Granite Countertop Finishes
You've picked your granite countertop slab. You’ve picked your edge profile. Now it's time to nail down the finish you want on the surface of your countertop.
There are three basic granite countertop finishes. The one you select will depend on your taste, design, and where the countertop will be placed. Here are the finishes defined and some ideas about how these can be used.
Polished granite countertops are the most popular countertop installed in kitchens today. Granite is especially receptive to this high-gloss, mirror-like surface because of its makeup. Quartz, feldspar, and mica polish up easily, hold the polish well, and reflect light.
Grinding heads with progressively finer abrasives are used until the countertop is highly polished. Granite holds this polish for years if you stick to a regular maintenance plan. Even if your countertops become dull, they can be buffed and polished again to a shine. Consider an enhancing sealer, which will bring out the nuances of your natural stone countertop.
Polished granite often becomes the center of attention. If you wanted to highlight another feature in your kitchen or bathroom, polished may not be the way to go. If you already have reflective surfaces in your space, you may want to mix and match finishes so the high-gloss doesn’t become overwhelming. Use polished granite on the kitchen island but not the perimeter countertops to achieve this effect.
Honed granite is a non-reflective, satiny finish. Matte on natural stone surfaces creates a softer feel without disturbing the colors and patterns in your granite countertop.
This finish involves the same process as granite (grinding heads with increasingly finer abrasives) but it stops short of the shiny polished look. Honed granite is just as smooth as polished. It doesn’t show scratches as readily as polished does.
Current trends are embracing the softer look in the kitchen and bathroom. You might also consider honed granite if your kitchen or bathroom already has metallics or other highly-reflective surfaces. If your space has a lot of natural light, honed accepts and redistributes the light with an incandescent effect.
There are several types of rough finishes. You'll hear terms like leathered, brushed, antiqued, and vintage to describe these finishes. The use of these names has not been standardized within the industry. Check with your fabricator to ensure you are speaking the same language so you get the finish you are expecting.
The rough-finish category involves several different processes. Most of the time abrasives, like a diamond brush, are applied to a honed surface to achieve a rough finish. These finishes bring out the natural characteristics of the stone. Different levels of sheen and relief appear depending on the hardness of the minerals in the matrix of the unique granite slab.
The flamed finish is another rough surface that is popular for granite. When the granite's surface is exposed to high-temperatures, the crystals on the surface "blow out" creating a rough and faded effect.
Most rough surfaces are used in outdoor applications. However, some of the finishes (leathered, brushed, antiqued) are beautiful in your kitchen or bathroom. They lend a certain patina to your design that suits both modern and classic designs.
Make your granite countertop finishes a part of your design. Plan for your finish from the beginning to achieve the perfect texture in your bathroom or kitchen.