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Honed black granite counter for kitchen

oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 02:19 AM

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. t
    Ted in Central NJ RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 02:29 AM

    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 RE: Ted in Central NJ Feb 6, 2007 05:22 AM

      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
        white light RE: Ted in Central NJ Aug 15, 2010 09:18 AM

        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. karins RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 02:38 AM

        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. a
          ali patts RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 03:38 AM

          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
            Gin and It RE: ali patts Feb 6, 2007 05:29 AM

            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
              ali patts RE: Gin and It Feb 6, 2007 10:19 AM

              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
                RGC1982 RE: Gin and It Aug 14, 2007 12:26 PM

                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 RE: RGC1982 Aug 14, 2007 01:32 PM

                  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. s
              SLO RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 05:28 AM

              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
                Claudette RE: SLO May 22, 2008 09:33 AM

                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
                  RGC1982 RE: SLO May 22, 2008 05:32 PM

                  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
                    karol laman RE: RGC1982 May 11, 2010 01:33 PM

                    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
                      crc532 RE: karol laman Aug 15, 2010 04:58 AM

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

                2. o
                  oleanatypefood RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 06:34 AM

                  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
                    MakingSense RE: oleanatypefood Feb 6, 2007 10:00 AM

                    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
                      oleanatypefood RE: MakingSense Feb 6, 2007 10:16 AM

                      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
                        Barnalla RE: oleanatypefood Aug 11, 2007 10:46 PM

                        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
                          MakingSense RE: Barnalla Aug 12, 2007 11:05 AM

                          "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
                            Barnalla RE: MakingSense Aug 12, 2007 10:39 PM

                            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
                              MakingSense RE: Barnalla Aug 14, 2007 01:25 PM

                              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 RE: MakingSense Aug 14, 2007 01:33 PM

                                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
                          KateC. RE: oleanatypefood Aug 12, 2007 11:34 AM

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

                      2. re: oleanatypefood
                        DebraGB RE: oleanatypefood Mar 18, 2007 05:12 AM


                        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
                          oleanatypefood RE: DebraGB Mar 21, 2007 10:39 AM

                          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
                            ChristineY RE: oleanatypefood Apr 18, 2007 02:25 PM

                            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
                              renov8r RE: ChristineY Apr 18, 2007 08:13 PM

                              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
                                Barnalla RE: renov8r Aug 11, 2007 10:51 PM

                                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
                              cookinginthehood RE: oleanatypefood Aug 14, 2007 06:20 PM

                              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!

                        2. d
                          DebraGB RE: oleanatypefood Mar 18, 2007 05:30 AM

                          Picture of my antiqued Zimbabwe Black counters.

                          1. k
                            KateC. RE: oleanatypefood Aug 12, 2007 11:31 AM

                            The Modern Museum of Art in New York City has black honed granite in the ladies on the third floor. It looks terrible whenever anyone splashes water on it, which is all day long. So it always looks terrible. The same water splashes don't show up at all on other surfaces. (I am not talking about stains. It has none.)

                            1. g
                              gramercyfoodie RE: oleanatypefood May 19, 2008 12:03 PM

                              I want to revive this thread. I'm looking to do honed black quartz (in the leather collection from silestone) for a similiar look to black granite. I was wondering if anyone had any feedback with this in regards to staining and upkeep. Thanks so much.

                              1. t
                                TheLoud RE: oleanatypefood May 22, 2008 10:34 AM

                                There's a huge discussion of countertop materials, including granite, here:
                                From all my reading, that thread and elsewhere, while I love the look of granite, too many people have problems with it, so I think I'll pass. Quartz surfacing looks almost as good, and sounds much more durable and trouble-free. It's 93% natural quartz, which makes it hard and beautiful, and the rest is various synthetic binders and dyes which make it more reliable. There are various brands, including Silestone and Caesarstone.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: TheLoud
                                  decordiva RE: TheLoud Mar 17, 2010 08:51 PM

                                  If you hate the upkeep of honed granite but love natural stone, you should seriously look into soapstone. This is the same stone used for decades in chemistry labs. This stone comes from Brazil and Vermont. Before being sealed the stone is very light gray. Once sealed it is a dark green/black. It is very soft but, stain resistant. It softness does render the stone susceptible to scratches. But there is a solution. When the stone is installed it should be sealed with mineral oil. NEVER commercial sealer. When a scratch occurs simply reseal with mineral oil and the stone looks brand new. Eventually, the mineral oil will evaporate and then you, the homeowner, just swipe mineral oil on it again. Check out Martha Stewart's kitchen tops in her home. Side note, this stone is carved into pots in Brazil for slow cooking on open fires. The pots should be sealed properly(come with instructions) with Vegetable Oil instead of mineral oil. Good Luck

                                2. b
                                  bebee23 RE: oleanatypefood Mar 16, 2010 02:53 PM

                                  I have honed black absolute granite counter tops and very disappointed with the fingerprints
                                  and water stains. They do come off after cleaning but is such a problem. If I had known what I know now I wouldn't have had these installed. I still love the look and have received many compliments. My husband calls me the kitchen police because I am constantly wiping my counters. It shouldn't be this way

                                  1. c
                                    crc532 RE: oleanatypefood Aug 15, 2010 04:54 AM

                                    I have honed black granite (it was in the house we purchased) and I want to save people lots of money. I had polished granite in my previous home which I love, love, love. It looked beautiful after many years. But honed granite is an entirely different animal. It shows every pindot of water and stains very easily and I am a fanatic about a clean countertop. It just is not suitable if you ever want to have company and you like your counters to look nice. If you put anything oily on the surface you will not get the stains out. And yes, my granite is sealed. Don't do it. No matter how much you like the look. We will be replacing it!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: crc532
                                      jfood RE: crc532 Aug 15, 2010 07:16 AM

                                      Almost three years to the day since jfood posted about his countertops and he still loves them. They are honed granite and sandstone.

                                      The trick to any stain-hiding stone is the movement in the piece. If you have a very basic non-moving piece of stone, the "stain" will show more. People were constantly telling jfood when he installed sandstone and marble he was nuts because they would show everything, then he honed it.

                                      All these years later he is glad he did both and there has been hundreds of people entertained in the house. Sorry yours did not work out.

                                      One suggestion, if you already do not know, is to make sure you see the actual stone from the yard on your re-do. Make sure they write crc532 on the side of the piece when you choose it as well. Jfood cannot tell you how many pieces of stone he looked at before both he and mrs jfood gave a thumbs up.

                                      good luck

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