26 May 2020

Different surface finishes for natural stone

To navigate through the vast variations of surface finishes for natural stone can be hard. Since stone masonry has been around for centuries, a plethora of different techniques have evolved over time. But here we will try to take you through the most common and used ones.

Different surface finishes

Granite is a truly natural building material that comes in different colors and textures. But by adding a surface finish one type of stone can be changed in various ways, adding a richer color or a more exclusive look.


The process of polishing is by repeated application of abrasive treatments, creating a surface that is brilliant and shiny with a mirror effect. It causes the most refined edge for tiles and is a very regular finishing. Polished tiles are used for interiors as well as benchtops and countertops. It is not suggested for outdoor pavements or walkways since it reduces slip resistance.


Any surface finish that is less than polished is referred to as honed. The surface is smooth but dull or slightly reflective. In indoor areas with a lot of foot traffic, floor tiles are often honed and not polished.


A leather finish is obtained by a process of brushing the slab with a range of brushes, texturing the granite to appear less glossy. The result is a slightly rippling surface, very soft, warm, and smooth to the touch. Leathering starts with a honed surface and adds texture. Compared to honing, it closes the pores of the stone and retains the color better.


This finish is achieved by exposing the surface of the stone directly to a high-temperature flame and then cooling it fast. The heat acts by blowing the crystals out as they suffer thermal shock. The effect that is particularly evident in materials composed of minerals with various degrees of expansion, like many of the granites. It creates a surface finish that is rough, non-slip and generally faded in color.


By using abrasive brushes under high pressure, the original honed or flamed surface is made smoother. After this treatment, the colors of the natural stone become more vivid once again. The surface looks slightly rough, depending on the original finish.


The surface of the stone is hit with a mechanical hammer, creating small indentations on the surface. Depending on the size of the hammer and the number of points on the hammer,  the result varies but leaves the surface of the stone smooth with small indentations. A highly textured finish best used for external applications such as paving or walkways.

Split Face

The split face finish is a result of the stone being cut by a guillotine that fractures the face and turns it to a rocky finish.


A slightly rough and irregular surface with small furrows and undulations created by sawing the stone with diamond disc teeth. The sawn finish makes the stone lighter, gives it a matte tone, and is available for external paving, steps, pathways, driveways, and patios.


The natural finish is in fact the absence of treatment. The stone is just extracted from the quarry and cut into the desired format. How the finish looks depends entirely on the characteristics of the stone and its exploitation. Natural finish is appropriated for cladding and cobblestones.


ByEric Lundmark
Tags: finishes


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