Granite has been around for thousands of years in sculptural and structural designs. Today's Bancroft homeowners continue to use this natural stone to take advantage of its durability, strength, and beauty. Whether it's used in the kitchen or the bathroom, a granite countertop can change the look of a room with the right color and finish selected.
It's important to remember that the right finish for your design is more than a cosmetic choice. It can change the appearance of the stone as well as how it is cared for. It can even impact the lifespan of the countertops. So let's look at the three most popular finishes: polished, honed, and leathered.
How Granite Finishes Are Achieved
To get the desired finish, the slab has to go through a finishing process using a conveyor system that works it through the different stages. From polishing wheels to water jets to diamond head brushes, multiple methods are used to get just the right finish. The stopping point is what determines the look of the finish.
Polished Granite Finish
The polished finish is the most popular finish for kitchen countertops. It has a smooth, shiny surface that highlights the color, depth, and uniqueness of the granite. The mirror-like, glossy finish is achieved with fine polishing pads, and this finish gives a darker, richer tone.
Honed Granite Finish
The honed finish is gaining popularity in granite countertops, especially in contemporary design. This finish offers a smooth, premium surface, but doesn't include a polished reflection. This matte or satin finish is achieved by stopping the slab just before it's buffed. This gives the granite a lighter or more grayish look.
Leathered Granite Finish
The leathered finish is a new design aesthetic that is starting to get some traction. It features a soft sheen slightly less than a polished finish, and it includes a textured appearance. The dimpled texture is achieved with diamond-tipped brushes run over honed granite. This allows the granite to keep more of its natural color, and is more commonly used with darker stones.
How Granite Finishes Affect Care and Maintenance
Granite is known for being among the strongest natural materials. The finish you choose can Impact the care and lifespan of your countertops. Since it's natural, a granite countertop needs maintenance, such as re-sealing, to keep it looking and performing its best.
Caring for a Polished Finish
A polished finish is easier to clean because the pores are sealed more than with any other finish. This helps the countertops with stain resistance as well as keeping bacteria away. Polished granite countertops don't require re-sealing as often, and the shine stays longer.
Caring for a Honed Finish
Even with the smooth finish of honed granite, these countertops need specific maintenance and care. It is more porous than polished granite, so it can be more vulnerable to dark spots, stains, and discoloration from spills. Anything acidic may even etch the surface of the countertops. This finish requires re-sealing more often to prevent spills from absorbing into the surface. In addition, grease, dust, and fingerprints are more visible on the surface, making a daily wipe down even more important.
Caring for a Leathered Finish
A leathered surface is lower in maintenance and doesn't require as frequent cleaning. Because it has a textured surface, fingerprints, water spots, and smudges are less visible. Even crumbs may be hidden. Compared to a honed finish, there is a greater stain resistance. However, if a leathered finish countertop is damaged, it can be difficult to repair because the finish is unique. That means a larger area, or even the entire countertop, might need re-finishing.
Deciding Which Finish Is Right for You
Picking the finish for you can be influenced by the look and richness of your desired color. However, you should also consider the maintenance of the countertops in context of your lifestyle. It's also important to remember that not all granite colors can be finished using a honed or leather finish due to the integrity of the slab and the minerals in the granite.
Polished granite counters are elegant, beautiful, and practical. These countertops are a durable choice for those who love to cook, especially for their stain resistance. A large island with a polished finish can easily be used as a chic eating space or a buffet location for parties. Honed and leathered finishes are becoming more popular with darker toned granite. Both are durable, but there is debate as to which is better for durability.
Honed granite offers a more subtle appearance, but it can be more vulnerable to stains. Leathered granite offers a textured feel and look, and some claim it's easier to care for compared to a honed surface. When choosing a finish, it's a good idea to visit in person so you can see and feel the different finishes.
These popular finishes each have their advantages and disadvantages, so a renovation in a forever home may need a different choice compared to a quick flip. But, either way, granite is high-performance no matter which finish is chosen. Select the one that best matches the design and style of the room the best.