Shopping for new countertops is not a small job. One thing to consider when you are looking at your natural stone selections are the numerous types of finishes that can be applied. Each finish is unique and helps to create an individual design from house to house and room to room.
Polished stone is created using a process in which the stone is mechanically rubbed with different diamond pads until it naturally shines, while also not affecting the porosity of the stone. A polished finish is very popular as it enhances the color and markings of the material. Grinding, sanding, and buffing produces a high gloss, mirror-like surface. The most popular uses of polished stone are in fireplace facings and hearths, vanities, countertops, etc. The degree of polish of the natural stone is determined by its mineral elements and texture. Not all natural stones can be polished to a high sheen.
This matte-like finish involves the use of abrasives to smooth the stone down to a flat, even surface that’s not shiny or reflective. Grinding and sanding produces a smooth, yet non-glossy finish. This is best for low-maintenance, high-traffic applications. This finish is often used on walking surfaces and other areas where heavy traffic would wear off a polished finish. Honed finishes are created using different grades of abrasives under factory conditions.
A leather finish is obtained by a process of brushing the slab with a range of brushes which results in a slightly textured surface—very soft, warm and smooth to the touch. This finish gives the stone a suede look and feel. This texture is smooth and slip-resistant. Only a few materials are sourced with this finish such as granite and some marbles.
Choosing a Stone Finish for Your Application
Keeping practicality aspects in mind is important when picking out natural stone and a finish for it. If your intention is to show off the vibrant color or unique veining of a natural stone, you may want to consider a polished finish since this is going to highlight the characteristics of the stone. By choosing a honed or brushed finish, you can still have the classic natural stone look while keeping the bathroom safe, kid-friendly, and slip-resistant.
When choosing a finish and stone type for countertops, there is room for creativity. For example, if you are looking for something that’s easier to clean, you may request a polished stone finish. Or, if you want something that has more texture, look for a honed or leathered one. Once you find that sweet spot, you can let the design speak for itself.