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what are honed and filled tiles?

If you've been looking at new tiles for your home, you may very well have come across the terms honed and filled. But what does each mean, and what are the differences between the two? Find out what both of these popular tile finishes are, and how you can use them in your home.

26 November

If you’re just starting out on your tiling journey, you’ve likely noticed the sheer volume of options available to you. Not only do you need to pick between natural stone tiles or a porcelain tile set, but you also have plenty of different tile finishes to pick from as well.

And if you have been looking at tile finishes in particular, you may very well have come across the terms honed and filled during your research. But what exactly do they mean?

To help enlighten you on this area of tiling, and to make sure you choose the best finish for your home, we’ve delved into the meaning of honed tiles and filled tiles, as well as their pros and cons.

So, without further ado, what are honed and filled tiles?


What is a honed tile?

Most commonly associated with natural stone tiles, a honed tile finish specifically refers to any tile that has a smooth, silky, yet natural texture and is matte in style, as opposed to a polished finish, which is shiny or glossy in appearance.

Honed tiles are often best identified by their lack of reflectivity and their resistance to chips and stains, making them a practical flooring choice which is ideally suited for a contemporary home aesthetic.


Our Honed Bianco Carrara Marble Tiles are beautifully smooth to the touch, for a very elegant presence



What is a filled tile?

Unlike honed tiles, a filled tile refers to any stone that has had its holes, pockmarks, and voids filled in with resin or filler. This creates a smooth and flat surface that’s comfortable to walk on.

More often than not, filled tiles will be left with straight-cut edges to give them a contemporary clean finish, meaning you have a choice between them and honed tiles if you want a more modern home design.


How is a honed tile finish achieved?

In order to achieve a honed tile finish, the slabs are laid horizontally on a large conveyor called a 'polishing' line, and sanded by heads fitted with diamond or grit abrasive pads.

These pads grind away the rough surface of the tile to achieve a smoother finish, starting with very coarse grades and graduating to finer grades until the desired tile texture has been achieved. Once reached, a honed tile will be removed from the line and left unpolished, giving it a smoother, more matte finish.

Filled tiles are also made in much the same way, only their holes are filled with resin or filler after the buffing process has been completed to achieve their smooth texture.



Should I choose honed or filled tiles?

Depending on your tile preference, there are a few reasons why you might want to choose a honed or filled tile over other tile finishes.


Why choose honed tiles

For starters, a honed tile lends a more natural, softer appearance to your floor, giving a beautiful effect that effortlessly suits any style of home décor. The top quality of a honed natural stone tile is ideal in high traffic areas - while simultaneously providing an even, clean finish.

Honed tiles can also be the ideal finish choice if you’re opting for chipped or tumbled edges on your tiles, which will create a more distinct aged look overall.

Why choose filled tiles

Filled tiles are typical of tiles which naturally feature small gaps or voids in the stone structure, such as Travertine to give a smooth surface. However, it could be argued that they then don’t provide an authentic surface effect. They are often seen as the ideal choice if you want a floor or wall that’s modern and clean-cut but non-reflective under light.


And that’s it - these are the main differences and defining features between honed and filled tiles! With this information to hand, you should now have everything you need to choose the right tile option for your home. But should you have any more questions on the topic, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Stone Superstore team today.

Our experts are more than happy to answer and advise on all your tiling needs, and you can also find plenty of other useful information to help you find the right flooring with our collection of tile choosing guides.