Honed Versus Polished on Kitchen Countertops

Choosing the right finish for your next countertops can be challenging considering different finishes will have different effects on different stones. The right choice depends on your taste, type of stone, color of the stone and your planned usage of the stone. In this article, we will talk about advantages and disadvantages of polished and honed finishes in different stone types, and color.

Honed finish refers to matt finish. Sometimes slabs come in a honed finish; sometimes your fabricator can hone a polished slab of stone for you.

Polished finish refers to a glossy finish. Most slabs come in a polished finish, so your fabricator does not need to do any extra work. It is usually not possible for your local fabricator to polish a honed slab since polishing is done overseas using bigger machinery.


Most granite slabs come in polished finish. Honed finished slabs are available only in a few dark color granite options such as Absolute Black and Virginia Mist. Going with a honed finish in a dark color granite can be problematic in certain shades of granite such as Absolute Black. Showing finger prints, having difficulty cleaning oil and other liquid marks can be a challenge with this type of granite. On the other hand, some other dark color granite options such as Virginia Mist Honed will not be as problematic as Absolute Black. The reason is just the type of the stone, and color of the stone, and natural minerals in the stone. Absolute Black is the darkest color granite therefore it is very easy to see any imperfections. Virginia Mist honed is lighter in color compared to absolute black, so it will not show marks as easily.

Absolute Black Honed Granite

If you find dark color polished granite that you would like your local fabricator to convert to honed finish, make sure the fabricator is comfortable doing so, let them test a sample before moving ahead with the job. The first reason is some dark color granite can be hard to hone so the final look may not be as consistent when finished using small hand machinery rather than bigger factory brushes. The second reason is that some dark color granite has a more enhanced look when it is polished. Honing the stone will not only make it lighter but additionally it may lose the rich deep appearance.  


It is rare that a local granite fabricator will carry any light color honed granite in stock because most light color granite looks nicer when it is polished. If you prefer your local fabricator to convert the finish to honed, we recommend that you have them hone a sample to make sure you are ok with the final look.

Bianco Antico Honed Granite


Marble is a softer stone than granite so it is prone to scratching and etching. Going with a honed finish will minimize the visibility of potential future starches and etches. In addition, it’s easier to refinish a honed finish than polished finish in marble countertops. We strongly recommend going with honed finish for your marble countertops if you like the appearance of it as well. Honed finish marble is slightly more porous than polished marble, so it is more absorbent than a polished finish, but the difference is negligible from a staining perspective. The difference between a honed and polished marble is not as significant in a lighter marble.


Same arguments apply to dark color granite expect for the appearance. Honing dark color marble will change the look of the stone significantly. Therefore, make sure to have your local marble fabricator test a sample for you before you finalize your decision.


Quartzite countertops are becoming more and more popular nowadays because of their unique similarities to marble. Even though quartzite is a harder stone than marble, most light color quartzite will still show marble like characteristics, meaning it’s susceptible for scratching and etching. We recommend a honed finish for light color and dark soft quartzite. It is important to have a sample tested before the honing decision is made because some quartzite is extremely hard to honing. Most likely you will see sticks and inconsistencies in the stone.


Hard quartzite will show granite like characteristics. It is difficult to scratch or etch hard quartzite so there is no need to hone the stone unless you prefer to honed look. Honing hard quartzite is extremely difficult so make sure to have your fabricator hone a sample for you. This also ensures the stone with react well to the honing process.


Most quartz brands will only offer polished finish options. Only some brands such as Ceasarstone and Silestone will offer honed and suede finish options for certain colors. Going with a honed finish in the light color is a personal preference as it has little to no effect on the usage. Some dark color honed options may show finger prints and may be difficult to clean. We recommend testing a sample before making a decision on honed quartz countertops.

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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