honed granite

Honed Granite vs Polished Granite: What's the Difference?

Are you considering installing granite for countertops in your kitchen or bath? There are a number of different levels of finish to granite that you might want to be aware of. Two of the most popular are polished granite and honed granite. Either one will give your countertops an elegant and unique look. The following discusses the differences between these types of granite.

Polished Granite

With polished granite we end up with a glossy, mirror-like finish. Many consider this to be the most elegant of finishes on granite. The surface appears flawless and shows the unique character of your stone.

The colors appear to be crisper, richer, and darker. You typically get to choose from an array of hues to the color, including gold, white, gray, and black. This is truly magnificent stone; your countertops will look stunning.

Polished granite is achieved by using successively finer sets of grinding stones. The final set of grinding stones gives us the polished granite surface that we desire. Because this is the finest and smoothest surface available on granite, most all the pores on the surface have been ground out.

This results in a surface that does not harbor bacteria or food particles. When it is clean, it is clean. Also, the polished granite surface does not have to be sealed as often as other levels of grinding do. It is even stain resistant.

Honed Granite

A honed granite surface is achieved by avoiding the last set of grinding stones. This results in a surface that is not quite as mirror-like as the polished granite surface. The honed surface offers a softer, more natural look than the polished granite; the surface can vary between a matte and a low sheen.

Many home-owners prefer the look of the honed granite. In case you don’t like either the mirror-like surface of the polished granite, or the more dull look of a honed surface, you can add a color enhancer on your honed surface to give it depth and richness.

Because the honed surface is not as finely ground, it has pores on the surface which can trap dirt and stains. You can easily end up with dark spots and discoloration from strongly colored food and drinks. To prevent this from happening, one may need to re-seal the surface of the stone regularly. 

Be careful to only use recommended cleaning agents on your honed granite. Wipe down the surface daily with a damp cloth and follow up with a dry towel. This will eliminate any damp spots on the surface of your stone.


Honed surfaces are less slippery than the polished surfaces, so honed granite is used more for floors and stairs and other areas where there might be an accumulation of water. Honed granite is also generally preferred for high-traffic areas since polished stone will shortly lose its luster.

A surprise may be that honed granite countertops may cost more than polished granite, even though there is less grinding done. This cost difference is explained by the popularity of the polished granite, and therefore its availability.