What is honed concrete finish?

What is honed concrete finish?

Are you looking for alternatives for your concrete floors and are wondering if a honed concrete floor would be the one for you? Or maybe you have heard of honed concrete, but don’t know how it is different from polished concrete?

I’ve got you covered here as I’ll go through what it is and how it’s different from the other alternatives. After you’ve gone through this article, you should be above average when it comes to knowledge about this subject.

What is honed concrete

So what is honed concrete? To put it as simple as I can, it’s concrete that is mechanically ground smooth and level and then it is sealed.

Honed concrete texture can change from a smooth surface that is ground from the top layer of concrete, the concrete cream as it is often called, to various degrees of exposed aggregates.

Here you might notice that if you use pigmented concrete with different kinds of rough aggregates, you could get all kinds of unique surfaces.

Sounds good right? So is honed concrete slippery as its ground smooth? It’s as slippery as other hard surfaces when it gets wet.

You would have to use the same kind of solutions as other concrete surfaces use in this kind of situation like non-slippery sealers. After honing the concrete, we don’t most likely want to use any rough sands on the surface for it to have some grit as we do sometimes.

If you’re interested in how much is honed concrete cost, it should be less than mechanically polished concrete that can be even as low as $25 per square foot. As honing has fewer work phases and materials used, it can start from $5-6 per square foot, but you would really have to ask around to get the exact price.

This is a good spot to jump to what’s the difference between honed and polished concrete as both are mentioned and they seem similar.

Difference between honed and polished concrete is how far the process goes

Difference between honed and polished concrete

Polished concrete slab specifications are usually that it is ground with various grits like honed concrete, concrete densifier is used on the slab between grinding with different grits and finally, it is sealed.

Now, what is different between polished concrete specification and honed concrete specification is that concrete densifier. The purpose of the densifier is to increase the surface density of the concrete.

When they are spread on the surface of the concrete in between grinding they fill the pores and it hardens the concrete.

You can also think of the difference like steps. Honed concrete is a step lower than polished concrete as it has a matte-like finish while polished concrete can reflect objects on the surface.

It’s like a difference between aggregate showing tile and tile that almost looks like having a glass mirror.

What is honed aggregate

Can you hone exposed aggregate floors? Yes, you can, and if the term is unfamiliar read further.

There has been talking so far of honed and polished concrete, but one more term you might have run into is honed aggregate. It’s quite similar to exposed aggregate concrete that you might have heard about after all.

It’s used as well on pools, driveways, and walkways as it’s a non-slippery surface and can look quite good. While honed aggregate is smooth and matte, an exposed aggregate could have a rough surface like sandpaper or even more texture.

You might have guessed from that intro what is honed aggregate, but let us word it out as well. Honed aggregate is a surface where the mechanical grinding has been done until aggregates show on the concrete.

It’s done on purpose so the different aggregates can be planted in the concrete for this purpose. You can also pick and choose a little as it can be done so that the colors fit well together.

Honed concrete and pools

So exposed aggregates are good around the pool so can I have honed concrete around the pool? The short answer here is yes. As stated before, there are non-slippery sealers that can be used there.

You would hone the concrete around the pool and use a non-slippery sealer so it’s safe for walking even when it’s wet. This way you can have the beautiful matter floor without it being rough to the feet.

Honed concrete vs exposed aggregate

As stated before exposed aggregate is done in different ways. It can be done when you’re pouring the concrete, with acid or sandblasting, and even grinding. What is different here is that it’s left on a rough surface.

It’s not honed or polished smooth, but the texture is left in it. This way after it’s sealed, if the sealer is used, it will still be rougher.

It’s a matter of taste here. Some like their concrete smooth while others like it looking a little textured. Both of the floors have qualities of concrete so that can’t be compared.

How to clean honed aggregate

If you’re wondering how to clean honed aggregate floors, here is a short guide.

If you have a honed concrete driveway, you can clean it with a pressure washer as it should have a stain-resistant sealer on it. A honed concrete patio can be cleaned in the same fashion.

If you have specific stains like grease and rust, you can try using diluted vinegar on them. Usually it should do the trick after little soaking. You shouldn’t use the vinegar undiluted as it can harm the sealer on the surface.

If there is oil on the driveway you can try some sort of degreaser on it if the sponge can’t handle it. There are also some microorganism cleaners available on the market.

How to hone concrete

The last stop of this article is how to hone concrete floors. Every post I write about something I try to include the making process as it’s something interesting to learn about.

Check out how to polish concrete guide to compare, if it interests you.

Step 1: Renting a machine for floor grinding. There are many kinds of rotary floor grinders so ask the renters what is good for the honing job and ask them to introduce you to how to use them.

Now my go-to machine is a regular floor buffer. Been using them the most so why to learn new tricks.

Step 2: Remove all the obstacles from the slab you’re supposed to hone. Everything that’s on it should go where the honing is supposed to happen.

Step 3: Define what kind of honing you want to do. In exposed aggregate, you need to grind the surface layer away. If you want to hone the surface, you have to start easy on the concrete.

No rough grits that eat the surface fast. Honed grits usually stop from 200 to 400 grit when polished concrete can go up to 3000.

Step 4: If the floor is a rough concrete surface, give the first round with 100 grit. Go evenly through the floor, not grinding one spot too long so you won’t end up with uneven spots.

Step 5: Change the grit every round you make. Always move to the next finer grit until you reach the one you wish.

Step 6: Vacuum the floor, inspect if it’s what you thought it would be. If it is, it’s time to clean it well.

Step 7: Use sealer on it.

How long does it take to hone concrete will depend on your floor and how fast you work. You should be able to grind it in a day if it’s a regular room. There are not that many grits to go through and if you can work the machine well you should be able to be fast.


I hope this answered what is honed concrete finish, where it can be used, and how to hone concrete in a general fashion. It’s not too hard to do so DIY people who can use tools like floor grinders should be able to achieve good results fast.

If you’re not sure, the price tag on this floor isn’t as high as polished concrete. It can be an affordable option if you don’t want to pay for that.

That being said, remember that you won’t reach the levels of concrete polishing and you’re not even supposed to. These are two different things even when the process is similar.

When you’re honing concrete, you have to keep an eye on the surface so you won’t over polish it if you want a more matte finish. Another thing to keep an eye on is that you won’t go too far with grinding if you don’t want aggregates to show.

If you want the aggregates to show, then you also have to check how much. As always with decoration, you need a little bit of decorative eye.