As I can understand the desire for a less than polished finish, many factors must be considered. As a Natural Stone Restoration contractor, we see the maintenance of multiple stone finishes from a slightly different perspective. Please take my post as an additional insight for your deciding factors. Being that our company works in the Washington DC Metro area, we see many different uses of natural stone and the way it accents different aesthetics of the home. A large mansion with sweeping staircases, a loft and large crystal chandelier looks fantastic with a high polished marble foyer. However, a rustic farm home in upscale Middleburg, while large, can benefit from the look of patina on its marble; hence a honed finish fits the aesthetic. These factors must be considered from a design standpoint to fit the aesthetic of the home.
Maintenance of said finishes presents a completely different mindset and understanding. With stone impregnating sealers, a polished finish presents the stone pores closed as much as possible which adds to the lifespan and stain resistance of the stone outside of the benefits of sealers. One would expect a 7-9 year protected surface with a quality sealer. A honed finish is quite different, being that the pores are not as closed and the end user should expect to reseal the surface annually to have the same stain resistance as a polished finish. The honed finish presents the pores in an “open” state, much more than a polished finish, and the sealer will wear quickly due to its exposure to light cleaning methods such as water only. If not sealed often problems with water marks and other liquid contaminants penetrating into the stone making it difficult to clean or remove could happen.
In the case of black granites, if you take a look at the underside of the stone you will see the true color of a honed piece. It is grey in color and gets the rich dark black either when polished or darkened with enhancing sealers. While leathered finishes are darker in color and may be brought to a high grit diamond impregnated leathering brush finish, the end result is difficult to replicate in the field if damaged or in need of repair. In order to blend the finishes correctly a larger area may need to be refinished, if not the entire surface!
In conclusion, while honed and leathered finishes are beautiful and unique, the finishes are more difficult and costly to maintain over time. At Marble Doctor we offer a Professional Stone Evaluation that can be utilized for assistance when choosing natural stone for your home or project with the viewpoint of maintenance as the deciding factor. Please don’t let the following quote be your only viewpoint when deciding on what finish to utilize for your natural stone surfaces-
“But….it feels sooo cool to tell friends you have a “honed” or “leathered finished” natural stone, right?!?!?”