What are the Different Surface Finishes Applied to Stone?

There are many different techniques used to achieve the different finished appearances to the natural stone paving, flooring and worktops available for your home.

Here we aim to explain the main ones you will have heard of.

What is Hand Cut Paving?

At Stoneworld we buy a lot of different stone products from quarries in India.  The standard product that they supply is called Hand Cut Paving.  The name basically describes what it is.  The paving slabs have been made by hand to produce a slab with a fairly straight edge where the  slight indentations in the straight edges follow the naturally riven surface of the slab. The edges of the pavers, sometimes described as hand fettled edges, have been worked using hand tools.  This creates quite an angular, but not perfectly straight edge, and is certainly in keeping with the riven surface, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the seams of sandstone naturally split.

What is Tumbled Paving?

Tumbled paving slabs and stone tiles have an overall gentler or softer appearance.  This is achieved by very gently tumbling the hand cut pavers or tiles in a rotating drum supported with granite sand and water.  This process gently knocks back any sharp or rough edges to the stone on the hand cut edges and the riven surface of the hand cut pavers.  This extra processing is reflected in the price; therefore tumbled paving is slightly more expensive than hand cut paving. Tumbled paving is a beautiful product that has a timeworn appearance.  It immediately looks at home when it is laid as the softened edges make it appear to have been in position for many years.

What is Sawn Paving?

Paving slabs described as Sawn Paving, have been machine sawn, creating an accurate, angular edge, which is also sometimes referred to as rectified.  The term sawn on 6 sides means the 4 edges plus the top and underneath surface of a paver too.  This method of cutting produces a very contemporary style of slab.

What is Honed Paving?

When a paving slab (or stone tile for indoors) is described as having a honed surface, it has been gently polished by machine to create a silky, smooth surface which will have a matt or low sheen.

What is a Sandblasted surface?

A sandblasted surface is created by the abrasive blasting of the surface using sand.  The sand is propelled against the surface which roughens the texture all over, at a uniform level.  It is a treatment applied to sandstone paving slabs for a contemporary finish, offering good anti-slip properties.

What is a Flamed stone surface?

A flamed finish can be applied to certain stones such as granite.  When an intense flame is directed at the surface it causes certain crystal particles to burst, creating an overall roughness or pitted surface.

What is a Bush Hammered surface?

This technique is created when the surface of the stone is literally hammered with a bush hammer! A bush hammer is a masonry tool which has uniform rows of sharp points inlaid in the surface of the hammer.  The hammer can be either a hand or machine tool, and when it is bashed all over the surface of the stone it creates a textured finish, of uniformly distributed craters over the surface.

What is an Acid Etched surface?

Acid etching is a process of applying acid to the surface of a stone. It is effectively a chemical burn that destroys the polished surface of a smooth stone.

The treatment creates anti slip properties to the stone, making acid etched stone pavers or tiles very effective to use around pool areas for health and safety reasons.  It can also be used to create an artistic finish to the surface, as it removes any polished areas of the surface.  This method works on stones that have calcium carbonate content such as limestones, travertine and marble.

What is a Leathered surface?

Leathering is a term often used to describe a finish applied to granite worktop surfaces.  It creates a very tactile surface, often described as ‘pebbly’.  The abrasive process exposes different smoothed particles in the surface.  It is a fairly low sheen to matt finish which works best on plainer granite types where the created texture can really be seen.

What is a Brushed Surface?

A brushed surface is sometimes applied to a stone tile or paver, again to create gentle texture.  This is achieved by brushing the surface with diamond coated nylon bristles which take away some of the softer particles from the surface.

New techniques for working stone continue to be developed & old methods are sometimes rediscovered, making stone a very exciting material to work with.

Speak to your stone supplier, who will be able to show you examples of all the above stone surface finishes, enabling you to make the right choice for your home.

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