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The Art Of Stone Finishing


A Look at some of the Most Popular Finishes but first a bit of nomenclature (courtesy Champlain Stone)

Flamed :

  • A rough, textured finish that is achieved by exposing the stone to intense heat and immediate cooling. When heated and cooled, the crystals in the stone pop.

  • The surface is very porous.

  • Not all stones can be flamed; they must have the correct crystal structure. Most granites and hard limestones can be flamed.

Antiqued or Tumbled :

  • An uneven but smooth "soft" surface created by "brushing" the surface.

  • The tumbled effect is created by 'tumbling' with pebbles, sand or steel bearings.

  • The hard areas remain while the softer areas are removed.

  • This technique is only effective on marble and limestone with variations in hardness usually created by veining.

  • Common in paving applications.

Tooled :

  • A grooved texture that adds dimension to the surface of the stone panel.

  • Panels are lightly sawn to create ridges in the Stone Panel face.

Bush Hammered :

  • A rough, textured finish that is developed by pounding the stone.

  • The surface is very porous.

  • A bush hammer is a specialized stone-working hammer with a head that resembles a meat tenderising hammer.

  • Because the head of the hammer is usually small (about 1-2 inches square) it takes a long time to apply this finish to a large surface area.

  • The result leaves the surface of the stone fairly smooth with small indentations.

  • A bush-hammered finish can be applied to nearly all stones.

Polished :

  • A glossy surface that brings out the brilliancy in the stone’s colors.

  • Stone appears darker and more

  • The texture is very smooth and is not very porous due to the layer of the polish closing the pores of the stone.

  • More prone to scratches.

  • Not good for high traffic areas. Because polish wears off unevenly and looks a bit shoddy. Not good for wet areas

  • Good for countertops, feature walls.

  • Immediately wipe off surface if stained.

  • Point to remember : the harder the stone, the harder it is to polish.


  • A grooved texture that adds dimension to the surface of the stone panel.

  • Panels are lightly sawed to put ridges in the face of stone.

  • The width of the groove and the ridge are usually deeper and wider than a tooled finish.

Honed :

  • A flat or low-sheen low (if negligible) reflective finish that is smooth in texture.

  • It is fairly porous (soaks up liquids quickly) and natural looking.

  • Honed finishes are smooth.

  • Color will be visibly lighter than a polished finish.

  • More satin-feel, smooth and velvety surface.

  • Very scratch resistant.

  • Useful for slippery areas.

  • Once liquids spill on the surface of a honed marble, wipe it off immediately. To clean honed marble, one must never use regular soap because it will seep through the surface and darken its color. Instead, use mildly abrasive household detergent with bleach.

Sandblasted :

  • A matte, semi-rough surface that is textured by a pressurised flow of sand.

  • Surface is scratched but no rugged.

  • Colours and veins dulled.

  • Surface is very porous.

  • Not all stones sandblast well; hard and soft spots can create unattractive patterns in limestone and marble.

Leathered :

  • "Leathering" is the process of texturing granite or marble to appear less glossy.

  • This process amplifies the natural characteristics of granite or marble, resulting in an exquisite surface.

  • It is easy to clean and maintain, as well as, pleasing to the touch - a perfect balance between style and practicality.

  • A leathered countertop is a fresh and innovative way of adding a subtle elegance to your decor.

Rigato :

  • Rigato is a machine finish that gives a linear pattern cut to the stone.

  • The texture is rough between the lines. The lines are themselves uneven and rough.

  • This finish gives an added design factor when applied to a wall.

  • All stones can have this finish applied to them.

Sawn :

  • A finish is not applied to the stone; the appearance of the surface is a result of blade or wire used to cut it.

  • A sawn finish will produce a flat but raw stone.

  • Primarily used on curbing.

Split Faced Finish :

  • A rugged, uneven, concave-convex finish that reveals reflections from the crystal is produced by the splitting action of a guillotine.

  • Detail character ranges from low to high for fine grain through coarse grain stones, respectively.

  • The stones are split to the specified wall thickness but will have a random tolerance.

Rock Face :

  • Done by hand with a chipping tool, rock face stone is chipped around the perimeter to produce a bold, convex projection along its face.

  • This finish creates a more massive appearance than split face.

  • Detail character ranges from low to high for fine grain through coarse grain stones, respectively.

Natural Cleft :

  • This finish is associated with materials that are layered and thus, when split, do so on a natural fault creating what is known as a natural cleft finish. Slates are the most common types of stone that can split naturally.

  • Splitting is usually done by hand.

  • This is the most rustic finish and it is mainly used for featured cladding, setts and cobblestones. Natural cleft surface finish can only be seen in the Indian slate & quartzite stone, Indian sandstone and some Indian limestones.

  • A hand split surface or natural cleft surface finish makes the surface of the stone rough and uneven.

  • The back of natural surface can be calibrated to maintain thickness.

Flamed and Brushed :

  • This process entails passing a blowpipe that emits a high-temperature flame over the surface to be treated.

  • The heat acts by blowing the crystals out as they suffer thermal shock, with an effect that is particularly evident in materials composed of minerals with various degrees of expansion, (such as the vast majority of granites).

  • The resulting surface is rough, non-slip and generally faded in colour, thereby hiding defects and tone variations.

  • Because of oxidation, yellow materials become orange or red.

Bush-Hammered and Brushed :

  • A bush-hammered and brushed effect is obtained by pounding the material surface mechanically or by hand with a specific multi-pointed tool.

  • This method creates a rugged surface full of little grazes at the impact points, giving the surface a lighter colour.

  • The surface becomes non-slip.

  • This technique has been replaced by flaming and pressure water finishing which is a quicker and less expensive process.

Pointed :

  • A rough and uneven surface resulting from splitting, pointing and/or rough cutting the granite.

Diamond 4/6/8 – Water Jet:

  • Because thermal and honed finishes do not maximize the color of the stone, a diamond finish can be applied to enhance it.

  • The diamond finish is achieved by water jetting stone with 4, 6, or 8 heads by either hand or machine.

Shot Blasted Surface :

  • Shot blasting is a process in which the small steel shots are being used and blasted on the surface of the stone to get the desired results.

  • Shot blasted surface give more depth while we feel the surface of the stone in comparison to sand-blast surface.

  • Usually done on sandstone.

Acid Wash :

  • Acid washing has a corrosive action on the stone.

  • It can be used to obtain different effects depending on the material, the chemical, and finally, the processing time.

  • Finishes can range from simple superficial cleaning of the material to a more definite ruggedness, similar to that achieved by water finishing.

  • Acid washing is sometimes used to obtain an antique finish in place of the impact method.

  • It is possible to acid wash already cut pieces or, with appropriate precautions, already installed ones.

  • Some chemicals produce other results affecting the aspect of the stone but not its roughness. These are acids that remove oily or rust spots on the material. However, there are others that instead induce oxidation effects and are EMPLOYED to change the material colour.


Mushroom Surface :

  • Mushroom surface stone are used for garden, road decoration.

  • They can have a stable looking, firm decorating effect.

  • Mushrooming is done only by hand.

  • Granites, quartzite, sandstone, and limestone can be mushroom finished.

Lychee Surface :

  • This surface finish resembles the skin of lychee fruit.

  • Its done by hand or by a machine using a multi-point hammer.

  • The hammer strikes the surface multi directions.

  • The surface eventually becomes very consistent and rough.

  • It increases depth and richness of stone.

Pineapple Surface Finish :

  • This surface finish resembles the skin of a pineapple. Its created using a hammer and a chisel. Regular short angled chisel marks are applied across the face of the stone in multi directions.

  • It can be applied over hand gauged or sawn faces.

  • Its done by hand.


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