- Types of Stone Finishes
This is one of the most popular natural stone finishes. This type of finish is less susceptible to staining. with a polished finish, the stone is very smooth and reflective. Stones are polished by repeated application of abrasive treatments. A polished surface is easy to clean and resistant to external agents. Polished finish highlights the color and properties of the natural stone. It is commonly used as interior wall and floor dressing, as well as bench tops and in kitchen countertops.
Natural stone created by hitting the material, manually or mechanically, using a tool called a bush hammer. Bush hammered generates uniformly distributed pits of different sizes on the stone surface.The surface becomes resistant to slip, ideal for high traffic external areas.
This is similar to the bush-hammered finish. There is a range of differences from rough to fine texture when it comes to a sandblasted finish. The fine finish is darker in appearance whereas the rough one is lighter. This finish is achieved by repeatedly blasting silica sand against the material through an air gun. This produces small holes with a coarse yet neat look. This highlights the color of the stone. It is widely used for monument work, artwork, gravestones, etc. As this type is commonly used for sandstones, it is also known as sandstone finish.
Brushed finish is obtained by brushing the natural stone’s surface gently until it becomes textured and appears worn-in. The stone is brushed with a coarse rotary-type wire brush and is more porous for countertops.The surface of the stone gives a smooth and textured feel that is ideal for wet environments. And so it is extensively used in bathrooms, poolside and kitchen.
This finish is achieved by exposing the surface of the stone directly to a high temperature flame. A flamed finish is one of the most popular finishes for external use where slip resistance is a concern. A flamed natural stone finish exposes a stone slab to extreme heat and immediate cooling. This makes stone porous, producing a rough and textured surface. Flamed finishes are famous for outdoor use.
Leathered finishes are the process of texturing marble or granite and making them appear less glossy. The result is a slightly undulating surface, very soft, warm and smooth to the touch. Available only in some varieties of marble & granite, this finish gives the stone a suede look and feel. This texture is smooth and slip-resistant.
This stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles etc to create a weathered, aged finish. An antique finish gives stone an aged appearance by replicating use and wear. An antique finish is produced by using a diamond-grit brush system, giving an illusion of natural wear on the surface. The finish replicates rusticated or distressed textures. The surface is then brushed with mechanical wire bush to make the stone smooth and slightly restore the color.
Also known as ‘sawn finish’, this type is created by “sawing” the stone with diamond disc teeth. It creates nearly a coarse and irregular surface with small grooves and waves. This finish makes the stone lighter and gives it a matte tone. Grooved Finish is suitable for external paving, pathways, driveways, patios, etc.
Honed finish is more rustic finish, and is created by buffing the stone to slightly less than the highest level yet not glossy finish. This is best for low maintenance, high traffic applications. The finish has a smooth touch of polished surface with little light reflection.
Tumbling is a process of providing vintage and rivened surfaces to stone. It is usually done on natural finished stone to create an uneven, natural looking rounded edge, as well as a textured surface. It is generally used for walls, patios, landscape design applications, etc
This stone finish is especially famous for natural stone slabs. The stone slab undergoes a brushed finish, a polished finish and again back to brushed. The finish offers a semi rough and semi smooth look on the stone surface that is mainly used for flooring, cladding, rooftop and pool areas.
The natural finish is basically the absence of treatment. The stone is sold as extracted from the quarry, once cut into the desired format. The final look depends entirely on the characteristics of the stone and its exploitation. It has a slightly uneven surface that is still usable for flooring. This finish cannot be created, but occurs naturally as the layers are quarried.
2. A tour in the manufacturing unit
When I visit large-scale slab processing plants, the owners and managers I meet always make sure that I see the latest materials that they are offering to the marketplace. It makes sense, because when a producer finds an exclusive on a desirable material, it can make a big difference in a very crowded marketplace. And since we want Elite SD Astute to serve as a "source book" for the industry, we are always eager to showcase these new materials.
But in addition to the materials, we always make it a priority to showcase the manufacturing process, and understanding this process can be critical for fabricators.
Whether a fabricator is importing directly or buying through their local distributors, they should understand the process that was used for creating the slabs that they will be cutting. Some terrific developments have taken place in terms of slab processing, but it is not only the level of technology in place, but also the overall process.
Here is just a sample of what I am looking for at a slab-processing plant.
How is the plant cutting their blocks into slabs?
Are they using gangsaws?
Have they upgraded to multi-wire saws?
Either one is fine, but a plant with multi-wire saws might have some expanded product selections in terms of slab thickness.
Are the blocks being trimmed before processing?
In addition to applying resin products automatically, do they have a system in place for applying resin by hand for certain exotics that may require it?
Are they using resin products from a proven manufacturer of these products?
How much block inventory do they have?
Do they have a good inventory of their "exclusive" materials?
What level of polishing technology is in place?
What type of abrasives are they using?
They should know or at the very least, they should be able to find out. You might not need to be asking these questions for every material you buy, but it might be a good idea when working with certain materials. It is very important for me to point out here that there is not a single model that defines the "best" slab producers, because plants have different machinery and methods for different levels of materials. I can say that some of the most efficient slab producers in the world rely on gangsaws, and many plants known for "standard" materials rarely (if ever) need their resin products applied by hand.
3. Stone Facts
Natural stone is an ideal choice for many fine home finishes. There are several types of natural stone out there; each gives a different look and has different properties.
Granite is one of the most popular natural stone types. A lot of individuals choose this stone because it is very durable. Granite is one of the hardest, densest natural stones. It is also very resistant to scratches and staining and can withstand high heats
Quartz is also called engineered stones. It nearly indestructible and a great choice for home owners who want a beautiful and durable countertop. It is non porous and does not get stained. It is extremely hygienic and food safe.
Marble is a crystallized limestone. This beautiful stone has been popular in homes for centuries because of its elegance. Unlike granite, marble is softer and more porous. It is an elegant choice for flooring, wall tiles, bathroom vanities, showers and tub decks, countertops and many more surfaces.
A semi-precious stone is also known as a gemstone which is a portion of mineral, which, in refined and cut form, is used to tiles.
Quartzite is a hard, metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within organic belts. Quartzite is strong and durable which makes it lasting building material for construction.
Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is typically the result of quartzite stone being eroded and redeposited by either wind or water. Sandstones are most highly craftable and manageable, they can at most take a honed polish, and are used as garden and commercial landscapes, exterior wall cladding, panels, pillars, sculptures, arches etc.
Limestone is a unique natural stone. It is a sedimentary stone formed from the accumulation of organic materials like shells and coral at the bottoms of ancient sea floors. This stone is very porous and will require some preventative maintenance.