9 Jun 2020

The aesthetical choices for surface finishes of natural stone

When it comes to building design, where aesthetics are an important factor and individuality is a distinctive benefit, natural stone probably is the best material to create unique designs. Natural stone is more than just a material, it’s a piece of our planet’s history.

Just like humans, no two pieces of natural stone are exactly the same. And as an experienced and knowledgeable company, we know that depending on which surface finish you chose, natural stone can create a wealth of options in both texture and color.

How to make an aesthetical choice of surface finish for natural stone

To guide you through what you can expect to gain aesthetically from different surface finishes of natural stone, we have gathered some of our knowledge about how natural stone usually is used in building design at which surface finishes that give you the result you’re looking to create.

Polished surface finish for elegance

A polished surface is highly reflective and gives a glossy, refined look like a Steinway piano. The polishing of the stones’ surface highlights the natural colors and veins, as well as other natural characteristics of the stone.

Because scratches are more apparent on polished finishes, and it can wear away by foot traffic making the surface quite slippery, its best suited for non-high-traffic areas where you want a design aesthetic that says elegantly.

Typical examples of applications of natural stone with a polished surface finish would be wall tile, building cladding architectural surfaces, on fireplace surrounds, wall-caps, water-features, benches, interior floors, countertops, and wall cladding. Polished natural stone improves the overall aesthetics of the property and adds value to it.

Flamed surface finish for a rustic look

As its name suggests, the finish is formed by applying a torch flame to the surface of the stone. It is a process in which stone exposes to intense heat and immediate cooling. Flamed stone finishes are a way to coarsen the stone’s surface and make it more slip-resistant.

By first applying water and then flames, the stone surface crackles as it quickly dries and heats and splinters off small pieces and shards. It makes stone porous and leaves a rough and textured surface with a rustic look, without any changes in color or inherent characteristics. The result is a randomly textured surface finish that is natural-looking and has a good coefficient of friction (COF), wet or dry.

A richer and darker color can be achieved by water-jetting the flamed face, which adds something like a micro-polish to the textured surface.

The flamed finish of natural stone gives the rock a rough, vitreous, and very natural appearance. The stone acquires a rough aspect in which soft mounds and depressions alternate and curls the surface providing an elegant anti-slippery treatment. It is probably the most common finish on public and commercial stone paving areas.

Bush-hammered surface finish for a textured look

The bush-hammered percussive finish is traditionally applied by hand or with a pneumatic hammer. It is hammered in such a way that its top layer breaks up to create deep pockets and ridges, which can resemble a naturally rough texture like the stone had been chiseled by hand. The surface is generally smooth and a little lighter in color and a final gentle brushing gives it a time-worn look.

The bush-hammered surface finish is suitable for flat, even walking surfaces. It’s often used on stair treads and other architectural elements such as water-tables, lintels, and windowsills. It is also a good surface finish for curvilinear surfaces like columns, bases, and pool coping.


ByEric Lundmark
Tags: finishes


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