Honed vs. Polished Granite: What’s The Best Deal?

What Is Honed vs Polished Granite

Granite is one of the most ancient and strongest natural stones. Due to its aesthetic appeal and durable nature, it’s been used countless times by architects and designers for monuments, building facades, flooring, curbing stones, and bridges. From the iconic and masterful Mount Rushmore to the humble kitchen counter, granite has a wide range of applications and continues to be a popular choice for homeowners across the globe.

Granite is a coarse or medium-grained rock rich in feldspar, biotite, and quartz. Its unique veins, blotches, and flecks form when these and other minerals melt into a liquid mass upon the stone’s formation. Its colors range from dark black to porcelain white to hues that reflect the desert sand and sky’s gray clouds.

If you’re contemplating countertops, you don’t just need to think about the type or color but also the finish. Of all available finishes, polished and honed granite is the most widely requested. In this post, we’ll explore what is a honed granite countertop, as well as honed vs. polished granite, highlighting their key differences to help you make an informed aesthetic choice.

What’s Honed Granite?

What Is Honed Granite

Honed granite countertops have a subtle, matte, or satin appearance that’s non-reflective. They’re velvety to touch and enhance the natural color and depth of the granite stone. Some might call their look understated or even casual. Honed surfaces are always smooth and can make the granite look lighter or “grayed out,” especially on darker stone. Natural flaws within the stone can be concealed more easily due to the lack of shine.

What’s Polished Granite?

What Is Polished Granite

Polished granite is the opposite of honed. Its surface is highly reflective and glossy, which brings out the stone’s darker tones. First popularized in homes in the 1980s, polished granite still remains one of the most sought-after finishes due to the contrast of its shine against the kitchen cabinets. Polished granite countertops tend to stand out with wood cabinets, making them a focal point in kitchens.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: What’s the Difference?

You likely already know what polished granite looks like but might be wondering, ‘what is a honed finish in granite?’ The difference between honed and polished granite resides in the way it’s finished and not within the natural qualities of the stone. Both honed and polished granite undergo a process to achieve their respective looks.

The rough side of the granite stone is polished by coarse, abrasive pads that apply pressure to grind and buff the stone’s surface. A honed finish is created when the polishing stops before the stone turns shiny. Therefore, it does not go through as much fine grinding and buffing. Both types of finishes require the granite to be sealed.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: What’s the Look?

Honed and polished granite is available in a variety of colors from browns, blacks, grays, and off-whites. Polished granite is synonymous with ubiquitous high-gloss kitchen countertops. In contrast, the honed look has only recently become trendy along with earthy tones, darker kitchen interiors, and interior design that embraces an industrial aesthetic with natural stone and cement.

Polished Granite

Polished Granite Countertop

Both polished and honed granite adds value to any space it occupies. Polished granite provides a classical, elegant, and glossy look that shines and exudes sophistication. Its ability to reflect light brightens any environment. Polished granite enhances the stone’s color’s natural vibrancy.

Honed Granite

Honed Granite Countertop

Honed granite countertops have a more natural, subdued look that’s softer and more relaxed than the shiny finish of polished granite. This finish provides a smooth, velvety look and feel but does not show the color or texture of the stone as well as polished granite. Granite stone can look matte or have a low sheen when going with a honed finish. Granite that’s polished or honed can look beautiful in many environments; which one you choose is mostly a matter of personal taste.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: How to Care?

Honed granite care requires a little more hands-on attention because it is more porous than polished granite. Both countertops require sealing every 6-12 months, depending on the frequency of their use. The surfaces of both countertops can be wiped down with a damp cloth and dried with a towel. To maintain the look of honed granite, we recommend cleaning immediately after use and dabbing spills to prevent spots from forming.

Although very unlikely, most scratches on honed and polished countertops occur from heavy appliances or wedding ring diamonds scraping its surface. If you work a lot in the kitchen, then consider placing silicon plastic over the counter when working to preserve its longevity. In general, it’s best to avoid all types of abrasion as much as possible.

Scratch & Etch Resistance

Granite is a tough stone that doesn’t really scratch. However, when compared, honed granite is slightly softer and more susceptible to etching due to its porosity, although it hides scratches and other imperfections better than polished granite. To prevent scratches and etching, always clean spills as soon as possible to stop liquids seeping into the stone’s surface.

Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners and never scrub a granite countertop with steel wool or tough-bristled brushes. Microfiber cloths and paper towels are softer and don’t mar the stone’s surface. When preparing food, always use chopping boards and place hot pots and pans on trivets.

Stain Resistance

Dust, grease, and handprints are more visible on honed granite surfaces. Honed granite is prone to etching if liquids are left on its surface for long periods of time; this includes water and especially foods that contain fats and a high level of acidity. Colour enhancers can be used to minimize dark spots, but it’s best to wipe down counters frequently and dab them dry.

On the contrary, polished granite is nearly impervious to weather, and chemical wear, making it an excellent choice for heavy traffic areas. Most polished granite countertops, especially black ones, are so dense that it’s almost impossible to stain. Using specific granite cleaner will condition the stone, protect the sealer and maintain its glossy shine.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: How Much Does It Cost?

Honed vs Polished Granite Cost

So, what is the cost difference between polished and honed granite countertops? Honestly, the cost depends on a couple of variables; the place of origin, type of stone, size of countertop, grade of stone, and shipping costs. One would assume that polished granite costs more than honed because it requires polishing for longer; however, this isn’t always the case. Polished granite is often more readily available due to its popularity, whereas honed granite may need to be specially ordered, increasing its price.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: How to Choose the Right One?

Besides budgets, there are two factors that influence the choice between honed and polished granite; intended use and design preferences. While you might want a particular finish, you also need to factor in how frequently you’ll use your countertops and how this affects their longevity.

Intended Use

If your countertop is going to be in a high traffic area, then a polished surface will work best as it requires less careful maintenance. Someone who cooks frequently has a large family with small children or needs a sturdy workspace would benefit from this type of surface.

On the other hand, if you’re able to vigilantly clean and maintain a rigid sealing schedule, then honed granite will be a suitable choice. Both finishes can work anywhere; it merely comes down to your commitment to maintenance.

Design Preferences

High-gloss sophistication, sleek and shiny, are some qualities associated with polished granite. Most people are familiar with its ability to reflect light like a mirror and the way it instantly elevates living spaces. Polished granite countertops have graced home and decor magazine double-spreads for decades, showcasing the full intensity of the stone’s natural color.

As the world has become more eco-friendly, there’s been a return to neutral tones and natural materials; wood, concrete, and natural stone are popular in many developments and modern homes. Honed granite provides an understated, contemporary look that’s subdued and in line with these contemporary design trends.

Honed vs. Polished Granite: What’s the Best?

Choosing Honed vs Polished Granite

Despite their differences, polished and honed granite is still incredibly durable and strong. Granite is a high-performing stone that maintains its look and feels if looked after and frequently sealed, no matter its finish. Someone designing a contemporary apartment might desire the modern look that honed granite provides, while another person might decide that a polished, shiny countertop better suits their home decor style.


At Granite Selection, we have a wide variety of granite stones to suit every decor taste. We’re experts in stone countertops and can help you choose the best color and finish for your granite countertop project. If you’re struggling to decide between polished vs. honed granite or haven’t even considered what colors will look best, then contact us online or give us a call at (888) 906 3317, so we can provide you with expert help.

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