...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Our kitchen renovation is still underway although we seem to have hit a speedbump.  Or a median.  After finally saving enough cash for new countertops, I was 100% sure that I wanted honed black granite for the perimeter countertops as seen in this Apartment Therapy kitchen:

That was until this past weekend when we actually started scouting out granite suppliers and installers. 

Grrrr.  Every person we spoke with claimed the honed finish was more porous (thus more susceptible to stains and oils) than the traditional polished finish.  It seems the honing process removes the barrier that protects the stone from spills and fingerprints.  In fact, the companies we spoke with wouldn’t offer the 15-year warranty in the honed finish like they would with the polished.  Coming from a design standpoint, the honed granite is softer and chalkier in appearance… giving it a more textured/worn feel.  Polished granite, on the other hand, lends a slicker and colder feel as seen in this kitchen:

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d take either over my builder laminate.  Still, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted.  The slab warehouse did offer an antiqued finish (available with a 15-year warranty) that was matte yet kind of bubbly and wrinkly in texture.  I like it.

They also offered another solution.  (They must have seen the tears forming in my eyes.)  Maybe just not polishing the polished granite so much would give it the duller appearance I was looking for but still keep it relatively maintenance-free.  I actually preferred this dusty, dirty slab in the warehouse.  I’m pretty sure I could coax my boys into dulling up the surface quite nicely for me at home.

So, can you see my conundrum?  Honed is pretty much out of the question at this point after discovering how much maintenance (sealing) and cleaning it would require.  Not to mention the void warranty.  So polished, antiqued or dulled?  (Handy Hubby is indifferent.)  It’s definitely not the end of the world, I know.  However, it’s a lot of moolah and it’s gonna be with us for a while.  I’ll let you know what we decide…



Tough decision. It’s funny, but I’m also a fan of the dull honed finish over the polished look. In our area, there’s a guy who’s doing polished concrete countertops. Sounds a different I know, but they look amazing, with that finish you like. Not sure how available installers are in your area, but might be woth checking online. Good Luck!


Why not choose a material other than granite? For me, the appeal of granite is the shiny, smooth texture. If you’re not looking for shiny, why not choose a slate, concrete, or one of the many other non-shiny counter options?


Frank and Sandy – You both post good points! We were mainly looking at granite for the ease in upkeep with them. However, I’m scared of the polished finish looking too stark in our white/gray kitchen. It’s funny you mention concrete counters… I have always loved the look of concrete countertops but was leery of the maintenance. However, Handy Hubby comes home from work today announcing that he’s pretty sure he can DIY them himself for a fraction of the cost of granite!!! The difference in cost may be worth having to seal them every once in a while. We’ll keep you posted… Meanwhile, thanks again for all the suggestions and input!

Know what happened to me? I trusted that the ‘absolute black’ that I picked in the store couldn’t have too many variations and didn’t drive the 45 minutes it would take to see the slabs in person… and ended up with a black with some major grey speckling. At that point, I was reallly upset that I didn’t get exactly what I was looking for, but now I’m as happy as can be :)!


Kasey – Good to know! If we go with granite, we’ll definitely try to see our slab in person before the install. Thanks!


My sister in law has a black granite countertop with a honed finish, and she has been disappointed with the stains/scratches that show. However, to me, it looks great, so you have to decide if you mind it not being perfect!

We have the traditional finish on a light colored granite (see below for a pic), and even though it’s sealed, oil stains are still a problem. When it happens, I whip up a mixture of flour and dish soap and let it dry on there to draw out the stain, it really does work!



Carole – I LOVE your kitchen! The counters are great. If I had nice wood cabinets (like you) and not the grainy oak ones we painted, I would have loved some light countertops. I’m still on the fence with the whole polished versus honed thing. On one hand, the ease of keeping polished clean would be nice but the softness of the ‘chalkier’ honed makes me swoon. Decisions, decisions.


We purchased the same material as Kasey. We are low-luster kinda people, we picked a matte finish with a type of leather look to it. We love it and have had it for almost a month now. Easy to keep clean which would have been an issue if we were to go with the honed. The bonus is that it is beautiful with the white oak cabinets that we had made.


what is difference in antiqued, river washed, or leathered honed absolute black granite? I am wanting the honed…until reading all of the maintenance….I still want absolute black on the perimeter and white carrera marble on island…


RBoone – From what I know after talking to the company we are using to install our counters, “antiqued” and/or “leathered” finish is the same…just different terms. It’s a textured finish but still sealed. I hadn’t heard of the river washed until you just mentioned it.


I am in a similar situation, except, I added kitchen cabinets (to match existing cabinets) and only later realized I could not match my existing granite. So, the new countertops will be black to compliment my Giallo Veneziano. The cabinet guy recommended a honed absolute black or leather finish. I really want to go with the honed finish, but I did the research and I am going to go with the experts and stay away from it. I hope to go granite shopping tomorrow and go with the leathered look. It looks quite nice in the photos I’ve seen.

[…] Absolute Black, polished.  I went back and forth so many times between getting honed or polished.  In the end, I decided on polished.  I really […]