) is to test it.

You should perform the
water test for sealing granite countertops to see if it even needs sealing first though.

If a sealer is applied when not needed, it may leave
hazy streaks from sealer residue that are difficult to remove.

So, test first.

If a granite sealer is needed , I recommend using these top-quality impregnating sealers which are a cut above the average sealer and can last years before resealing is required.

You'll find instructions on the bottle. You need to follow directions carefully and do not let the sealer dry on top.

The basic steps for sealing black granite are:

  1. Clean the surface with acetone or denatured alcohol.

  2. Pour on or spray on the sealer and spread around a small section to form a thin glossy film.

  3. Allow sealer to absorb for 2-5 minutes. Up to 10 minutes in some cases.

  4. Do NOT let it dry.

  5. Wipe off all excess and buff completely dry.

For more detailed steps, check out our guide on how to apply a granite sealer . It's fairly simple but you need to pay attention to some key steps.

Or get the
All About Sealing Manual which has the most complete, detailed info and steps about granite sealer types and sealer application.

Again, the most important step is to NOT let the sealer dry on the surface. This can lead to a hazy residue and streaks.

As you can see, cleaning and sealing black granite countertops is relatively easy and it shouldn't be too much trouble or take too much time to seal the average-sized countertop.

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Color removed from black pearl granite
by: Rusty

Hello, and your post and insight are quite helpful. Back in January, we had black pearl installed in our kitchen.

Didn't know until recently that it was not sealed. In the meantime, we have a spot, very much like a stain, that has turned a softball size area white.

My installer just came out and tells me that it's not a stain, but that the color has been removed by something other than traditional food types (oil, butter, mayo, etc).

I'm 100% confident it was butter, but he claims otherwise, believes it's been chemically removed and wants to charge to replace it.

Any suggestions? Every poultice remedy I can find has been tried. Thank you so much!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, the color is not "removed". The color is integral to the granite... not something applied to it. The depth of color can change or is different depending on the surface finish but nothing actually removes the color.

And it is not from butter. If butter absorbed it would create a dark spot... a stain. A poultice only works on stains. A "stain" is always a darker spot.

What can happen is the surface gets etched. That is corrosion that damages the surface finish making it more dull and lighter in color which is what the unpolished granite looks like.

However, it would take a very potent acid (like industrial strength) to etch granite. Rare to happen in the home.

Or it may be a case of "doctored granite" (search this term on our website). This is done with some black granites but not usually black pearl granite.

It could be hard water deposits which can be difficult to remove and look a lot like etching, but this occurs around the sink and faucet usually and not in a random spot.

Black pearl granite is super-dense and rarely needs a sealer since liquids don't absorb anyway... or take a very long time thus making a sealer unnecessary.

And sealers don't protect against etching.

So, whatever caused this spot it is very unlikely the fault of the installer.

It may be that it can be repolished to restore the shine and color (the color is deeper and more saturated on a polished surface due to the way light reflects off the surface vs. raw granite). If he can fix it, he has earned his pay.

Sea Grey Granite - white rings and dark grease stains
by: Olivia

I had Sea Grey granite installed on my island last week. I had friends over on Sunday and there is what I think is a grease stain (a dark ring from a bowl) and 4 white rings (water perhaps?)

I have tried an alkaline stone cleaner, soapy water, a lit match and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) but nothing has worked.

I have a bottle of pure acetone as I read this may solve the dark grease issue but I am scared to put a chemical on the brand new slab!

To my knowledge, there is no sealer on the granite. Do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

The dark ring is a stain. Stains cannot be removed by common cleaners or methods since the oil (or whatever stained the granite) has absorbed into the granite and is now below the surface.

Stains are rarely permanent, though. You can remove the stain using this Granite Stain Remover Poultice.

Acetone will not harm the granite, but it will not remove the stain by itself either. It will remove gunk on the surface but not below-the-surface stains.

The white rings are a different issue. White rings or spots on marble are etch marks from acidic corrosion. Granite is not as sensitive as marble and this type of damage rarely occurs except on doctored (dyed) slabs of black granite.

Contact us (click here) with your question along with photos of your overall countertop and of the specific spots and we'll do our best to diagnose it and provide the correct solution.

Once you do remove the stains and rings you'll want to apply a quality stone sealer. See links in the above article.

CLR Stain on Black Granite Countertops
by: RV

My wife used CLR for cleaning black granite around the faucets. It is stained white. How can I restore it back to black?

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

CLR is very acidic but usually this is only a problem for marble countertops which are reactive to acid.

Typically, not an issue with granite, but does happen sometimes on doctored black granite countertops.

Even though granite is not as sensitive as marble, it is best to avoid using harsh products on granite countertops as well.

To remove hard water or calcium deposits use this Hard Water Deposit Remover.

Water spots
by: Dee

Black granite countertop in the bathroom already has water spots I cannot lift. What can I do to remove them? What is a good sealer?
Thanks so much!

==== Countertop Specialty Comment:

Unfortunately, we see this a lot with black granite vanities particularly on those that are pre-cut and ready to install.

The issue is usually "doctoring". That is applying a coloring compound or dye to the surface. This coating will react with acidic food, drinks and products like most household cleaners creating dull spots, water rings, etc.

It's called etching.

You can read more about doctored granite countertops here.

Although, it may not be due to doctoring and could be the granite itself. Some black granites can be sensitive to acids and will leave the dull, white spots.

You'll need to strip the color-coating off the surface to eliminate the "doctoring" problem.

Learn more about stripping black granite countertops here.

If the problem is not doctoring, but the granite itself you'll have to have the bathroom vanity re-polished professionally... or replace with a granite countertop that is not sensitive to acids.

I know... you probably thought granite doesn't etch. Well that is 98% true... a few black granites being the exception and it is still rare. The problem with etch-like marks on black granite is usually due to doctoring.

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Sealing Black Beauty Granite Countertops

Sealing Granite Countertops - black beauty

Sealing Granite Countertops - black beauty

QUESTION:

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 years they have been working together. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

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.

Not true.

Stains in granite countertops (or any stone) are rarely permanent and in most cases are fairly easy to remove following the instructions in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains e-book .

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 black 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, kitchen countertops 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?

By performing a simple
water test for sealing granite countertops .

This test will give you a good idea how absorbent your black 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 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 .

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Confusion Cleaning-Sealing Black Granite

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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 black granite countertops, nor is there anything particular that needs to be done.

When cleaning black granite 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 black 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!

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Black Granite Streaks After Sealing

QUESTION:

I gave my neighbor a high-priced granite sealer which I used on our granite countertops. We had no problem with it.

However, he applied it to his black granite countertop, 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...

ANSWER:

Sealing black granite countertops is usually unnecessary (or impossible) since most black granite is 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 black 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.

Cleaning black granite sealer streaks is tough. 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.

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Sealing Stained Black Granite Countertop

QUESTION:

I have polished black granite countertops with some shiny specs.

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 countertop needs to be sealed?

If so, how do I get the "stain" away or less noticeable before sealing. Do I need to used a sealer specific for polished granite countertops. Thanks for your help. Nat

ANSWER:

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.

If the ring is darker than the black granite, then you have a stain and need to follow instructions provided in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains e-book.

Once the stain is removed, then determine if applying a granite sealer is warranted by performing the water test for sealing black granite.

If testing reveals you should apply a granite sealer, then we suggest using one of these recommended impregnating sealers.

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 (for "polished" granite).

But any impregnating sealer will "work" on any stone absorbent enough to take the sealer. How well depends on the quality of granite sealer, of course.

And none are more durable than SenGuard.

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.

If doctored, the dye must be stripped from the surface. Try washing a small area with Acetone or Methylene Chloride to see if any dye is removed. This is not definitive (meaning if no color comes off it doesn't mean that it is not doctored).

Repolishing will remove any dye or coating.

If it's a mixed stone, there's nothing to do about it except replace it or have it professionally re-polished removing the etch marks periodically.

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Sealing Black Granite Tiles

QUESTION:

My husband and I installed black granite tiles on our countertop, ourselves. Not sure the color of black.

I'm wondering about cleaning and sealing granite. Do we need to do a one-time sealant?

ANSWER:

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 cleaning and sealing granite prepare well. First, clean with acetone, then apply the sealer following the bottle directions especially about wiping off any excess before it dries.

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Peeling Sealant on Black Granite Floor Tile

QUESTION:

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 on the floor. The sealant on my floor tile started to peel.

ANSWER:

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 black 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.

Or...

2. You can use Heavy Duty Tile and Grout Cleaner for cleaning black granite (all granite and stone).

This is 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 Heavy Duty stone cleaner a try first.

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Color Enhancer Applied, Hazy in spots
by: Brandi

We just had honed absolute black granite installed in our kitchen 3 days ago. The installer applied Tenax Enhancer and did buff the counters but they were not totally dry when he left that evening.

He said to buff them with a dry cloth in the morning and then we could start using them. We did buff them but decided to wait a full 24 hours before putting our decor back on counters.

The next morning we noticed all the edges of the counters turning hazy. Almost like its where they handled all the pieces of stone during installation.

We tried rubbing denatured alcohol on the stone but it didn't help to even them out. I do remember the company telling me they seal prior to fabrication so I let them know I wanted the color enhancer.

However that's not what they used because he was putting the enhancer on after installation.

Could this be why the enhancer is not seeming to "stick"? What is the process to getting this off and starting over?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

The Color Enhancer should be applied first before any impregnating sealer is applied. If the sealer is applied first, then the color enhancer cannot absorb properly.

You may be getting a haze due to allowing the sealer to dry. This is incorrect. A sealer should never be allowed to dry on the surface.

You allow it to absorb fully, but then remove all excess sealer and buff completely dry. This is done to keep a residue from forming on the surface which is what happens when it dries on the countertop.

Try using acetone to remove the haze. If that does not work, then try methylene chloride which is a more potent solvent.

vinegar
by: chas

I put a acrylic sealer on my red patio tile. My wife thinking the dog smell would lighten up, put vinegar on it and it turned white, killing the job i just did how can I fix it?

===Answer:

The acrylic was etched by the acidic vinegar. You'll have to strip off the acrylic.

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