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Honed Absolute Black Granite has a beautiful satin finish, making it very popular in modern home design. Unfortunately, the Honed finish is somewhat porous, and shows discoloration from fingerprints and liquid stains. Many unlucky homeowners have installed Honed Absolute Black Granite countertops because they loved the look, and then found out too late about fingerprinting when the marks appeared on their brand new countertops.
At Stoneline we offer both Polished and Honed Absolute Black Granite table tops, though we do not recommend Honed for kitchen countertops due to the fingerprint issue. We have recently learned of another granite finish which may provide an alternative to Honed: Antiqued.
Antiqued Absolute Black Granite is a textured surface which diffuses reflected light, for a satiny appearance similar to the Honed finish. Our first look indicates that Antiqued granite is more impervious than Honed, and appears not to show fingerprinting to nearly the same degree.
Antiqued granite deserves a closer examination as a possible alternative for high-use applications like family dining tables and kitchen countertops. We will post again when we have more information on how the Antiqued finish holds up to long-term use. In the meantime, keep your eye out for Antiqued Absolute Black Granite.
Honed Absolute Black Granite has developed a reputation as a difficult or problem material due to fingerprints showing on the stone. We have even seen columns calling honed absolute black granite a "nightmare" which no one should ever use.
It is true that honed absolute black granite requires more maintenance than polished absolute black granite. And it is not possible to completely eliminate fingerprints. For that reason we do not recommend honed absolute black granite for high-use applications like kitchen countertops. But fingerprinting doesn't have to be a nightmare. Understanding the honed finish and knowing how to work with it are the secrets to success with this beautiful stone.
In some cases, the reason that finger prints show up so much is that the final wash step has not been performed properly. Many crews emphasize multiple applications of Mineral Oil, while we emphasize getting it off again. With oil left on the surface, every time you touch it, you move oil around. The oil is meant to saturate the stone so that the pores do not accept oils from fingerprints. Fingerprint oils will show up as a stain if the pores are not evenly colored by oil already. We suggest the following technique to achieve an even finish:
Re-apply a thin layer of Mineral Oil so that the surface is consistent in color. (Use only cotton rags or a heavy weight paper towel/ shop rag for all steps.) Remove as much excess as possible with dry rags. Clean well with a large sponge, water and a mild dishwashing soap (we use Dove because it has a mild de-greaser). It is important not to apply dish soap directly to the top. Apply soap to the wet sponge. Wash well and rinse extremely well with wet rags. After the top has dried, we use Windex on a rag to even out areas that might still seem a little darker than the rest of the stone due, to too much oil left on that area.
Honing black granite creates a beautiful satin finish. However, the Honed finish is not as impervious as Polished. Honed granite will show discoloration from fingerprints or liquid stains, which must be treated with regular maintenance. Because of this, Absolute Black Granite, Honed Finish is somewhat controversial for home use. We do not recommend Honed Black Granite for kitchen countertops.
A homeowner expecting Honed Absolute Black Granite to be as carefree as its Polished counterpart is bound for disappointment. However, with proper maintenance Honed Black Granite is an attractive option for conference tables, formal dining tables and occasional tables (end, coffee and console tables). It can even be used for a more frequently used family dinner table, if the homeowner is aware of the fingerprint issue.
Daily maintenance: For general day to day cleaning, use a sponge and water only. Window cleaner and dish soap can also be used when necessary. Some discolorations (such as an oily spill or heavy fingerprint use) may take a couple of washings to even out.
Dealing with Problems: If your Honed Absolute Black Granite table top has a scratch or an area that has been polished to a higher sheen (usually by rubbing against something during transit), you can generally sand the surface back to the matte finish. Use 320 wet/dry sandpaper with water and sand by hand. Then use a Scotch-Brite rub out page (Grey super fine) as the final texture. Try localized sanding first in a small area, and go through the sealer steps. If the sanded area does not blend in well, it may be necessary to evenly sand and refinish the entire surface.
Resealing: Should the top need resealing, we recommend Premium Impregnator #314P from Gran Quartz (800-458-6222). This is the same product used to seal the granite surface in our factory. To reapply sealer, first clean the sandblasted border area and Honed surface with soap and water. Rinse well and let dry. Then apply two or three coats of sealer to the textured border and Honed surface. The border will absorb far more sealer than the Honed surface. Rub off the excess on the Honed surface, but leave the textured border wet. Let dry a few hours between coats. On the final coat, the sealer needs to be buffed off of the Honed area immediately with a clean cloth while it is still wet. If it dries, it becomes cloudy and is difficult to remove. Work quickly, moving around the entire top to buff off the excess before it flashes and dries on the surface. If it dries cloudy, reapply a small amount of sealer and re-buff the whole surface to an even appearance.
Stoneline Designs' Absolute Black Granite is a deep black stone from Zimbabwe with no veining and consistent coloring. We offer granite in either Honed or Polished finish. A 1" sandblasted border and edge detail is standard on all our granite table tops. Standard granite width is 3/4" thick. Stoneline produces granite table tops in any size up to 66x116". (72" width and 120" length as available.) Larger table tops are built in multiple sections, up to 30 feet long.
See also: Absolute Black Granite, Polished Finish