8 Granite Countertop Finishes That'll Turn Your Kitchen Into A Rock-Solid Work Of Art

Why do people choose granite over other countertop materials like quartz or marble? Probably because granite is highly durable, resistant, and easy to maintain while offering affordable options. The style is another big benefit, with various finishes offering unique appearances and textures that can fit most design styles. When you have granite countertops that have been polished, honed, flamed, leathered, bush-hammered, caressed, brushed, or acid-washed, they can easily look like art pieces in your kitchen. 

Because of its popularity and availability, granite eventually turned into a basic kitchen countertop material that didn't seem to fit into modern decor. However, granite countertops were able to make a strong comeback in 2023. The consumer demands were for more variety, more casual options, and more versatile options that offer luxury at an affordable price, and granite was able to evolve to meet these needs through new style and finish options like the finishes discussed here.

1. Polished

Polished granite is probably the most common finish and remains a popular choice amongst homeowners. Its aesthetic value is its high-gloss appearance and how it communicates cleanliness and elegance. As a reflective surface, it works well with natural light to make a kitchen look bigger and more airy. While this finish is durable, two top mistakes everyone makes with polished granite countertops is applying the polish before sealing or when the seal is weak and cleaning with the wrong products like acidic cleaners, which can weaken the seal and dull the shine.

2. Honed

Another classic, honed granite is a low-sheen finish that looks more matte. It is a good choice if you're going for a farmhouse, cottage, contemporary, or minimalist aesthetic. Honed granite gives your countertops a smoother, more muted reflection and is great for creating a casual, cozy atmosphere in your kitchen. Honing can also be a way to update your old granite countertops without having to paint. Something to know about this countertop finish is that it is highly prone to staining and will need resealing regularly to last.

3. Leathered

If you're going for a charming and lived-in kitchen aesthetic, like a country style for example, this might be for you. Leathered granite is a honed finish with added texture, so there's more dimension to it. It looks matte and works best with dark granite slabs like black, gray, and dark brown because it can maintain the color really well and is a pretty low-maintenance finish that can hide fingerprints and repel stains. The nooks and crannies of the surface, however, need close attention during cleaning because it's easy for dust to hide in them.

4. Caressed

This finish is a polished leathered granite. The tops of the raised bumps on the granite are given a shine, providing you with the unique opportunity to have gloss as well as texture. Caressed granite is great if you find yourself between defined decor styles and don't want to choose just one. The gloss will bounce off some light in the space, add some elegance, and the texture will be interesting to the touch and maintain a homely feeling. We can see this in a vintage-style, shabby chic, or transitional kitchen with both traditional and contemporary elements.

5. Flamed

This finish also has an interesting production process. Extreme heat is applied to the granite slab so that it bursts on the inside and changes its color, leaving you with a unique material that has a rough but muted look. Flamed granite is also low-maintenance and highly durable, which is why it's great for an outdoor kitchen. Indoors, we think it will look great in a rustic or industrial kitchen. The most important part of maintenance for flamed granite countertops is to keep them well-sealed, so the stone doesn't get damaged.

6. Brushed

This is another granite finish that creates a rough look. With a brushing technique, the granite is given a sponge-like texture that adds some dimension to the surface and also helps hide scratches and marks. This is great for a rustic or cottage aesthetic, and for outdoor countertops as well. Something to note with this finish is that the texture causes the original color of the granite to fade a bit, so if you're very specific about that, this will affect your vision. To care for this finish well, clean and seal it regularly.

7. Acid-washed

Similar to some of the other finishes, acid-washed finishes involve adding impact to the granite slab. In this case, an acid like lime water is poured on the surface to create a worn look. Acid-washed countertops can fit into a vintage, rustic, or industrial kitchen. One thing we like about this unique countertop finish is that it can be applied to the countertops you already have. Just like the way you can turn your polished granite countertops into honed ones, you can acid-wash your countertops to update your kitchen and turn it into a rock-solid work of art.

8. Bush hammered

This lesser-known finish is made by hammering the surface of the granite slab with a bush hammer or a machine repeatedly to roughen it and make it look aged. It is great for an outdoor kitchen but can also be used indoors. We think a bush hammered finish fits a vintage or cottage kitchen where things are supposed to look used to give it that comfy, lived-in vibe. Note that countertops in this finish are tough to clean because the dents can harbor dirt, so that needs a lot of attention.