Looking to get a new kitchen countertop? Then you should learn something about kitchen countertop finishes. Not only are there many kinds of stone to choose from, but if you’re going for a quality stone supplier, then you can also choose the kind of surface finish that it’s going to have.
And that makes all the difference. Different surface textures bring completely different looks to your kitchen, and also change the daily experience of using the countertop. It’s important to know the available finishes in order to pick the right one for your kitchen.
Because of that, in this article we’re going to tell you what you should know before you pick your kitchen countertop finish, so you can make sure that you’re making the right choice.
Kitchen Countertop Finishes: The 5 Types
Overall, there are five main types of kitchen countertop finishes available. You may be able to find some more exotic finishes if you know where to look, but these are the most common ones. Not all of them apply to all stones, however, but most apply to granite, which is the most usual stone for kitchen countertops.
The polished finish is the most used one. Polishing the surface of the countertop is what gives it a nice shiny finish, and allows you to perfectly see the stone and its details. It gives a fine smooth surface for you to use and is also useful to prevent against staining.
This is people’s go-to finish, as not only it helps to preserve the stone’s natural look, but it also makes the stone easier to maintain. It fits well with conventional transparent sealers, which not only highlight the shiny finish, but help to protect the stone against the staining.
Of course, the only downside is that this finish draws a lot of attention. A well polished granite or quartzite countertop, for example, will attract people’s eyes, and it makes for a really beautiful finish. So, if you intend to draw people’s attention to some other part of your kitchen, you may consider trying out the other kinds of finishes.
Matte (Or Honed)
The matte finish is in some ways similar to the polished one, in that it leaves a nice smooth finish that makes the countertop easy to work on. However, in this case the surface is polished just enough to leave it smooth, but not enough to make it shiny.
The result is a surface that doesn’t have such a strong reflective finish, feeling more like a natural rock than like plastic. It gives light a more fuzzy reflection, making it much easier to use in brighter environments, and doesn’t call a lot of attention to it.
This finish changes a bit the appearance of the stone, but is a good pick to hide any imperfections that it may have. It’s also the preferred choice for marble slabs, while granite ones tend to be polished. The disadvantage is that the stone becomes a bit more prone to staining, so you have to pay more attention to it and do regular maintenance.
Leathered (Or Brushed)
A leathered finish is a kind of midway between the matte and the polished finish. It makes the slab less porous than the matte one, but doesn’t make it shine as much as the polished one. Instead, a diamond brush is used to give it a rougher look. It has a irregular finish, not being as smooth as the other two, giving it a more rustic look.
This type of finish makes it a good pick for outdoor areas or areas that have considerable flux of people. The irregularity of the surface and its lower porosity compared to matte make it a good way to hide possible stains and dirt. Those smudges may even end up contributing to its rustic look.
It does require some more maintenance, though, to prevent bacteria from building up in the imperfections. It also requires the maintenance to be a bit more gentle, so you have to ensure that you’re using only microfiber cloth and no kind of strong cleaning products.
The caressed finish is a midway between the polished and the leathered one. In this case, the objective is to attract a bit more attention to the countertop, or to make it need a bit less maintenance.
It basically starts off from the leathered finish and adds some more gloss to it. The raised parts of the texture created by the brushes are gently polished in order to make them more shiny. This process closes the pores in those parts and makes the slab reflect light more strongly, while still maintaining much of the rustic look.
Now, the flamed one is a bit of a novelty. It doesn’t involve as much polishing and texturing like the other ones, in that its main focus isn’t using friction to get the desired finish. Instead, it uses heat.
As the name may imply, the flamed finish involves applying high temperature to the surface of the stone. This high temperature makes the stone undergo some chemical processes which change its appearance and color. In general, it makes it look much rougher and more muted, giving a more rustic and natural look.
This process can only be applied to granite, as it’s very resistant to high heat. It makes its grains burst, change color, and meld with the other grains around it, making the color more homogeneous. In the end, it gives it a kind of matte finish, making the colors look a bit faded.
As this process merges the grains together, it makes the stone much less porous, making another great option for outdoors countertops. However, it’s also a great option if you’re looking for a lower-maintenance indoor kitchen countertop.
Get A Specialist For More Information
Too hard to decide? Don’t worry. Consulting with a stone specialist is a great way to learn more about the different kinds of kitchen countertop stones and the finishes they can have. This way, it’s much easier to make up your mind and pick the best countertops for your kitchen.
Here at Eagle Stones, we can help you that. Just fill our form, and we’ll send you a specialist for a free estimate! It’s the best way to choose a kitchen countertop.