The bright side of honed stones

Article by Camila



Not enough people spend time thinking about how much (or how little) sheen they want on their countertop until after the installation is completed. I get it, it’s easy to get wrapped up in looking at color and veining that you forget about everything else!

However, this aspect has a huge effect on how the stone actually looks in your kitchen, and it also has repercussions for how it’ll need to be handled and cared for. Neither a honed or polished finish impacts the true nature, beauty, and durability of the stone slab. And some stones are naturally more resistant than others when it comes to scratch and acid resistance (granite and quartzite tend to outperform marble). However, for “softer materials” that are more prone to wear (translation: marbles), the type of finish may add an extra layer of security against stains or camouflage pesky scratches and etches. Therefore in some cases, taking the shine out of your countertop could be the best decision you make.

A matte countertop is one that has had the high-polished factory finish removed, which is typically done with various grits of sanding pads. The result is a satiny-smooth finish that is nearly matte in appearance but still retains a slight sheen so light still reflects gently off the surface.


Although high-gloss is generally the most popular countertop finish, honed and leather finishes are also beloved by homeowners for their softer, more “aged” and natural-looking appearance. It also has some major benefits when used in high-traffic areas, like in the kitchen, because it tends to hide the inevitable scratches and etches more effectively. Additionally, the matte, smooth surface is less slippery when wet which makes this finish a safer choice for bathroom flooring and staircases. A honed countertop reflects less light than a high-gloss surface, so it won’t highlight and draw attention to the indentations that a scratch causes or the noticeable dullness of etching on a shiny surface.

The downsides to a honed finish are that more of the stone’s natural pores are exposed than on a gloss surface, and because of that, it is more susceptible to damage. So, any spills that happen on a honed surface have to be cleaned up immediately, otherwise, they can sink into the stone and cause an etch or even cracks and discoloration over time. To prevent this kind of damage, honed countertops tend to need more frequent sealing. Just make sure you use a specially-designed matte sealer.

If you’re considering a honed finish on your stone countertops, it’s ideal to have this procedure done before the countertop is installed, as it can sometimes be difficult to do it once the stone is in place. However, it is definitely possible to have the finish adjusted later on, it just might come with an expensive labor cost. Thinking about DIY-ing it? You’ll be able to find instructions all over the internet, but we highly recommend you have a professional hone your stone unless you have a lot of experience using a sander and buffer. We recommend you leave this job to the experts so you can be sure you’ll end up with the finish you want, not an expensive mistake.

A honed countertop really highlights stone as a natural material. The soft matte finish feels more true-to-nature, and while you may need to seal more frequently, the fact that scratches and etches show up less regularly is a big advantage in high-traffic areas. Got a question about how you can hone your stone?

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