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There’s so many options when it comes to choosing a marble worktop for your kitchen. Whilst your first focus will always be on the colour, the finish is an important consideration too. Honed marble is becoming more popular and can often be more practical too.

What is honed marble?

The definition of honed is when the marble has been ground to a smooth, flat consistent surface. Far from being flat however, the look created is velvet both to the touch and to the eye. It is a common misconception that a polished stone is the most beautiful. Often the veins in the marble will pop out more when honed as the absence of the light reflection makes the intricacies more pronounced. A honed marble worktop can add an element understated elegance to your kitchen. In addition, there’s also a number of practical benefits to choosing a honed finish over highly polished surfaces.

Surface tension and scratching

No matter what finish you choose or your marble worktop, it will always require careful maintenance. It is well documented that marble is less dense than most granites. This means that it can be susceptible to scratching. The polishing process will tighten the surface of the stone to an extent. However, this won’t make the surface hard enough to make it scratch resistant. Whilst a polished stone might have a slightly tighter surface, by its very nature any scratches will be more obvious. With a more matt finish, any scratches that occur will be less obvious. Honed marble lends itself more naturally to developing a patina over time than a polished stone. The scratches become a part of the story of the marble without distracting from its beauty.

Acid etching

Marble is acid sensitive due to the calcium carbonate in the structure of the stone. When acidic liquids come into contact with marble, they react and cause an etch mark. This usually shows up as a dull or white patch. Etch marks on a polished surface will show up as a stark contrast to the surrounding finish. A honed marble is still just as sensitive to acid as a polished stone, but the matt finish can more easily hide these dull patches. For this reason, many people find that they are less worried about these sort of marks on the stone. As etch marks can’t be removed without a restoration treatment, this usually means that over time honed marble requires less investment in terms of professional maintenance.

Honing a polished stone

One of the best things about natural stone is that you can change your mind at any point. A polished worktop can be honed once in situ or at any point during a restoration treatment. If you have an etched or scratched marble surface and decide to have a professional maintenance treatment, you can choose the finish.

The first stage of the restoration will grind the surface of the stone to remove the scratches and any surface marks. As this also removes the polish, the stone is then refinished using finer diamond abrasives to achieve the desired level of shine. A honed marble is created by stopping short of the last stage of polishing, leaving the stone with a non-shiny, velvet look. You might also choose to go a stage further than this and create a satin finish for the marble which will reflect a little more light. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

You can find out more about the professional restoration treatments for marble on our services pages.

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