Honed Marble Kitchen Countertop

by CS


I am wondering about honed marble kitchen countertops. I have been told that the honing can be done with a 400 grit rather than the 200 grit that is typically offered.

I am unclear what the advantage of this would be. I would like to know more about the maintenance and advantages/disadvantages of honed marble in the kitchen. Thank you.


A "honed" finish can encompass a range of surface finishes that are all essentially smooth, but non-reflective.

You can have a rough hone or a high-hone or anywhere in between. The higher the grit number the finer the finish.

A high-hone will come the closest to a shiny surface a step before polishing marble and will show etch marks from acidic corrosion more than a rough hone would.

Etching is essentially unpreventable in the kitchen. A kitchen countertop is exposed to far too many acidic foods and drinks to avoid the dull spots and glass rings that occur from acids.

This is the main reason marble kitchen countertops are not recommended.

You'll find more information about this and marble repair and characteristics in general by browsing our website.

Also, if you'll find many other answers to questions regarding marble maintenance, marble in the kitchen and marble etching on the previous page at the bottom.

So, I wouldn't recommend you install marble in the kitchen. But if you insist on doing it, then a rough hone will hide etch marks better and also be easier to remove the etch marks. You'll need to seal it though.

Honed marble can be absorbent while polished marble is essentially non-absorbent and typically does not need sealing.

granite countertop cleanerGood Luck,

P.S. Get all the facts and simple step-by-step solutions to any problem with our Granite & Marble Maintenance Manuals.

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Disadvantages of matte finish marble
by: Anonymous

I like the look of matte finish marble countertops over gloss, but I would like to know the disadvantages of the matte finish. I will be using it in bathrooms as vanity tops.

=== Admin Comment:

A matte or "honed" finish will be a bit more porous than a shiny/glossy "polished" marble vanity, so it will likely need application of an impregnating stone sealer.

Most people think marble stains easy, but this is not true (marble etches easy). Most marble is pretty dense and very stain-resistant. Polishing makes a surface even less absorbent, so a polished marble is often virtually stain-proof.

But even though marble is rather dense and does not stain "easy"... a matte/honed marble vanity top will likely need sealing.

This is no big deal and marble countertops in bathrooms are usually not a problem... certainly not like in the kitchen where etching can occur constantly.

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Honing Polished Marble Countertops

by Kathy
(Starkville, MS)


Can marble countertops be honed without removing the top and taking it to a shop?


Yes, polished marble countertops can be honed (or vise versa) in place. Attempting to remove them would most likely damage them anyway.

You'll need to hire a marble maintenance or restoration professional and you'll want to do your homework here.

Honing or re-finishing stone is not an easy job. You'll want to find someone with plenty of skill, experience and references.

If all you want to do is remove the marble polish, then you can simply etch the entire surface by washing with vinegar.

Now, acids like vinegar corrode, damage and etch marble, so typically you want to avoid using any such product, but it will work in this case by damaging the surface enough to destroy the shiny layer that results from polishing marble leaving the more raw and dull marble underneath.

Of course, you won't get nearly as nice a finish as honing by an experienced pro. You'll likely get some uneveness of color and/or texture, but it may not be that noticeable and it will be far cheaper than hiring a marble maintenance pro.

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Honed Marble Kitchen Countertops Rough Streaks

(Toronto, Canada)


I just had a new crema marble countertop installed and it looks streaky, almost like it wasn't uniformly sanded. I have cleaned it repeatedly and am convinced these marks were made during the honing process. In certain light I can see arching marks almost like brush strokes. It also feels smoother to the touch in some places, rougher in others. Has anyone experienced this? I love the countertops and hope this problem is fixable.


From your description it does sound like the honed finish was poorly executed. A honed finish will not be shiny and glossy like when polishing marble, but it should be smooth with an even sheen across the entire surface.

I'd take up the issue with your fabricator. The great thing about stone is that it can almost always be repaired or improved.

In this case, the surface can be re-honed. The only caveat is that not too many stone pros are any good at re-finishing, which is a specialty skill.

Of course, this should have been done right the first time, so make sure you are getting the stone you actually picked out and that you are satisfied with the eventual solution before making final payment.

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Marble countertop refinishing problem
by: Anonymous

We had our marble countertops refinished and sealed to remove some etching.

The repairman sanded with 220-8500 grit resin, used powder polish, sealer, and paste wax.

However, there appears to be this water droplet looking film all over my countertops now.

Most areas are smooth but they aren’t super reflective and slick like they used to be. I am disappointed.

Any tips for what could have happened or what should be done to repair this?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

I'd guess it is sealer residue or some issue with the paste wax.

Not sure why a wax was applied. If it was a traditional wax like a car wax that is a very old school method to add a bit of shine and protection to a marble countertop.

However, despite what you always read that "marble is porous and stains easy" it is not true.

Marble "etches" (chemical damage from acidic foods, drinks, and harsh cleaners) easily leaving dull spots which people mistake for "stains" (which are dark spots where something has absorbed).

So, marble is actually quite dense to begin with and when it is polished it becomes even less absorbent.

Thus, a sealer is often not needed. Or rather greater care must be used to apply the sealer correctly.

A sealer must absorb into the stone to work and you cannot let it dry on the surface. If it doesn't absorb well or it is allowed to dry it will leave a hazy or streaky residue. Or it could look like water was wiped across the surface and then dried leaving it spotty.

I suggest cleaning the surface with acetone. Acetone will not harm marble or natural stone but it will remove any wax or residue.

Now sealer residue can be very difficult to remove, so you may have to wash and scrub with acetone a few times and sometimes you just can't get it off.

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Honing Marble Shiny Spot


I have a piece of marble that is matte finished. There is a shiny spot in the middle, how do I make that matte? Thanks.


Well it's most likely that the marble was once all shiny and chemical damage has made created the dull "matte" area.

However, if you use the wrong type of marble polishing compound or are too aggressive on a honed marble you can end up creating too much shine.

Anyway... you want the shiny part to match the matte part of the marble. You can pretty easily remove the shine, but getting an exact surface finish match may be difficult without working the whole surface.

I'd suggest you simply sand the shiny area with water and 400 grit metal sand paper. You would likely be able to start with a more coarse grit like a 240 or 180, but you want to test with the finer grit paper first to monitor the effect.

If it looks like you can remove stone more aggressively and still match the matte honed finish, then switch to the lower grits to make the job go faster.

Sand until the shine is gone and you get a similar look and feel as the matte finish. Depending on the size of the piece, you may want to sand a bit all over to better blend if needed.

You could purposely etch the polished area with an acidic substance like vinegar, but this is more risky since it's difficult to control how much of the stone is remove by the vinegar and it can lead to discoloring.

This can work to a degree if you are wanting to produce a somewhat honed DIY surface over an entire area, but you still may get mixed results and for your situation I think the sanding is much better... far more control.

Still, this is a DIY solution, which can yield satisfactory results, but a good marble maintenance professional could re-hone the whole surface for the best finish.

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Excellent solution
by: Anonymous

I tried this on a sample of listello marble tile that I had ordered where a few of the pieces were polished.

It worked quickly and beautifully with just a few passes of 220 grit paper. I now feel confident to work on the entire lot to match the hone of my travertine tile.

Thanks for the excellent suggestion!

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Restoring Honed Marble Countertops

by Irina
(Excelsior, MN)


Is it really possible to restore the honed marble countertop to a new-like state by a specialist in our house, not in their shop?

We installed a new honed marble bathroom countertop. The installers left bad scratches and swirls (presumably from the tool they used to remove the scratches) on the surface.

The company sent the specialist to improve the surface. He removed some but left new ones. I also noticed that the surface looks shinier now, more like polished and not honed.

We suggested to remove the countertop and bring it to their shop to re-hone the surface properly. The company rejected our plan and promised to send their best specialist to solve the problem.

We don't know if to give them another chance (wouldn't it be another waste of time and effort?) or to insist on our plan. Thank you in advance, Irina


Yes, it is possible to fully restore a marble countertop installation in place, but it requires a skilled and experienced marble cleaning, maintenance and restoration craftsman. Meaning someone with years of experience only restoring marble and not just an installation guy who occasionally buffs out scratches caused by the installation.

Based on your description, the people working on your stone are not skilled or experienced.

Most people including many in the stone industry vastly underestimate the difficulty of restoring stone countertops and floors. It is certainly not a DIY job even those who work with and install stone cannot just pick up the tools and expect good results.

Creating an uneven finish and leaving swirls is definitely a sign of an amateur. So, the their "specialist" is likely just the guy with the most experience in their shop, but obviously they aren't any good at marble restoration.

I'd withhold any remaining payment and search for a true marble cleaning and restoration professional. Interview, get references. You want the best. Cost should not be the main deciding factor.

Good Luck!

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Master Bathroom Honed Marble Countertops

by Deborah Hudson
(Cumming, GA)


We are planning to purchase white Carrara marble for the countertops in our master bathroom. We are unsure whether to have them honed or not and would like to get some pros/cons and decorating tips on what is most popular (honed vs. non-honed) when using this type of marble in a bathroom.

Thank you for any help you can give us!


The main issue with marble countertops is etching. Etching is corrosion caused by contact with acidic and/or too alkaline products (perfume, mouthwash, common household cleaners).

Etching is like a chemical burn leaving dull and discolored spots on the marble countertop or floor tile.

On honed marble etching is not as noticeable because the marble is already a bit "dull" with a matte finish.

So, the marble is still damaged, but you don't notice it so much. But if etching does become noticeable the best option is to have a professional re-surface the marble although the Removing Etch Marks ebook spells out how you can do it yourself if you don't need it to be "perfect."

Also, honed marble is more prone to staining. A good sealer like these recommended marble & granite sealers will take care of that issue and stains in the bathroom are not too common.

On Polished marble etching is very noticeable, but etch marks can be easily repaired using ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste.

Plus, polished marble is very non-absorbent, nearly stain-proof and typically does not need... in fact cannot absorb a sealer.

Yes, I'm sure you've read how marble "stains easy"... well it's not true.

Marble etches easy and people confuse etching with staining, but these are two completely unrelated issues.

Many people want to put marble countertops in their kitchen, which can be a real maintenance hassle because it is impossible to prevent etching in a kitchen.

Marble countertops or tile in a bathroom is much less a problem since it is exposed to far fewer products that can stain or etch.

I'd go with the polished Carrara marble countertops since the color is more saturated and just looks really nice.

We have it in a pool/guest bath. One etch mark in 7 years that was quickly removed using the paste noted above.

Honed marble was once the standard and very common if put in the kitchen when marble was used because it was durable, easy to work with and plentiful and not as a show piece as it is today.

But as I said, marble in a bathroom is fine and won't be a lot of work to maintain. Although you should use decorative trays and/or shelves to store products on and don't set anything directly on the marble countertop surface.

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Honed vs Acid Washed Bianco Carrara

by Nancy


I have been renovating my kitchen and all is finished except for the countertops. I'm not overly fond of granite and am considering installing the Bianco Carrera. Everyone is telling me something different.

I thought I had made my decision for honed marble and the supplier came back with their recommendation of acid washed if it is to be used in the kitchen. The older generation does not agree with this technique. What is your opinion for the best surface to use in order to minimize the staining/etching?


Well, it sounds like people have at least been telling you that you should NOT consider installing marble in your kitchen since you know about etching and staining issues.

Are you sure that you can't find one granite color you like out of the 2500+ available? You'd save yourself lots of frustration and hassle.

Unless, of course, you are fine with the white Carrara etching and staining and just aging naturally with use. Europeans have taken this approach forever.

Here's the dilemma:

Polished marble does NOT stain easily and so staining is really not an issue with a polished surface. However, polished marble will readily show etch marks... no good.

Honed vs. Acid Washed

Any non-polished surface will conceal etching much more; however, it will be much more porous and prone to staining than a polished surface.

Now applying a sealer will greatly reduce the absorbency and stain-resistance, especially if a few coats are applied. So, staining can be controlled somewhat.

A honed surface is smoother than acid washed and will most likely show etch marks more easily than acid washed (though with white marble they won't be very noticeable with honed), but it will be less porous with greater stain-resistance.

An acid washed surface will be more rough and uneven. It will look more "rustic" or "aged" and will conceal etch marks better, but more prone to staining and the BIG difference.... the more uneven and porous a surface the dirtier and harder to clean it will be.

The reason they are suggesting acid wash is that the acid will severely etch the surface. Any acid that you spill on it will hardly produce any additional or noticeable damage.

Also, do they have samples of honed and acid washed Bianco Carrara that you approve of? I would not buy the slab without knowing what the finish will actually look like, so make them supply a sample.

It may be that they plan to take a polished slab and then acid wash it. That could produce a reasonably smooth surface comparable to a honed surface for hygiene and cleaning considerations.

Bottom line: I'd put in granite. If you insist on marble, then I'd go with the honed surface. Less prone to staining, easier to keep clean and any etch marks that do show can be sanded out and blended without much trouble.

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