Granite Countertop Help!

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Old 08-24-13, 01:52 PM
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Granite Countertop Help!

Hi all!

I am hoping I can find some help here regarding some granite countertop questions! I have searched and searched and am coming up confused and empty.

There are 2 parts to my question

1) I have dark granite that I'm noticing is getting some 'chips' in the top. They aren't deep but rather like a light chisel off the top. They feel rough and I'm afraid they will only continue to worsen if not repaired. I have purchased at lowes some sealer that you apply, let sit and wipe away the excess. It made the countertos beautiful, but didn't repair the chip, which I honestly didn't expect it to. I feel like I need to "clear coat" the countertops. However I don't know if that's something that can be done, should be done or where to begin. Do I need to sand? Polish? The questions go on.

2) We are updating our cabinets and adding backsplash. Currently, we have a piece of granite that comes up the wall and lines the bottom part of the wall where the granite and wall meet. So, there is about an inch of space that the granite border sits on top of the counter. It has been caulked, however the caulking is getting kind of worn. Because we plan to add backsplash, we will remove this piece. My fear is, getting this nearly caulk off without causing scratches and chips in the granite as well as wondering if the space that is currently covered was ever sealed to begin with. So going back to above, would a "clear coat" help this concern and ensure the granite doesn't have a weird strip from where the border laid. In addition, I feel like sanding where that caulk is would be necessary.

Sanding granite seems so scary to me, but I keep hearing people talk about it like it is no big deal. I'm a big DIYer, my husband and I are competent and have done many large and small projects but nothing with granite. All the articles I am finding sound like the sealer I mentioned that I already did above, not like a true reselling (like a "clear coat").

Any insight? Help is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

Heather
 
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Old 08-24-13, 03:02 PM
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Thus is the nature of natural stone, there will be variations and chips can form. Keep in mind that this is a food prep station and coating it with anything would not be recommended from my perspective. Sealing the stone ocassionally is recommended. If you sprinkle a couple of drops of water on the counter and it beads up, you do not need to seal. If the water soaks into the stone, then it is time to seal.

The caulking can be removed with a loose razor blade, set at a 45 deg angle to the stone and set perpendicular to the caulk. Think of cleaning a film off of glass. Slide the blade across the caulking and it should lift it off without scratching the finish. Do Not use the blade in a standard cutting motion (like a knife) or you will scratch the surface. I recommend practicing on the old backsplash granite you take out to make sure you have the knack for it without damage.
 
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Old 08-24-13, 03:40 PM
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Thank you czizzi! That was my original thought on how to remove the caulk so I'm glad I am on the right path.

I also understand that the chips/cracks are normal for natural stone but I also thought (and was told at lowes) that these small chips in the surface can eventually lead to cracks or deeper chips. Is this true? Natural stone is supposed to "last forever" with proper care and maintenance, the previous homeowners did not take care of things and I want to avoid costly damages that could come from these smaller things.
Any additional input on that? Have I been misinformed?

Thank you so much!
 
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Old 08-24-13, 05:25 PM
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I have watched professional granite guys try to polish out some scratches in a breakfast bar install where the guy who polished the edge had his buffer slip a little. The scratches were minor but noticeable so I called them back to fix. After 2 hrs of polishing and trying to achieve the mirror finish that is expected, the Granite companies owner's son looked at me and said, "I'm just going to cut you a new piece". Which they did and forever have my referrals and business. I highly doubt that you can polish your stone to any degree that won't ruin the entire counter top. So, you can guess what my recommendation is.......You need to learn to live with it or replace.
 
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Old 08-24-13, 05:49 PM
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If you have a stone fabricator/granite countertop store, you can have them make a epoxy for you out of the ground up chips or dust from your color countertop. It's called kimi? (sp)...its the same material they use on seams and minor chips. It will at least hide the divots in your top
 
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Old 08-25-13, 06:32 AM
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A lot depends on your stone. We just had granite installed this week and I've recently spent a lot of time in wholesalers warehouses picking slabs. I noticed that some stones had chips and pock marks in their surface even when new. Talking with the experts they do say that some stones are prone to little bits coming off and that some stones are stronger and more structurally sound than others. Some stones are impregnated to fill voids, increase strength and provide a more smooth surface.

Some surface pitting may not lead directly to cracking but it could indicate that you have a stone that's a bit more delicate. You may want to take extra care with setting heavy objects down on the counter. I've seen some people just drop heavy cast iron cookware thinking that granite is indestructible or set hot cookware from the oven directly on the counter. Stone can generally take it but I view it as Russian roulette and just asking to get a chip now and then.

I did the removal myself of our old granite. After 11 years of daily use there were no chips or scratches and we never sealed or did anything special. Where the backsplash slab met the counter I used a putty knife to scrape away the silicone bead in the joint. After separating the slabs I used a single edged razor blade held at a shallow angle to scrape away the remaining caulk.

I watched when the installers seemed our new stone. The seem was only a foot long and they went through 5 or 6 blades scraping away the residue. They said a dull blade did no harm but to get absolutely all of it off a sharp blade was best.
 
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