Honed Versus Polished on Kitchen Countertops

Selecting the perfect finish for your upcoming countertops can prove to be a daunting task, as different finishes yield varying effects on distinct types of stones. The optimal choice relies on your personal preferences, the stone’s characteristics, its coloration, and your intended usage. Within this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of polished and honed finishes across a range of stone types and colors.

The honed finish, also known as a matte finish, exudes a subdued appearance. Occasionally, slabs are available in a honed finish, while in some cases, your fabricator can hone a polished stone slab to achieve the desired effect.

On the other hand, the polished finish delivers a lustrous, glossy appearance. Most slabs are naturally obtained in a polished finish, saving your fabricator from undertaking any additional efforts. It is typically impractical for your local fabricator to polish a honed slab since the polishing process is executed overseas, employing larger machinery.


Polished finishes are the most common choice for granite slabs. However, a honed finish is only available for a limited selection of dark-colored granite, such as Absolute Black and Virginia Mist. Opting for a honed finish in certain shades of granite, like Absolute Black, can present challenges such as visible fingerprints and difficulty in cleaning oil and liquid marks. These issues arise due to the specific characteristics of the stone and its dark coloration. Absolute Black, being the darkest shade of granite, easily reveals imperfections. In contrast, Virginia Mist Honed, which is lighter in color compared to Absolute Black, is less prone to displaying marks. This disparity can be attributed to the stone type, color, and natural mineral composition.

Absolute Black Honed Granite

If you come across a dark-colored polished granite that you wish your local fabricator to transform into a honed finish, it is crucial to ensure that the fabricator is comfortable with this task. It is advisable to allow them to test a sample before proceeding with the entire job. There are two primary reasons for this precaution.

Firstly, honing certain dark-colored granite can prove to be challenging, and the final appearance may lack consistency when smaller hand machinery is employed instead of larger factory brushes. This disparity in tools used can impact the overall look of the honed finish.

Secondly, some dark-colored granite possesses an enhanced aesthetic when polished. Honing the stone not only lightens its appearance but may also diminish its rich and deep characteristics. Therefore, it is important to consider the potential loss of the stone’s distinct allure before opting for a honed finish.


Finding light-colored honed granite in stock at a local granite fabricator is uncommon since the majority of light-colored granite tends to exhibit a more appealing appearance when polished. If you desire a honed finish and wish to engage your local fabricator, we highly recommend requesting them to hone a sample for you to assess and ensure that you are satisfied with the final aesthetic. This proactive step allows you to make an informed decision regarding the preferred finish for your granite.

Bianco Antico Honed Granite


Marble, being a softer stone compared to granite, is susceptible to scratches and etches. Opting for a honed finish can help minimize the visibility of potential future scratches and etches on marble countertops. Moreover, if refinishing becomes necessary, honed finishes are easier to restore compared to polished finishes on marble countertops. We highly recommend choosing a honed finish for your marble countertops if you appreciate its appearance.

It’s worth noting that honed finish marble is slightly more porous than polished marble, resulting in slightly higher absorbency. However, from a staining perspective, the difference is negligible. In lighter marble varieties, the distinction between honed and polished finishes is less pronounced.


Similar considerations apply to dark-colored granite, except for the aspect of appearance. Honing dark-colored marble will alter the stone’s visual characteristics to a significant degree. It is imperative to have your local marble fabricator conduct a sample test, allowing you to assess the outcome before making your final decision. This precaution ensures that you are fully informed and comfortable with the potential changes that a honed finish may bring to the overall look of the dark-colored marble.


In recent times, quartzite countertops have gained increasing popularity due to their striking resemblance to marble. While quartzite is generally harder than marble, many light-colored quartzite varieties still exhibit marble-like characteristics, making them susceptible to scratches and etches. For both light-colored and dark, soft quartzite, we recommend opting for a honed finish.

However, it is crucial to have a sample tested before finalizing the decision to hone the quartzite. This is because certain quartzite types can prove extremely challenging to hone effectively. In such cases, it is highly likely that you may observe inconsistencies and irregularities in the stone’s appearance, such as visible streaks or variations. Conducting a sample test beforehand helps in assessing the feasibility and outcome of the honing process for the specific quartzite slab.


Hard quartzite tends to exhibit characteristics similar to granite. Due to its inherent hardness, scratching or etching hard quartzite is challenging, making honing unnecessary unless you specifically prefer the honed appearance. It is important to note that honing hard quartzite can be extremely difficult.

To ensure the best outcome, we recommend having your fabricator hone a sample of the hard quartzite for you. This enables you to assess how the stone reacts to the honing process and ensures that it will yield the desired results. Taking this precautionary step helps to determine the feasibility and suitability of honing the hard quartzite.


The majority of quartz brands typically provide polished finishes as their primary option. However, certain brands like Ceasarstone and Silestone offer additional choices such as honed and suede finishes for select colors. Opting for a honed finish in light-colored quartz is primarily a matter of personal preference, as it has minimal impact on its practical usage. Conversely, some dark-colored honed quartz options may be prone to showing fingerprints and could pose challenges in terms of cleaning.

To ensure a well-informed decision regarding honed quartz countertops, we strongly advise testing a sample beforehand. This allows you to assess the specific characteristics and visual effects of the honed finish on the quartz material, enabling you to make a more confident choice.

Most local natural stone and quartz fabricators will not have the option to convert polished finish to honed finish because of the limitations in their machinery. Only a few including United Granite MD will have the option to hone and leather quartz slabs.


Most travertine, soapstone and limestone slabs will come in a honed finish due to their softness. We recommend using this type of stone honed.


Onyx has a unique translucent look to it. Onyx is a soft natural stone, but we still recommend a polished finish because most onyx will lose its beauty when it is honed.

Thank you for reading this article. Please contact us at our Columbus location if you have any questions regarding different stone finished. We will be happy to give you further information, prepare samples for you to see for yourself.

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