When it comes to choosing a natural stone for a project, there are several factors to consider, as we described in our previous post. Some of these factors include the appearance, the hardness or the suitability of the stone for the project. After selecting a stone, the next step is to choose the finish. We know that this might be a bit confusing at first, so we would like to give a bit of insight into this matter.
The most common finishes for natural stone are polished, honed or satin, leathered/brushed and bush hammered. Examples of other finishes that are not so common are hydro finish and flamed surface finishes. You can see below the main differences between them.
Polished is one of the most common types of stone finishes. Polishing is usually applied to marble, travertine and granite, as it enhances and highlights the natural colour and pattern of the stone, making the surface brilliant and shiny. Homeowners who are looking for a glossy effect will find polished finish suits what they are after.
A polished surface will certainly add a touch of beauty and glamour to your home, and it will enhance the ambiance where it is installed.
Polishing is achieved by repeated application of abrasive treatments. Through this process, different particle sizes become finer, giving the stone a brighter and lustrous appearance.
Polished finish is a classic choice for bathroom wall cladding, floors, console tables and walls. However, it is not recommended for outdoors areas because it is very slippery.
Honed or Satin
Honed finish provides a smooth, consistent, matt surface. It is contemporary and natural-looking. Satin finish is further achieved by finishing off the process using special fine abrasive pads following the honing process.
As a result of being honed, the shades might look lighter than a polished finish, however, the overall colour and depth of the stone are preserved.
A honed finish is usually preferred for floors, stairs, hallways and other areas with a lot of foot traffic. When a honed surface gets wet, it is definitely less slippery than polished making it a great choice for flooring. Additionally, honed finish also works well in areas with heavy traffic like countertops, bathrooms, wall coverings and facades.
Another advantage is honed surfaces are more resistant to scratches and etching, and they go unnoticed for a longer period of time.
Leathered finish has become increasingly popular in recent years. Leathered finish provides an undulating, soft and slightly matte surface. This finish is achieved by brushing the slab with a range of brushes. As a result of this process, the surface looks less glossy than polished, but it also has more depth than a honed finish. The result is a refined and captivating stone that will add a touch of warmth and authenticity to any ambiance.
Leathering treatment closes the pores of the stone, which will make leathered stone more resistant to stains and less susceptible to damage over time. Acid etching on marble is much less obvious and visible on a leather finished surface.
Leathered surfaces hide fingerprints, water spots and smudges well. That’s why this finish is a great option for countertops, bathrooms, fireplaces and also for outdoor applications.
If you are looking for a finish with slightly more texture and rustic feel, brushed finish may be the perfect alternative. This effect is created by the stone being brushed by steel mechanical brushes under high pressure. This helps to enhance the natural colour of the stone and add an extra bit of texture, leaving the surface rougher and more porous than honed or polished.
Brush finishes are often used in combination with a bush-hammered finish.
A brushed finish can be an excellent choice as it maintains the practicalities of a honed finish, however, with a little more detail. This gives the stone an authentic and natural look.
Brushed finish is the best option for shower flooring.
This highly textured finish is achieved by the application of a hydraulic bush hammer to the surface. It is commonly used for external applications such as flooring, paving, thresholds and walkways, as its slip resistance rating is greater than other finishes.
A mechanical hammer hits the stone, creating uneven irregularities on the stone. A bush-hammered finish leaves the surface of the stone textured with small indentations, suitable for anywhere indoors and outdoors. The roughness may be varied by using different levels of bush hammering.