Metallicus Granite Mica Flecks Coming Off

QUESTION:

I work for a granite countertop fabrication facility, and recently we installed a kitchen for a customer, using Metallicus for the Island.


The customer has noticed that every time she wipes down the counter with a wash rag or towel, she ends up with small glittery specs of Mica on her towel from the granite.

The question would be: Is it possible to eliminate this occurrence or is this just the nature of the stone?

Her concern is that she hesitates to roll out dough, or handle food on the surface for fear of getting the flecks in the food.

I have wiped and rewiped the granite slabs of Metallicus that we have in stock and she is correct...small particles of a glitter size, do cling to the towel. This would be a total nightmare of continuous granite counter top maintenance.

We seal the granite with a permeating sealer on all jobs before installation that obviously does not address this problem. Can you advise if there's anything else that can be done in this situation?

Your quick response would be greatly appreciated so that I can advise my customer accordingly.

Thanks so Much! Maureen Gabriel-Haddock

ANSWER:

Yes, it's the nature of that stone, unfortunately Maureen. The problem with the metal in the granite is that it's softer so thin flakes and specks can be removed from the surface with mild friction.

A few other stones have a similar granite counter top maintenance problem with a fine grit constantly developing on the surface.

It order to stop the metallic flakes from coming
off, you'll have to apply a topical coating that forms a physical barrier over the surface.

The typical impregnating sealer applied to guard against staining works below the surface and does not create an all encompassing shell, which is what you need.

Problem is that permanent topical coatings can be a pain. They can need regular upkeep and maintenance or they start to look shoddy and many look plastic to begin with.

Also, topical coatings make any repair much more difficult since usually you need to remove the coating. Now instead of granite countertop maintenance you need to care for the coating.

Topical coating technology is advancing though and a few products that form essentially transparent surface barriers by Aldon and KinlochUSA could be a good solution in this case.

I wouldn't recommend applying even the most advanced of these coatings for general application though.

In most cases they have the potential to create bigger problems than they are designed to solve, but they are the right product in some circumstances and you don't have much choice in this situation with the Metallicus.

You may get lucky with a temporary non-wax surface dressing/polish like Topical Polish/Shine Enhancer, which forms a thin film that can be buffed to enhance shine, but will also wear away and can be cleaned off with ease if desired.

No guarantee this product will do the trick, but certainly worth a try before resorting to more elaborate and expensive permanent coatings.

Be sure to comment back using the link at the bottom to update us on what you do and the results.

Comments for Metallicus Granite Mica Flecks Coming Off

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Blue pearl granite and mica flaking
by: Joe

Does this flaking also happen to blue pearl granite?

I see a lot of mica in blue pearl and I'm concerned about it flaking because they say mica is prone to flaking.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

The silvery, sparkly, pearlescent look of blue pearl granite and black pearl granite comes from feldspar and not mica.

Feldspar is a major component of granite. It shows up in many different colors but can look shiny or pearlescent.

Blue and black pearl granite have a lot of the silver pearlescent feldspar hence the name.

Mica is found in low percentages in most granite.

Feldspar has a Mohs hardness rating of 6 - 6.5. Quartz (the other major component of granite) has a rating of 7. Granite overall has a Mohs hardness of 6-7 which is very hard.

Mica, on the other hand, has a Mohs hardness rating of 2-4. Very soft.

So, slabs with a lot of mica like Metallicus are difficult to work with as the slabs can just crumble when trying to cut or fabricate into countertops.

And if they do get installed, granite countertops with a high mica content can get a lot of flaking of the mica.

But this is not the case with blue pearl granite. Black and blue pearl granite are excellent choices. Very durable and often so dense and stain-resistant that they don't need sealing.

Performing the water or lemon juice test will tell you if your slab needs sealing or not.

Granite countertop with mica flakes
by: Anonymous

My granite countertop has what I guess is white mica, which is lifting up from the surface, curling like the edge of a piece of paper. When I wipe the countertop, my cloth catches on the mica. This is all over the countertop. It looks bad and feels worse. What should I do?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

That's what can happen with mica in some granites. Not much to do about it.

A topical coating is the only thing that will stop that from happening but topical coatings come with their own set of problems.

Best to just leave it alone and not worry about it.

Betularie Granite Flaking
by: Anonymous

Does anyone know if the granite Betularie has a history of flaking off the surface?

We just had this stone installed three days ago and it is flaking off even with the lightest of touch or our fingers and it's leaving indentations? Thank you

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

As with the Metallicus granite, this is likely a case of a stone with a lot of mica (the mineral that makes granite sparkle), which can be softer and flake off.

But not so soft to leave indentations!! You'll probably notice the flaking will diminish in time.

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