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Stone Counter Finishes

When most people consider finishes on stone, they think of what’s available for stone tiles. When it comes to countertops, the vast majority of homeowners tend to choose polished slabs, with a few also looking for honed material. There are other looks available as well, and understanding what each finish is can help you find the right look for your home.


Polishing is the most popular finish for most stones often because of the flaws it hides. Things like fissures and pits are often less obvious in softer stones or stones that are prone to them, simply because the high polish reflects the light off of them and hides them. Polishing also makes the colors of the stone brighter and richer, making it more desirable for bold colored stones or stones with wild grain patterns.

Honing is the second most popular finish, particularly for very dense stones like Absolute Black. Honing gives the stone a smooth, matte finish with a duller color. Because the surface isn’t reflective, some stones don’t hone well because of the numerous tiny surface pits and fissures they contain, which may not have been visible until honing.

Leathering is a newer finish that is a nice blend between honing and polishing, but with a lot of extra depth and texture to the stone. Leathering starts by honing the stone, then adds extra texture by working with the natural surface of the stone. The finish is finally filled or sealed to close the natural pores and holes in the stone, resulting in a finish that is matte like a honed stone, but with a deeper, richer color like the polished stones. This is a nice choice for homeowners that want a matte finish, but still want the rich color and “closed” surface of the stone.

Not every stone will look its best in every finish. Learn the differences so you can find the perfect complement to the stone you love.