Granite Finishes: Polished, Honed, and Leathered

Did you know you have a choice of finishes on your new granite countertops from Cutstone in Birmingham, AL? There are several different ways that granite can be finished or polished but the most common 3 are polished, honed, and leathered. All options are beautiful, so it will primarily depend on your kitchen’s style and your preference. Let’s compare them so you can get a better idea of which you’d like. We can help decide in person at our showroom in Alabaster if you’re a hands on person. 


This finish is pretty self explanatory- a polished finish is going to have a lot more shine, a much more “polished” look. They are best for kitchens, bathrooms, and natural stone fireplaces, but not so much for flooring since they’re slippery when wet. While granite is a hard stone and extremely durable, the thick polish on top can become scratched. This is usually a bit more visible on a polished surface because of how the light hits it. At the same time, the finish actually protects your granite more from staining and keeps it from needing to be resealed as often so it really balances out. A polished finish really brings and even enhances the colors in the stone, creating a beautiful addition to your kitchen or bathroom. 

Pros: High shine is eye catching and elegant; heat resistant; less susceptible to stains; enhances the color of the stone

Cons: The coating can get scratched which will show up in bright lighting (highly reflective=visible scratches); can become slippery


A honed, unbuffed finish creates a softer, more natural look for your kitchen and bathrooms. Because it has a matte look to it, it will appear much more muted than a polished surface. This can be perfect for certain aged or casual looks, maybe in a rustic or vintage home. Scratches are not very visible (if they’re even there) because it lacks the highly reflective shine of polished granite. However, because there’s less of a coating, it is prone to staining, so spills or condensation need to be wiped up immediately. This also means it may need to be sealed more often than its polished counterpart. 

Pros: Creates a beautiful look to your space; much more scratch resistant.

Cons: Prone to staining since it’s less coated. 


This finish is gaining in popularity and catches people’s attention when they visit our showroom. It’s unique and will definitely be a talking point of friends and family in your home. It gives a textured look to the stone and the process of texturing it really brings out the natural qualities. Consequently, it hides stains, scratches, and smudges. Since it’s textured, the surface isn’t completely flat and smooth, which is something to keep in mind if that would bother you. That will be up to preference. A leathered finish is a good option for a rustic look or just for a unique addition to your home. 

Pros: Esthetically unique; hides fingerprints and wear

Cons: Harder to clean because of the texture- may require using a soft bristled brush

Which finish is right for you?

When deciding on a finish for your new granite countertops from Cutstone in Birmingham, AL, you’ll need to consider the following: 

  • Where is this granite going?
  • What is its main use?
  • What is the style I’m going for?
  • Do I want easy cleaning?
  • Will any of these finishes NOT work for my space? 
  • Will it be in a high traffic or highly used area and prone to scratches and fingerprints?

We are happy to help you decide between these 3 beautiful finishes, and can even go over other unique finishes for special orders. Contact us when you’re ready to add durable, high quality, gorgeous granite to your home!

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