When it comes to purchasing a new granite countertop, most people are prepared to pick out the major design elements – the type of granite and the color. What you may not be aware of is that you will also have a variety of finishes to choose from. Understanding what these are and the traits of each can help you make the right decision when purchasing the granite stone countertops.
Polished or buffed
This may be the most common option, as many homeowners prefer the high-gloss and reflective surface. It is also very smooth, which makes wiping up spills a breeze. The main concern with a polished surface is that it can lose its luster with regular, daily use and cleaning. Stains and fingerprints are also more obvious on the shiny surface, which means you have to wipe them down more often. If you opt for a polished countertop, then you will need to have it sealed annually to prevent these issues. The seal will also help maintain the glossiness, although a light buffing may also be necessary to bring it back.
Honed or matte
If gloss and high shine isn't your thing, then a matte finish may be the perfect option. One benefit of the matte finish is that you can really see the vagaries of the stone in a way that isn't as obvious with a polished finish. The surface is smooth, just like with a polished counter, and any flaws or stains aren't as obvious. Because of the smooth surface, which required a lot of buffing to achieve, it will also need annual resealing to protect the surface. The seal isn't just to maintain the finish, but also to prevent the buffed and porous surface from absorbing stains.
Leathered or flamed
This finish can be the perfect option if you are going with a dark-hued granite for your countertops. It is sometimes called leathered because the granite develops a leather-like appearance, or it may be called flamed since heat is the method used to create the finish. The result is a slightly rough surface that isn't reflective at all. The feel and look of the natural stone really shines through, which can be quite attractive depending on the rest of your kitchen design. An added benefit is that fingerprints and spills don't readily show. Plus, you can maintain it with just a simple granite cleaner.
For more help, contact a granite dealer or a countertop contractor in your area.