Polished & Honed Granite and Stone

Surface Finishes

Polished and honed granite refer to TWO different types of surface finishes applied to your stone. There are actually a lot of different types of finishes. Some stone finishes are smooth & shiny while other finishes are dull & coarse.

The surface finish you choose will affect the look and feel of your room and also the maintenance of your stone.

Cold Spring Granite Minnesota

The Polishing Process

It all starts with a rough slab of granite. This slab is placed on an automated conveyor system that moves the slab through various stages of the finishing process.

The side of the slab to be finished is placed UP on the conveyor belt and then the process begins.

The granite goes through a series of polishing wheels fitted with coarse abrasive pads and also finer polishing pads.

These pads apply pressure to the stone grinding and buffing the stone as it moves through the finishing process.

The surface finish of your stone is determined by where the finishing process ends.

Polished Finish

A polished surface finish is Smooth, Shiny and Reflective - it highlights the character of your stone. The full color, depth, and crystal structure is visible.

Polished Finish on GraniteYour stone appears darker and the colors seem richer.

This glossy mirror like finish is considered the finest and the smoothest finish available.

It's easier to keep your vanities & granite counter tops clean and free from staining BECAUSE a polished finish seals or closes more of the pores on the stones' surface. This helps the stone repel moisture.

It's nearly impervious to weather and chemical wear.

A polished finish DOESN'T mean you don't need to seal your stone. Some stones are really porous and need to be sealed regardless of the surface finish. (For Example: Kashmir White, Madura Gold, Shivakasky) If you're not sure, try the water test.

Not ALL stones are capable of being polished to this high gloss finish. If you like this look, ask your fabricator before purchasing your stone.

Here's something to remember: The harder the stone is the harder it is to polish. Your polished granite or stone will retain its shine for a long, long time.

Honed Granite & Stone

A honed surface finish is a SMOOTH surface without reflection. From a matte like appearance to a low sheen. The finish remains flatter than a full gloss polish. It's definitely not super shiny and there's very little, if any reflection.

Some call this finish "soft" or "natural looking" and others refer to it as just plain & dull looking.

Sao Francisco Honed GraniteTo achieve this finish, the finishing process ends before the buffing stage.

There are a few variations of honed stone finishes with different names. For example, the Velvet, Satin, Diamond Smooth and Machine Smooth finish are a few.

What do they all have in common?

All honed stones are smooth - no bumps or ridges.

Some are more reflective than others but NONE are nearly as glossy or shiny as a polished finish. What varies is the amount of shine and /or the final look.

The honed finish is preferred for floors, stairs, and other areas where the presence of water might make a polished finish TOO slippery. Where foot traffic might wear off a polished finish. OR, a rough finish is just too rough to walk on.

Honed granite can and is used for vanities, kitchen countertops & tables.

Taking the high gloss polish off of your stone will decrease the depth of color AND, depending on the type of granite, could make it more susceptible to staining.

If you DO NOT like a real SHINY surface and you don't like the DULL surface either, use a color enhancer on your honed stone. It gives it depth - makes it look wet NOT SHINY!

A color enhancer works wonders on black honed granite. It helps minimize those dark spots.... the finger marks and the prints from the oils on your fingers.

Here's a few examples of color enhanced stone vs non color enhanced stone.
The enhanced side is on your right.

Color Enhanced Stone

Other Finishes

There are a ton of other finishes...

The flamed or thermal finish - A high intensity flame is applied to the surface of the stone - the crystals pop. The Result? A highly textured & rough surface with ZERO shine.

Stone Finishes: Thermal, Flamed, Honed Granite

Antiqued or Tumbled - Your stone is tumbled with pebbles, sand or steel bearings to create that old world look.

Other custom surface finishes include leathered, textured, split, bush hammered, AND more! Consult with your fabricator on other custom surface finishes and suitability to your project.

Add Shine

Erase Scratches

Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

Get Rid of
Mold & Mildew
Repair Etch Marks

Etch Marks

Here's MORE Granite STUFF:

  • Granite countertop edges are available in many shapes and styles. Curves, angles, and lines join together to create a look of simplicity, elegance or unusual design.
  • Need Ideas? Start in the stone picture gallery with the granite bar.

Choosing Stone Installing Stone Granite Countertop Stone Slabs

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