Grit on Granite Countertops

QUESTION:

I just had Santa Cecelia Gold granite countertops installed in my kitchen, with a tumbled travertine backsplash.


I've noticed a fine gritty coating on the granite countertops, and even though I keep wiping down the surface, the grit is back the next day!

The grit is also on the kitchen island, where there is no backsplash.

My installer sealed both the granite and the backsplash. What could be causing this, and what should I do? Thank you!

ANSWER:

I hate to tell you, but most likely you simply have a low-grade slab. Granite slabs can be graded based on the quality of the stone.

Poor quality slabs can be less durable or structurally sound with an inconsistent surface finish.

Most granite countertops and slabs in the warehouse are perfectly fine without any issues, so grittiness is a fairly rare occurrence.

Resins are often applied at the factory to the surface of the slab in order to remedy such issues, fill voids, and add strength and stability to the granite.

Resining is a normal procedure, but it is not done to every slab.

It really shouldn't happen, but poor-quality slabs sometimes slip into the marketplace. These could be used for outdoor installations, but no good as a countertop.

For this reason, it is very important to inspect and choose the exact slabs that will be installed for all stone countertops or any project.

Backsplash grout can also cause grit on granite countertops when newly installed. Specks of grout will flake or pop off until fully cured. This would only occur for a few days right after install.

As you note, the grittiness is felt on kitchen
island too (no backsplash) so the only answer is a poor grade granite slab that was not resined.

Solutions for Grit on Granite Countertop

Honestly, no "good" solution exists, but you do have some options.

Replacement

If the fabricator picked out this slab for you, then you could simply demand it be replaced. If so, then hopefully you haven't made the last payment and have some leverage.

However, if you picked out the slab, it'll be hard to make the fabricator take the fall. A fabricator should certainly alert the client to any issues with the slab, so he/she is still a bit at fault.

Unfortunately, the industry is not regulated very well to guard against this.

Apply Epoxy, Resin, or Coating

You need to be able to cover and bind the surface to eliminate the grittiness. Epoxy is a good choice for this and can be a DIY project.

I recommend using one of these two products:

Pro Marine Epoxy
East Coast Resin Epoxy

Learn more on our page about epoxy countertops.

Alternatively, you can look for a fabricator that can apply a resin or a "certified" applicator of a permanent topical coating like Clearstone to help bind the surface better.

But you'll want one very experienced and knowledgeable about this procedure and the products used.

And... it's expensive.

Also, note that once an epoxy or coating is applied, then it is that coating that you must now maintain. But it should eliminate the grittiness problem.

As you've discovered applying a granite sealer has no effect on the grittiness. Impregnating sealers do not bind or coat the surface. Sealers absorb into the surface and work to prevent staining only.

Comments for Grit on Granite Countertops

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Gritty Granite Countertops vs. Formica
by: Anonymous

Thanks to all of you for your "Gritty" comments 😀

I was about ready to bust my granite countertops into a zillion pieces!

My husband put these in before I lived here and I had always had Formica tops and this is my first experience with Granite.

I hate it just because of our subject here!

I had Formica countertops for over 50 hrs and never had any problems with them and in fact I loved them (Formica).

But I will just have to adjust my thinking cause "Gritty" isn’t going away 😩

Is there a solution to gritty granite?
by: Anonymous

Your answer for how to deal with gritty granite countertops what's full of should-haves, with no real answer at all for how a person should deal with a gritty granite countertop barring wiping it down a hundred times a day.

I'm a housekeeper and I deal with gritty granite countertops in almost every single house I clean and let me tell you it is excruciatingly frustrating and I got snotty rich clients looking down their noses at me because they're countertop isn't clean even though they just watch me wipe it down.

So how about an answer that actually has a solution instead of a whole bunch of you should have done that and you should have done this at the time of purchase!

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

I can appreciate your situation, but don't you think we would have given the solution if there was one?

That is the point being made in the article.... there is no good solution.

Such bad granite slabs should have never been installed but it does happen.

The only possible solution (besides replacing it) is to apply a resin or coating of some sort. That will solve the gritty issue but then you have the coating to maintain so it is not an ideal solution.

It trades one set of problems for another.

If you can get a true stone pro to apply a resin and repolish the surface, then it could potentially work, but again.... there just really isn't a good solution to actually fix it. Except to replace the countertop.

Also, it is very unlikely that more than one or two of your clients actually has this problem of gritty granite due to a bad slab. It is not that common.

But since granite is so smooth any dust or little crumb on the surface can be felt. And some people are just never satisfied with anything as you are likely aware.


Well, thanks for the info, I guess...
by: Anonymous

As I suspected, this countertop must be low grade, and the grittiness will not go away forever.

I'll just deal with it. Don't have a lot of confidence in the installer, and not much chance of getting a replacement in my spec house.

Wish I had my old quartz countertops back! Thank you for the heads up!

Gritty granite in new home
by: Elsie

Bought new home on walk through builder and his assistant informed us neither granite or glass backsplash was sealed nor were the granite countertops in bathrooms.

If we wanted all sealed it would cost extra outside of closing. On walkthrough tops felt "dirty/gritty" and was told that would be taken care of with cleaning prior to sealing. Sealed and paid.

Still feel grainy and notice watermarks... clean right away but some areas still 3 weeks later show watermark.

Bad stone or poor job and would one be amiss in asking builder and his assistant to rectify this?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Not at all. Certainly, you should raise an objection with the builder. They promised they would take care of the grittiness.

But honestly, it is probably a bad slab that cannot be fixed by any surface treatment or repolishing.

Grit on new Caesarstone quartz bathroom countertops
by: Anonymous

Hi there,
I couldn't find this issue anywhere, and don't know if you can help me. We just remodeled our master bath and installed Caesarstone Bianco Drift countertops. They are beautiful and smooth, and we really love the look.

The problem is the grit, which reappears every day after I wipe down the countertops with water every night. At first I thought it was construction dust from the major remodel, so I cleaned thoroughly -- even vacuumed out the new bathroom exhaust fan housing. But the grit comes back each day.

Some of it is under a frosted glass tile backsplash; some is under bare wall, and the pony wall cap is in the center of the room away from the tile.

Have you ever heard of this grit problem with quartz? Could it be a "bad" slab of quartz? Thank you for your help.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Hmmm... odd. No we've never had a complaint of this issue with quartz. Could be from the backsplash, however, not likely based on your description.

You'll need to contact your installer and/or the manufacturer on this one. Could be a slab issue.

Still gritty
by: Lou

So..what is one to do? After a complete kitchen remodel and monitoring the grit for 3 months it's still evident?

What solutions does one have.... Do I live with this? Demand new granite.... Other than being a nuisance are there any other ways to deal with this? So frustrated!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

This is a tough one to deal with since no... there are no good solutions.

As the above article noted, if your fabricator picked out the slab (i.e. you chose a color from a sample vs. picking out the exact slab), then you certainly have a reason to complain to the fabricator and demand a replacement.

This can occur so it is "normal" in that sense, but gritty granite slabs should not be installed.

The fabricator would certainly know this was a bad slab prior to installation. But low-quality slabs are much cheaper for the fabricator to buy.

Typically, these slabs were poor quality and not resined (common and acceptable procedure for many slabs) to fill voids, bind the surface and strengthen the slab.

The only other option would be to consider having a permanent coating applied to the surface.

This will largely solve the grit problem, but careful which coating you choose because you will have to maintain the coating.

Outvoted Again
by: Anonymous

Wanted Formica counter tops. Got out voted by wife -- she opted for granite. Now the tops are always gritty. Thought you'd like a laugh.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Oh no! I'm not laughing. It's a bummer that this happens. But honestly, this usually occurs when the homeowner does not inspect and choose the exact slabs to be installed.

If recently installed with a tile backsplash, the grittiness could be due to grout flaking off from the backsplash.

Grit 9 Years After Install
by: Anonymous

We installed our granite counter tops abut 9 years ago. All of a sudden, I have noticed grit on them.

At first I thought it was dust from an open window.

We have new cleaning people and I wonder if it is due to the granite products they are using. Is this possible? Thanks for any help.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, I won't say it is impossible, but highly unlikely that your new cleaning crew is using products so potent that the surface integrity of the granite countertop has been destroyed.

Grit on granite countertops is a phenomena typically notice immediately after install. Either from grout particles from a new backsplash dropping onto the countertop or from the granite itself that was not resined or just a poor quality slab.

If your granite countertop was in perfect, smooth and shiny condition for 9 years, then the grit is likely originating from something else.

This is particularly true if the countertops still look smooth and shiny... no apparent damage. Investigate other sources like cabinets, ceiling, attic, etc.

Grit on New Bathroom Countertop
by: Anonymous

We too are having grit on out new bathroom granite countertops. We have cleaned and polished and it still comes back. Any suggestions?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Gritty granite countertops is almost never a cleaning or polishing issue.

Sometimes grit comes from the grout flaking a little on a newly installed backsplash over a countertop. Probably not the deal in your case... as it rarely is.

Usually, grit on granite countertops is because the installed slab is of a somewhat loose composition or poor quality that was never resined.

Such slabs can be fine if a resin is applied (to fill voids and help strengthen and bind the surface) at the factory.

As noted in the article above, you need to find a stone care pro that can apply a resin or look into having a permanent topical coating applied.

Most coatings come with their own maintenance and durability issues that make a surface coating undesirable for general use, but in some cases, it's the best solution to handle an annoying problem with no other viable solution... like grit constantly on the surface.

If you go this route, I'd test the coating on a small area first to see if it is effective.

Gritty granite
by: Anonymous

I have Costa rose granite. It is brand new and extremely gritty! Wish I never bought it.

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Gritty Granite

by Kathy
(Cheektowaga, NY)

QUESTION:

We recently had New Venetian Gold granite countertops installed in our bathroom. It feels very gritty.

I've cleaned it with SCI countertop spray cleaner and sealed it with SCI granite sealer.

It still feels gritty! Why and what can I do to get rid of it?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, you most likely have a low-grade granite slab and there's nothing you can do to stop the grittiness.

The gold-toned granites tend to have a greater occurrence of grittiness. Giallo Veneziano, Santa Cecilia, and similar granite colors more commonly have this grit issue.

That is not to say these colors should be avoided. Santa Cecilia is extremely popular and most slabs are perfectly fine.

What this does mean is that all stone buyers should pick out the specific slab they intend to purchase and not let a designer, stone salesman, or fabricator choose.

I wish I could tell you exactly why this happens, but I'm not a geologist. Essentially the slab is slowly decomposing simply because the integrity of the slab, the binding of minerals (which happened in the earth a gazillion years ago) is poor.

This slab was run through a giant granite polishing machine, but such slabs cannot be polished well. The surface just won't hold up to achieve that ultra smooth glossy finish.

Granite slabs are graded (and priced) based on such qualities and some shady dealers will buy this type of slab to increase profit margin.

If a fabricator picked out the slab for you, then you may have some recourse for replacement. Otherwise, not much you can do unless you want to apply some type of permanent topical coating like from Aldon, Kinloch, Clearstone or others.

Permanent topical coatings typically are not recommended for stone (doesn't let stone breath properly and can create additional maintenance and repair issues).

The manufacturers make it sound great... like they are a revolutionary improvement, etc.... but when all is considered it's better to leave stone alone as much as possible. However, coatings are making vast improvements in performance.

Coating maintenance is an important consideration. Once you apply a permanent coating you now have an acrylic or epoxy surface to maintain instead of a granite countertop.

However, in your case, it may be the best option.

Sealing won't affect this at all.... completely unrelated issue. Impregnating sealers like the one you applied work below the surface. They don't form an impenetrable shell or encapsulate the granite because again, that's not good for the stone.

A topical coating or resin, on the other hand, will form a film adhering to the surface and creating a physical barrier.

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Grit On My Granite Countertop

by Darrell Turner
(Blufftonn, S.C.)

QUESTION:

I don't know if I need a sealer or a good granite cleaner or both for my granite counter of 6 months old.

It appears my brown speckled granite counter always has grit on the surface within a day or so after I clean it. Not sure it is from the air or from the granite countertops. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Grit on granite countertops is usually due to a low-grade / poor quality slab that cannot be fully polished.

All the mineral grains of the granite will continue to flake off.

Your options are to replace the countertop or apply a permanent topical coating to bind the granite surface.

Replacement is expensive, but the better option from a long-term performance standpoint. Granite is far easier to maintain than a coating.

Coatings are not necessarily cheap, though. Certified technicians are typically needed to apply the best coatings and then it's the coating that must be maintained which has it's own drawbacks.

Grit on granite countertops will make you pull your hair out. It's disappointing to have this happen in the first place, but even worse is that none of the remedies is really desirable.

Comments for Grit On My Granite Countertop

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Disappointed with my gritty granite countertop
by: Anonymous

Why is everyone raving about granite countertops?

It is now going on 3 years since I had mine installed in my kitchen.

I have just finished cleaning my Kashmir white granite because it had turned grey. It was looking awful.

Now I am wondering how often I have to do this. And it is always gritty.

People lie all the time when there is a fad that includes updating with granite. I wish I had stuck with Formica. Never had a problem with that.

Granite is not what it is cracked up to be. Very disappointed in this project but cannot afford to replace this after only 3 years.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

I can completely understand how frustrating and disappointing this must be, although, your experience is pretty rare.

It may not seem that way since you read on this page from people that have had a problem or lots of problems with granite.

And that can happen, but again I'd bet it's only 1-2% (or probably less really) of granite countertops that have extreme or incurable issues as you describe and as detailed in the above article.

The vast majority of granite countertops look great, have excellent durability, performance, and last forever.

All considered granite is the best kitchen countertop material (with quartz a very close second) which is why granite has for decades now consistently been the most popular type of countertop.

So, it isn't a fad. It's just that, unfortunately, you got a bad slab that is gritty. This can happen as explained above but is not common at all.

And it's white granite. White granite is the most porous of all granite colors, will stain more easily, etc.

But you are correct that Formica and laminate countertops are a tremendous value and generally very durable.

But laminate, like any countertop surface, has its own set of problems and doesn't have the more luxurious or high-end look that most people desire these days.

Believe me... we hear both sides of the argument (people that either love or hate a particular countertop) for every countertop material out there.

Granite grit
by: Gene

I've read many comments and responses to the comments. You say that if a slab is picked out by the consumer that it's on the consumer.

I picked the slab that to me seemed just fine. The seller did not mention one issue that I might have with the slab.

How was I supposed to know that there might be a grit issue with the slab. Nothing was mentioned to me by the seller. How would I have recognized that there would be an issue?

I have had this issue since I had the granite installed, almost one year ago. Shouldn't the seller have known this was a slab that should not have been sold?

And if so isn't it the responsibility of the seller to take care of the problem? I can't think of how I was supposed to know this would be an issue when I was in the process of buying this granite.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

It's not that the entire blame is on you since you picked it out, but the seller and installer have an argument to hide behind.

The idea is that when you pick out the slab you can inspect it visually and run your hand over the surface and see if anything unusual is apparent.

Yes, the seller may not have known, but I imagine the fabricator that cut and installed the slab probably did learn that the slab was not in the best condition.

Anytime this occurs a fabricator should say something, but then he is thinking... "the customer picked out this slab..."

It's a bit tricky. The point is when the designer or fabricator picks the slab, then the consumer has a 100% legitimate argument that a bad slab is not acceptable and the installer must take full responsibility.

grit on slab surface
by: Anonymous

I have been installing and I am a journeyman Marble and Stone Mason since 1983, as well as a licensed Contractor for 14 years. I have never heard of this situation.

I would state that there is nothing else but slab deterioration that would cause such a situation.

I have a question...Is the polish when looking at light reflection even and still shining like a mirror?

If not, I would guess that the surface of the slab is crumbling.

Grit on countertop granite
by: Anonymous

I have grit on my counter top in the same way even several years later.

I am sure that it is mica or other stone coming out of the surface of the stone.

Hate it and wished I had chosen another product like Silestone or Zodiac. Installer is like the other responder and acts like this is a shock.

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

It's important to understand that this issue is very rare and easily avoidable by inspecting and picking out the exact slab for purchase yourself.

If you simply pick granite color from a sample then the installer is free to choose the slab and will choose the least expensive one.

Only a couple varieties of granite have this issue and even then it's only a small percentage of slabs.

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