When an architect along with its team, including civil engineers, structural engineers, and others going to design any space they prioritize aesthetics the most. Aesthetics remain at the center while designing the spatial mood, coordinating themes and motifs, as well as establishing the utility of the spaces.

When you think of using natural stone as a prime material to bring superb aesthetics in your spatial designs, some fundamental regarding stone finishes must clear in your mind. Thereby, I am going to introduce you top 10 (ten) types of natural stone finishes appropriate for different applications, including indoor & outdoor.

No.1 – Natural Cleft

Typically, it is the absence of treatment to leave a stone in natural status. The finish occurred when rocks quarried carefully following a standard procedure. Slate and Limestone like rocks have natural layers within them. If the cut has made parallel to or on the exact natural fissure of the layer, it apart into dimensional stones ready to use without applying any artificial or manual finish.

Therefore, it is the cheapest and the most natural cleft to enhance the aesthetics of your spaces. Natural clefts popularly known as untreated flagstones and use mainly for exterior applications like the creation of paths, patios, and façade with exterior wall cladding.

If we are going to list the main characteristics of natural cleft, we can go the following way.

  • It has a natural & rustic matte finish.
  • Each piece has a unique texture and pattern on the surfaces.
  • It has slightly uneven surfaces with little to no smoothness.
  • Surfaces of the natural cleft are anti-skid or anti-slip.
  • Thereby, it is ideal for wet areas like swimming pool and garden paths where watering happens regularly.
  • It is available in most of the regions of the world locally so, prove a cheaper alternative to other kinds of paving material.

No.2 – Polished Stone Finish

It gives glossy, shining surfaces with highlighted colors and texture. In the polishing process, different diamond pads used to rub the stone mechanically until it attains natural glossy shining.A process of abrasion takes place that converts the different sizes of particles into the finer size and attains almost zero porosity. Polishing highlights the natural colors and veins, as well as other natural characteristics of the stone.

After coating and sealing like treatments, polished stones becomes glossy, reflective, and resistance against external agents. Interior floors, countertops, and wall cladding with polished stones improves the overall aesthetics of the property and add values in it.

Remember one thing that all stones are not capable of accepting polishing. Most of the crystalline stones accept it and augment the look-n-feel.

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No.3 – Tumbled Stone Finish

Tumbled finish simulates aging effects and generates antique look-n-feel. Tumbled stones have a soft, smooth, and worn appearance.

  1. Natural tumbled finished stones have slightly rounded edge & corners with a soft face.
  2. Honed tumbled slabs have a matte finish with a rustic edge.
  3. Antique tumbled finished stones have rustic surfaces but with full of tiny pits, fissures, & holes along with worn edge.
  4. Polished tumbled finish yields a polished surface with rustic and tumbled edge.

Tumbled stones often are looking somewhat chalky or dusty & with muted colors. Of course, color-enhancing topical sealers can brighten the colors and overcome the dusty look of the tumbled stones.

We cannot tumble all types of stones. Only sturdy types of stone can bear the tumbling process. We used to apply two types of tumbling processes.

A common method is by placing stones into a rubber drum filled with rock particles/aggregates, sands, and water and tumble/flip-flop the drum over and over for a long period ranging from three to five weeks!

However, larger pieces cannot process this way, so those are hand-chiseled or chipped on the edges. Some machines also can accomplish the job.

Apart from exterior applications, tumbled stones used in wet areas of the interior like walk-in-showers, surrounding areas of the bathtub, and backsplashes.

No.4 – Bush Hammered Stone Finish

Stone is hammering such a way that its top layer breaks up to create deep pockets and ridges, which can resemble a naturally rough texture once stones had been chiseled by hands century ago.

It was a typical hammer named Bujarda. It was used, which carried two or three heads of steel containing small pyramidal shaped teeth made of Tungsten Carbide.

Bush hammered surfaces have 1-3mm deep & wide small craters with uniform distribution. It helps stone artisans to create desired texture on the stone surfaces.

Today, machines are simulating medieval finishing techniques. A final gentle brushing gives it a time-worn look. You can get excellent material for exterior cladding with this finish type.

No.5 – Sandblasted Stone Finish

Like Bush Hammered, the sandblasted stone finish is an ideal technique to create slip-resistance surfaces for wet area applications and outdoor applications. A mixture of sands, ceramic beads, and some abrasive components used in the process.

When the mixture is spraying with air pressure or water pressure, and in forth & back movements, it creates a distinct pattern and texture onto the surfaces of stones. You can create etch marks or craft of your imagination.

No.6 – Mushroom Stone Finish

It is an embossing effect on the central portions of the stone surface. The edges are flat and lower than the mid-portion. It is not a plain embossing, but a lot of irregularities remain to create a rustic and natural look.

Most of the mushroom finishes take place on stone veneer today and highly used in external wall cladding. It provides a highly decorative and stable effect. The mushroom finish is not possible with any machine, and only handcraft is the option.

Quartzite, granite, sandstone, and limestone types of stones are ideal for such finishes.

No.7 – Leather Stone Finish

Leather stone looks like a sort of leather piece. It has a textured and pebbly surface to touch. You also can found tiny pits and fissures to give it a natural look. Like a leather, texture can vary from slab to slab.

Leather stone finish is not shiny but has more depth than a honed finish. It augments the natural pores during the process and never needs sealant. It is easy to clean and maintain and pleasing to the touch.

It is ideal for bathrooms, bar tops, living room splashes, fireplace cover, and a special table. It is not a good candidate where chances of staining are high. Granite is an ideal stone type to produce leather stone. However, quartzite and some marble varieties also used for it.

No.8 – Sawn Stone Finish

The word sawn comes from the sawing because it is not a surface treatment or finish applied on the stone. It is an appearance resulting from a cut made to the stone by a blade or wire in a typical fashion. Thus, you can get a row and flat stone in its natural form completely. It is also is known as sawing stone. 

With strap sawing & grit, we can get highly irregular surfaces with deep marks. The serrated edges have a smooth surface with a lot of pores that renders it rough to touch. The stone gets a dull white tone and imprints of the tool used to cut it.

On hard rocks, you can get a jagged appearance with parallel marks, which are revealing the diameter of the disc used to cut it. It is highly found on curbing.

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No.9 – Honed Stone Finish

Honed stone finish yields a very smooth texture ranging from dull matte to a satin sheen. Honed stones are slip-resistant and scratch-resistant too. 

Thereby, it is applied on walls and floors of bathrooms, kitchen splashes, and pool deck like spaces.

It provides the best outdoor walking surfaces for patios, paths, and porches. Like polishing, it also applied on rocks with certain hardness.

No.10 – Flamed Stone Finish

It is a process in which stone exposes to intense heat and immediate cooling. A flame gun gives heat, so it named. A flame used to apply at 45-degree angle to the stone surface.

With oxyacetylene burners, we can give 2,500-degree centigrade thermal shock, and subsequent small slabs and splinters cool it immediately. The crystals with stone surface pop up due to some cycles of heat & cool treatments.

It makes stone porous and leaves a rough & textured surface. The surface seems relief and glassy with a rustic look without taking any changes in color or inherent characteristics.

Therefore, only highly crystalized stones such as quartzite, granite, and limestone are flaming to get flamed stone finish. With anti-skid surface, flamed stones highly used in exterior applications, including stepping stones, paths, walkways, and patios.

Bottom Line:

Apart from top ten types of natural stone finishes, many other kinds of stone surface finishing are prevailing in the market, such as Tooled, Fluted, Rigato, Split Face, Rock Face, Pointed, Diamond-Water Jet, Shot Blasted, Lychee surface, and Pineapple Surface finishes.

Now, the question is where to get such precious material with reliability and cost-effective rates? I used to pinpoint World of Stones for my USA readers because here you will find a huge inventory of various stones targeted to outdoor application. You have the freedom to give custom orders with desired customization and crafts.

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