Using AGER To Darken Granite Countertop Edges


We recently had Santa Cecilia granite countertops installed in our kitchen.

The stone has a beautiful golden hue...

We were disappointed that the edges appear much lighter/whiter than the rest of the stone after installation.

We had read that some stones are treated with a protective agent prior to shipment and when they are cut during fabrication the true color is revealed.

The fabricator should have treated the edges with an AGER product to darken them prior to the polish and seal process.

Our installer did come out to the house to apply this product after the project was completed, but it was not effective. Is there a way to darken the edges after the edges have been sealed?


Yes, Tenax Ager is especially formulated to darken the cut edges of granite countertops so that the edges match the color of the top surface particularly if it has been resined.

It is meant to be applied during the process of polishing the edges but can be applied at any time to any type of finish (honed, polished, etc.).

The edge cuts are made at the fabrication shop. Usually, the edges are also polished at the shop before bringing the cut slab to your house for installation.

During this edge polishing process the Ager is applied by applying a coat, then polishing, then another coat (if needed) and polishing. This way you can get the closest color match.

Why are granite countertop edges lighter in color than the top surface?

Some granite countertops (and other natural stones) are "resined" to fill imperfections and to better bind the stone prior to polishing and transport, etc.

This resin will darken the granite slab color some. The slab is then cut for installation. The edges of the cut slab must be polished to match the top surface finish.

However, since the top has a resin on it and the edges do not, the edge color won't match the top color even after polishing the countertop edges.

The polishing process brings out the color making it deeper and darker by changing the way light reflects off the surface.

So, a polished surface always has a deeper/darker color than the "natural" color of the granite,
which can always be seen by simply looking at the underside of a granite countertop or on the non-finished side of any stone slab.

But if a resin was applied (or other color-enhancing product) to the surface, then yes... it would need to be applied to the cut edges as well or they will be a different color than the granite countertop.

Of course, the same resin that was applied to the slab at the factory is not available during installation, so some other type of color-enhancer must be used to try and match the edges.

Color-enhancing sealers are designed to be applied to a honed surface to darken the color and give it that "wet look".

Typical color-enhancing sealers are not meant to be applied to a polished surface, although, sometimes experimenting can yield a match of the edges with the top surface.

To solve this edge color mismatch Tenax Ager is applied. This product is more versatile. It works like other color-enhancers and can be applied to honed stone surfaces. But it also has proven to be effective on polished surfaces which works great for a granite that has been resined.

It is applied after polishing the edges, but before any other sealer is applied.

A color-enhancing sealer must applied before a standard impregnating sealer is applied, otherwise the enhancer / Ager won't absorb well or at all.

Since the sealer has already been applied, you could try stripping the sealer off the edges using methylene chloride.

If not possible or not as effective as needed, then really your only remaining option is to grind the edges a bit to expose some raw granite and start over.

First, polish the edges, then apply the Ager using as many coats as needed to get the best color-match to the countertop surface.

Applying a standard impregnating granite sealer over a color-enhancing sealer is the common method.

Enhancers are not typically great sealers and are used primarily to darken color. But recall the majority of enhancers are used on honed stone which is more porous than polished stone requiring better sealing.

However, on edges the risk of staining is near zero, so applying the Ager (and no other sealer over it) will be more than sufficient.

Comments for Using AGER To Darken Granite Countertop Edges

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Applying a sealer over Ager
by: Dave

I had my fireplace surround rebuilt with absolute black granite that has a flamed surface.

The edges don't have any of the texture. The edge color is not too far off depending on the light.

I went to a granite tool company and bought Tenax Ager color enhancing granite sealer. It's a little dark, is there a way to dilute it?

Next I want to cover the entire tile with a clear coat. Have Miracle 511 Impregnator. Will the 511 properly adhere to the Ager?


==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Tenax Ager is a solvent-based color-enhancing sealer so you may try diluting it with additional solvent, but I not sure that would actually lighten the color of it once applied.

Testing it is the only way to really see how it will perform and the resulting color. See if you can obtain a similar piece of granite as your fireplace surround and do some tests of diluted Ager, one coat vs. two coats, etc.

Enhancing the color of the edges to match the existing color of the main surface is a bit of an art.

As for the clear coat... Miracle 511 Impregnator is not a clear coat. It is a standard impregnating sealer that helps prevent liquid absorption and stains.

If your are wanting to add a bit of gloss or sheen to the surface, then a color-enhancing sealer is what you want to use. It will add a sheen like when wet, but not a glossy finish.

You could use the Tenax over the entire surface. Maybe apply an additional coat to the edges so they match the darker top surface better.

If a glossy finish is what you want, then you will have to apply a topical coating. Aldon Lifeguard is one type.

But note that then you'll have to maintain the coating (vs. maintaining the granite surface) as the coating becomes the surface instead of the granite itself as the surface.

As for applying a sealer over the Ager... I would not try that. The Ager is a sealer itself. Applying another sealer over it could result in an unpredictable weird outcome like a blotchy pattern as the sealer may not absorb properly or evenly.

Ager after polish
by: Anonymous

To the original and followup poster that said you should apply ager prior to polishing, I have to say that is completely impractical and unknowledgable advice.

Any ager applied prior to polishing would be polished off. The first stages of polishing are highly abrasive and the ager would be sanded right out.

Sometimes the lighter color difference is due to poor polishing to begin with, but sometimes even when the edge is perfectly polished it will still not match because the resin fill on the surface is actually darkening the stone.

In this event applying ager to the finished edge after polishing is the only way to darken the edge. It can take several coats to achieve desired result and even then sometimes extreme heat has to be applied with a heat gun or blowtorch.

Saying the ager should be applied prior to polishing is akin to saying hardwood floors should be stained prior to sanding .

same issue with Coliseum granite counters
by: Anonymous

Our granite counters are mid-installation because I noticed that fabricator did not stain the cut edges on our Coliseum granite prior to polishing it.

Even though I told him he needed to (says so right on company website), and the stone supplier gave instruction along with the provided stain.

Where they did put stain, they basically just painted it on top of the polished surface. So, the surface, while a little lighter, is also not shiny.

According to the stone supplier, with this granite, the supplied stain is supposed to be applied prior to polishing the granite edges. Otherwise, it's off white, not brown.

Frustrating that they didn't listen to me and my contractor or read instructions and do it correctly. They are going to talk to stone supplier today. Looks like we will possibly be choosing a new slab, if they can't fix the edge.

Edge Finish Lightened Granite
by: Howard

I had a similar problem to the first poster. We had a golden and brown granite counter top installed, supposedly the highest grade.

And after the beveled edge and sink edges were polished, they lightened considerably and the background color was almost white.

The edges clearly did not match the surface color.

We refused to accept the countertop and they removed it. What gets me is that they even delivered it with the obvious discoloration.

Does anyone know what causes the discoloration during the grinding and polishing process? Is it common or rare? Was I correct to refuse the product?

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Certainly it's understandable that you'd reject the countertop with a glaring color mismatch. But, this situation is common enough and an easy remedy is available.

It's isn't a defect of the granite. It's just a circumstance of making granite into countertops.

The frustrating part is that the fabricator didn't know what to do.

The difference in color between a granite countertop surface and the edges may occur when the slab used for the countertop has had a resin applied.

A resin is applied to many granite slabs to fill small imperfections and to make the slab stronger. This is a normal and accepted practice done at the factory before the slab is sold to a stone warehouse or a fabricator.

As explained in the article, raw granite has that whitish washed out look to it. It's only after polishing that the rich color is realized.

And the resin will darken the color just a bit more than the normal polished surface.

Well, the slab must be cut for installation, which exposes lighter-colored raw granite. The cut edges are then polished, which will actually darken the color.

Now if the slab had not been resined, then after polishing the edges, the color will match exactly (or very close) the countertop surface.

However, with a resined granite countertop the top surface will almost always be a darker shade than the edges even after polishing the edges.

This happens because the edges do not have the resin, which (remember) was applied before the slab was cut for installation.

The way to remedy this color mismatch is to apply a type of color-enhancer (like Ager Tiger) to the polished edges, which will mimic the effect of the resin and darken the color.

Methylene chloride to remove sealer
by: Anonymous

My sides do not match the top even after applying Tenax Ager. When I called Tenax to ask what I could do, they said to apply their Tepox brown.

I did that and the color match was perfect but the color didnt penetrate the stone because the Ager sealed the pores.

So it kept rubbing off. He then recommended that I remove the Ager so that the color will penetrate. Thats why Im even considering tackling a project like this.

So if I do attempt this process, you think I can use paint stripper and don't need straight methylene chloride?

====== Countertop Specialty comment:

Ahh okay... good diagnosis and good plan. Yes, use a "paint stripper" product with methylene chloride and it should do the trick, although could take some work.

Typically Tepox (which is really just a coloring agent) is applied and then a sealer (any sealer) is applied to help cover and set the color.

However, since you got a "perfect" match applying Tepox Brown over Tenax Ager, I would just reverse the application after stripping the Ager. That is apply Tepox brown and then Tenax Ager (which is a sealer and color-enhancer).

Do a small test area first and good luck!

Methylene Chloride to remove sealer
by: Anonymous

I already tried using acetone and no luck. That is why I'm resorting to Methylene Chloride. But I can't seem to find it in it's pure form.

Only in paint strippers and I was told that that may not be strong enough. So do you know of anywhere that sells pure Methylene Chloride?

The type of sealer that my fabricator used on the sides is Tenax Ager, an impregnating sealer.

How long would you guess I should leave Methylene Chloride on the edges before removing?

Is there a way of knowing when it breaks down the sealer? Will the edges of the stone feel differently?

Will the sealer get gummy? Is there a way of monitoring it?

Also, someone mentioned that I need to be careful that the MC doesn't etch the stone. Can that happen?

==== Countertop Specialty answer:

You didn't mention why you want to remove the Tenax Ager from your countertop edges...? This product is actually a "color-enhancing" sealer vs. a straight impregnating sealer.

It is often used on edges that show a color difference compared to the marble or granite countertop surface. This color difference occurs on resined stones. The top is resined, but no resin exists on the newly cut edges.

Tenax Ager can often create a better color match, but it's difficult to get a perfect match.

Considering the unpleasantness of using methylene chloride (very noxious fumes... must have excellent ventilation and/or use respirator) I'd be certain there was a very good reason to remove the Ager.

Yes, methylene chloride is found in paint-strippers. The paint-strippers may contain other ingredients, but typically remain pH neutral and therefore will not damage or etch natural stone.

Fairly mild acids and harsh cleaners can etch marble/travertine tile, but only highly-acidic substances will etch granite countertops.

That said, it is always best to test any chemical or product on a small area to ensure satisfactory use, particularly on marble, however, very unlikely to have a problem on this point.

I suggest reading the instruction for removing paint on the product bottle to learn what to expect regarding performance time.

And again... I make a small test application for a short period just to become acquainted with the product. You may have to experiment a bit to find optimum exposure time.

It usually does get somewhat gummy or mushy. Some are in "gel" form to begin with which aids in application on vertical surfaces like countertop edges.

Again, I'd be certain that removing the Tenax Ager is absolutely necessary. Unless it was really poorly applied, you're not likely to achieve a better result with some other method or product.

Methylene chloride application to countertop edges
by: Anonymous

Ryan, I love your site. I learn more here than anywhere else!

I am about to use methylene chloride to remove sealer off the sides of my granite so that I can apply some brown color to help my sides to better match my top. Then I'll reseal the sides.

I purchased the brown coloring already but where can I purchase methylene chloride and what are the steps and precautions I need to follow?

==== Countertop Specialty Answer:

Thanks for the very nice comments! We aim to provide the type of detailed information and tips not found elsewhere.

Methylene Chloride is usually found in "paint remover" products.

I always suggest trying acetone or mineral spirits first when stripping anything off granite countertops. Less noxious and easier to use, but sometimes not strong enough.

1. Cover and protect all surfaces (walls, cabinets, floors) because methylene chloride will strip paint and finishes off these. (Won't damage granite or any stone at all though)

Also, wear eye protection, long sleeves, gloves and provide excellent ventilation.... open all windows and/or wear a ventilator (not just a dust mask).

2. Coat the edges with the MC using a cloth and let soak.

3. Use a cloth or nylon scrub pad / brush to remove the coating on the countertop edges.

4. Repeat as necessary.

Not difficult, just need to take precautions and work carefully and patiently.

Followup to Lighter Granite Sides
by: Anonymous

In case the fabricator will not come back to polish it, can you recommend a "glossy" sealer? And once applied, will it prevent future sealings from absorbing into the stone? I don't want to hurt my chances of properly protecting the stone itself down the road.

==== Comment:

StoneTech, Aqua Mix and others make glossy sealers, however, I am not "recommending" this is what you should do.

Please understand... I'm simply giving you some options to investigate based on your description. Unfortunately, your issue is rather complex and a personal inspection is needed to determine the best solution.

Your fabricator obviously hasn't been able to solve the problem, so you'll have to hire a stone restoration professional (which is a specialized person... not just any fabricator) to inspect and possibly correct the problem.

However, sometimes you can only do so much. Possibly your fabricator did everything that is possible and this is as good as it will get. But call a restoration pro in your area... that's my recommendation.

Followup to Lighter Granite Sides
by: Anonymous

The fabricator actually realized that he couldn't remove the stone from my house for fear that it would crack near the small seams around the sink. So they did the work right in my kitchen. What a mess!

They sanded or grinded the sides and then applied the brown Coliseum color that the stone warehouse gave them.

The sides do match a little better. They then applied a light coat of Ager sealer but they didn't want to apply too much for fear that it would get too dark.

So the problem we are now having is that the top is very shiny and the sides are very dull. Is there anything we can apply to the edges to make them shinier?

I read that the only thing that can be done is for the fabricator to come back and use a finer grade diamond paper to shine them up. Is that true or can I simply apply something to give them a shine?

===== Comment:

Yes, the edges need to be "polished". That is a physical process like sanding wood smoother and smoother. The shine doesn't come from a chemical.

However, any physical grinding or sanding now will remove some of the stone and the sealers just applied. The polishing needs to be done first (which by the way will make the edge-color darker) and then apply the Ager sealer.

Color-enhancers like Ager are best applied on a honed surface, however, Ager can be applied on a polished surface.

At this point (unless you start over and actually polish the edges) your only option is to apply a glossy topical coating type "sealer".

These are not the same as the "sealers" commonly applied to stone. Typically you do not want to apply a topical coating (vs penetrating sealer) to granite, but in this case it may be your only option.

by: Anonymous

My granite counters were installed two months ago. The sides didn't match the top at all! The top is brown and the sides were almond! The color of the granite is Coliseum.

I called the owner of the fabricating company and he's been trying to correct it in our home ever since. His crew has applied color and sealer on 3 separate occasions. Once, and only once, did they get it to match. Unfortunately, the color rubbed off with only a paper towel and water.

Even rubbed off on my Christmas sweater! Nothing that he has tried has been permanent.

Today the fabricator is removing all of the granite to work on it in the shop. I have to give him kudos because he's really trying to fix this.

I don't think he's ever dealt with this before and is perplexed. What steps does he have to take to get to a permanent solution that doesn't rub off?

===== Admin Comment:

Yes, kudos to the installer for not making excuses and doing everything possible to correct the problem.

Unfortunately, without knowing all the details and steps involved in previous attempts to correct the matter it's difficult to ascertain exactly what should be done at this point. This is a more complex issue that really needs to be solved in person.

Applying an AGER or Color-enhancer to the finished edge of a resined countertop is the typical fix. Often not perfect, but as close as you can get.

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