Your home deserves nothing but the best, and when it comes to marble floors, the finish you choose can dramatically impact both aesthetics and maintenance.
This is a big deal, let me tell you!
The type of tile finish you go for can really set the mood for the whole space.
Whether it’s a bathroom, a kitchen, or even a patio, the finish can add that extra “oomph” or subtle elegance you’re aiming for.
Today, in this article “Honed Vs Polished tiles: Guide to types of finishes”,
I am zeroing in on two of the most popular finishes out there: honed and polished.
These are the go-to choices for many people because they offer versatility and a look that can range from high-end luxury to casual comfort.
In this article, I am going to break down what honed and polished finishes are, talk about into where they each shine (pun intended!), and go over the advantages and disadvantages of each.
By the end of this, you’ll have all the info you need to pick the perfect finish for your project.
But wait…. there is more.
I will also cover few more types of finishes that are available in the market.
Let’s get started.
This post is about Honed Vs Polished tiles: Guide to types of finishes
What is Honed Tile?
,When we say a tile is “honed,” we’re talking about a finish that’s smooth to the touch but doesn’t have that super shiny, glossy look.
Honed finish is more on the satin finish side of things.
Imagine a marble countertop where the surface of the stone is smooth but doesn’t have that mirror-like reflection—that’s honed for you.
How do they make Honed type of finish ?
Now, how do they make it? Well, it’s all about grinding the stone down.
The honing process starts by taking a slab of stone and run it through this special machine that grinds the uneven surface.
The machine uses different types of grit to get rid of any bumps or imperfections.
The tile gets a smooth texture.
But here’s the thing—they stop before it starts to shine.
That’s the difference between honed and polished.
Where to use Honed tiles ?
So, you’re wondering where you might commonly use honed tiles?
Let’s talk about that.
First off, high-traffic areas.
Honed tiles are great option for places that see a lot of foot action.
Think hallways, foyers, or even commercial spaces like retail stores.
Because they have smooth surfaces , they’re less likely to show scratches, dirt, or wear and tear.
They’re usually less slippery than polished tiles, which is a big win in high traffic areas when you’ve got a lot of people walking around.
Now, let’s talk bathrooms.
For bathroom floors, honed floor tiles are an excellent choice.
Why? Well, bathrooms are wet places, and the last thing you want is to slide across a slippery floor after a shower.
Honed matte look tiles give you that extra grip because they’re not super glossy.
Plus, they’re easier to maintain; water spots or soap scum are less visible on a honed surface compared to a shiny one.
And don’t forget about kitchen backsplashes.
You might think that a kitchen backsplash needs to be all shiny and reflective, but honed tiles can bring a cool, relaxed vibe to your kitchen.
They’re easier to clean—no streaks since there’s no shine—and they can make colorful tiles or intricate patterns stand out in a more subtle, sophisticated way.
So, to wrap it up: whether it’s a bustling hallway, a bathroom floor, or a stylish kitchen backsplash, honed tiles have got you covered.
They offer both practicality and a different kind of beauty that you might just love for your project.
Honed marble tiles in the Smithsonian Museum offer a classic yet durable flooring option.
What is Polished tile ?
Polished tiles have been polished to a high shine.
The have a highly reflective surface.
When you walk into a room and see a floor that practically reflects like a mirror, those are polished tiles.
Polished finish tiles are slick, they’re glossy, and they definitely catch the eye.
The Polishing Process
The process for making polished tiles starts much like it does for honed tiles—with grinding.
But here’s where it changes.
Once the surface is smooth, the tile goes through additional buffing stages.
The machines use increasingly finer grits, really ramping up the friction to bring out a high shine.
It’s almost like the stone gets a super-luxe spa treatment until it’s gleaming!
Where to use Polished tiles ?
Formal areas like lobbies or entrance halls.
If you’ve ever walked into a swanky hotel or a posh office building and thought, “Wow, this place is fancy,” chances are you were walking on polished tiles.
They just have that luxe, high-end look that makes any space look more formal and grand.
Next, let’s talk about bathroom shower walls.
Sure, you might want honed tiles for the floor to avoid slipping, but when it comes to the wall tile, polished tile can really elevate the look.
Imagine stepping into a shower surrounded by gleaming marble tiles—it feels like you’re in a spa, doesn’t it?
Speaking of showers, polished tiles are often a popular choice on shower walls for that very reason.
They not only give the space a sleek, modern feel, but they’re also easier to clean because the water tends to slide right off.
And let’s be honest, a shiny surface just feels cleaner, which is always a plus in a shower.
So, to sum it up, if you want to add a dash of glam or make a space feel more luxurious and formal, polished tiles are are a great choice.
They’re great for lobbies, awesome for bathroom and shower walls, and just have a way of making any space feel a bit more special.
Pros & Cons of Honed tiles
Pros of Honed Tiles
Slip Resistance: One of the big wins for honed tiles is that they’re generally less slippery than their polished counterparts.
They have a smooth finish.
That’s why you’ll often find them on bathroom floors or in other wet areas.
More Casual Look:
If you’re going for a laid-back, natural vibe, honed tiles are your best friend.
They don’t have that high-gloss finish, so they feel more down-to-earth.
Honed tiles are less likely to show scratches, and because they’re not reflective, things like dust and smudges aren’t as noticeable.
This makes them easier to maintain on a day-to-day basis.
Versatility: Honed tiles can fit into a variety of settings, from rustic to modern, because they have that understated elegance about them.
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Cons of Honed Tiles
One downside is that honed tiles tend to be more porous than polished tiles.
This means they can absorb liquids more easily, which could lead to staining.
May Show Stains:
Speaking of staining, honed tiles, especially lighter ones, can show stains more easily.
So if you spill some red wine on a honed marble floor, you might have to clean up spills fast.
Frequent Sealing Required:
Because they’re more porous, honed tiles often require more frequent sealing to keep them looking their best.
This means a bit more maintenance in the long run.
Subtlety Isn’t for Everyone:
If you want a show-stopping, eye-catching surface, honed tiles might be too subtle for your taste.
Pros & Cons of Polished tiles
Pros of Polished Tiles
If you’re after that “wow” factor, polished tiles deliver.
Their high-gloss finish catches the light and can make any space look more open and airy.
There’s no denying it—polished tiles scream luxury.
They’re commonly used in high-end homes and commercial spaces like hotels and restaurants for a reason.
Easy to Clean:
Their smooth, glossy surface makes them relatively easy to clean. Water, dust, and grime are less likely to stick, which makes your life a little easier.
Generally speaking, the polishing process closes off some of the pores on the surface of the stone, making it less likely to absorb stains than honed tiles.
Cons of Polished Tiles
The biggest knock against polished tiles is they can be slippery, especially when wet.
That’s why they’re not usually recommended for areas like bathrooms floors or pool decks.
Not Ideal for High-Traffic Areas:
While they’re easy to clean, polished tiles show scratches, scuff marks, and wear and tear more easily than honed tiles.
They’re not the best fit for areas that see a lot of action, like busy hallways or commercial spaces.
Because they show everything, you might find yourself cleaning them more often to maintain that high shine.
Plus, any small crack or chip is way more noticeable on a polished surface.
Can Be Overpowering:
The shine and glamour of polished tiles can be a bit much for some settings, especially if you’re going for a more relaxed or rustic look.
Comparing Honed Vs Polished Marble tiles
Let’s talk about the details and compare honed and polished tiles across a few different categories :
Smoothness: Both honed and polished tiles are smooth to the touch, but in different ways. Honed tiles have a softer, more natural feel. Polished tiles are ultra-smooth, almost like glass.
Sheen: Here’s where they really differ. Polished tiles have a high sheen; they’re glossy and reflective.
Honed tiles, on the other hand, have a more matte or satin-like finish, so they don’t reflect light in the same way.
Texture: Honed tiles can sometimes have slight variations in texture, giving them a more organic look.
Polished tiles usually have a consistent, smooth surface.
Maintenance and Required Care
Sealing: Honed tiles are typically more porous, so they might need to be sealed more often to prevent stains.
Polished tiles are less porous but still may require sealing, just less frequently.
Cleaning Agents: Both types need to be cleaned with pH-neutral cleaners to prevent any damage.
Avoid anything acidic or abrasive household detergent.
You can use regular soap.
But polished tiles are more forgiving when it comes to water spots and streaks.
Price Comparison: Generally speaking, the cost of polished tiles can be more than honed tiles.
Factors Affecting Cost: What also affect the cost is the type of stone you choose, its origin, shipping cost and its quality.
Rarer stones will be pricier, as will stones that have to be imported from far-off places.
Honed Tiles: One of the major advantages of honed tiles is their better slip resistance, especially when wet.
This makes them a preferred choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas where safety could be a concern.
Polished Tiles: The glossy finish looks great but can be quite slippery when wet. Not ideal for areas where you expect spills or moisture.
Honed Tiles: The matte finish does a pretty good job of hiding scratches, scuffs, and other forms of wear and tear.
They’re more forgiving in that sense.
Polished Tiles: These tiles are more susceptible to showing scratches.
The high sheen can make even small imperfections stand out, so they may not be the best for areas like hallways or playrooms where there’s a lot of activity.
Honed Tiles: Generally more porous and therefore more prone to staining.
If you spill something, you’ll want to clean it up immediately.
Polished Tiles: The polishing process closes off many of the pores in the stone, making it more resistant to staining.
Still, it’s a good idea to wipe up spills as soon as possible.
How to Choose Between Honed and Polished Tiles
Here’s a quick checklist to help you decide which kind of marble surfaces will work for your project:
- Aesthetic preferences
- Safety Concerns
Location and Use
Indoor vs Outdoor: Honed tiles are a good option for outdoors because they’re more slip-resistant and can handle the elements.
Polished tiles, with their glossy finish, are usually more suited for indoor settings.
Wet vs Dry Areas:
If you’re tiling a bathroom or kitchen where spills are likely, honed tiles are generally the safer bet.
For living rooms, dining areas, or walls, polished tiles can add a touch of elegance.
This depends on the feel of your room.
Honed for a Modern, Casual Look:
If you want a laid-back, contemporary vibe, honed tiles are where it’s at. Their matte finish gives off a relaxed yet stylish feel.
Polished for a Classic, Formal Look:
If you’re going for a more traditional or luxurious look, polished tiles are your ticket. They’ve got that classic glamour that’s hard to beat.
Slip-Resistance: Again, honed tiles win out in terms of safety because they’re less slippery, especially when wet.
That’s something you’ll want to seriously consider for bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor spaces.
Other Safety Features: Both types of tiles can be sealed for added protection against stains and moisture, but keep in mind that some sealants can also make the surface a bit more slippery.
Last but certainly not least, think about your own tastes and lifestyle.
Do you have kids or pets?
Honed tiles might be better option because they’re less prone to showing scratches and are more slip-resistant.
Do you love the look of a high-shine, luxurious surface and are willing to put in the extra work to maintain it?
Then polished tiles could be the way to go.
Latest Trends in the Tile Industry
Natural Finishes: As sustainability becomes more important, finishes that are less processed (like honed finishes) are gaining in popularity.
Textured Finishes: Think 3D textures and intricate patterns. These are being used to add a pop of interest to otherwise minimalist spaces.
Natural elements : Natural earthy spaces have become very popular. Honed finish gives the natural organic feel.
Natural stone tiles don’t just come in honed or polished finishes; there are different finishes like tumbled, textured, and matte that you might want to consider too.
Here’s a quick rundown of the variety of finishes.
Tumbled: The tumbled finish tiles have a worn, softer look and are often used for things like rustic kitchen backsplashes or outdoor areas.
They’re not as smooth as honed tiles and have a more natural, aged appearance.
Textured: These are designed with a specific surface texture on the surface to create a distinct look or feel.
For example, they can mimic wood grain or natural stone.
Textured tiles can be very slip-resistant, making them ideal choice for bathrooms or outdoor areas.
Matte: Similar to honed but even less shiny and completely smooth surface.
They offer a very flat look and are a good choice for modern, minimalist spaces.
They’re also less slippery than polished tiles but are still quite smooth to the touch.
Can I use polished tiles in the bathroom?
Technically, yes, but remember they are slippery when wet, so exercise caution.
Which is easier to clean: honed or polished tiles?
Polished tiles are generally easier to clean due to their less porous nature.