Matt finish is a generic term widely accepted as anything smooth. Whilst there is the existence of a satin finish tile which is in fact ‘smoother’ then the traditional matt finish, there is no strict separation of the two. The majority of the industry accepts both a matt.
Gloss effectively is a shiny surface coating over what was originally a matt finish tile. Gloss tiles are sometimes misinterpreted for polished tiles which are also shiny. However, gloss tiles are produced in a completely different manner and the reflectivity is also entirely different. The reflectivity of gloss tiles is likened to looking into a clear bottle (reflective but distorted).
Polished tiles are produced by polishing back the raw porcelain biscuit (unlike gloss tiles which is an additional coating over the biscuit). Whilst it is not designed specifically to do so, polished porcelain has a mirror like finish, where one can virtually see themselves clearly in its refection.
Honing is virtually the same process as polishing however the fundamental difference is that the tile is honed using honing pads (instead of polishing pads). Honing pads are less vigorous, and as such leaves a finish somewhat between matt and polished (incredibly smooth, no shine).
Often referred to as semi-polished. More accurately could be described as a partial polish to a matt finish tile, due to the uneven nature of the surface finish. Visually appears to have a glossy rain drop effect across much of the surface, whilst beneath the surface remains matt.
Above: Example of honed finish
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