side-by-side glossy and matte finish countertops

Comparing Matte and Glossy Sheens for Kitchen Countertops

You have to make many decisions when choosing the material for kitchen countertops. You have to decide if you want natural stones, quartz stones, or other materials. If you choose a stone material, you have to choose the design, color, and shape. Once that is done, you have to decide on an edge profile, backsplashes, accessories, and so on.

If you think you are finally done, think again. You still have to decide on the kind of sheen to put on your stone kitchen countertops. Sheen refers to the level of shine for your finish. Several options are available, but the most popular ones are glossy or matte. Both can work for most kitchens, but they have their pros and cons. Here is a comparison of matte and glossy sheens to help you make this crucial but often overlooked decision.


matte finish granite countertopHomeowners that like subtlety in their design often favor the matte sheen. It is not available as readily as a glossy sheen, but it can add a pleasant texture and depth to your kitchen counters. However, it does not work for all types of stone surfaces.

Granite, for instance, will easily accept the sandblasting technique used to produce this sheen. That is not an issue. The problem is, some granite colors do not look their best with a matte finish. At best, it will make your kitchen counters look dull. At worst, a matte sheen will give the impression of dirt. Ask the fabricator if the granite you choose is a good candidate for a matte sheen.

In appearance, matte kitchen countertops have a low level of shininess. As such, it does not reflect light back as readily or brilliantly as a glossy sheen. This can be an advantage if you receive a lot of natural light in your kitchen, or you have numerous sources of artificial light. The matte sheen will not bounce back the light so much, so it will not produce as much glare that can hurt your eyes. That said, a matte sheen is not a good choice if you have a dark or small kitchen that would benefit from a bit of reflected light.

The thing with matte sheen is that it tends to show dirt or fingerprints more than a glossy sheen. This may sound counterintuitive, but it is true. You can minimize this effect by choosing a lighter colored stone as dark colored ones show them up even more. Unfortunately, a matte sheen looks best on darker stones. If fingerprints are a pet peeve, a matte sheen may not be for you.

Fabricators can treat natural stones to produce a matte sheen if you request it. However, if you choose a quartz stone, then you will probably not be able make that choice. You may be able to find a few models with the matte sheen, but these are few and far between. In general, quartz stones do not have a matte option. You may also have to pay an extra charge to get a matte sheen.


glossy kitchen countertopThe most popular finish for kitchen countertops by far is the glossy or polished sheen. It is standard for natural and quartz countertops as well as other solid surface materials.

In appearance, kitchen countertops with a glossy sheen have a high degree of shine, so it does a great job of reflecting light. This is good news for dark or small kitchens because the mirror-like effect of a glossy sheen tends to make the room look brighter and larger. However, if you have an all-white kitchen, the additional reflected light from a glossy sheen may make the glare a bit hard to bear.

That said, a glossy sheen is still a favorite for many homeowners, especially those with small children, primarily because a glossy finish does not show fingerprints or dirt as much as a matte finish. No matter the color of the stone, it is quite successful in hiding greasy smudges and fingerprints. This is mainly because the grease that makes many of these marks possible is very similar in appearance to the gloss of the finish. It actually seems to blend in. Of course, the best way to hide these smudges is to wipe them off, and a glossy sheen makes it that much easier to do.


winner iconIt seems obvious that from an esthetic and practical point of view, a glossy sheen is a better option than a matte sheen for most kitchen counters. However, you should not give up if you feel that a matte sheen is a better reflection (pun not intended) of your tastes and preferences.


Visit the KNC Granite showroom in Lanham, Maryland and ask to see a sample of a stone slab with a matte finish. Test it with a greasy finger and try wiping it off. This can help you decide if you can live with that kind of maintenance for your kitchen counters.

For professional help in choosing, fabricating and finishing your kitchen countertops, particularly in the cities of Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Rockville, Washington DC, Alexandria VA, and Arlington VA, look no further than KNC Granite.

KNC Granite has a large collection of quartz countertops from the top brands in the business, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and DuPont Zodiaq, all of which come with manufacturer warranties. We also have a wide selection of granite slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.

We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. We also specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.

Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.

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