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Feb 6, 2007 02:19 AM

Honed black granite counter for kitchen

I love the look of this but have had mixed advice. Is it really a bad choice? I do not mind wiping off fingerprints, but is it true that it will show grease stains and not look good after a while? I thought of using aniqued zimbabwe black granite . Someone advised that because of its uneven surface it would not show stains like the honed, But I have sample pieces of both and I think it is possible that the antiqued could be a worse choice if stainng is an issue,.If I just have to wipe down the honed twice a day I'd choose it. But if I am in a no win battle because it really is a bad kitchen counter choice then I guess I'll need to look at other choices.
Do any chowhounds have any experience with this issue.? Any and all advice is much appreciated.

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  1. I don't have granite countertops, but I have heard comments from some neighbors who do have them. The comments included:

    *Bear in mind that the stone surface has to be re-sealed periodically with some sort of chemical sealant in order to keep the stone decent-looking and stain-free.

    *Have a qualified home inspector verify that your home's construction can bear the extra weight of granite countertops. One neighbor had to have the floor joists reinforced in order to be able to bear the weight of these very heavy items.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ted in Central NJ

      Ted in GA's response to Ted in NJ- the concept of granite counters overwhelming the floor structure is a bit fetched. A 3cm thick slab is going to weigh in the range of 20 lb/ft^2. The live loading rate that houses are built for is generally around 40 lb/ft^2. My chunky, 200-lb butt standing in front of said counter is a bigger loading than the counter itself, and I'm not hopping on top of the counter and jumping up and down to see if the floor caves in. YMMV.

      1. re: Ted in Central NJ

        I think both of these statements are pretty much false. Any home built to code can handle the extra weight, and while some stone needs may to be sealed there are others that do not.

      2. i have blue pearl granite on my kitchen floor and center island for over 20 years..never sealed them..the only place they look worn a little is underneath the kitchen chairs..other then that they still look great..

        1. love my granite tops (and I've never sealed them) but they are polished not honed. My tops are black and I don't have a stain/wear/wiping or weight problem. Sounds pretty gross but if you are worried about grease stains then at the end of a long day when you're hot and tired (and in London have travelled on the underground) wipe a clean finger over your forehead, it will be greasy. Wipe the finger on the stone, what happens? Can you clean it off? It's pretty grim as a thought but it really puts architects specifying stone finishes in public spaces in their place.

          I don't know anyone with honed granite surfaces, only polished, I love them, a friend (also black granite) hates his because of water marks having to be polished off. (Read if you wipe with a damp cloth he needs to dry the surface to avoid marks - but his water is horrible). No-one I know has had a (polished) granite staining problem, marble yes, stone composite yes, (polished) granite no.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ali patts

            I once left a wrapped stick of butter on my polished granite counter on a hot summer day. The granite picked up the imprint of the butter where it absorbed grease. I kind of freaked, but after a few days the grease sort of diffused into the stone, and now you can't tell it happened. It helps that I have a very specked, swirly type of granite.

            1. re: Gin and It

              message to self - don't leave butter on the worktop. Got it! My butter tends to live in the fridge as I don't use much, but I don't have this issue with bottes of oil which always have a ring on the bottom at some point in their life. Hmm. Maybe it's a type of granite thing as they are all different.

              1. re: Gin and It

                I second the idea of small swirls and a pattern. It can shine like a mirror but hides fingerprints, etc. I am not familiar with the kind of black granite you are looking at, but mine has a fine pattern to it, so it hides the obvious stuff. I abuse it constantly, and it still looks great. I would go for polished, not honed.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  jfood has marble and sandstone, both to a honed finish in the kitchen. Five years of cooking, a few seals and they look great. oils and everything else has splattered and melted on them.

                  both stones have lots of movement. the marble is a rosa color with swirls and the sandstone is full of fossils. that;s the beauty of stone versus all the synthetics that everyone raves about.

            2. I know someone with a beautiful green honed granite countertop. It has white water stains all over. They have been searching for some way to treat the granite so this won't happen. Although only a few years old, they are thinking about replacing it because of the stains.
              If anyone has ideas about cleaning honed granite bring them on!

              4 Replies
              1. re: SLO

                Thanks for pointing this out. My area has really hard water, which leaves white spots and rings on everything! I guess I'll be looking at white counter tops, then.

                1. re: SLO

                  I have a dark green granite called verde butterfly. It is polished and looks nearly black, but with pearl flakes in in the coloring. I have found that it hides just about everything, and I often find I am feeling the counter with my fingers to see if something has spilled on it. I would avoid a solid color with no swirls or additional colors/patterns in it because spills and stains will be more visible, no matter what the color.

                  1. re: RGC1982

                    I am looking to replace my formica countertops. I have maple cubboards and oak wood floors. I am thinking about a dark ( black/ verde/ubatuba) granite but have 5 kids. I don't want to have fingerprints showing all the time. Any suggestions?

                    1. re: karol laman

                      I had maritaca verde on my countertops and it is just a beautiful color and hides so many things. Check it out.

                2. thanks info.Does anyone have experience with antiqued Zimbabwe black granite? It is supposedly less porous than the honed black granite. thanks

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: oleanatypefood

                    If you're going to broaden your search, look at soapstone. It ages to a deep charcoal grey/mellow black color. Ablsolutely beautiful. Much softer look than granite, particularly with antiques, in vintage or historic homes. Very durable. Probably what was used in your chemistry lab in school.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      thanks I l ived for years in a 1780 home with soapstone sinks and original marble counters I know the softness of which you speak. thanks

                      1. re: oleanatypefood

                        did you find the soapstone to look warm not 'damaged' over the years. we are considering soapstone for an old house and want the kitchen to fit in but not look 'beaten up" any info would be great!

                        1. re: Barnalla

                          "Beaten up" and "damaged" in the estimation of one person may be a beautiful patina in the eye of another.
                          If you are a lover of antique furnishings, you may already appreciate the look of some use. Brand new things, especially hard-edged ones, put into vintage or historic houses stick out like sores thumbs. They can be stylistically very jarring.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            Thank you for your response. It has helped me to install soapstone. I don't mind beautiful patina and want to keep the look of my house. Do you have soapstone counters in your home?

                            1. re: Barnalla

                              We just selected new materials for counters in my daughters' kitchens. Both are using limestone - one dark, one light. I'm leaning toward marble when I do mine right after the Holidays although the limestone is still in the running. Haven't found a local soapstone supplier. Still looking.
                              All of us have late 1800s Victorians. The materials just look "right."

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                jfood thinks natural versus synthetic is the way to go. BIL has soapstone and it looks like stone-pressedboard. no beauty in the naturalness at all.

                        2. re: oleanatypefood

                          Sounds gorgeous. I did not realize 1780s houses had counters.

                      2. re: oleanatypefood


                        We just put in antiqued Zimbabwe black granite in our new house. Since we have lived with it for 2 weeks, I'm not an expert! It does appear to water spot, which caused me great alarm initially, but the water spots fade quickly as it dries. It is a bit rough and I was also concerned about grease stains. So far, butter, jelly, juice, batter, etc. have all wiped up without a mark. I love the look of it and am pleased thus far!

                        1. re: DebraGB

                          Thanks I bought some of the commercial granite cleaner and I do use it every day. I think the issue is that grease cannot sit on it without being wiped up fairly quickly.,or there is a risk of stain. so the maintenace is more than the shiny granite but I like the look which sorta resembles soapstone which I had in my family home .

                          1. re: oleanatypefood

                            Why didn't you choose soapstone? I'm trying to decide between black honed granite and soapstone. I also love carrara marble, but have not been hearing good things about that.

                            1. re: ChristineY

                              Marble is not durable at all. I have literally had to take people into the homes of folks that had me rip out their marble before they understood how bad a choice this is. Color is not a factor, light or dark the marble just will not hold up.

                              Granite is better, but is NOT a lifetime type product. If you cook a fair amount I would definately NOT go with anything that is too light or too uniform -- you'll see spills/stains. Honed is probably a little more forgiving for fingerprints and water spots, but bit more susceptible to certain spills and wear marks. Restoration of honed is also a bit trickier, as the polished stuff can be faked with a shiny sealant type product.

                              Soapstone is another option, though there are fewer dealers / installers experienced with it. It ages much more subtlely -- never really has the "oops" look to it, but with heavy use can exhibit wear.

                              Their are NO miracles, everything is compromise. I strongly recommed that BEFORE you decide "I will be OK spending $XXXX on this becuase I will have it for XX years"" that you ask your contractor to find a homeowner who has had the SAME PRODUCT and uses it like you intend to for XX years. Very few contractors can do this, many have simply not been around that long and the second factor is that there is a FLOOD of stones into the US from around the globe that we simply have not gotten before. Many of these stones are treated, some are good, others have ZERO record. Caveat emptor!

                              1. re: renov8r

                                great to hear about Soapstone. It is an option for us and I was worried about the scratches and the knicks sticking out. Is that what you mean by the oops factor?

                            2. re: oleanatypefood

                              Hi there, I installed honed marble (Calacata gold) in our 1890 victorian rowhouse kitchen and am very happy with it. Absolutely everyone said not to do it...but, for an older house it looks perfect. It has not stained and I do a lot of cooking and I'm not careful. Even a basalmic vinegar spill that stayed overnight on white marble came right out with a little bleach. The marble has a very warm and beautiful feel. I felt like a rebel when I chose it and I totally love it! And by the way I was leaning towards black honed granite (also beautiful in older homes) when I simply decided to get what I really wanted. Good luck!