Problem with Dull Shine on Granite Countertops

April 28, 2012 Off By Torin Dixon

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