Honed vs. Polished Quartz: Understanding the Differences

Quartz has become an increasingly popular option for countertops over the years, prized for its impressive durability and natural aesthetic appeal. If you’re considering quartz countertops for your home, you’ll have an important choice to make: a polished or honed finish. So, what exactly is polished quartz, and can quartz countertops be honed?

Let’s delve into these finishes.

What Is Honed Quartz?

What Is Honed Quartz?

Honed quartz describes quartz countertops with a soft sheen and a natural, understated aesthetic. Also known as matte surfaces, these countertops offer an organic appearance that maintains the inherent beauty of quartz while featuring a less glossy finish. Honed quartz is carefully ground to create smooth, flat surfaces with minimal reflection.

A honed finish removes the natural polish found on quartz surfaces, resulting in a smooth surface with minimal shine or reflection. This process preserves the natural look of quartz while slightly lightening its color. Many homeowners prefer the matte finish of honed quartz as it reduces glare from overhead lighting and creates a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

Advantages of Honed Quartz

  • Aesthetic appeal: Offers a unique, matte look that complements various design styles.
  • Less visible fingerprints: A Matte surface helps hide fingerprints and smudges.
  • Natural look: Provides an organic and authentic feel to the space.

Disadvantages of Honed Quartz

  • Maintenance: May require more frequent cleaning to remove visible stains or marks, as it doesn’t repel spills as efficiently as polished quartz.
  • Surface imperfections: Scratches and nicks may be more noticeable due to the lack of reflective gloss.

What Is Polished Quartz?

What Is Polished Quartz?

In contrast to quartz with a honed finish, polished quartz countertops have glossy surfaces that are highly reflective and are more vibrant. With polished quartz, the stone’s natural qualities such as its colors, hues, and vein structures become much more pronounced.

Polished, or glossy, quartz countertops are a popular choice for their vibrant appearance and ease of maintenance. The reflective surface enhances the countertop’s natural beauty, adding a touch of elegance, energy, and sophistication to any kitchen. Their smooth, glossy finish repels moisture and reflects light, making polished quartz countertops a practical and visually appealing option.

Advantages of Polished Quartz

  • Durability: Highly resistant to stains and scratches due to its non-porous surface.
  • Easy maintenance: A simple cleaning is often enough to maintain its shine and appearance.
  • Aesthetic quality: Enhances the vibrancy and color depth of the quartz, making it a focal point in any room.

Disadvantages of Polished Quartz

  • Fingerprint visibility: A glossy surface may show fingerprints and smudges more readily, requiring frequent wiping.
  • Glare: In some lighting conditions, the reflective surface may produce a glare.
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Check our finest quartz countertop projects to ultimately choose the best finish for your coming kitchen or bathroom remodel.

5 Key Differences Between Honed and Polished Quartz

5 Key Differences Between Honed and Polished Quartz

Your choice of countertop finish significantly impacts the look and feel of any room. Whether you opt for a polished or honed surface, your selection will shape the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the space.

Both honed and polished quartz offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Carefully consider their subtle and distinct differences when choosing between the two surface types. These differences should be your primary focus to ensure you make the best decision for your needs.

#1. Appearance

The most noticeable difference between polished and honed quartz is their appearance. Honed quartz countertops have a matte finish with a soft sheen that absorbs light rather than reflecting it. This creates a more natural and subtle look. Polished quartz countertops, on the other hand, have a glossy surface that reflects light, giving the countertop a shiny, vibrant appearance.

  • Honed finish: Matte, natural sheen, and absorbs light. Hides fingerprints and watermarks better, but may show stains more readily.
  • Polished finish: Features a glossy, reflective surface that emphasizes vibrant colors and patterns. However, fingerprints and smudges may be more visible.

Winner: Ultimately, the best choice comes down to your personal preference. Do you prefer the natural, matte look of honed quartz or the vibrant, glossy appearance of polished quartz?

#2. Availability

When it comes to availability, polished quartz countertops are more commonly found in the market due to their popularity and demand. Honed quartz, while increasingly sought after for its modern and sophisticated look, may be less readily available in some regions or require special order.

  • Honed finish: This may require a special order, less commonly available.
  • Polished finish: Widely available, with more color and pattern options due to popularity.

Winner: polished quartz. Due to its widespread availability and greater range of options, polished quartz is more accessible than honed quartz.

#3. Resistance


Polished worktops have a non-porous surface that is highly resistant to staining. The glossy finish helps repel stains, making it easier to clean spills before they set. Honed surfaces, without the glossy seal, can be more susceptible to staining, especially if spills are not promptly cleaned up.

  • Honed finish: Requires quick action to clean spills due to its greater vulnerability to staining and etching.
  • Polished finish: Offers excellent stain resistance, thanks to its non-porous and glossy finish, facilitating easier maintenance.

Winner: polished quartz. Its glossy, non-porous surface provides superior stain resistance without requiring quick clean-up to avoid stains/etching.

#4. Maintenance

Maintenance needs are an important factor when choosing between honed and polished quartz. Polished quartz countertops offer exceptional stain resistance and easy cleaning, minimizing maintenance requirements. Honed countertops, while still relatively easy to maintain, may require more frequent cleaning and immediate attention to spills to avoid potential staining.

  • Honed finish: Requires more frequent cleaning to prevent staining; may need resealing over time.
  • Polished finish: Minimal maintenance; easy to clean and maintain shine without resealing.

Winner: polished quartz. Polished quartz requires less maintenance compared to honed quartz, thanks to its stain resistance and ease of cleaning.

#5. Affordability

Quartz has a naturally glossy surface. For countertops, polished quartz is considered the standard finish, as it requires no additional processing beyond the initial fabrication. This means you won’t incur extra fees or charges associated with choosing a polished quartz countertop.

  • Honed finish: This may be slightly more expensive due to lower availability or special order requirements.
  • Polished finish: Typically more affordable due to its widespread availability and high demand.

Winner: polished quartz. Polished quartz often offers a more cost-effective option for homeowners thanks to its greater availability.

Choosing between honed and polished quartz countertops ultimately depends on your personal preference, lifestyle, and design goals. If you favor a natural, understated look with a matte finish and don’t mind the slightly higher maintenance to prevent staining, honed quartz may be the ideal choice.

Alternatively, if you prefer a vibrant, glossy finish with minimal upkeep and high stain resistance, polished quartz countertops will likely be a better fit.

Choosing Quartz Finishes: 5 Key Considerations

Choosing Quartz Finishes: 5 Key Considerations

When choosing the perfect finish for your quartz countertops, consider both aesthetics and how you’ll use the space. Understanding the differences between honed and polished quartz finishes will help you make a decision that balances your style preferences with your lifestyle and maintenance needs.

Here’s a deeper dive into the key factors to consider.

#1. Scratch and Etch Resistance

Durability is crucial in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, and quartz delivers with its renowned toughness. Both honed and polished finishes offer distinct advantages in resisting scratches and etching.

Honed Countertops

Honed quartz countertops feature a matte finish that excels at concealing scratches and marks, making them an ideal choice for busy areas like kitchens.

This finish maintains its appeal despite frequent use, ensuring your countertop looks its best even with daily wear and tear. However, it’s important to note that while honed surfaces effectively mask scratches, they may still be vulnerable to etching from acidic substances.

Polished Countertops

On the other hand, polished quartz countertops boast a glossy surface that provides enhanced scratch resistance. This finish ensures your countertop maintains its pristine appearance for years to come, as it’s less likely to show signs of wear and tear.

Additionally, the reflective nature of polished quartz adds a touch of sophistication, elevating your space’s overall aesthetic appeal.

#2. Stain Resistance

Stain Resistance

Ensuring your countertop material is resistant to stains is crucial, especially in areas prone to spills and splatters. Surprisingly, both honed and polished quartz countertops offer excellent stain resistance, thanks to their non-porous nature resulting from the manufacturing process.

Honed Countertops

Despite their matte finish, honed quartz countertops are non-porous, making them highly resistant to staining. This feature ensures that spills and stains are less likely to penetrate the surface, allowing for easier cleanup and maintenance.

However, it’s worth noting that while honed surfaces provide robust stain resistance, additional care may be needed to prevent etching from acidic substances due to their slightly more porous nature.

Polished Countertops

Similar to honed quartz, polished quartz countertops offer remarkable stain resistance thanks to their non-porous surface. The glossy finish enhances both their aesthetic appeal and protection against spills and stains.

This makes polished surfaces exceptionally easy to clean and maintain, requiring minimal effort to keep them looking pristine. Additionally, polished quartz’s reflective properties brighten your space, creating a vibrant and inviting atmosphere.

#3. Personal Preference

Personal Preference

The ideal finish for your quartz countertops hinges on the aesthetic you desire to achieve in your space. Honed and polished quartz offer distinct qualities, ensuring there’s a perfect fit for your unique style and design vision.

Honed Countertops

For those drawn to a more natural and understated look, honed quartz countertops provide a matte finish that exudes subtle elegance. This finish is versatile and can complement a variety of decor styles, blending seamlessly into both contemporary and traditional spaces.

The smooth texture of honed surfaces also offers a tactile experience that appeals to many homeowners, enhancing the overall sensory appeal of the countertop.

Polished Countertops

On the other hand, polished quartz countertops deliver a luminous and reflective surface that adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to your space. The glossy finish enhances the vibrancy of the quartz’s color and pattern, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to create a statement feature in their kitchen or bathroom.

Moreover, polished quartz’s light-reflecting properties brighten your space, creating a more inviting and visually expansive atmosphere. This can be particularly advantageous in smaller kitchens or bathrooms, where a sense of openness is desired.

#4. Interior Lighting Situation

Interior Lighting Situation

Lighting plays a pivotal role in how your quartz countertops will look in your space. The finish you choose can significantly affect the ambiance and visual dynamics of your room, especially under different lighting conditions.

Honed Quartz Countertops

Honed quartz countertops feature a matte finish that absorbs light rather than reflecting it. This creates a softer, more uniform appearance across the surface, making them ideal for naturally bright spaces or areas where you desire a glare-free environment.

The matte finish reduces the intensity of light reflections, providing a more muted and calming atmosphere.

Polished Quartz Countertops

Polished quartz countertops, with their glossy finish, excel at reflecting light. This makes them ideal for rooms that would benefit from a brighter, more spacious feel. In spaces with limited natural light, polished quartz helps create a luminous atmosphere.

The light-reflecting surfaces amplify both natural and artificial light, enhancing the room’s overall vibrancy and energy.

#5. Kitchen Color Theme

The color theme of your kitchen or any space where you’re considering installing quartz countertops is another crucial factor. The finish you select can either complement or contrast with your existing color scheme, impacting the room’s overall aesthetic and feel.

Honed Quartz

The soft sheen of honed quartz finishes can seamlessly integrate into both contemporary and traditional spaces, offering a subtle elegance that doesn’t overpower the room’s color theme.

Honed quartz worktop, with its natural and organic appearance, tends to soften the look of bold colors and blend harmoniously with a wide range of palettes, especially those incorporating natural elements and muted tones.

Polished Quartz

The vibrant and reflective nature of polished quartz worktops can accentuate the depth and richness of your color theme. If your kitchen features bold colors or you’re aiming for a sleek, modern look, the glossy quartz countertops can add a layer of sophistication and brilliance, making colors pop and adding a dynamic contrast to the space.

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Take a look at our huge 14,000+ slab collection and make your choice!

Find Your Best Choice of the Countertop Finish with Granite Selection!

Finding the perfect quartz countertop finish is a deeply personal decision.

Be patient as you weigh the unique qualities of honed and polished surfaces, envisioning how each might transform your space and reflect your individual style.

But in choosing your countertops, the best choice you can make is to source them from Granite Selection, the experts in stone countertops.

Granite Selection is a manufacturer and installer of quartz, granite, and other stone countertops for kitchens and bathrooms in the Chicagoland area. We are located in Elk Grove Village, IL, and serve a 70-mile area.

If you need help with what type of finish to choose for your quartz countertop, get a quote or give us a call at (888) 906 3317 and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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