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To hone or to polish? This is a common question we get from our natural stone restoration customers: honed or polished marble? How do they choose? There is no better answer than to ask the question: What is your preference given the location you want it?  Although I’m using the kitchen as an example in this blog, everything I discuss below holds true for honed vs. polished if it were another space, like a master bath.

So first the question is: What is honed versus polished? The photo below is of a kitchen island after marble honing.  It’s a flat, no luster, no shine, low reflectivity surface. The following photo is also marble though it is after a marble cleaning and polishing service: A highly polished, very high reflectivity, mirrored finish (see the reflection of the lamp?).  Two very similar stone examples, but a very different look and feel so-to-speak. So, the first answer to how do you choose is that it is a preference issue first and foremost given the design and aesthetic elements you have chosen.  Then you will want to consider a few other things specific to the location of the marble surface.


In the kitchen, the surfaces invariably will be succumbing to water, oil, cocktails, fruit juice and everyday living activities and with that said you need to ask yourself, how will they hold up? What will you encounter over time and what challenges will you have keeping them clean? Polished surfaces will always “show” imperfections in the finish more than honed surfaces, and marble is a soft stone so scratching will be showing up more often as compared to granite so that is important to keep in mind. Still, hard water spots, accidental etching from oil, or citrus, or a wine glass etc, will all pretty immediately affect the finish whether it is polished or honed and regardless of it having been sealed properly. Those “spots” would otherwise tend to “blend into” a honed surface or at a minimum be less obvious, but the damage will still be there. Keeping the surfaces cleaned is going to be the same whether they be honed or polished. Routine use of a neutral cleaner, wiping up spills promptly, not allowing water or other fluids to linger on the surface are all really good practices.  Psssttttt….use cutting boards, always!

It’s not rocket science. Get the stone you love and install it where you want it! It’s a personal preference issue first and foremost.  Any issues that arise out of everyday living can be remedied. Yes, a professional natural stone restoration tech can remove etch marks as well as hard water spots, scratches, and the like, regardless of the polished or honed finish. However, the best practice to employ right away before it is used, or after some stone restoration if it has been installed for a while and seen a lot of love, is having the stone properly sealed. In most cases, proper sealing buys you time to address a spill or accident.  Make a habit out of routine cleaning or a good wipe down and dry and you’ll be happy with how it looks for a long time.

If you are looking for a local professional to do some stone restoration, marble polishing or honing and potentially save damaged marble you thought had to be replaced, take a look at our blog “Marble restoration: All is not lost” and click below for a proposal.

Skip Jankoski

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