Problem with Dull Shine on Granite Countertops

You answered this question on 04/28/12

Questioner: Elsa
Category: Kitchen Design/Remodeling
Private: No
Subject: granite countertops
Question: Hi Torin,
I have granite countertops in my kitchen and I feel they need a little more shine. I tried using a polish but I feel they still look the same. My husband said they needed to be buffed but I wanted to consult first with an expert and see if he is doing the right thing. Also, he wants to use the same buffer he uses to buff his car, is it o.k. to use the same buffer? Also, what are the proper steps to buff granite countertops? Is is an easy project for someone who has never buffed granite countertops? Thank you.
Answer: Elsa,
This is a common question but may have various answers due to the nature of your particular situation. There are a few questions:

1. Regarding the dullness you indicate, is this something that you recently noticed (you may have product buildup) or has it always looked this way?
2. What color is your granite (light or dark), does it have large crystals or small, do you notice any fill (resin colored to fill small pores)?
These factors may affect the appearance of shine.

You may be aware that most “granite” countertops are not considered “True Granite” in the classic geologic definition. If it is a decorative stone that has the composition of Quartz and Felspar it may be classified as granite in the commercial application sense, but not necessarily a true granite. If it has veins or movement, it is likely NOT a true granite.

This mostly doesn’t matter in the ordinary application of granite counters, but the fact that nearly 99 % of all countertops are not “True” geologic granites opens up a vast can of worms and a vary wide range of minerals that may be in your countertops affecting it’s gloss or appearance. If there is fill, this is a softer material than surrounding stone and will not shine in a uniform way.

All polished granite slabs are ground smoother and smoother until they take on a shine much like a gemstone is ground with finer and finer grit abrasives until it is “Polished”. The quartz and Feldspar crystals present in your countertops likely have a high grade of polish (unless there was an inferior process done at the factory or fabricator), but the surrounding minerals likely have a vast range of harnesses that may appear “dull” or “shiny” depending on their harness. This may be the issue you describe.

Most granite needs to be sealed even though they likely were “resin impregnated” in the factory. During the polishing process, the top layer of stone is ground smooth, thus removing much of the resin previously impregnated into the pores of the stone. Depending on the crystal size and the spacing between adjacent minerals and crystals, you hay have the potential for a high degree of shine or reflection, or you also may have the potential for a spotty looking shine or reflection.

Do you happen to know the name of the granite? (if you had it recently installed). This can help to point me in the right direction.

There may be some options:

1. Perform a Deep Cleaning to remove previous coatings and possible buildup of cleaning products. I suggest HMK R55 Intensive Cleaner.

2. Once granite is clean, rinsed and dry you may see an immediate improvement to the appearance if the nature of the problem is buildup.
If you do not see any difference then the issue may be either a soft (relatively speaking on the Mohs Scale (see link) or an inferior polishing job done on the slabs at the factory.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness

3. Regardless of these issues, you likely wish to see a higher shine. Some people use Pledge furniture polish to get an instant shine but I DO NOT recommend this as it will certainly build up and cause problems later. I would suggest that you first seal the granite to prevent staining and oil infiltration (insurance). I suggest using HMK S34 Impregnator. Once sealed you can use a polish to add a topical, albeit, temporary solution. You can use HMK P21 Polishing Paste and your husband may indeed use the auto buffer to buff off the paste once you apply it. I suggest doing a small area at a time (2 linear feet of countertop), then repeat moving down the length of the counter.

4. Finally, to maintain the appearance as long as possible between repeat “waxing” (much like waxing your car to keep it shiny), I suggest using HMK P24 Liquid Stone Soap. This is a highly concentrated pH neutral soap that will not break down the sealer and will be very mild and not aggressively break down the P21 Polish. You can use a capful of soap added to 8 oz. of water in a spray bottle. Simply spray counters and wipe with a rag or towel to dry (no rinsing needed).

These products are available on Amazon.com or other dealers. We also sell these directly at our secure website: http://stonecareonline.com

Feel free to ask followup questions if you need to.

Best regards,

Torin

About Torin Dixon

StoneCareOnline Expert Blog is managed by Torin Dixon who is an expert in natural stone importing, distribution, fabrication, installation and maintenance of all natural stone surfaces regardless of finish or texture. We are here to assist you in your StoneCare needs.
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12 Responses to Problem with Dull Shine on Granite Countertops

  1. sara says:

    i have a brand new quartz counter in a light beige. i noticed that it is cloudy and dull. I have tried soap and water, windex. Never used anything harsh or abbrassive. No matter what I do in certain light, as soon as you walk into my kitchen it looks dirty and like it has a cloudy dull film. How do I fix this…please. It is a brand new house and we were so happy with this choice until we noticed this. It is mainly on the island, although I am sure it is else where but the light does not hit it the same.

    We have the contractor coming in to look at a section that was damaged as we are pushing to have it replaced I plan to ask them what the deal is. is there anything specific I should ask them about the above mentioned issue

    Thank you so much

    • Torin Dixon says:

      Sara,
      There are many different manufacturers of quartz and many more colors. Depending on the manufacturer, some have a dull finish, while others have a crisp glossy finish. More than likely the other areas of the kitchen look the same, but the lighting is different.
      During construction it is possible that something was spilled and not completely cleaned up, but using Windex should have cleaned it well.

      Look at other areas and try to see if it is a lighting issue.
      One possibility is that it is a cheap, inferior quartz, but if it is a major brand, there should not be an issue. Do you know what brand of quartz you have?
      Best wishes,
      Torin

  2. Nick says:

    My wife and I purchased a “granite” called Gazon from Brazil. We have noticed areas of shine and areas of dullness (almost like water marks). There is a lot of movement within the stone with large crystals. I wanted to know if there is anything I can do to make it more “glossy”. There is an area with a three small chips for lack of a better word. The granite installer came to repair it and it seemed better but then the next day (maybe after cleaning it) the rough areas were back. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nick

  3. Zach says:

    My granite was very shiny when I installed it 4 years ago. But since last year I have noticed that it had become very dull around the sink where it regularly gets in contact with water and soap.
    Would the sealer restore shine or will it just prevent more dullness and damage?

  4. Nick says:

    Torin, I have the same issue as Elsa (answer posted 4-28-12 with a shiny surface and dull surfaces intermixed. The granite doesn’t have the uniform shine I feel it should have. The granite was installed about one week ago. Some filler has been applied in one area (it still looks dull compared to the rest of the granite (even though it seems dull and not lustrous). The name of the granite is Gazon from Brazil. I have applied a sealer to it to try to improve the shine. The fabricator was out one time but is coming out again to look at the problem. Can the counter top be buffed to create a more uniform and luminous shine once it is installed. Thanks, Nick

    • Torin Dixon says:

      Nick,
      Sorry for the delay in reply. Most problems are the result of product build up. However, exotic stones particularly from Brazil have varied hardness crystals. Harder crystals are shinier, while softer minerals appear more dull. The best option is to strip off all products. The least aggressive method is to use HMK R55 Intensive Cleaner. This will clean waxes and polishes. If you need to chemically strip off a sealer, then R54 is needed, followed by R55. This will restore stone to factory finish, but will be unprotected. Re-seal with a quality impregnator like HMK S34 Silicone Impregnator.

  5. Countertops says:

    Granite is a very strong material and resists cracking and chipping very well.

  6. Great advice to try removing previous product buildup. It’s true that some products that create an instant shiny result, may cause buildup problems down the line.

  7. granite countertops edmonton
    Thanks, you guys that is a great explanation. keep up the good work..

  8. Jon says:

    If your granite countertops weren’t properly sealed and treated they can lose their luster pretty quick. This is a common question and a great response. Thanks for sharing your blog!

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