I have developed a knowledge of silicone not unlike being able to smell the difference between a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. I don’t smell silicone, I feel it. Some is silky, some slightly gritty, some feels like the sugar strings left from making lollypops, and some feels like jelly worms.
None of them fit well in the cracks in my granite. I am waiting for the most recent option to set. It is the third version that says it is for “Granite and Marble”. Hopefully the third try is the charm. The first one taught me that you can discolor granite with silicone. The second taught me that it sticks to everything but the crack. Both one and two taught me that it leaves a nasty film beside the place it is supposed to be.
Having made my way through most of the kitchen and the guest bath, I am on the my spouses and my bathrooms and maybe I have found a way to make this work. We have jelly worms in the kitchen. If the bathroom method works, I imagine I will descend to the kitchen and pull out the jelly worms I put in there and start. The kitchen looks great but when you rub your hand across the counter you feel the silky smoothness of polished granite interrupted by bo-ing, bo-ing as your hand bounces across the silicone in the seam.
The seams started out as necessity in our granite counter tops since the sizes set by the hotel remnants needed to be adjusted for our house. After four heads and one burned out tile saw blade the seams are actually a pattern and a pretty nifty one at that. There is a one inch strip that runs through the center of the counter all around the kitchen. When you get to the island the one inch strip starts again making a pattern across the top of the island linking the left and the right sides like a trail. The pattern on the trail pieces is slightly different than the pattern on the slab sections so it stands our as a design.
Right now the design is being overtaken by silicone. I read a lot about how to seam granite and there seem to be about four options. One, you have such an expensive piece of granite that there are no seams or someone with great skill crafted the counter top and their fees match the artistry of their work. Number one is out for us. The second method I could find is to fill the seams with epoxy. You can buy $50 and more expensive match kits that have little tubes of color so you can get the exact color of your counter top. One article I read suggested that you mix multiple colors of epoxy (in series so they don’t set up) and then dab bits here and there in your seam going back and adding other colors as you need to match your pattern. That one is out for us since we have about 30 feet of seam by the time you get the whole complex pattern unfolded. Number 3 is flowing grade polyester not to be confused with knife grade. I was pretty intrigued by this stuff and almost ordered some but the ebay connection timed out when I tried to buy a small container at $50 so I figured it was providence that intervened.
The fourth and my way because I had some is to use silicone. I thought it was pretty straightforward. You stuff some in the crack, trim off the tag edges and off you go. Au contraire. Cutting off the tag edges leads to pulling it out or leaving a ruffle by the seam. I tried to scrape it off and then roughed up the granite so it does not have a polish on it anymore.
It struck me that if the edges were the problem I could tape it like painting. I taped. I did not get close enough and I removed the tape too early. Bo-ing. I sent my spouse to the store to find something that was not silicone and not polyurethane. He was supposed to talk to the expert sales person. He got advice and came home with two things. One is made of mystery meat. Even after reading the chemical name on it I could not find anything that was remotely familiar. The other tube is tantalizingly clear, shimmering in the light. It is the one that looks like clear Caro Cane Syrup. It has a picture of a granite counter top on the front. Against my better judgement I opened another tube of silicone. The texture is silky and enticing. It stays beautifully clear even when you drag your fingers through it like I did mine. It is too elegant to go bo-ing. Or, that is my theory.
I taped exactly the edges of the seams to be calked. I put a bead of calking and then smoothed it with my finger pressing the clear silicone into the narrow crevasses of the granite seams. When I ran my finger across it the result was a glossy smooth line like placid spring water.
We shall see in the morning when I check on my tape if we have a Cabernet Sauvignon or MD 20-20. If it fills my seams neatly and looks like the sugar strings left from making clear lollypops, I will be very happy. If not, I suppose we can use the jelly worm calk from kitchen.