Limestone Learning Center

The Most Popular Granite Finishes

How to Decide on a Granite Finish

Impression is a strong advocate for granite in any capacity, and this versatile stone surely takes on a number of finishes. Choosing a finish for your new granite piece involves understanding the purpose it will be fulfilling in your space. What is important to you? Ease of cleaning? No-slip traction? Whatever it is, there’s a finish for you, and Impression is here to share all of our favorites.


Honed finish is growing in popularity. This form of granite has been slightly polished, but not to the full extent, more often referred to as “buffed.” Because of this, the honed granite appears to have a matte surface, which matches modern architecture and aesthetics perfectly. For homeowners seeking something that appears more natural than polished granite, honed granite is the most desirable option.


Polished granite is one of the most common forms of granite. This form undergoes the full polishing process, unlike honed. Polished granite appears shiny, glossy, and glassy. Slabs that are polished tend to have more “depth,” bringing out natural colors and textures better than other finishes. Because it’s sealed, this granite is best for resisting moisture, making it great for high-traffic kitchens and bathrooms. In addition to resisting moisture, polished granite is easier to clean due to lower porosity. 


Leathered finish granite is a great middle ground between polished and honed granite. Leathered granite isn’t fully polished, much like honed. However, leathered granite shows the natural texture of the slab with far more detail. Grooves and lines catch light, so it appears slightly more shiny while also still resembling leather. Similar to honed, leathered granite poses some extra challenges during cleaning, but the rustic aesthetic is certainly worth it.


Sandblasted granite is a less popular type of finish. Using a high-pressured jet, either siliceous sand or steel shots are applied to the granite. The end result is smooth abrasion, with a scratched but even surface. In the vein of honed granite, sandblasted granite has a slightly more dull appearance with regards to color.


Flamed granite is produced much in the way you would imagine: with fire. As the name implies, a flamed finish is achieved when an intense flame is fired at the stone. When the surface is heated, porous pits expand with hot air and burst. The resulting texture is rough and rocky. Flamed granite is typically only used in exterior situations, especially when traction is necessary for non-slip surfaces.

Bush Hammered 

Bush hammered granite is a truly unique texture. Bush hammers are tools designed for stone-working, and most closely resemble a meat tenderizer. Slabs of granite are hand-pounded with these small tools, ultimately creating a smooth surface with small indents and notches. 


Much like flamed granite, sawn granite is used for exterior projects. It is most commonly used as a material in paving, driveways, walkways, stairs, and patios. Diamond disc teeth – not unlike the ones dentists use to cut through teeth – are applied in a “sawing” motion. Upon completion, sawn granite appears matte. Its color may also be lighter as a result of the process. Sawn granite typically takes the form of bricks or patterned stones, but not often is it used on slabs.


Tumbled granite is somewhat similar to sawn. It also comes in small, layable stones. Instead of using a tool to hand-texture the stone, the stones are placed in a tumbler. Much like how cement mixers turn, tumblers rotate to mix up the stones, wearing them against one another. Once tumbled, the stones achieve a weathered, aged, and chipped appearance. Stone with this distressed aesthetic can be great for achieving older charm, adding traction, and occupying high-traffic areas that would result in worn stone with time anyway.


Impression is proud to make homeowners’ visions come to life every day, and part of our expertise involves hand-crafting stone pieces in a variety of styles. Contact Impression today for your next stunning granite piece.

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