Matching Different Granite Slab Colors

QUESTION:

I recently got 3 slabs of tropical brown prefabbed granite for kitchen countertops.


We didn't notice that one granite countertop slab was actually lighter in color until they were installed.

The store where we purchased it sold us a "color enhancer/sealer" and said that would bring the colors closer together, and seal it. Well, after I applied it I read the label and it said "not for polished" granite.

So, I called him back, he wasn't aware it wasn't for polished granite. He called the maker of the sealer, and they said it wouldn't hurt the granite, but it wouldn't seal it either.

I needed a different type of sealer. When the product was first applied, it appeared that the color was going to match up, but after several days it is back to the original lighter shade.

Do you know if I can do anything to bring the granite countertop slab colors closer to matching and what sealer will actually penetrate polished granite?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

ANSWER:

Yes, you can try to match different color granite slabs by applying a product like the Color-Enhancing Stone Sealer or the Tenax Ager which is most effective on polished surfaces.

However, it is a bit of a crap shoot since you cannot predict the exact color that will result. Meaning that application of coloring treatments is not an exact science so you may get close to a match but never be able to exactly match one slab to the other.

My recommendation is to have them rip it out and do a better job matching the slabs!

Now, since granite is natural every slab is unique and as you've seen even the exact same variety can vary in color.... but really....

Usually it is not a problem to find and match two or three slabs.

The rub is if you personally chose these exact three slabs prior to installation. If you did and didn't notice the difference in color, then of course it's on you except your salesperson should have pointed this out.

So honestly, the more I think about it... I'd raise hell with
them. First, they don't make sure you have matching slabs and then they make you buy a product that has no effect so you can try and cover their mistake for them. No way.

Unless there are some weird extenuating circumstances here that make it unlikely for you to protest, I think they have to take some responsibility.

You spent way to much on this granite countertop job to have to patch it up from the get go.

You said you had them "pre-fabbed." Not sure what you mean. All slabs are fabricated before they arrive at your house.

Anyway, as for "color-enhancing sealers"... they are designed to darken and give that "wet look" to UN-polished stones.

Raw stone is dull. Look at your slab under the edges and you'll see. You can see colors, but they often look dusty or drab. Polishing changes the reflectivity of the stone so what once looked dull suddenly is very vibrant and shiny.

And that is what enhancers do too.

In other words, polished granite countertops already have the "wet look" so applying an "enhancer" really has no effect.

Now some companies make topical coatings (not impregnating sealers) that can change the look, or increase the gloss, but they can be unpredictable and may not change the color.

But really, if you are in a position to do so, you should get the job re-done. Helping you pick out and match the granite countertop slabs is their job.

At the very least they can take the left overs from the two slabs that match and use those to find a better candidate for the third slab. Rip out and replace the third/non-matching slab.

Plus Tropical Brown granite is not typically real absorbent and could be difficult to seal or use get an enhancer to absorb enough.

I know this is not an entirely satisfying answer if you are stuck with the enhancer route, however this situation doesn't really have a good or proven solution. Need to take it case by case.

I'd be curious to know if it works or what happens. Let me know via the comments link at the bottom.

Comments for Matching Different Granite Slab Colors

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Wrong Granite - Fantasy Brown Granite
by: Anonymous

We are building a house. We chose fantasy brown granite countertops, but what we got is a different color than what we chose in the beginning.

Is it true that fantasy brown granite countertops come in different patterns?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

The short answer is yes... each slab of Fantasy Brown can have a different pattern with a different mix of colors or different overall hue.

This is true of nearly every single type or color of natural stone.

The problem of getting the wrong color when choosing a granite countertop occurs because the color was chosen from a showroom sample vs. picking out the exact slabs you want.

This is a common mistake of homeowners. You should always view actual slabs at the warehouse, choose, and buy the exact slabs you want.

Of course, stones are labeled as granite or marble, or quartzite and with names that help identify the basic color and pattern of the stone.

Often a stone is given a name for being from a specific quarry.

So all slabs of natural stone that are given a specific name, like Santa Cecilia, or Black Galaxy, or Juparana Gold, or Alaska White will share a similar color palette and general type of pattern (uniform specks, grainy, layers, wavy movement, or chunks of various colors, etc.)

However, remember that it's all a product of nature so every single slab can be slightly different that another of the same color.

Slabs are sawed from huge blocks. Individual blocks of granite or marble or more or less uniform in color and pattern.

Slabs are sold in a series all cut from the same block so you can get matching slabs, etc.

However, a block cut last year may have a slight shift in the shade or mix of colors or a somewhat different pattern than a block of the same stone cut from the same quarry today.

Santa Cecelia granite is a good example. The loose grainy pattern of black, gold, and white with slight movement generally remains consistent.

Although the overall color can range from almost yellow to pinkish to almost white or gray.

It's all still Santa Cecilia granite.

When you pick from a showroom sample all you are really doing is choosing a color "name".

As noted, the name of the stone only signifies generally similar characteristics. It does not mean this XYZ stone is always this exact color with this exact pattern.

In fact, any reasonably competent person in the stone industry should make you aware of this as a basic introduction to choosing your granite countertop color.

You should choose the stone based on what it looks like (viewing the slab directly) and it's performance characteristics.

That way you get matching granite slabs and the exact color and pattern you want.

Forget the name. Names can sometimes be applied very loosely. And never choose from a showroom sample.

Doing so often results in an unexpected surprise.

Fantasy Brown is no different. Although, this color has an additional twist.

Fantasy Brown has become a popular color recently. It's one of those stones that looks like marble with a mix of gray, brown, tan, and white colors in a flowing wavy pattern.

It is often labeled as Fantasy Brown marble as well. And sometimes Fantasy Brown quartzite.

In fact, it is a hybrid type of marble. It is harder than typical marble. Similar to dolomite. Although, most agree that performs more like a quartzite.

The Natural Stone Institute claims it is indeed a blend of marble and quartzite. It was formed that way.

It is not granite, although, it is often sold as granite because it usually performs like granite. Quartzite performs basically like granite.

So some Fantasy Brown slabs may still etch (dull chalky spots from acidic foods, drinks, harsh chemicals) like marble.

But it is much harder than your typical marble with similar properties to quartzite so generally safe for a kitchen countertop.

Everyone seems to want a marble kitchen countertop but marble will require more maintenance because of the issue with etching especially in the kitchen.

So, a bit more info than you asked for.

But again the short answer is yes... each slab of Fantasy Brown granite-marble-quartzite can have a different color and pattern than another slab of Fantasy Brown.

Perfectly normal, although, many homeowners are not made aware of how noticeable the difference may be.

Can’t anyone just answer the question... Can granite be darkened or lightned?
by: Anonymous

Just give a concise answer to... "Can granite be darkened or lightened?"

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Well, that was not the question asked in the article but the concise answer to your question is "Yes". You can darken granite with certain treatments.

You can't really lighten granite except by grinding down the surface to the raw granite. Meaning that when granite is prepared to be a countertop a certain type of "finish" is created by grinding the granite.

A honed finish leaves it very smooth but not shiny.

A polished finish is smooth and shiny.

Both types will darken the natural color of the raw granite. It has to do with physics and the difference in the reflection of light that occurs on each type of surface finish and not because a product was applied.

So, to lighten say a "polished" granite countertop you'd have to grind it down to a honed finish. But there isn't a product you can apply to lighten granite.

Well, you could apply hydrofluoric acid but that is very dangerous.

Not a discount job
by: Anonymous

I'm in the middle of a major kitchen remodel and the granite slabs don't match.

I have a 12' island that needed to have a seam.The 2 pieces that were seamed together don't match. One is dark, one is noticeably lighter.

The first time they tried to install the large part of the counter top, the hole for the sink was in the wrong place so it had to be removed and a new piece was installed.

They swear the new counter top and the small piece that are seamed together are from the same slab.

I say BS. I think they're lying b/c they messed up the first time and had to eat the first counter top. The contractor says I need to go find a piece that matches the larger piece NOT the color I picked out originally.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Bummer... yes, your assessment is likely correct. The contractor is trying to make something work to fix their mistake on the sink without losing a bunch on the job.

The second piece may in fact be from the same slab since color can vary a lot from one section to the next. Regardless if the same or a different one, it doesn't match the neighboring slab and that won't work.

It would be a good idea for you to take a sample of the installed slab (that you like) and go find a piece that matches. Better you than them. Of course, the contractor should pay for it.... should not be an extra charge to you.

And of course, don't pay the remaining balance on the granite installation until you are satisfied.

Ahhh... That's a Tough one
by: Ryan

TTennis,

I truly hope Dry Treat can help you. I bet you are a bit bummed and frustrated. Hopefully you aren't beating up hubby too bad.

I'm sure he is an excellent handyman and can probably build and fix all kinds of things, but installing full granite slabs really requires a good deal of experience and that's why we recommend that people just forget the idea of DIY for granite countertops.

There's just too many steps where things can go wrong and when they do it's very difficult to fix them without just starting over.


Variations in granite slabs
by: TTennis

Well, here's where the problem lies. The slabs were purchased from Tile Outlet, and by prefab, they were standard sizes that you or a contractor cut yourself for your countertops. They were pretty dirty/dusty from being cut, so the color difference was not noticed until they were installed and cleaned off. My husband did the install- as he does construction for the Navy. Since the owner of the store couldn't even sell me the right sealer or know which one could be used, I really doubt he even looked to see that the colors were matching when he picked them up from where ever he gets them. So I don't know how much ground we actually have on getting the one slab replaced since we already cut it. I guess that's what you get when you try to save money and do it yourself. A costly mistake on our part. I sent an email to the company you suggested. I'll let you know when they reply. Thank you.




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