Repairing a Scratched Granite Countertop
Granite is one of the hardest stones, second only to diamond, a factor that contributes to it being the superior choice for kitchen countertops and floors. As hard as it is, it will still scratch. Drag a pallet with a nail sticking out, and you are going to leave a mark. Removing a granite scratch is not for the faint of heart. You may be able to fill it if it is deep, but typically it is still noticeable. Better to reach out to professional.
A common misperception is that a sealer can repair a scratch. A penetrating sealer is designed to soak into the stone’s pores and set-up. Any material on the surface should be wiped up so that only the materials in the stone pores remains. These materials are designed to bridge very small spaces, not wide scratches. A scratch is like the grand canyon when compared to a pore in your stone.
A topical sealer is designed to leave material on the counter surface. If the hardness of granite is one of its advantages, then when we apply a relatively soft coating to the surface, we have eliminated or rather hidden the granites hardness benefit. It will be easier to damage, scratch or alter the topical coating than the granite itself, so we may cover the scratch, but have merely created a very temporary fix, that will need to be removed again to repair the initial scratch. This actually increases the cost of the repair, and the length of time you may be inconvenienced. Topical sealers are not scratch removers or longterm solutions.
While this is an easy process for a properly trained, knowledgeable, experienced craftsman, there is a reason that many “stone craftsman” shy away from such repairs. You have to know what you are doing or you risk expanding the problem. In order to remove a scratch, one does not fill it, but rather grind the surface down to the level of the bottom of the scratch, then have to feather out the repair across the counter in order to avoid any perceptible slope or soap dishing. As most scratches are a hair’s thickness in depth on a hard granite surface, this sounds scarier than it is. That said, the first step is to remove stock. Once the surface has been releveled, the process of honing, grinding, polishing begins to gradually flatten the repaired surface until it once again is so flat it will reflect light true.
You might hear the professional use the terms honing and grit sizes when referring to your project. Grinding is employed to remove the excess stock above the bottom of your scratch. Honing is the process of smoothing the granite using abrasives. Honing and polishing is the process that will close up your surface gradually wearing any mountains down to the bottom of the valleys. Ultimately working from low to high grits the surface is ground to a mirror like finish. It may sound easy and logical, and it is, but it requires a keen eye and knowledge of the stone. One error and one must return to that point of the error and start again.
While some people prefer to try a home remedy first, this is clearly a case in which this is likely to increase your total cost. Scratch, chip and crack repairs on granite can be done, but hiring a professional will result in a less expensive, less messy, faster, reduced inconvenience process. Remember, that whenever you have a repair done you need to reseal the surface, unless working with a resonated slab (but that is a subject of another article).
Remember to do your research by asking your neighbors or home improvement supply stores for craftsman recommendations. It’s not enough for someone to say they are an expert, or they have the tools, make sure they can show you other projects they have done. Remember marble is not granite. Granite is granite. You want to see examples of granite projects. Get a professional estimate and make sure this job get completed properly.