Inspiration and DIY Polished, Flamed, or Honed Granite? A Guide to Different Finishes

Photo features Alpine White granite on countertop.
 
 

POLISHED, FLAMED, OR HONED GRANITE? A GUIDE TO DIFFERENT FINISHES

For the last few decades, granite has been a top pick for countertops due to its durability, stain resistance, and elegant beauty. In particular, granite works well in the kitchen because it withstands heat and can serve as a functional work surface for meal preparation. Although the polished shine of granite is probably the first image that pops in your head, a variety of finishes are available, including flamed and honed granite. When you're looking at granite slab options, keep in mind that the appearance of this natural stone can be modified by the finishing process you select. Like most natural stones, granite can be finished with either a smooth or rough texture. Some finishes produce results that will fit better with your intended use of the slab—so whether it will be a countertop, backsplash, or floor. Here's a guide to some of the most popular finishes, along with suggested uses for each.

Polished Granite

Polished granite has a glossy, mirrorlike shine that reflects light well and draws attention to the stone. Showcasing the flecks or specks the specific stone features, polished granite has long been one of the most popular choices for kitchen designs. It is well-loved by homeowners and designers because its glossy finish adds richness and elegance to the space. A high-polish finish also works to repel stains, making it an exceptional choice for kitchen countertops. It's the perfect element for turning your center island into a stunning focal point. The versatility of granite is unmatched, and a polished countertop functions exceptionally well as a work area. Once your meal prep is complete, a polished-granite island can instantly be converted into a serving or dining space when company arrives.

Aside from countertops, polished granite may also be incorporated into flooring in more formal rooms, such as a dining room, where it can serve to elevate the richness of your decor. If you love granite in a polished finish, there is a wide range of color selections available, including shades of gold, black, white, and gray. If you're looking for something a bit different from the more commonly seen mixed color designs, consider a darker shade with less color variation, such as Marron Cohiba granite. Consider pairing it with metal accents, a tiled backsplash, and white cabinetry for a classic look.

Photo features Oil Rubbed Bronze 4-1/4 x 4-1/4 Rope deco and Tumbled Slate in Copper 1 x 1 mosaics on the backsplash. Countertops feature Marron Cohiba Granite.

Honed Granite

Honed granite presents a buffed, or matte, appearance. When a stone is honed, it often lacks the high degree of reflection that a polished finish has. However, like polished granite, the surface of honed granite is smooth, and can therefore provide a good work surface. A honed finish also works well as a flooring surface because it's less likely to show evidence of traffic patterns or wearing.

In addition to flooring, honed granite can be used as countertops or backsplashes if a slightly muted appearance is preferred. If you're designing a contemporary kitchen, granite with a honed finish is definitely one option worth considering. By selecting honed granite, you receive the durability and longevity of a high-performance natural stone in a modern-looking finish that's gaining popularity. One example of a beautiful honed granite is the Absolute Black option. This dark color works well with almost any decor, and a matte honed finish is a beautiful modern alternative to a classic polished finish.

When shopping for honed granite, keep in mind that the degree of honing can vary for each individual slab. You should examine a variety of honed granite slabs before finalizing your decision. For demonstration purposes, the photo below captures the potential difference in finish between honed and polished granite. Note that the white tiles are a honed finish, while the black tiles, which show a high degree of light reflection, are polished.

Photo features Absolute Black Granite polished and Mediterranean Ivory Travertine honed on the floor.

Flamed Granite

Flamed granite is heated under the highest of temperatures, using a controlled finishing process. This high heat causes the individual grains in the stone to burst and change color. The result is a rougher texture of stone with a more natural, faded appearance. Generally, the colors of flamed granite are more muted, including shades of tan or charcoal. The color variation between flamed and polished granite is illustrated below, using the same Silver Pearl granite slab. The polished granite is on the left and the flamed granite is on the right.

Photo features Silver Pearl polished granite.Photo features Silver Pearl flamed granite.

Typically, the rougher, flamed texture of granite is more suitable for areas of the home that are prone to dampness. When granite is used in exterior living spaces, such as a patio or deck, a flamed finish serves as a beautiful, unique option. These slabs also work well in an outdoor kitchen, as flamed granite is well-suited to uncovered, exterior applications. However, if you love the rustic beauty of flamed granite, you shouldn't feel limited by how you can use it. Flamed granite can function exceptionally well in almost any room of your home. It's even suitable for use as a shower floor or in other high-moisture areas where some natural stone options are not recommended for installation.

The timeless beauty and long-lasting qualities of granite have led to its continual selection as a top choice for new kitchen countertops. It will always be a classic choice and an appreciated natural stone option. The finishing methods described above allow you to capitalize on the beauty and functionality of granite in a way that fits best with your design preferences and overall home decor. However, no matter which finish you choose, granite is a natural stone product that will add value to your home and elevate the look of any space.

After you've installed granite in your home, you'll absolutely love how easy it is to maintain over the years. To increase the longevity and beauty of the stone, it should be sealed and cleaned according to manufacturer specifications. Please note that not all granite finishes are available at every retail location. Therefore, to view the latest granite inventory, it's recommended that you visit a Daltile stone showroom or slab yard. You can also check out our online visualizer tool to assist you with matching your space and decor to the right granite color option.