The most popular type of countertop material, granite, is appealing in part because of its diversity, and in part because of the varying array of finishes. The stone is available in a myriad of colors, including gray, blue, pink, black, red, green, and brown. Patterns of granite are also varied, and it is possible to find granite countertop materials with subtle, muted patterns and bold, dramatic patterns. Dotted, veined, speckled, and marbled patterns are typical. What that means for homeowners is there is an endless number of choices when it comes to selecting granite countertops. Adding to the options are granite finishes. The surface finish you choose can dramatically alter the appearance of the granite and bring a unique touch to your kitchen. Granite finishes also impact the care and maintenance of the stone. Let us look at brief description of the different types of granite finishes that are currently available.
As the name implies, a polish finish on granite surface gives the material a smooth, shiny, reflective appearance. The colors and textures of the stone are enhanced. The ease of cleaning the polished surface makes it the most popular choice of surface finishes. Not only is it easy to clean, but polished granite is easy to seal and is the least porous of all the finish options. One drawback of the polished finish, however, is that the shiny surface tends to highlight dirt, dust, and crumbs.
In direct opposition to the polished finish is the honed finish. This surface finish is also known as a matte or buffed finish. The surface of a honed finished granite countertop is smooth, but not shiny or reflective. The honed finish started as a popular choice for floors because it is less slippery than polished surfaces, but the muted, flat look has expanded to countertops. The process of finishing the stone is the same as with a polished look, but it is halted before the final buffing of the stone. A drawback of the honed finish is that it could make it easier for the surface to stain.
Also called a brushed finish, the leathered finished is gaining in popularity, primarily because it hides smudges, fingerprints, and water spots. To create the modern, upscale leathered look, an additional step occurs after the surface is honed. Using diamond-tipped brushes, the surface is texturized with subtle patterns and dimples. A benefit of the leathered finish is that it maintains much of the stone’s natural color.
A less common surface finish for granite countertops is the flamed finish. It is unique and particularly suited for outdoor grilling and kitchen areas because it holds up well in places that are moisture-prone. Granite is heated to extreme temperatures in the flamed finish. The results are grains of stones that burst and change colors. The colors are muted with a flamed finish. This technique also causes the surface to be more textured and rougher than traditional polished surfaces.
The hammered finish, or the bush hammered finish, is another less common granite surface finish, but it is favored by those who are looking for a more weathered and natural look to their stone. A hammer with multiple small points is pounded into the surface for a lightly matte, textured look that makes the stone appear lighter than its natural color.