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Surface Finishes of Stone (With Pictures)

Updated:2008-01-28 17:50:49

All natural stone is fabricated with a particular type of surface finish.

Some common types of surface finishes we see today are: polished, honed, acid-washed, saw-cut refined, flamed, split-faced, tumbled and brushed.

granite floors

A polished surface creates a beautiful glossy shine from the natural reflection of the stone's crystals.

The mirror-like shine is accomplished by using progressively finer polishing heads during the polishing process, similar to the way that sandpaper smoothes hardwood furniture.

The finer the sandpaper, the smoother the surface. Make sense?

The polish may last a long time or may be unstable depending on the type of stone.

Granite, marble and limestone are frequently polished, and require varying degrees of maintenance to preserve the shine.

stone mosaic

A honed surface provides a flat, matte or satin finish creating a more informal and softer look.

This finish is created by stopping short of the last stage of polishing.

A honed finish shows fewer scratches, and requires very little maintenance.

Marble, limestone, and slate would be your best choices for a honed finish.

acid washed stone

An acid-washed finish is shiny with small etching marks (pits in the surface). This finish shows fewer scratches and is much more rustic in appearance than a honed finish.

Most stones can be acid-washed but the most common are marble and limestone. Acid washing is also a way to soften the shine on granite.

stone white

Saw-cut refined offers you a matte finish. After initial cutting, the stone is processed to remove the heaviest saw marks but not enough to achieve a honed finish.

You can purchase granite, marble and limestone this way, typically on a special order basis. Please consult with your retailer.

flamed granite

A flamed finish is achieved by heating the surface of the stone to extreme temperatures, followed by rapid cooling.

The surface of the stone pops and chips leaving a rough, unrefined texture.

This process is usually done with granite. Flamed granite has a highly textured surface, making it ideal for areas where slip resistance might be a concern. Like in your shower areas.

slate flooring

Split-faced gives you a rough texture, but one not as abrasive as flamed.

This finish is typically achieved by hand cutting and chiseling at the quarry, exposing the natural cleft of the stone. This finish is primarily done on slate.

tumbled stone flooring

Tumbled delivers a smooth or slightly pitted surface, and broken, rounded edges and corners.

There are several methods used to achieve the tumbled look.

3/8'' thick tiles can be tumbled in a machine to achieve the desired look, or 3cm tiles can be tumbled and then split, creating two tiles that are each tumbled on one side.

Marble and limestone are your primary candidates for a tumbled finish.

brushed stone flooring

Brushed features a worn-down look achieved by brushing the surface of the stone, simulating natural wear over time.


source: World Floor Covering Association
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