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Did you seal your black pearl leathered granite?

Dyan Weis
2 years ago

Opinions are all over the place on whether or not we should seal our new black pearl leathered granite. One granite shop told me I could use a water based sealer made by Tenex which shouldn't produce clouding. My cabinet maker said I should not seal it. I'm so confused. Do I seal or not? I cook a lot and use a lot of olive oil. This will be a busy kitchen! Can't decide but I'm running out of time! This is NOT my kitchen, just one I found that is similar. White shaker cabinets - black pearl leathered.




Comments (18)

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    "Leathering granite is known to tighten the natural pores of the stone and thus mitigate damage done through spillage. Stains, the great enemy of all countertops, will not be able to coalesce as well as they would in a polished or honed surface due to this phenomenon.

    Fingerprints and water spots too, are lost on the hardy surface of leathered granite—a huge bonus for any homeowner that hates wiping down their countertops after even mild use. The biggest and most often overlooked factor, bacterial resistance, is much higher than it would be for a honed or polished countertop. This is once again due to the tighter pores of the stone, achieved through keeping intact the natural contour and solidity of the granite."

    Wine stains and errant permanent markers are the worst enemies of an unsealed countertop and should be avoided if at all possible. At the end of the day, the decision to seal or not to seal is entirely yours, but it is essential to recall that a sealed leathered granite countertop is nearly impossible to stain and will last you for years.

    The leathered granite countertop is swiftly becoming the new standard in designer homes everywhere. The utility and beauty of this finish has the power to leave even the most critical cook happy to never leave their kitchens. Leathered granite’s unique texture—that all important and often overlooked feature—is going to be the deciding factor in any person’s mind when deciding whether or not to pull the proverbial trigger.

    This tactile element of the leathered stone is something that cannot be found in honed or polished granite and is incredibly satisfying. Whether you install it in the kitchen, bathroom or outdoors, leathered granite will make a fantastic addition to your dream home. It’s utility consistently goes above and beyond the countertop call of duty and is sure to please both your aesthetic and efficient desires. The ability to customize its texture through the wide variety of diamond brush grits, allows you to decide just how far to go in your pursuit of tactile perfection. Rustic and unique, fashionable and chic, leathered granite is easy to maintain an "

  • Shannon_WI
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Black Pearl granite has one of the lowest absorption rates of all granites, second to Absolute Black. It does not need sealing. You may recall the two articles I linked in your other post. One said "Should you seal granite countertops in the first place? I believe that sealing granite countertops has become a misunderstood practice and a misused marketing tactic, the result of both ignorance in the countertop industry and maybe even malicious intent. Granite sealer is over-promoted and over-applied. Some stones need it. Some don’t."

    The phrase in the post above, "Wine stains and errant permanent markers are the worst enemies of an unsealed countertop and should be avoided if at all possible" is an odd statement. These are the kinds of sweeping hyperbolic non sequiturs on the internet that cause confusion. Though they make up for it in the contradicting subsequent statement. Stains from wine, coffee and similar do not occur in the super-dense stones like Black Pearl. But if you are going to use a Sharpie on your stone, that may stick, no matter what stone you have, sealed or not; a microscopic layer of sealant won't protect against a Sharpie.

    Don't confuse staining with smudges from oil and fingerprints. You chose a black surface for your counter. If you spill oil and don't wipe it up, you may see an oil mark for a bit, or you may not. That has nothing to do with sealing against stains. That would happen on Absolute Black granite also. I have granite in place for years, and have never sealed it. It is not black, but a mix of colors, and is not as dense as Black Pearl. It looks the same as the day it was installed. I have spilled oil plenty of times, and yes an oily streak results, which I wipe with some lightly-soapy water, dry with a paper towel, done, 2 minutes tops. If you spilled oil on a diamond, it would look greasy too.

    The risk of hazing from sealant applied to a dense granite is too high. "Water based" or not, it will not absorb into the Black Pearl surface, but will sit on top. Then, when you pull a dish or pot across the granite, it will streak, since it's sitting on top, like a top coat of nail polish. Over time, a haze will appear.

    Since you are that worried about not sealing, which I think is misplaced, have the Black Pearl installed and make sure the fabricator does not seal it. Invest $15 in a small can of sealant. As soon as your granite is installed, drop some drips of water on it. Let the water sit for 5-10 minutes, and if it is not changed, has not absorbed into the stone, you do not need sealant. If it has, seal the counter yourself with the can you bought. Follow the directions on the can. It will take less than 5 minutes, and requires no skill other than being able to wipe in circles.

    Another article on haze on granite

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  • poorgirl
    2 years ago
    The leathering of granite already has created its own barrier but not all stones are equal in their properties.
    I come from the stone industry and have had honed Cambrian Black granite counters which is a granite used in exterior cladding so it is already a dense granite. Do the water test, if it marks use a water based sealant that can be wiped on and wiped off after a few minutes. Ask for a sample of the stone from the fabricator, at least the sink cut out and you can test the sealant. (Always get a sample so you have it )
    I had Cambrian black honed countertops in the house we sold last year, Cambrian is considered one of the densest blacks on the market. I wiped a water based sealant on it, it just sat on on top so I wiped it off but even so, i knew I had put it on .
    I also have had polished granite countertops which i had before the Cambrian installed 20 years ago, didn’t seal them as once again they were one of the densest granites in the world, in time they darkened, sealant doesn’t just stop staining it also stops different things in the air that over time can change the colour of your stone.
    If you put an area rug on your stone floor in front of your door and pull the rug up to mop and clean , over time your floor under the rug will be the original colour and you will see a difference from the rest of your floor.Sealing could have prevented that in my instance.
    My granite floors matched my countertops, they probably would have taken a sealant but i didn’t seal because it was such a dense granite. (Still wondering why i didn’t try)
    I also have leathered Brazilian granite counter tops and i did try and seal them , it doesn’t hurt , I was brought up with the theory that if its natural, seal it, now years later most materials that have natural pitting and fishers now have a resin applied at the factory before polishing the granite to fill in the natural characters, so this could also be one of the reasons that sealants are not used as much.
    Sealants have come so far in how easy they can be applied. If you do decide to seal, make sure you get the right sealant and seal a sample if your not comfortable putting it right on the counters or floors, go to a stone shop not a big box shop. run a piece of tape on the sealed side so you can see if there is any difference, then do the water test again,do a lemon test and a wine test.
    Make sure the counters are spotless before you seal.
    Make sure you get the proper finish , if your leathered I would suggest a matt finish vs a polished. It only take 5 -8 minutes to wipe on and wipe off, if you can find lambs wool, use this to apply it , it doesn’t shed like a cotton cloth.
  • Dyan Weis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Wow poorgirl - thank you so much for all of this info! I will be reading it again and again. Thank you too Shannon & Jan. We appreciate the advice and will study all of this!

  • skmom
    2 years ago
    See if you can get a sample piece and try to stain it. I don’t have that variety, but I have steel grey leathered granite. I sometimes (rarely, in all honesty) use a cleaner on it that says it’s a sealer... but it doesn’t seem to need it at all. I do a lot of high heat and oily cooking with a lot of splatters, and I just wipe my granite up with a soapy sponge. It cleans up perfectly, no hint of staining or leaving behind of anything. Like seriously, I’m a messy cook, I spill or splatter some type of oil (olive oil, canola, butter, ghee, coconut oil, sesame seed oil... not to mention red wine, citrus juices...) on my granite probably at least three times a week... it wipes right up! My granite next to my range looks identical to the granite next to my sink, and also at the end of my cabinetry where there’s never any food prep happening and the only stuff that gets set there is clean dishes. I have had granite stain in the past, it had a lot of white in it... but this leathered steel grey has been impervious to everything)
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 years ago

    ALWAYS ask for the cut out from your sink to be polished and returned at counter install. You can test on it, cut on it, use it for a hot plate.. If you decide you don't want or need it? Heave it to the curb.

    Dyan Weis thanked JAN MOYER
  • Dyan Weis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Jan - didn't even think of that - thank you!

  • Sherri Henson
    5 months ago

    Does it have scratches?

  • Dyan Weis
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Sherri - it's been two years since we have installed. No scratches and I am still LOVING my black pearl leathered! I use a granite spray to clean it. No problems at all!

  • Jane Smith
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Mines about 5 yo now I think. No scratches, no babying it. no stains.

    Its not sealed. I use Method Daily Granite on it.


    And this past year have used bleach water or lysol once a week or so to disinfect.



    love the leathered black pearl in my kitchen.


    No regrets at all. Planning to add to my bathrooms.

  • Victor M. Vasquez
    4 months ago

    Hi , this info is great. One question. I"m leaning towards not sealing but would any of this change if the countertop is for outdoors? I just had a leathered Pearl Black countertop installed for my outdoor kitchen.

  • Dyan Weis
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    An update on mine Victor. They sealed it when they installed it without telling me. They thought they were supposed to! That being said I don’t think the sealer did any damage or causes any kind of film etc so I would definitely seal if it is outdoors.

  • HU-341709093
    last month

    We recently moved into a new build with leathered black pearl countertops. Our Kitchen Aid mixer was placed on the counter top in the corner as its permenant home. The mixer has rubber feet and air can circulate under the mixer. When we finally moved the mixer to use it after about a month, the footprint of the entire base had discolored the granite giving it a white powder look several shades lighter than the rest of the countertop. We cleaned it with diluted Dawn liquid and a plastic scrubber (Scrub Daddy) but that just made it worse. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.

  • Dyan Weis
    Original Author
    last month

    That is very interesting. Could it possibly be the sealer reacting to it?

  • poorgirl
    last month

    I don’t know how long you have had the mixer on the counter but try and leave it alone and see if it will dry up. If not I would contact your builder and get them over there to explain, also take a picture so we could see it.
    You may need to make a poultice up and spear it on and tape Saran Wrap on it with a green frog or blue frog tape. Can you do the water test? Drop some water on the counter, leave for a few minutes and see if it’s still a bead or did it get absorbed.
    Let us know, Also are you sure it’s a true black pearl?

  • sushipup1
    last month

    I have a large plastic cutting board under my KA mixer, since it would otherwise be too difficult to slide out to use.

  • HU-341709093
    last month

    Thanks for the comments. The builder told us it was black pearl and has that listed in the information booklet he gave us. We did not seal it and the water does stand on the top of the counter and does not soak in. The mixer was on the counter for about 30 days. We will reach out to the builder and see what he says. Thanks everyone!!