Leathered granite is a finish style that has grown in popularity over the past several years. You will see this option available most often when using darker stone colors as it provides the surface with a textured appearance. You do not lose the color of the granite with this option, but it does create less of a glossy look compared to the traditional polishing that slabs receive before installation.
Because this finish creates more of a matte outcome, you will find that it can hide fingerprints more effectively. You will find fewer water spots on the surface over time. There are also fewer smudges that you will want to clean up after installing the leathered granite, making it the perfect option for an outdoor application, vanity, or countertop in the kitchen or bathroom.
There is also a texture to leathered granite which is slightly “pebbly,” offering small fissures and pits that make it look like a piece of fine leather. This feature varies from piece to piece, but it will always create an effect that is inviting, rustic, and slightly chic.
If you are thinking about a stone installation right now, then these are the pros and cons of leathered granite to consider.
List of the Pros of Leathered Granite
1. It provides a consistent look while updating historical homes.
If you have an older home that requires an update, then leathered granite can help you to achieve the results you want without changing the overall atmosphere of your property. There is an immediate, rustic appeal which you experience with this product because of the slightly matte nature of its finish and the rougher texture it holds compared to a polished stone. That is why it is the perfect product of countertops and vanities, as it maintains a traditional look while still bringing something unique.
2. You will receive a look that is more natural.
Another advantage to consider with leathered granite is the fact that it offers a finished product that looks natural in your home. Although a high-gloss sheen can complement a variety of looks in the home, you will add more charm to a surface that would otherwise be overlooked. Since you can choose from a variety of different textures and color tones, you will discover that there are several options that will update the look of your room at a reasonably affordable price.
Multiple color options are available for this product as well, although most of them are in darker Earth tones. Anything in the gray, dark brown, and black range will look excellent when installing leathered granite in your home.
3. There are different levels of texturing available with this product.
When you start shopping for leathered granite, then you will find that there is a wide range of texture options from which to choose. Some items are almost perfectly smooth, which can work well if you want to upgrade a kitchen countertop. When you need this product to serve your outdoor requirements, then the leathering can provide a superior level of texture that feels bumpy to the touch. It is a customization option that you cannot find with any other finish, relying heavily on the outcome you want without cutting into the finished, natural look.
4. It will make the natural texture of the granite stand out.
The leathering process will also help you to take advantage of the granite’s natural texture in addition to the custom approach that you want. When the work is correctly finished, the product will look and feel like it is still a living, breathing part of nature. You can pick out the individual textural elements in the stone, creating a unique centerpiece for a room because it looks and feels luxurious, but it doesn’t come with the high-wealth price tag.
5. You can work with almost any color of granite with this product.
The reason why darker granite colors typically go through the leathering process is that it has the tendency to bring out the natural colors of the stone without the glossy sheen from over-polishing. There doesn’t need to be as much sandblasting during the preparation stage of the product either, but it will also still look more refined than if you settle for honed granite instead.
Lighter colors sometimes benefit from the leathering process as well, especially if you are looking for something in a darker green shade. The only options that won’t work well are the granites that tend to be white, off-white, and beige.
6. It is a product which is naturally stain-resistant.
The leathering process causes the pores of the granite to tighten, which means it is less susceptible to stains over its lifetime compared to other surfaces. Spills are unable to coalesce as well as they can on other surfaces because of the texturing that occurs too, which adds another level to its overall quality. Since this option works well on darker colors, you will find that most smudges and fingerprints disappear so that you don’t feel the need to clean the granite continually.
7. There is a natural level of bacterial resistance with leathered granite.
This advantage occurs because of the leathering process on the granite surface as well. Because the pores of the stone are tightened with this option, the resistance to any other foreign item (especially bacteria) is enhanced as well. That means you can often clean this surface with a wet microfiber towel, and then allow it to dry completely without the need for chemical cleaners. It is also heat-resistant, so you can use the countertop for your cooking needs without worrying about damaging the surface if you follow the instructions of the manufacturer.
8. It is a surface that is naturally slip-resistant.
When you are using leathered granite as your surface, then your product will provide an extra level of resistance to sliding and slipping when you set something on it. This feature allows you to take advantage of your creativity when maximizing the use of this space. If you set something on the surface, you can rest assured that it is going to stay there – even though the actual top of the counter is slightly uneven because of the texturing that is present.
Despite the texturing that resists slippage, leathered granite still offers a soft-to-the-touch experience for homeowners. You receive a pleasing aesthetic experience with the various waves that are incorporated with the stone without sacrificing the overall durability of the product.
9. The cost is competitive for a countertop surface.
When you consider the cost of the installation with the slab of granite that you purchase, the final price is usually under $45 per square foot for this product. You can save some extra cash by removing your previous surface on your own.
List of the Cons of Leathered Granite
1. Leathered granite is a lot easier to scratch than other surfaces.
The various grooves and other imperfections in leathered granite help it to maintain a natural look, but it also makes the product more susceptible to damage. Scratching is a significant concern with this option, especially if you happen to scrape a hard item against it. Chipping is possible too when there is a strong impact on the surface. You’ll know that this disadvantage occurred because the stone leaves behind a dusty, almost chalky residue that you will need to clean up.
You can mitigate this disadvantage by sealing the granite surface as part of the installation process. Although it will minimize the textural elements of the stone, you will prevent many of the standard damage issues that can occur in homes today.
2. It is a product that is very challenging to clean.
Because leathered granite is an uneven, natural product, trying to clean the textural components of the stone can be exceptionally challenging when compared to polished or honed surfaces. You will discover that liquids love to pool in some of its grooves, which can sometimes be deep enough that a towel doesn’t grab it all. Crumbs like to make their way into the various cracks that can be in this product. If you want a rougher texture, then this disadvantage will be more significant than it would be for a smoother surface.
It is helpful to keep a hand broom or brush available for your leathered granite to sweep away the debris that might try to accumulate on its surface. Avoid stiff-bristled items as they might cause surface scratching. Then remember to wash the surface consistently to prevent any stains from forming.
3. The surface of your counter will not be flat.
If you use your countertops for storage or as a working surface, then leathered granite might not be the right choice to make. Because of the available texturing, there can be ripples and ridges that make it impossible to find a flat surface to use. You can work around this issue by using small stands that can create a level counter, but even then, there is the possibility that the results won’t be 100% level. Because every slab of this product is slightly different, you may need to shop around for a while to find something that works well in your space for the work that you do.
4. You will pay more for leathered granite than other countertop options.
Leathered granite is a relatively new product right now, so there are only a handful of providers who are selling and installing it at the moment. That lack of supply helps to drive up the cost of this surface to a price that is higher than honed or polished stone. It is not widely used either, which means your local contractor may be unfamiliar with the installation requirements of this stone. You will need to perform your due diligence before making a purchase to ensure there is someone available locally who can help you to install this item correctly unless you plan on doing the work yourself.
There are usually additional labor and installation costs to consider with leathered granite in addition to its higher price too.
5. Other stones can endure the leathering process.
There are times when leathered granite might not be the best choice for your home. It is the most popular option and often the cheapest, but it isn’t the only product that can successfully endure leathering. Marble and quartzite can also carry this technique exceptionally well, especially when using darker tones to highlight the various natural grains that are present. Because of the relative newness of this product, you may find that your local supplier has one of these alternative stones instead of the granite that you want.
The pros and cons of leathered granite are worth considering if you want to install a natural look in your home that offers more resilience than honed stone. You won’t receive the reflective qualities of a high-gloss finish with this product, but you will also avoid many of the smudges, water spots, and fingerprints that appear on alternative products. If you don’t mind taking a little extra time to clean this granite option, then you will enjoy the final results.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.