Honed Absolute Black Granite
Countetops For Kitchen

Tips for Choosing Black Granite Countertops

Tips for Choosing Black Granite Countertops


I've been told that honed absolute black granite countertops stain very easily by some and that this is not true by others.

I really love the honed finish but before I make the plunge I would like to get advice from someone who truly knows.

Granite countertops are way too expensive to make a mistake choosing. I can settle for a polished finish if this would be the smarter choice. No problem. HELP!


Yes, there are "mysteries" surrounding "stains" and black granite countertops.... and truth to both opinions.

The reason you are getting two opposing answers is the result of a misapplication of the word "stain" in some instances, and also due to a few other variables associated with black granites in general.... let me explain.

Absolute Black granite may or may not stain depending on the following factors:

  1. The stain is not a "stain"

  2. It is "true" Absolute Black... or it is not

  3. The slab has been dyed or "doctored"

  4. A honed vs. polished finish

I'll explain the above, try to help clear up the debate and give you some pointers to keep in mind when choosing a black granite kitchen countertop.

Tips About Absolute Black Granite Countertops

etching stains on honed absolute black granite countertops

1. True AB granite will not stain.

Stains are dark spots from a substance absorbing into the stone. This does not occur with "true" AB granite, however, cleanable "surface" stains (see #4 below) can occur (as in photo >>>).

Trouble is actual and surface stains look the same.

Other types of spots, dull spots, white spots, water spots are often mistakenly considered a "stain".

Such spots are actually the result of an unrelated issue called "etching". This is a corrosive chemical process leaving dullish, white spots. (more on this below).

2. Not all slabs labeled "Absolute Black" are true AB granite slabs.

An unfortunate fact about the natural stone industry is that it's unregulated, so quarries and slab dealers around the world can name their stone whatever they like.

"Black" is such a popular granite countertop color and (true) "Absolute Black" has such a stellar reputation as one of the most low-maintenance, bullet-proof stones available that shady dealers can make a lot more money selling their "black-colored" granite as "Absolute Black".

Many stones are named by the specific quarry they originate from. However, there is such a wide variety of granite colors and patterns (many very similar) coming from various countries that often a slab is given a name of the closest relative.

Mis-naming or rather flexible naming is common. In general, this isn't really a fraudulent practice.

And like family, many members will bear a resemblance, but noticeably distinct. So, a Juparana Classico sitting in a warehouse in Miami will often look different (possibly a lot) than one in Dallas.

Actually, you'll see considerable variance among slabs of the same name in the same warehouse.

Buying granite countertops by name or sample is a mistake for these reasons. You need to view and pick actual slabs regardless of name.

Some in the industry try to capitalize on the well-known name "Absolute Black".

Of course, not all black granites have the same performance, so you may end up with an "Absolute Black" that really isn't.

In rare cases, black slabs contain enough calcite that they will etch like marble. Given the loose play with names, some supposed "Absolute Black" granites will naturally etch.

3. Watch out for "doctored" black granite.

Doctored black granite is a growing issue with all black granite countertops.

Shady granite factories where slabs are processed (not your local warehouse or fabricator) apply a dye to a gray granite to make it black and then sell it as "Absolute Black".

This dye (not the actual stone) will readily etch.

Again, many people mistake the whitish spots from "etching" for staining.

I know, I know.... "Etching, staining... whatever. A problem is a problem."

But now you know the difference and can better interpret other advice or information.

4. Honed vs. polished black granite cleaning

Polishing a granite countertop slab is what brings out the deep, rich color.

honed absolute black granite countertop with color enhancer vs natural color

A honed natural black granite is typically grayish... not dark

When it gets wet, or a color-enhancing sealer is applied, then it is black just like when polished, except not a shiny finish.

I'm not a physicist, but the deeper color is due to the way it reflects light when polished or wet.

Any liquid can darken a honed "black" (actually gray) granite countertop surface so it appears black. These are temporary surface stains.

Fingerprints are the most common culprit. Fingers are oily and leave a residue on the countertop.

So you'll have a bunch of black spots on your gray granite countertop.

Again, not true "stains" and can be cleaned off. But you will be constantly cleaning.

In truth, black granite is more work to keep "looking" clean even though they are the most stain-resistant.

In fact, many varieties are so dense they're essentially impossible to stain.

However, darker granite countertop colors, and especially blacks show crumbs, dust, fingerprints, streaks and all else on the surface.

This is due to the dark color, but also the lack of pattern.

Brown, green, gold or white granite countertops (like Uba Tuba granite, Baltic Brown, Santa Cecilia granite) have more color and pattern variety (movement) which serves to hide things, so the kitchen countertops usually "look" clean even when needing a wipe-down.

Regarding stains in stone, 99% of the time we are talking about embedded stains. Stuff that absorbs into the stone below the surface creating a dark spot.

That doesn't happen with Absolute Black, however, as you've learned there is still plenty of misunderstanding about it.

The remaining 1% is what causes all the confusion.
  • Oily surface stains usually from fingerprints that are easily cleaned.

  • Etch marks due to a doctored granite. Big problem requiring chemical stripping.

  • Etch marks due to a calcitic stone. Rare, but must have pro re-finish. (Usually it's doctoring to blame.)
These are the possibilities.

Sealing Honed Absolute Black Granite Countertops

Applying a granite sealer won't help you with these surface stains for two reasons:

  1. Impregnating sealers work below the surface to keep liquids from absorbing.

    Also, standard sealers will not change the gray color of a honed "black" stone. So, fingerprints will still show.

  2. Absolute black is too dense to effectively apply an impregnating sealer and may just cause streaks. Most black granites will not need sealing. Although when honed such stones often can take a sealer.

The solution to these "surface" stains and fingerprints is to apply a color-enhancing sealer that will darken a honed AB granite to make it look "wet".

This will eliminate the "surface" stain problem since the enhancer turns the countertop black. Thus, fingerprints and spills aren't noticeable.

Purely from a cleaning standpoint, a honed black granite countertop is more work... more wiping.

Applying a color-enhancing sealer will improve this situation with the added benefit of creating the flat "black" countertop look that is a favorite kitchen design style.

True... "gray" is gaining popularity and quickly becoming the new "black" such that a grayish honed AB countertop is very stylish.

But obviously... I'd think twice about leaving it gray.

Polished absolute black countertops require the least maintenance. It will still require extra wiping compared to other granite countertop colors, but you'll have the most bullet-proof, low-maintenance stone you can buy period.

You won't need to seal it and can't stain it. Just clean and maintain it with a good Granite Countertop & Marble Cleaning spray and it will look fantastic forever.

Tips for Buying Black Granite Countertops

Before you buy any black granite slab, make sure you are not getting a "doctored" slab or a stone that will etch.

Black granites that etch (become dull or leave water spots and glass rings from exposure to acid) have been doctored or (rarely) a stone that naturally etches due to traces of calcite.

Whatever the reason may be.... you don't want a granite slab that etches.

A true Absolute Black granite countertop will not etch whether honed or polished. So, be sure to perform the lemon juice test on a sample chipped off the exact slab you wish to buy.

It should not leave any spot at all. If it does, find another slab that doesn't. Install. Be happy.

Comments for Honed Absolute Black Granite
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Adding color sealer after oil sealer?
by: Anonymous

An absolute black countertop will be installed in my kitchen two days from now. I called the company today and learned that the installers plan to seal with an oil-based product, "Stonetech BulletProof Sealer" -

I found your article this morning and now I'm panicked and confused!

Is it possible to apply the color-enhancing sealer AFTER the oil sealer has been applied?

Or should I ask the installers to hold off using their sealer, purchase the color-enhancing sealer, and apply it myself?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

That sealer is not an "oil-based" sealer. It is a "water-based" sealer that will help protect against oil and water stains.

I assume they are applying it because the Absolute Black granite is honed.

If it is polished, it probably doesn't need a sealer as true AB granite is pretty dense and very stain-resistant naturally without a sealer.

Also, I assume the granite has a honed finish since you want to apply a color-enhancer. A color-enhancing sealer will darken the color and give the surface a wet-look sheen.

It won't be shiny like a polished finish, but it will turn the grayish color or honed black granite to a more true black.

First, apply the color-enhancer sealer before a standard impregnating sealer.

If you apply the impregnating sealer first, then the enhancer sealer won't absorb.

Also, with honed Absolute Black granite you may only need to apply the color-enhancing sealer.

The impregnating sealer may not be needed if the enhancer sealer keeps liquids from absorbing.

Typically a color-enhancing sealer is used primarily to darken the color and not so much for the "sealing" properties to protect against stains.

It does have sealing properties, but not as robust as most impregnating sealers.

However, again, black granite is not as absorbent as lighter granites and doesn't require sealing on a polished finish.

On a honed finish... yes sealing can be beneficial. And applying a color-enhancer will also help hide fingerprints and smudges, etc. that are a problem on all honed, matte black or dark countertops.

Will enhancer mask etch marks?
by: Tammy from Texas

AB granite did not begin to etch until 1-2 years after install. Probably because new counters were babied initially.

Then we got lazy and did not wipe acidic liquids off as quickly as we should have.

Mention of using an enhancer is made in earlier comments. Will this work to mask or blend the etch marks in original appearance?

Our AB Granite was purchased from DAL Tile in Fort Worth, Texas. They are supposed to be a reputable supplier. Hopefully, I wasn't sold a "DOCTORED" slab.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Applying a color-enhancer to black granite countertops can help to hide etch marks, but note that the enhancer will darken the non-etched areas as well, so the relative color difference will remain.

The etch marks just won't be as stark or apparent. You could try applying the enhancer to the etch marks only, but there is no telling what the end result will look like.

You many not be able to match the surrounding color.

And it is weird that the etching didn't start happening until 1-2 years after installation.

If it is a doctored slab you'd usually see etching right away. Even if you babied the countertops at first it is nearly impossible to keep acids off a kitchen countertop.

And doctored slabs sometimes pass through the hands of reputable dealers and installers without them really knowing.

It could also be an issue with a resin that may have been applied. Possibly wearing down some and now reacting with acids. Hard to say for sure.

You didn't say if the finish is honed or polished. But a color-enhancer will have much less effect on a polished finish and it will be more difficult to absorb.

So, it won't darken the polished areas much but it would darken the etched areas.

On a honed finish, the color-enhancer will darken the entire surface quite a bit but it won't darken the etch marks more unless more enhancer is applied to those areas.

Honestly, black granite etching is always a difficult issue to diagnose and fix.

Another option to try is repolishing the etched areas with the Granite Polishing Kit. Of course, only if it currently has a polished finish.

I can't guarantee that this would work. You should also consider having a stone restoration pro come take a look. Possibly refinishing the entire countertop is what is needed.

Absolute Black granite honed installed yesterday
by: Anonymous

I had Absolute Black granite honed, or what I'm hoping is AB, installed yesterday.

The installer wiped it down with acetone afterward and it looked great. I want to keep it gray so no product was applied.

I offered the installers water and they put their glasses on the countertop when finished.

I did not remove the glasses until this morning. Both left dark rings on the countertop. I wiped with acetone and the rings are still there.

I did the lemon juice test on the plug cut out for the faucet and after washing it off there is no spot remaining.

Please let me know your thoughts.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Dark spots or rings on granite countertops or any natural stone are "stains". A stain in where a liquid has absorbed into the stone.

Not all spots on granite are "stains". Some spots can be almost clear or chalky. These are not stains. However, any dark spot is a true stain.

Thus, the condensation from the glass of water dripped down to the granite surface and absorbed into the granite leaving a dark spot or ring.

However, since the liquid is water, it will evaporate and the "stain" will disappear.

If the liquid was oil, or say a colored beverage like wine or coffee, then the dark spot would remain even after the liquid had evaporated.

But pure water will not leave a stain. It will darken the surface and stain temporarily but then evaporate without leaving a trace as explained above.

Cloudy white marks on honed black granite
by: Anonymous

Hi, We inherited what I think are honed black granite countertops in our kitchen. They have looked great for 8 years.

Recently, I have started to notice white cloudy marks mostly around sinks or where flower arrangements have been (i.e.places that come in consistent contact with water).

We are on well water which makes me wonder if it is an increased mineral level of something in the water. Iron for example?

We have cleaned them over the years with some combination of clorox wipes, windex, watered down pine sol and good old fashioned yellow sponge.

Have we worn off a sealant?

Should I use a color enhanced sealer and then an impregnating sealer?

Do I need a professional to come in and if so, how do I find one that knows what he/she is doing?


==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Almost certainly this is a hard water issue. Well water often has a high mineral content and can lead to hard water mineral deposits and build-up around sinks and faucets and in the shower.

Now, it's kind of strange that this seems to have just started after 8 years without any problem. I can't explain that except to suggest that possibly something has changed in your well.

Use the Hard Water and Soap Film Cleaner to clean off the mineral deposits.

It's not likely to be a "doctoring" issue where something acidic reacts with the dye applied to the granite. That is an issue on "polished" black granite but not on honed black granite.

However, if the cloudy blotches remain after a few cleanings with the Hard Water Remover, then it is some type of etching issue.

Well water can be acidic and constant exposure to acids may have an etching effect even on granite that doesn't normally etch.

It's hard to say exactly why this happens. It can be a variety of reason as explained by the article above.

But it is much more prevalent on honed black granite or doctored black granite than on any other granite color.

It could be that you have a "mutt" stone that contains some calcite or other reactive element.

Try the hard water cleaner mentioned above first. Don't use CLR or some other common brand of mineral cleaner as these are highly acidic and should not be used on or around natural stone.

Rustic Absolute Black Granite Vanity Water Stains
by: Anonymous

I have a James Martin Rustic Absolute Black counter in my bathroom. There are constant water stains around the faucets (looks like it's wet but it's dry).

And if anything gets on it (toothpaste, etc.) and you try to remove rubbing with water it doesn't come out.

They say it's honed but it's a rough surface (hence the rustic). It's beautiful but impossible in a bathroom.

Should I try the color enhancer you've mentioned? Will this turn it 'black' - it's currently that gray'ish color.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

That you can't clean toothpaste or whatever off the surface is strange. Not sure if you mean it "stains" it somehow or you literally cannot wipe the actual toothpaste off the surface.

It may be absorbing water around the faucet and, although, it could feel dry will still look dark until the water in the stone evaporates.

Sealing with the Color-Enhancer will darken the surface and help with smudges so not seen as easily. It will help prevent water absorption a bit as well.

AB Honed Granite and Battery Acid
by: Confused

Will AA battery acid etch a true honed ABGranite countertop?

Also, I have AB honed countertops and the underneath part of the countertop that you cannot see is grey. I thought Absolute Black granite was black all over.

Makes me think I don’t have true absolute black. I wonder if it has been dyed black.

The countertop looks to me like It is slightly fading in places depending on how light shines on it. I often use a cleaner the granite company gave me to use. I use water and dish washing liquid to wipe and clean daily.

I am just so confused about absolute black granite in general! So many differing "facts" about this particular type of granite, for example, one expert said it does not have to be sealed and another source said it is very porous and needs resealing about every 6 months!!!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Battery acid may etch granite. I can't say for sure only because I'm not sure what the pH of the acid is. But potent acids with low pH can etch granite.

Absolute black granite is a very dense granite and usually does not need sealing. It's too dense to absorb a sealer.

However, I always recommend testing with a puddle of water on the surface to see if it absorbs in 15 minutes or less. If so, then you could apply a sealer.

Sealing black granite is usually only needed when it has a honed finish, but even then often not. Test it. Most Absolute black granite will not need sealing.

And only a handful of granite countertops need sealing every 6 months. Mostly white granite. That "sealing every 6 months" is bogus especially for black granite. This "advice" gets passed around so much even some industry people think it's true.

The vast majority of granite countertops will need sealing every 1-3 years depending on the quality of the sealer, etc. But many will go 5 years without sealing and some colors never need sealing.

The gray underside of the AB granite slab... This may be normal. Absolute black granite is not black-black in it's raw state. It is a bit grayish.

It is the finishing process that creates the black. When the surface is smoothed, honed, and then polished it will appear more black. This is a matter of physics and reflection of light.

Same thing happens when it gets wet. Or when a road gets wet... it looks darker.

However, doctoring black granite is a real issue, so it may be doctored. This is done when polishing a gray slab doesn't make it black enough, and thus, not as desirable or expensive.

If so, then you'd likely have a lot of gray marks from common acids like juice, etc. etching the dye.

If only battery acid has caused a problem, well, it could be real AB granite that just got etched from a strong acid.

White Blotches - Veining?
by: Anonymous

My new honed black granite countertop looks blotchy with whitish color. They are telling me it is veining?

There are also blemishes which look like they touched it with glue or something while installing.

Shop could not clean it off. I wish I could send you a pic and get another opinion.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Black granite rarely has veins and should not have whitish blotchy spots either.

If it is a variety with veins, then you would have seen them when picking out the granite. And they are very obviously part of the stone.

This is the key to determine... is what you are seeing part of the natural pattern or does it look like random spot or blemish.

Now granite can have a random anomaly in the pattern, but this not common with black granites either.

What is a problem with black granite is doctoring. That is applying a black dye to the granite. This dye can cause problems like etching (which looks like chalky dull spots).

I'd say this is the most likely issue. Your installer may not even know that it is a doctored granite. Not easy to tell. Usually you find out after the countertop is installed.

The blemishes could be man-made damage that they tried to repair. If you are not satisfied, then don't pay until you work something out... either a discount which doesn't help fix the problem, or replacement.

Can I hone my polished Absolute Black granite?
by: Phil

We just got polished Absolute Black installed, and my wife is concerned with the amount of daily cleaning that will be necessary regarding watermarks, crumbs, and stuff.

She also doesn't like the mirror reflection as it makes the countertop look twice as cluttered.

Is there a way I can sand/polish it back to a matte or honed finish?

She was not with me when I picked out the slab. I almost went for the honed slab they had sitting there, but was too cowardly to make that big of a decision without her--she's definitely the design expert in the family!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Yes, you can hone your polished Absolute Black granite countertop. It will require a stone professional to refinish the granite into a "honed" finish.

This will be messy and expensive, but it can be done.

However, note that a honed black granite can often show fingerprints and other smudges more readily than a polished finish.

I suggest you go buy a tile of honed Absolute Black granite and test it out in your kitchen first.

Leathered Absolute Black Granite Wet Look
by: Anonymous

I purchased absolute black granite countertops in a leathered finish for my kitchen last fall.

I thought I had made a mistake in choosing them because of marks left from oily handprints and water.

I looked into getting a 'wet look' sealer but found it to be toxic smelly stinky and took hours to dry. Then I thought...coconut oil.

I applied it with my bare hands and rubbed it into the surface well, dried off the excess with a dry rag. The countertops were slightly greasy for about 24 hours but after eight months I still have beautiful granite countertops that repel water, shown no handprints and have a beautiful slight sheen to them. I couldn't be happier with the end result.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Yes, oiling is commonly used to darken soapstone countertops. Easy-to-apply and certainly effective to deepen the color, give a bit of the "wet look" and hide those pesky fingerprints on black granite countertops.

The drawback is that coconut oil (or any other oil) will help prevent only water stains. It won't prevent oil stains.

And the granite will typically need re-oiling to maintain the look where a color-enhancing sealer is usually a one-time application and will help protect against both oil and water stains.

True, a sealer will have some fumes upon application, however, these will quickly dissipate as the sealer cures. Once cured the sealer is completely inert and non-toxic (will not react with or contaminate food or drink).

Pros and cons to both for sure.

A color-enhancing sealer tends to be the more popular choice for creating the wet look simply because it is basically permanent (doesn't need frequent re-application) and offers broader stain protection.

Absolutely Love My Absolute Black Granite
by: Anonymous

I have polished absolute black granite countertops and I love them.

I am not the neatest of cooks and even use the island to roll out dough, set hot pots and pans right out of the oven...and surely have spilled any number of both acidic and oily products on them. I just clean up either with a warm soapy dish cloth or Windex...then wipe back over to avoid streaking....holds up better than my glass top table.

It has been 16 years now and no scratches or stains...I wouldn't dream of using a sealer on them and have noticed that some granite cleaners leave a waxy residue.

My daughter went for the more aged leather look...also AB...but does not have the issues I have read here.

I question the abilities of installers leaving tape marks on the product. If it is a known issue...they obviously need to find another method of masking their seams.

Enhancer, Sealer and Method
by: SnowDorr

I just had honed absolute black granite counter tops installed. I am fighting with water and fingerprint marks every day. Two questions:

Is the color enhancer also a sealer? Does it enhance the color AND seal the counter tops or do I need to seal the counter tops with a different product as well?

I've read that Method Cleaner after time will create a patina look and help with the fingerprint marks. If I went with the Method Cleaner, should I forgo the color enhancer?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Yes, black granite countertops look great except they do show dust, debris and fingerprints far more readily than other colors. This is especially true with a honed black granite.

The way to solve (or dramatically minimize) the fingerprint issue is to apply a Color-Enhancing Sealer (see links on this page).

The Color-Enhancing sealer will darken the granite so it is more black than gray and it will give it a bit of sheen. It is called the "wet look" so you can get an idea what it will look like by wiping down the countertop with a lot of water.

This serves to better hide fingerprints and other spots until they can be wiped up.

The method is to apply the Color-Enhancer first and then a standard impregnating stone sealer (if needed) second. The Color-Enhancer Sealer does have some sealing properties but it is not as robust as a standard sealer.

However, black granite is naturally stain-resistant and rarely needs a sealer, so applying just the Color-Enhancer is probably sufficient on black granite countertops.

Honed Black Granite
by: Anonymous

A few days ago I had honed absolute black granite countertops installed. Aside from the constant fingerprints and rings left from even the simplest water glass; now I'm seeing these gray marks that look like pencil lines on the countertops.

I thought granite was so dense they didn't scratch. My installer (mind you after installation) tells me it's very delicate and scratches easily, like marble.

Originally I wanted to put in Carrera marble but was told that would be a disaster so I went with the honed, black granite instead.

Should honed AB Granite scratch/leave pencil like marks?!?! Frustrated. My island is huge (9' x 6') and took 9 guys to install...the idea of having to pull it out if it's the wrong/fake product is a nightmare.

Please advise on pencil like marks. Should putting a simple pair of keys on the counter leave a scratch mark?

Had I known this product was so temperamental I would have never had it installed. So disappointing to spend so much money and not be happy. Advice?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Granite is not delicate like marble. And no, you should not be getting scratches. I've no clue what is happening with the "pencil marks".

Fingerprints are a problem with black surfaces. They show up real easy. Applying a color-enhancing sealer will minimize the visibility of fingerprints, but it will also darken the color.

The other issue is that a lot of black granite slabs being sold as "Absolute Black" are not true AB granite (which is nearly indestructible).

Some black granites are of dubious quality. Still should not really scratch, but the rings indicate etching. It could be something on the granite (sealer residue) causing these issues as well.

Leathered AB with enhancer/sealer showing marks
by: calllee

I just installed leathered absolute black counters in my kitchen. The installer applied an enhancer/sealer and nothing was placed on the counter for close to a week.

The first day of use, a glass created an etch mark which will not come out.

After discovering that, a close inspection reveals wear marks in many places where it was leaned on or a bag was placed on it. Suggestions?

====== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, etch marks on black granite countertops has several potential causes. The article above discusses problems sometimes encountered with black granite.

One issue (doctoring) is a problem only on polished black granite, so can rule that out.

The wear and pressure marks are interesting. This is more suggestive that the sealer is involved.

You could strip the sealer (soak and scrub several times with acetone) in a small area and then test for acid sensitivity using lemon juice.

If no etching after the sealer is stripped, then it's the sealer. If it does etch, then it's the granite and it's likely a mutt stone acid-sensitive granite and not true Absolute Black granite.

Absolute black granite lemon juice test
by: Anonymous

How long should i leave the lemon juice on the slab sample? I'm looking to get a slab for my shop, and not really looking to run into these issues.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Etching begins immediately upon contact, so you don't need to leave on very long. Just to make sure you get a good test, leave on for 4 or 5 minutes or until you can see the surface lighten from etching.

If you are using lemon juice to test absorption / staining as well as etching, then you need to leave it on until you see the stone darken. Can use water for the "stain" test if you like.

Color problems new leathered absolute black granite countertops
by: Jay

We just recently had new leathered absolute black granite countertops installed in our remodeled kitchen, and we are having major problems.

When they installed the countertops, the fabricator/installer wiped them down with acetone and then sealed them.

Shortly thereafter, we noticed some residue near the edges from tape.

Additional there was a lot of "movement" (varying shades of gray) that we never noticed when we selected the slabs.

There were also some light gray stains from rags or something else placed on the counters when the tile person did the backsplashes.

The installer came back a few weeks later, cleaned the countertops with acetone and then used an enhancer (Microseal Color Enhancer & Sealer 926) to darken the granite, hide the light gray stains, reduce the "movement" and give the counters a darker "wet" look.

He said don't touch them for 24 hours and then we could use the kitchen normally. We waited nearly 36 hours and they looked great.

The thing is, once we started using them we were noticing that even light to moderate rubbing would remove that dark "wet" sheen and leave us with a dull lighter grayish spot where we rubbed.

It's as though the rubbing is taking off the enhancer (not sure if that's what is happening, but it kind of looks like that). Our counters are now dark from the enhancer but have gray smudges all over and it looks horrible.

At this point, we have no idea what to do. The reason we selected these slabs was because they were so clean and uniform in color and now they are totally the opposite. What can we do?

Is our granite too dense to take the enhancer? Did he not use the right enhancer? or perhaps he didn't strip off the first sealer well enough? Should we strip them again with acetone and use a different enhancer?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

It may be that the color-enhancer sealer did not absorb well and rubbing is taking off the residue. It should not have been left to dry. Proper sealer application is to allow the stone to thoroughly absorb the sealer, but then wipe off all residue until completely dry.

However, the gray marks indicate another issue. Granite does not etch easily and authentic Absolute Black granite is very durable.

However, black granites are too often "doctored" with a dye to make grayish stones more black. This may be the reason for all the weird problems. The above article explains "doctoring" and links to additional information under the "3. Watch out for "doctored" black granite" section.

Applying color enhancer to honed granite
by: Anonymous

Is applying the Color Enhancer to honed granite counter tops a DIY project or a job for the pros?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

You can apply a color-enhancing sealer to honed granite, marble or any other stone yourself no problem. It's about as difficult as painting a wall. Go for it.

Clarification - Tape Stain
by: SL

What it did leave was a dark stain the entire width and length of the tape on both sides of the seams, not only on the countertop, but also on the backsplash. I can't get it off.

Also, I was wondering if there was any type of silicone for the caulking of the backsplash to the countertop that was not so shiny?

It looks like there is a white line around the entire perimeter of the countertop when the light hits the silicone.

If the countertop was not honed, it wouldn't be a problem but since it is, to me, it looks awful and sticks out like a sore thumb.

Is there not a black, mat silicone out there that could be used instead? Thank you and sorry I was not more clear on my concerns.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Dark spots on granite countertops are typically stains caused by something absorbing into the stone. It may be that the tape residue did absorb causing a stain.

To remove a stain use the "Stain Remover Poultice Powder" linked on this page below.

Matte finish caulks do exist. You'll have to check your local store or possibly order online.

Absolute Black honed question
by: SL

I had Absolute Black honed installed yesterday. After reading your page, I'm wondering if I have a doctored version.

The installer used blue tape against the edges of the seams to keep the glue from damaging the surface - and now I have imprints of the tape left on either side of the seams.

I've been scrubbing, but they are still there. Also, while most of it looks great, there are some black stains and an area that looks lighter and does not have the same finish look.

After reading about etching, that's exactly what it looks like. I am sealing it myself and I have sealed the piece with the lighter area and the "stains." Am I out of luck now?

Also, the mat black looks great, but he used a clear, shiny silicone sealant for the back splash. So now I have this shiny line around the perimeter of my countertop that almost looks white when the light hits it.

Is there something else that can be used that isn't so shiny? Thank you so much. I am going to worry about this all weekend!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Use acetone or mineral spirits to remove the tape residue. Both are commonly used to clean all gunk off newly installed granite countertops.

Hard to say from your description about stains and/or etching if you have a doctored slab or not. You could send in some photos via our
Contact Us form (click the link at very bottom of any page) and we could better answer this question.

A standard impregnating stone sealer will not change the look or finish of the stone. However, a "color-enhancing" sealer will darken the color and give it a bit of a sheen.

Other types of coatings may create a shiny film on the surface. Such topical coatings are not recommended in most cases since you must maintain the coating and not the stone. Also, they don't allow the stone to breath properly in some cases and tend to detract from the natural look of the stone.

Try removing the coating with acetone or mineral spirits if you don't like it.

brown pock marks in honed absolute black counter
by: Anonymous

Our absolute black honed granite countertop has just been installed and it has small, random brown "pock" marks on it - including two on edges that look like small chips.

Our "builder" says that this may be typical of the product, but I have never seen or read about this problem when researching the product.

Is it possible that I have been sold a "second" or knock-off?

Thank you for your great site!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

What you describe sounds unusual... particularly the "brown" part.

All granite can develop pits. Absolute black granite doesn't often have a pit problem, but still possible.

You can fill pits with the Granite Pit Repair Kits.

Or you may want to send us photos of the pock marks and we can diagnose the issue and solution.

New AB Countertops don't look clean
by: Anonymous

Hi! We just moved into our new home that has Absolute Black honed granite countertops. It has never looked "clean" even though the builders supposedly cleaned it before we moved in.

We've cleaned it off with soap and water but does not look clean. I would like to seal it with color enhancer to cut back on the fingerprint stains, etc., but wondered if I should use a special cleaner first or acetone before applying this? Any help would be so appreciated!

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Yeah, many people love the look of honed black granite countertops, but they do tend to show dust, grease and smudges much more than other granite colors / patterns.

Applying the Color-Enhancer Sealer is a good idea as it will darken the surface and give it a bit of sheen, which will help a lot to hide smudges and such.

Prior to sealing the granite just clean it with acetone. Solvents like acetone will not damage stone at all and will remove all gunk.

Ring prior to sealing
by: Anonymous

I went into our new home to seal our countertops. The honed absolute black has a semi-circular ring from a careless subcontractor.

Is it permanent? Is there anyway that I can fix it? I didn't apply the sealer because I was (A) angry and (B) wanted to find a resolution.

I haven't a clue as to what was placed on the counter but it is black vs the grey of the hone. Would love recommendation on what to do!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

If the granite countertops are grey and the ring is black (thus darker), then you have a stain where something has absorbed into the countertop.

You'll need to use the Granite & Marble Stain Removal product to remove the stain before sealing the granite countertops.

Possibly it is something on the countertops... like paint for instance, so you may try cleaning with acetone first. Acetone won't harm the granite at all.

Doctored? Or Sealer Haze?
by: Sue

Great info on this site, thank you! Question: I just installed a [supposedly] AB honed granite in my kitchen.

The backsplash was just installed and whatever the tile setter used to wipe the counters clean have left hazy/white-ish sponge streaks throughout the countertop that I have been unable to remove.

I've tried soap and water, a granite cleaner (and some serious elbow grease)... nothing appears to be working. After all my e-research, I'm wondering if this is because there is calcite in the stone and it is reacting to something acidic that was on his sponge or if this slab may have been doctored?

I tried the lemon juice and oil tests but they weren't really conclusive (both seemed to clean up just fine).

What is the best way to treat this? Any insight would be incredibly appreciated. I haven't even used this kitchen yet and I'm concerned I just made a massively expensive mistake.
Please help! Thanks!

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

If you performed the lemon juice test and it did not leave a dull, whitish spot then you don't have doctored granite. If you did, the dye coating would have been etched by the acids in the lemon juice leaving the spot.

Same deal if your Absolute Black had some calcite in it, which does occur, but rarely.

My guess would be that the installer applied a sealer to the backsplash and sealer residue was spilled and/or wiped on the black granite.

Absolute Black is very dense and typically won't absorb a sealer. If a sealer is applied it may leave hazy streaks if left to dry and/or not wiped up well enough.

Try removing the hazy residue with acetone and a nylon pad or soft-bristle brush.

stains sealed into my countertops and shiny edges that do not match the matte/honed top finish
by: Anonymous

I am very unhappy with my Absolute black honed granite counter tops (sealed only, not aged), basically there are 2 main problems with it:

1) the edges are shiny and the tops are a matte/honed finish ... I was told the person who installed them used too high a grade to sand the beveled edges so that is why they are shiny and there is no fix for it

2) there are obvious black streaks and fingerprints on the matte/honed surface that I was told was caused by the fact that the product was sealed, but not cleaned prior to being sealed so finger prints and markings were left on the surface, then sealed over.

I was also told that the material used to complete the seams bleed onto the surface of the counter and were sealed over. And there are areas where the stone was sealed with tape left “over the seams” as you can clearly see the tape marks left on the surface in which will not come off

I was told that the only way to fix this is to have the surfaces sanded down by hand to take off the seal and then to age and seal the granite ... is this the only solution?

I have read about chemicals that can be used to strip off the sealer .... What are my options and what would you advise? I have also been advised to just cut my losses and have the granite replaced as sanding down the surface will surely leave "swirls" in the surface.

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Wow... what a mess. First, I wouldn't employ the installer for the fix.

The edges can be re-surfaced to a honed finish that matches the top. So, yes this can be fixed.

If sealed with a typical impregnating stone sealer, then none of the spots or streaks was "sealed in". Stone sealer do not form a film over the surface.

But that's not to say that some type of staining occurred. This may be able to be removed. Just need someone that knows stone care.

Black honed granite is the worst for showing finger prints, oil smudges, dust and debris of all type. You can apply an enhancer sealer to help hide these, but that will change the color and look of the granite.

Streaks are likely from the sealer itself being left to dry on the surface or just not applied correctly. A sealer and any surface gunk can usually be removed with acetone or methylene chloride.

Same with the tape residue. Use a solvent to remove.

Leathered absolute black granite
by: Anonymous

I love the look and feel of the leathered granite counters but I can't keep it spot free.

If I drip water of any kind it doesn't dry for hours even if I towel dry it.

My husband sat a bag of greasy food on it and I have scrubbed with soap and water many times but the grease slick still shows.

The installer sealed it but I am wondering if the stone enhancer would help. Any experience using it on the leathered finish? Or any other suggestion?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Black granite is typically very stain-resistant (stain-proof in many cases), but fingerprints, grease and other smudges tend to show much more than on other colors.

Also, a leathered finish is more porous and absorbent than a polished finish. Grinding the surface to a shiny polish closes down the pores.

A color-enhancing stone sealer will make smudges and such less visible.

The Enhancer - Sealer will darken the color and give it a bit of sheen like when wet. This serves to hide fingerprints, etc. very well. The "leathered" finish makes no difference. The color-enhancer will work the same as on a honed or tumbled surface.

However, it may also be that your black granite is not sealed well or completely.

You have a grease stain. Well, you can't scrub it away because it is in the granite below the surface.

To remove this stain follow instructions in the How to Remover Stains in Granite & Marble e-book.

If water is absorbing (creating dark spots) that don't go away until the water evaporates, then likely need to apply more sealer.

A sealer must be applied in repeated coats until the surface is actually "sealed". You can't just spray on or wipe on and figure it is sealed.

Perform the sealing water test in several places to determine how absorbent you countertop is currently and if it needs sealing.

Also, perform this test in between coats of sealer to know when sealed effectively.

You can send us an email via the Contact Us form if you have further questions about product use, choice and ordering.


Absolute black leathered counter top - India
by: Anonymous

Love the look. Three questions:

1) How do I remove the installer's putty from the surface surrounding the seam?

2) How do I remove the excess silicone near the kitchen backsplash area?

3) How do I get the countertop edges to basically match the sheen of the counter top? The edges are "duller" (dusty grayish) than the top.

=== Countertop Specialty comment:

Removing excess countertop seam filler and/or silicone should have been done by your installer. Without seeing or knowing exactly what's on the surface I can't advise what may be necessary.

However, the first thing to try is cleaning with acetone. This solvent won't harm your granite countertops at all, but should remove any gunk left on the surface.

For the silicone... well, if it has cured, then the best option is to cut away excess with a razor... or just leave it... not sure how bad it really looks.

Regarding the edges... the difference in color is because the surface was leathered, but the edges were likely just honed. You'll need to treat the edges with a Stone Color-Enhancer / Sealer.

In the Stone Care Center, most products are available for global shipping.

The "Enhancer" will darken the color and give it a slight sheen like when wet. This will help match the color/sheen of the countertop edge with the top surface.

Absolute black granite behavior
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the clarifications and distinctions. It is true that various sealers have made no difference to the behavior of our absolute black granite. It is what it is.

We have an absolute black honed granite kitchen counter. My husband cleans with Windex and it looks horrible, streaky, messy. I wipe with dish soap on a scrubby then wipe suds off with a 'bar towel' (English pub product, just a small towel really). Looks great.

I have carelessly done DIY projects sawing metallic objects on it, creating shiny scratches - enough that the counter and my marriage seemed ruined ! But no panic, they go away after a few days of cooking and cleaning, and still married.

My 1000sq ft of absolute black honed floor tile is the bug bear. Shows water drops after washing. But I guess I just answered my own question. Try wiping it with a towel after washing.

borde for tiles
by: Anonymous

I wish to use honed absolute black granite for border flooring

Absolute Black
by: Anonymous

We have absolute black honed granite and it has been fine for 2 years but now has etched places and rings and smears. It was sealed with a color enhancer but before that may have had a silicone sealer on it. What should we do to get it back black and even toned?


That's a tough one. If no problems until recently then not likely a doctoring issue and really should not be an issue with the sealer.

Call in your installer to take a look. You may need to re-hone or possibly do a acid wash, but again this one will require inspection.

by: Anonymous

We installed absolute black with a honed finish. The installers didn't use a seler they used and enhacer. The color is now black and we wanted the graish color. Is there any way they can remove the enhancer ?


Possibly, but not guaranteed. Need to strip it using methylene chloride.

The other option would be to re-hone the surface.

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