What’s the Difference Between Polished vs. Honed Marble

For centuries, marble has been a popular luxury choice to create elegant building flooring and statues. Even today, marble is often used in flooring, wall cladding, columns, and decorative elements like sculptures and fountains. 

When it comes to marble surfaces, the choice between polished and honed finishes can dramatically influence a space’s overall look and feel. Thus, it raises an intriguing question about the essential difference between polished and honed marble. Let’s see the primary differences.

Polished marble flooring

Difference Between Polished vs. Honed Marble

Surface Finish

The basic difference between Polished marble and honed marble is the surface. Their respective surface finish and sheen set apart polished and honed marble from each other. Polished marbles go through a polishing process with abrasive material until the surface becomes shiny and reflective. 

On the contrary, the honed marble surface is just a step backward. The honed marble surface undergoes polishing up to the point it achieves a non-shiny and matte look. The final polishing stage is skipped for honed marble to avoid a shiny and glossy surface. 

Polished marble has a mirror-like surface that reflects light. Honed marble doesn’t reflect light as much as polished marble. 


Polished marble for floors is preferred in upscale commercial areas like hotels, whereas honed marble is the choice of homeowners for the floor. The polished marble surface is a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops, regardless.

For bathroom floors and high traffic, polished marble surfaces can be a bad idea because these surfaces are often slick and can become slippery in certain situations, especially when wet. That’s why it is not often preferred for the bathroom surface and high-traffic areas. 

However, polished marble can be an excellent choice for wall cladding to create a visually stunning backdrop in living rooms, foyers, and reception areas.

Honed marble, on the other hand, is a common choice for bathroom surface shower walls and even bathroom floors as it maintains a higher level of slip resistance and ensures greater safety. Honed marble is also seen on high-foot traffic kitchen surfaces as it doesn’t show, fingerprint, smudges, and watermarks as prominently as polished marble.

In general, honed marble flooring is common in outdoor areas. But for creating a luxurious and sophisticated environment at home, polished marble is more suitable.


Natural stones like marble have pores to absorb liquid and germ, which makes both polished and honed marble more or less susceptible to staining. The characteristic of marble causes the marble-made floor and counter to be prone to discoloration and staining.

If polished and honed marble are compared one-on-one in terms of staining, honed marble surfaces are more prone to staining than polished marble surfaces. This is because polished marble has gone through more grinding and sanding to have a shiny look that closes up the pores. Therefore, polished surfaces show more resistance to staining.

Scratching and Etching

Despite being inferior to polished marble in staining, honed marble holds an advantageous position for being more resistant to scratching and etching. Moreover, the high gloss finish and reflective properties of polished surfaces make these scratches more visible in light. 

Similar to scratching, a polished surface is also prone to etching if it comes into contact with acidic spills and abrasive cleaners. Honed marble surfaces can hide scratches and etch more easily than polished surfaces. Whether visible or not, both honed and polished marble surfaces demand care, maintenance, and protection from stains and scratches. 

Cleaning and Maintenace 

While it is true that the honed marble surface requires extra attention against staining, the polished surface has its downside, too, regarding cleaning and maintenance. You can not clean the polished marble surface with abrasive and acidic cleaners. In fact, the polished surface requires cleaning with pH-neutral stone cleaner and drying immediately after cleaning.

Cleaning honed marble, on the other hand, is straightforward. You can simply use a mild soap solution, pH-neutral cleaner, and a soft cloth or sponge. It’s essential to wipe up spills promptly to prevent staining.

So, it is better to avoid fumbling with cleaning and proper maintenance for both the marble surfaces. 


If we focus solely on the surface finishes, there is no significant difference in price between polished and honed marble. Sometimes, honed finishes are more expensive than polished finishes, especially due to the streamlined process of polishing. 

However, in most cases, polished marble surfaces could be higher than honed marble surfaces because achieving the desired polished finish entails a greater time and labor investment. Still, the price difference is little to nothing. Mable price typically hinges on the type of marble.

High-end marbles like Carrara or Calacatta tend to be more expensive due to their rarity and aesthetic appeal, while more common marbles like Carrara White are more affordable.

Which Marble Finish is More Suitable for Your Kitchen and Bathroom?

When it comes to incorporating marble into your kitchen, your interior design vision plays a pivotal role. The choice between honed and polished finishes can significantly impact the overall aesthetic.

Considering your kitchen style is key before choosing a specific finish. For a Mediterranean or beachy style kitchen and home, honed marble is a good choice as it adds a natural and rustic touch. 

For kitchens that demand a touch of elegance and sophistication, go with polished marble. It harmonizes effortlessly with custom lighting and upscale fixtures, giving your space a refined aura.

However, you can establish a look and design using both finishes. For areas where polished marble surface is a tad inconvenient and less practical, such as bathroom floors and higher foot traffic areas, honed marble surface can be a sensible pick.

A polished marble surface can be a viable option for home areas requiring a slight touch of sophistication or for kitchen countertops and backsplash. Another advantage of polished marble on backsplash and countertops is that it requires less maintenance in comparison to honed surfaces. Considering how vulnerable kitchen countertops can be to staining, polished marble surface is holy grain on the countertop. 

Another important aspect to consider is that if your kitchen or home is not exposed to enough natural light, a polished surface could be a good fit as it is known to reflect light well. This will increase the visual aesthetics of the house and kitchen. 


Is Polished Marble More Durable Than Honed?

Answer: Both honed and polished marble are made from similar materials. If they are from the same type of marble, their durability would be quite similar. Natural stones like marble or granite are extremely durable, outlasting other engineered stones like quartz or Corian.

Does All-natural Stone, Including Marble, Require Sealing?

Answer: Not necessarily. While many natural stones benefit from sealing, whether or not marble or other natural stones need sealing depends on various factors. Some natural stones are more porous than others. 

Marble, for instance, is relatively porous and can absorb liquids more easily than granite or quartzite. Bear in mind that quartzite is a different material from quartz, so don’t confuse quartzite with quartz

Is Honed Marble Waterproof?

Answer: Marbles are not naturally waterproof. They have pores that allow water to penetrate and require sealing. However, if you compare honed marble and polished marble one against the other, honed marble surface is more likely to absorb water than polished marble.


When you know the fundamental difference between polished and honed marble in terms of its characteristics, applications, and design, you can make better choices based on it. Making a decision without proper knowledge of their respective uses and suitability can result in compatibility issues and inconvenience. 

At the end of the day, you don’t want a kitchen or bathroom solely focused on aesthetics without functionality. So, both appearance and usability should equally be considered.

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