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Natural stone finishes can alter the appearance and performance of the stone flooring. Different techniques are used to enhance the aesthetics of a natural stone or make it more suitable for particular interior or exterior applications.
Here we take a look at the most popular natural stone finishes to help you decide which one is right for your individual project.
What are natural stone finishes?
When choosing a natural stone, you’ll initially be looking at the colours, texture and format. Taking into consideration the finish of the natural stone is equally as important as it can completely alter the look and suitability of the stone for your project.
For example, Bluestone flooring in an exfoliated finish is well suited for outdoor environments and will display a highly textural look. In comparison, Bluestone flooring in a honed finish is much smoother and can become very slippery when wet.
Popular natural stone finishes
Here are some of the most popular natural stone finishes used today for their appearance and performance.
A sawn stone finish is achieved by cutting the stone with a diamond tool to create a rough, irregular finish. This can often make the stone appear lighter and helps to ensure a non-slip finish. A natural stone paver in a sawn finish is well suited for external use.
Similarly to sawn, a stone with a split finish is highly textural and raw, highlighting the natural quarry aesthetic of the material. This natural stone finish is commonly used for wall cladding, however, due to its inherently-non slip quality split stone is used in external high-traffic areas including driveways, paths and poolside.
Using grinding and sanding techniques of varying grades of abrasives, natural stone with a honed finish has a smooth, satin appearance. This is a versatile finish with honed stone suitable for interior and external applications.
An antique stone finish provides an aged aesthetic often achieved using an acid wash to distress the surface prior to mechanical wire bushing to restore the colour and smoothen the texture.
The brushed stone finish resembles the aged nature of the antique finish. It’s achieved using hard nylon or steel mechanical brushing along with water. Natural stone in a brushed finish can be used internally and externally including wet environments such as a bathroom, poolside or kitchen. Brush finishes are often used in combination with a bush hammered finish.
6. Bush Hammered
A bush hammered finish has been achieved through the use of a high impact machine or hand tool to uniformly pit the stone’s surface. This resistance in a high slip resistance and can emphasise the tonal variation of the stone. Natural stone with a bush hammered finish can be used virtually anywhere indoors or out.
Sandblasted is another textural finish however the appearance isn’t as rough as a bush hammered stone. Small pits are created by blasting silica sand onto the surface with a high pressured air gun resulting in a finish that highlights the natural colours of the material.
The exfoliated, also known as flamed, finish is often used on granites and bluestone to make it improve its slip resistance. The finish is achieved by exposing the surface to a high-temperature flame which results in thermal shock. This causes the inherent crystals to fracture and produces a deeply textured, rough finish. Exfoliated finishes are often used in combination with a brushed finish.
Another popular aged finish is tumbled where the surface and edges of the stone are softened and distressed after being placed in a drum with sand, grit and/or acid. This creates an irregular format and is popular in stone products such as cobbles and limestone where a natural, timeless appearance is desired.