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What is the difference between polished and honed quartz finishes?

April 29, 2021
5 min read

Quartz continues to be one of the most popular countertop materials thanks to its aesthetics and durability. However, choosing between polished and honed quartz finishes can be quite a challenge. For tips on distinguishing between the two finishes and deciding which one is right for you, keep reading. 

First, an overview of these finishes before looking at their more substantive differences. 

5222 Adamina

What is Polished Quartz? 

Polished quartz has a glossy surface. Designers often describe it as being vibrant, displaying quartz’s authentic beauty, and making the pigments pop. 

Polished quartz adds refinement and extra appeal to any kitchen. Whether you choose a darker countertop or something in a more vibrant colour, a polished finish will exude elegance. 

What is Honed Quartz? 

Honed quartz is also commonly referred to as matte because of the soft sheen of its surface. It provides an organic, almost raw, appearance and often feels lightly textured to the touch. 

Honed quartz countertops also reflect light less easily, making them popular among homeowners with bright indoor lighting. 

Other Quartz Countertop Finish Options 

It’s worth pointing out that honed and polished aren’t the only quartz countertop finish options. Visit this page to learn more about other finishes, including: 

  • Natural, which offers a slight satin sheen evocative of stone’s natural texture. This finish is especially popular on darker countertops as light enhances the textural appearance. 
  • Concrete, which is granular to the touch and reflects light minimally. 
  • Rough, which is our most rugged and textured finish. 
5171 Arabetto

Choosing Between Honed and Polished Quartz 

Beyond the aesthetic differences between honed and polished quartz, there are other factors that will likely influence which of the two you choose. 

After all, these countertops – although both quartz – are not interchangeable. Honed and polished countertops bring very different characteristics to a room. They also require different levels of maintenance, meaning your experience as an owner will vary quite a bit. 

Availability 

Polished countertops are generally easier to find – especially if you’re looking for an indoor countertop. The popularity of polished quartz countertops is influenced by their stylish appearance and the fact that they tend to require less maintenance. 

That’s not to say finding honed quartz countertops is exceedingly difficult or that they are unpopular. In fact, honed surfaces have become more popular as of late. Just be sure to budget some extra time when shopping. 

Affordability 

Polished quartz countertops are easier to produce and, consequently, cost less than most honed countertop options. 

During the quartz countertop manufacturing process, slabs naturally take on a polished look. To produce a honed finish, experts must apply additional processing. The polishing must be removed to make the surface matte. 

As such, you’ll typically find honed quartz as an upgrade rather than a standard option. 

Appearance 

Of course, honed and polished quartz differ substantially in their appearance. The difference is noticeable even from a distance. 

Honed quartz diffuses light, reflecting it very minimally. Polished quartz, meanwhile, is much more reflective. You can often even make out the light fixture’s shape on its surface. 

Honed and polished quartz also show fingerprints in different ways. Polished quartz hides smudges more easily because the oil on human skin is similarly shiny. On the matte surface of honed quartz, smudges easily stand out. 

A final noteworthy difference between honed and polished quartz appearance-wise is their ability to hide scratches and chips. 

When you chip a polished quartz countertop, the material revealed underneath will lack the surface’s sheen. Consequently, the damage will be quite noticeable. 

Because honed quartz is less polished, you’ll experience the opposite effect and chips will be more easily hidden. 

Either way, avoiding chips on your quartz countertop is easy whether you choose a honed or polished finish. Avoid sharp impacts (including from kitchen knives; always use a cutting board rather than chopping produce directly on the surface) and you’ll enjoy a chip-free surface for years to come. Learn more about caring for your quartz countertop – no matter its finish – here. 

5171 Arabetto

Maintenance 

Quartz has many benefits over other countertop materials, one of which is its low maintenance. You’ll enjoy this advantage whether you choose a polished or honed finish. 

However, polished countertops are slightly easier to maintain. The sheen acts as a protective layer against spills and impacts. With a honed quartz finish, on the other hand, you’ll need to be more careful, which includes cleaning with greater frequency. 

Nonetheless, your honed quartz countertop will still hold up better against staining than most types of natural stone, including granite. 

How to Choose Between Honed and Polished Quartz 

There is much to consider when shopping for your next countertop. 

Consider Your Lifestyle 

If your lifestyle is such that cleaning a countertop regularly would be disruptive, consider going with a polished finish. As mentioned earlier, it’s slightly easier to maintain than a honed surface because the sheen offers natural protection from spills, oily fingers, and other kitchen hazards. 

Evaluate Your Interior Lighting Situation 

Does your kitchen have lots of bright, fluorescent lighting? You may find the reflections on a polished quartz countertop distracting or even disruptive to your interior design. In this case, a honed surface might be more suitable. 

Does Your Kitchen Follow a Particular Colour Theme? 

Because polished quartz is easier to find, you’ll likely have an easier time locating the ideal countertop colour if you have a specific one in mind for your kitchen. 

If you’re set on a honed quartz countertop, be sure to evaluate the available colours before settling on a colour story for your kitchen. 

Conclusion 

If you’re struggling to choose between honed and polished quartz, keep in mind that these finishes differ not only in their appearance but also in how they feel and the level of maintenance required. 

While polished quartz countertops have traditionally been more popular, honed surfaces are gaining ground. 

At Caesarstone, we carry countertops in both finishes. Check out our catalogue here to explore your options.