Dry vs. Wet Polishing: What’s the Difference?

Often a source of debate in the stone fabricating industry – how do you know if wet or dry polishing is best for you?  There are pros and cons for each – read on to find out more!

Both wet and dry hand polishing processes usually use a multi-pad approach, whereby each pad features a number to determine how fine the grit is.  Most of the Stonegate polishing pads are numbered from 0/1 upwards (depending on how many steps there are with that specific pad) to make it easier for you!

You’ll find both wet and dry categories on our website, as well as polishing pads that can be used both wet and dry.

Aztec Ceramico Polishing Pads
Dry Polishing
Dry Polishing

One of the biggest benefits of dry polishing is the fact that it can be done almost anywhere, including in the customer’s home, so it’s ideal if something just needs touching up on site.  It’s also easier to see the impact you’re making on the stone, as you don’t need to dry the stone to check.

However, dry polishing creates a huge amount of silica dust in the air, which can be extremely harmful to humans.  We’d always recommend that masks or air filters are worn – you can find a huge range of PPE on our website!  Also, pads will heat up quicker when being used for dry polishing, which tends to wear the pad away quicker.

Wet Polishing

Using water whilst hand polishing ensures that the stone is kept cool, allowing for a better and more consistent shine on multiple surfaces.  The water traps silica dust particles, making the process much safer for the fabricator.  Wet polishing pads also tend to last longer than dry pads as the water helps minimise wear.

On the other hand, wet polishing produces water and sludge spray, which isn’t nice at the best of times – but particularly not in cold weather!  This means that it’s not usually appropriate to wet polish on site – it’s usually done in the workshop wearing waterproofs!

Note that wet polishing pads can also be used dry, however because wet polishing pads tend to be more expensive, this isn’t often done.