Consider Other Finishes for Your Granite
Contributed by Jeff Johnston, President of Chester A. Smith Marble & Granite Co. based in Columbus, OH.
Occasionally, a customer or designer will walk into our showroom and say “I have seen so much polished granite, are there any other options to consider?” My first response to them is “Yes, consider granite, but with a different finish, like honed or leathered.”
Polished granite has been the surface of choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops for the past ten to fifteen years. The majority of projects today are still utilizing polished granite, but there are two finishes that have been increasing in popularity as customers are looking for a softer, more natural look:
A honed or matte finish is achieved by grinding off the polish with diamond pads or sanding screens by a qualified fabrication shop before the granite tops are installed. The matte finish softens the colors of the granite and gives it more of a natural stone look. Honed granite will also provide a softer feel to the touch compared to polished granite. A honed finish is very easy to care for and helps hide oil smudges and water spots that can occur with a polished finish. A color-enhanced sealer can be applied to darker honed granites to enrich the dark colors.
A leathered finish is achieved in a qualified fabrication shop by going over the face of the granite with various grits of diamond brushes. This leaves a soft textured finish similar to an orange peel. The leathered finish feels very nice to the touch and gives the granite a natural stone look. Darker granites with a leathered finish, like Kodiak Brown or Black Absolute, are popular choices for kitchen islands when mixing two different colored countertop materials. Darker leathered granite finishes are very easy to care for since the soft texture hides virtually all oil smudges and water spots.
Both honed and leathered granite can be cleaned with a non-acidic spray cleaner designed for granite or a mild soap like Murphy's Oil Soap and water solution.
Honed and leathered granite are gaining in popularity as customers are looking for material options other than polished granite. The softer look and feel of both finishes complements any décor and they also work well in combination with other materials like wood and metal.