Honed vs Polished vs Leathered Finishes

You’ve chosen the stone, and now you learn there are different finish options! Having a hard time deciding what countertop finish is the right one for you? We walk you through the differences between polished, honed and leathered…


A polished finish gives the smooth surface a shiny, much glossier look. The polish that coats the top also acts as a type of protection, as it seals more of the pores on the stones surface, which helps the stone repel moisture, therefore allowing it to withstand stains better. However, the reflective characteristic of the finish makes it more prone to scratches.

In order to maintain the luster of polished finishes, stone must be maintained by consistent cleaning with proper cleaners and periodic resealing.



Honed stone has been ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface, producing a non-reflective, matte finish that creates a softer feel.  This non-reflective quality allows honed finish to mask etches and stains better than a polished finish. However, this finish can make the stone more susceptible to staining and requires consistent cleaning with proper sealers and periodic sealing.

Etching – what is etching and can you live with it? Any stone that has any calcium Carbonate make up is prone to etching. Acid reacts with calcium carbonate and literally eats away a tiny bit of the surface, creating dull spots known as etches. An etch is not a stain. It is an actual changing of the stone itself, like a scratch. It’s not really a discoloration; it’s a dulling.



A leathered finish gives natural stone a textured appearance while retaining its natural color. A leathered surface usually has a soft sheen to it, but is much less shiny than the glossy look of a polished slab. Leathered finishes close the pores of the stone, hiding fingerprints, water spots and smudges well, but does not prevent etching and staining. Soft to the touch, it adds an extra sensory element and subtle texture. Also called brushed or antiqued.