Inspiration and DIY Installing a Granite Countertop: Choosing the Perfect Finish

Photo features Tropical Brown granite slab on countertop.


After you've gone through the process of choosing your natural granite countertop, it's time to choose a finish. Different finishes can help you to accomplish various design goals in your kitchen or bathroom, and you have two primary options to choose from: polished and honed. Finishes are usually applied to stone countertops before they are installed and cannot be altered after the fact, so it's important to choose the right style for your home. Understanding the benefits of each finish will help you to make a choice that you'll be happy with for years to come.

Your decision will most likely be based on the color of stone you choose and your personal preference. For instance, a black countertop is dramatic, and a polished finish will emphasize its rich, deep tone. Alternatively, a honed finish will tone down a black countertop and make it appear like a natural stone. Here is some advice for choosing the right finish for your home and incorporating it into your design.

Create Shine with a Polished Finish

Countertops that have a polished finish will grab the attention of those who enter your kitchen or bathroom. This type of finish helps to enhance the distinctive characteristics of your natural stone countertop, resulting in a modern look. They are shiny, reflective, and pair perfectly with a metallic backsplash. Granite is the ideal natural stone for a glossy surface finish because of its makeup, and natural quartzite also looks great when polished.

Photo features Volga Blue Granite Slab on countertops with Egyptian Glass in Moonstone Blend mosaic on the wall.

One of the major benefits of polishing your countertops is the longevity it provides. Polished stone is easy to wipe clean, and the countertop can be buffed and polished over its lifespan to maintain its shine. Pair a polished natural stone countertop with a metallic backsplash for a streamlined, attractive design, or consider a polished Cotton White granite countertop against the backdrop of a glossy, dark-colored backsplash. The sheen of the materials will work together to form a sophisticated, stunning focal point.

Tone Things Down with a Honed Finish

Honed finishes give you a soft-to-the-touch stone that is still natural in its color and sheen. This finish is matte in appearance and it's a great option if you're looking for a countertop that will hide scratches. A honed finish is achieved by using abrasive heads to polish the rough stone but stops just short of a glossy shine. The degree of honing depends on the stone, and varies from light to heavy. Honed stone countertops are coveted by homeowners who want the natural look of mined materials.

Current design trends are pointing homeowners in the direction of installing honed countertops to help give spaces a softer, more welcoming feel. If your room features a metallic backsplash or stainless steel appliances, honed stone countertops can provide the perfect counterbalance. For instance, giving a dark granite countertop a honed finish will tone down its coloring while still helping to bring out its natural beauty. A honed finish is also great on an outdoor countertop or even a kitchen that features nature-inspired design elements.

Finding the Right Finish

While polished and honed finishes are the two most popular options, there are others you may want to consider. These include a flamed finish, which changes the texture of the stone and may affect the color, and a sand blasted finish, which creates a fine texture that can lighten the color of the stone. No matter what option you choose, be sure that your granite countertop complements the rest of your decor and matches the overall style of your home.