Newly Installed Granite Countertop Has Pits and Dull Spots
I had a new granite countertop installed yesterday as part of my kitchen remodel on a budget.
When looking at the countertop at an angle with sunlight, there are a lot of pits and some dull spots. At night with overhead light, the pits are not visible. I can feel the pits if I run my fingernail across the granite.
The installer told me the pits are normal because the granite is natural stone. Is he correct or handing me a line of BS? I am afraid I may have wound up with the piece of cheap Chinese granite or the installer may have damaged the granite.
GRANITE is an Igneous rock is formed by volcanic action or intense heat, which liquefies
rock deep in the Earth and which solidifies upon cooling. Granite, the most common igneous
rock, is millions of years old and has a crystalline, granular structure, with a range of colors
and consisting mostly of quartz and feldspars, accompanied by one or more dark minerals
such as mica. The color of igneous rock depends mainly on the color of the prevailing
feldspars. The granite offered for residential and commercial applications comes from open
pit quarries found all over the world. There is a large assortment of granites available to suit
specific tastes or design applications, ranging from consistent grain structures and colors to
multicolored stones with veins or movement resulting from the uneven distribution of
minerals. “Consistency”, when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs
to be understood in the context of the origins and composition of the product. Because of the
way granite was formed millions of years ago, it is synonymous with quality, strength,
permanence, solidity and hardness. These characteristics make it an ideal choice for a
kitchen countertop surface.
Most granite used for countertops is polished to a high-gloss finish giving it a mirror-like
appearance. On closer inspection however, many granites have certain natural
characteristics such as “pitting”, “fissures” or “dull spots” that may at first cause some
concern. It is important to understand the geological reasons for these characteristics to fully
appreciate the beauty of stone.
A characteristic referred to as “pitting” is normally due to the fact that granite is a natural
product that has a crystalline structure, sometimes resulting in small spaces between the
varying mineral crystals. In some cases, certain tiny crystals may also be removed during the
polishing process, causing the pits to become more visible. Various steps are taken during
the finishing process to reduce the visibility of these pits, but they cannot be totally avoided
in all granite types. Pitting will not become worse with regular use or with the passage of time.
Many types of granite have small “fissures” or hairline cracks on the surface of the slab,
usually more visible in the larger quartz crystals. These surface fissures should not be
confused with structural cracks that permeate the entire slab. Fissures are a natural result of
the heating and cooling of the stone during its formation millions of years ago. Fissures will
not grow or expand over time.
The final appearance of the polished surface of each type of granite is determined by the
specific composition or “mix” of quartz, feldspars and other minerals. While the overall
appearance will be that of a high-gloss finish, some components within the granite may not
accept the same level of polish as the rest of the crystals, which can result in "dull spots" or
"watermarks." Often these spots are visible on the darker crystals present in some granites.
The hardness, composition and any other characteristics are taken into account during the
polishing process and all efforts are made to achieve the highest level of gloss possible for
each specific material.
While the type and specific composition determines the amount of pits, fissures and dull
spots, some granites exhibit these characteristics more than others, and they may also be
more or less visible depending on the lighting conditions present in a room. Lighting plays an
important part in the overall appearance of a finished granite countertop surface.
Pits, fissures and dull spots do not compromise the integrity of the stone in any way; they are
natural characteristics of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material.
They are an expression of nature and add to the allure of the stone, which sets it apart from
Can I cut on Granite? Yes you can cut on granite but it will dull your knives.
Can Granite scratch? Granite is one of the hardest stones available. It is extremely
difficult to scratch, but it is not a diamond.
Can Granite Chip? Granite will not chip under normal use, although a heavy object
hitting a square countertop edge could chip out a small piece. Should this occur, the
chip can be filled.
Can Granite Crack? Granite does not crack under ordinary use. Granite is most
susceptible to cracks during shipping, fabrication and installation. Granite will not flex
like laminate and solid surface tops. Do not stand on or next to the sink, cooktop
cutouts, or unsupported overhangs - too much stress or weight may cause the stone
Does Granite Stain? Generally Granite does not stain. All stone is porous to some
extent, but granite has very little porosity. A few colors may absorb more moisture with
prolonged contact, which may cause stone to appear darker. Usually, no evidence
remains when the liquid is removed and the stone dries. The granite is sealed prior to
or during installation to help prevent staining. The sealing process does not make the
stone impervious to liquid. We can provide more information and products regarding
the care and cleaning of granite.
Will my Granite look like the sample? Samples are not true representations of the
entire slab. You can select your actual slab at our warehouse or the suppliers and it
will be shipped to us for fabrication. It should be noted that portions of the slab may
vary in color and texture, this is part of the stone's inherent beauty. Our goal is to
match the seams and layout to provide the best possible finished product.
Will seams Show? Seam visibility will vary depending on stone coloration. Granite
with sweeping color movements will have more visible seams. Stone slabs are usually
no larger than 105" X 66" which makes seams inevitable. In addition stone thickness
may vary, which can result in a seam that is not perfectly flat. Our goal is to minimize
seams, maximize use of material, and create a well balanced "Piece of Art".
How are Seams made? Seams are made using epoxy. Epoxy will holds up extremely
well and is colored by our craftsmen to provide the best possible match. Epoxy does
not flex. When new homes settle, their is a slight possibility that the epoxy may crack.
Should this happen the seams can be easily repaired.
How do I care for Granite? A mild neutral detergent like dish soap is fine for
cleaning granite. Avoid acidic, harsh antibacterial detergents, citrus cleaners and
bleach on your granite. These cleaners can etch the finish and dull the stone over
time. Wipe up spills as they occur. Sealing every 6 months and periodically using a
good commercial cleaner / polish made specifically for granite is a good practice.
The pits (fissures) are normal. If they bug you, you can have them filled. For a big countertop this could be a bigger job, if you want the whole thing fissure-free.
However, if you have some dull spots - then I would wonder if the finisher did a complete job. If the dull spots are consistent with a grain, then it's natural. If a dull spot goes across many grains in an area, then the polish job was cut rate, but given that the polishing is done by machines, that seems unlikely.
Did you say what kind of granite it is? (BTW, some stones sold as granite are not actually technically granite, but are nice nonetheless).
Last edited by Easy Rhino; 09-01-2013 at 01:34 PM.
I must have gotten lucky on the ones recently installed. There are a few tiny pits that you have to run your hand over to feel as they're not visible. There are no fissures and we're very satisfied with the work.
Budget granite is just that. Go look at some granite in a high end home. The stone can be polished better with power buffers too.
That's the way it is.
There are different grades of the same stone. They are rated after cutting the slab from the block and then again after final polishing.
Some importers handle nothing but premium rock, but it comes at a price.