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trav86_gw

Carrara advice--honed or polished?

15 years ago

I want honed marble countertops. I covet them. But my countertop guy came today and said honed was a seriously bad idea, that the finish was much more fragile than polished, that it stained from everything--tomato sauce, vinegar, even water--and that the smells of the things that made the stains would permeate the kitchen (!) Honed and polished are the same price, so it's not a money issue. He tells me he's had lots of unhappy honed customers and doesn't want me to make what he thinks is a big mistake.

My family are seriously sloppy. I'm not wildly fastidious, but I probably would be somewhat irked by very stained countertops. Thoughts?

Comments (28)

  • 15 years ago

    I'm getting honed. Everything your countertop guy told you is the complete opposite of what I've learned from my research and talking to the lady at the huge stoneyard/fabricator near me.

  • 15 years ago

    My family and I are sloppy and I wanted Carrara, too. This may be a totally offensive idea to you, but I ended up choosing Corian in Rain Cloud for my own kitchen.

    Bottom line, I knew I couldn't bear to see the marble destroyed before my eyes, so I picked the closest thing I could find that would hold up to abuse. It gives a very similar look at around the same price but is much more stain-resistant, and if I ever do stain it badly, the stain can be fairly easily buffed out.

    The link below is to a picture of it in a kitchen -- it's the countertop around the perimeter. To my untrained eye, it looks pretty real. Mine's not installed yet, so I don't have a picture of that. I'm doing a white farm sink instead of the integrated sink they were offering free with the countertop. Hopefully that will make it look less obviously like Corian.

    {{!gwi}}

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{!gwi}}

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  • 15 years ago

    erikanh, do you have any links to the info you found? Are you having your countertops sealed in a particular way? kitchen 1921, the corian looks very nice actually, but my heart is set on marble. Thanks for the fast answers!

  • 15 years ago

    Good luck, I hope you find good information! I understand having your heart set on something. :)

  • 15 years ago

    I will be having an island that will have a marble countertop. My experience w/ the samples I received was that once sealed, I had no staining issues w/ either finish, only obvious etching w/ the polished. Hopefully some of those who have the marble countertops will weigh in on this thread but I have also heard opposite of what you are being told - just make sure whatever you choose you have it sealed.

  • 15 years ago

    I've had honed Cararra counters for a year now, on all my perimeters and my 8' island. PLENTY of spills and not a stain anywhere. Etches, yes - but there's no getting around etches in marble, whether honed or polished. I've never had a moment of regret.

  • 15 years ago

    Like others have posted, I've heard the opposite. In fact, one of the installers I got an estimate from said he will not, for any price, install polished marble counters in a kitchen. They must be honed.

  • 15 years ago

    If you google 'honed polished marble kitchen' you'll find lots of articles on the subject. I copied the following from the FindStone forum. Mr Bertoli was a well respected stone expert and prolific poster to GardenWeb and other forums who passed away in a tragic accident recently.

    Question: I am purchasing White Carrera for an island, I was comtemplating using honed white carrera for a more rustic look topping an antiqued black rubbed cabinet. Will maintenance be very different for honed vs. polished? Can you seal a honed marble or would you get a polished look as a result of the sealer? I think I need some advice from others.

    Response: While most likely you wouldn't be able to seal polished White Carrara, you can seal it's hone-finished version, for the pores of the stone at the surface are more open and could take the sealer (better said, impregnator) in.
    No sealer for stone - which is strictly a below-the-surface produc - will ever alter in any way, shape or form the finish of the slab, if applied properly.

    Unless yours is just a show-place, polished marble in a kitchen is a maintenance nightmare!!
    Ciao and good luck,
    Maurizio Bertoli

    Trainer-in-chief for the International Training Centers for the Stoneindustry (ITCS)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Findstone Forum

  • 15 years ago

    Everyone is so helpful! Armed with your input (and my preference), I just called the counter guy and said 'honed!' So now tell me, what's your favorite sealant? rm, you said you sealed it yourself after installation--was it a difficult process? i.e. could a non-handy person like me do it without making a mess of it? Thanks so much for the hand-holding.

  • 15 years ago

    Absolutely you can do it yourself! I used Miracle 511 Porous Plus, and I only learned about it from all the marble lovers who've gone before me here on GW .... It is actually super-easy: you either pour it on your countertop or you can put the solution (it's thin, similar to the viscosity of water) in a spray bottle and do it that way. Anyway, you put it on the marble and let it sit for a few minutes, then come and wipe the remainder up. You repeat the process until the solution isn't readily absorbed (I think I did it two or three times). Warning: it's stinky (that's why I think I lost some brain cells), so make sure your pets / small children are not in the vicinity. (That's my warning.)

  • 15 years ago

    rm, thanks for the encouragement/instructions. How much 511 did you use and for what size surface area? I've found a place to order it, but want to make sure I get enough but not too much ($$$!!!). I have about 25 sf of counter surface.

  • 15 years ago

    trav86 - What did you decide? My honed carrara is being installed Dec 12 so I am looking for some 511 porous plus based on all the recommendations here. I see Home Depot carries some of the miracle sealants & I am wondering if the HD SuperSeal is the same as the 511 porous plus.

  • 15 years ago

    I bought a gallon because I didn't know how much I'd need and the closest dealer was a considerable drive .... I could've EASILY purchased just the quart and it would've lasted me for years. Now it'll last me until I die, or even after that! (I have 85 square feet, so I really think you'll be okay with the quart!)

    When is your marble being installed? I can't wait to see it!

  • 15 years ago

    I'm a full-on messy cook, and had always dreamed of using carrera. I was talked out of it. Then recently on a trip to San Francisco, I noticed carerra on floors, tables, and especially kitchen work surfaces. In Little Italy, I'm sure I saw at least 10 slabs that have been used daily for 150 years. I never saw one that looked bad. I chose soapstone, but realize that I would have been as happy or happier with Carerra.
    If you love it, GO FOR IT!

  • 15 years ago

    My honed countertop was installed Friday and it looks gorgeous! Thanks to all for your support. We won't be able to use the kitchen until the plumber comes on Tuesday(ish), so I can't speak to the staining issue yet, but stay tuned. Fabricator used something called KR 33 to seal it. "What about 511?" I asked. "No, no is no good," he said. "Too thick." Based on rm's experience, I plan to reseal with 511 tomorrow.

    I have another problem now, and I fear I'll just have to live with it. The fabricator had to send a worker back to drill the faucet holes yesterday (he didn't have the right drill bit with him on Friday) and it became apparent that the sink (Rohl Farmhouse 30") is installed incorrectly--it protrudes beyond the countertop about 1/4" more on one end than on the other. I asked the worker if it could be moved, he said, no the silicone that secured it in place was dry and that was that. I'll speak to my contractor tomorrow and see what he says, but I'm feeling vexed.

  • 15 years ago

    trav86 - congrats on your countertop...I can't wait until mine is installed. Where did you buy the 511 porous plus? I think I am going to call my fabricators tomorrow & ask them what they plan to use to seal my carrara.

  • 15 years ago

    I just finished my second coat of sealer on my honed Carrera countertop tonight. I want to have it sealed well before Thanksgiving. When I was getting ready to seal my countertop, my husband told me that the fabricator already put one coat of sealer on. I learned on this forum that you don't want to mix sealers so I made sure to ask my fabricator which sealer he used. He used one they sell to the trades called Bulletproof. It is made by Du Pont. He got a bottle for me so I could put extra coats on. So, if your installer already put KR33, I don't think you are suppose to apply a different sealer unless you strip the first one off. Also, there are different types of sealer. Some are sealers and some are impregnators. 511 Porous Plus is an impregnator. I don't know what KR33 is. Bulletproof is a sealer.

  • 15 years ago

    We used a different sealer than our fabricator and have had no problems. None. There have been so many threads about sealers / impregnators and one of the topics often covered has been using different a different (brand) sealer than the fabricator. The consensus both here on GW as well as my own experience (and what I heard from our fabricator) is that it doesn't matter.

    So mel71 and trav86, both anecdotally as well as from my personal experience I can say "Don't Worry."

    Enjoy your new marbles you two! And I hope trav86's sink issues have been resolved ....

  • 15 years ago

    HONED, HONED, HONED! I have Danby Marble due to it's low absorption rate, (0.06%) which is lower than many granites. This is why it is such a good countertop marble. Honing hides scratches and can be fixed in place with common household items. Comet and Scotch scouring pads. Your fabricator has no clue.

  • 15 years ago

    trobs, any pics of your Danby marble. I would love to see it after some use and not just newly installed. Thanks.

  • 15 years ago

    First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    The crooked sink was fixed but now there's a real problem.

    The day after I resealed the marble with 511, a large discoloration developed. I'm hoping you knowledgeable gardenwebbers can take a look and tell me what you think:

    {{!gwi}}

    I called 511 and the guy I spoke with said the color change could possibly be the result of a reaction of the 511 with the previous sealer. He recommended that I wipe the stone with mineral spirits to clean up any excess sealer, then try liquid poultice. I tried the mineral spirits and there was no improvement. Haven't gotten to the liquid poultice yet.
    And here's the peculiar thing: there are 3 pieces of marble in the kitchen; all 3 were sealed and resealed in the exact same way, but only this piece developed a problem. Why would that happen? I'm going to call the fabricator tomorrow, if he's even reachable. Meanwhile, all ideas appreciated.

  • 15 years ago

    Did you clean the surface first? THe label says to clean the stone. My honed calacatta was treated with PP511 and I did 2 extra sealings after it was installed. I had to get the Porous Plus 511 from the installer as Home Depot did not carry it. I've had no problems thus far with stains - however it has etched. It doesn't really bother me.

  • 15 years ago

    First -- gorgeous carrara! Holy cow is that pretty -- definitely the prettiest carrara I've seen lately (and I kissed a lot of marble frogs in my quest ...).

    I'm really sorry and disappointed to read about the discoloration. I used a different sealer from our fabricator and did not encounter a similar problem, but who knows? I would definitely try a poultice (even regular powdered Comet) and see what that does. I know you know this already, but just in case: every time after using a poultice you MUST seal seal seal again! The poultice removes the protection.

    I have read here on GW (Kitchen and Bath fora) about marble changing color, but usually in terms of something inherent in the stone (like rust). That seems unlikely here though, as it was just installed!

    Good luck, and please do let us know what you decide to do and how it resolves itself.

    And thank you for the picture! I loved seeing your marble!

  • 15 years ago

    trav86 - - Just saw this thread for the first time and I'm wondering if the discoloration problem resolved itself.
    Please let us know what happened ???

  • 15 years ago

    Napagirl, the problem is not yet resolved, but per our contractor's advice, we decided to wait until the everything else in the room was finished at which point the fabricator will come back to clean the discoloration. I'm hopeful that we'll get to the finishing part (and therefore the cleaning part) this coming week.

  • 7 years ago

    Any more experience to share since 2008-2009 on staining/etching? We are faced with similar choice but for the bathroom vanity top. Discovered that older Carrara lots were lighter than currently offered; honed finish looks lighter than polished. Floors are matt finish porcelain, shower floor - honed marble mosaic, shower walls - glossy subway with polished marble mosaic. An upcharge for polished look but not a deal breaker...

  • 5 years ago

    I too have a newly installed and not yet used vanity top with a stain in the corner. The area is overall a much darker grey. I don't think the installer sealed the honed marble. Do any helpful readers have any ideas on trying to fix the corner ? I'm waiting for a reply from the fabricator/installer.