Popular Stone Finishes
When putting together an interior design, one of the decisions that a designer, installer, builder, or a do-it-yourselfer needs to make is which type of stone to use for the hard surfaces. Another decision closely related to the stone type is the edge profile the surface will have. And last but not least, the style of finish that will be used is also important. In this article, we will take a brief look at some of the popular stone finishes available within two major categories; cut finishes and treated finishes. Along the way, we will summarize some features about each one.
One method that produces noticable finishes is cutting. How a stone is cut can result in some finishes that have become somewhat popular when it comes to stone surfaces. Let’s look at three specific cut finishes.
The first cut finish that we will consider is the split face look. This stone finish has a rough looking edge and can be achieved by chiseling a stone at a specific point so that it “splits”. Another way to create a split face cut finish is to use a machine designed to produce the finish. Either method will result in an edge that has peaks and valleys with edges that mimic the face of a mountain.
Split face finishes are great for use in rustic finishes since they have a primitive appearance that is appealing to those that prefer natural, rustic designs. Another use for the split face finish is cladding and/or veneer. While the split face finish is often seen in outdoor areas it can be complimentary to interior designs as well.
Vein Cut Surfaces
The second cut finish that we will consider is the vein cut finish. A vein cut stone is readily identifiable once you see it and learn to recognize the appearance. A vein cut surface has a linear “grain” that results form the natural mineral layers that comprise the stone. The lines can be wavy to varying degrees but as a general rule the lines are less wavy than another type of cut that we will discuss momentarily.
In the above kitchen rendering, the author has demonstrated a countertop that is vein cut. As you can see the lines, for the most part flow in the same direction. Another example of a vein cut stone can be seen in this photo of a kitchen.
As these images demonstrate, a vein cut stone is one that has obvious lines that run in a linear path and are easily distinguishable from other types of cuts. Let’s now look at a cut that constrasts the vein cut.
Fleuri Cut Finishes
Our third and final cut type is like the vein cut, in that the fleuri cut finish is a result of cutting the stone. However, it is cut across the natural “grain” of the stone. Hence, the fleuri cut is also known by another name; cross cut. Cross cut stone is different from fleuri cut stone in the sense that the pattern is less linear. Rather, a fleuri cut (or cross cut) results in a grain pattern that is more of a random look. Some might say that a fleuri cut sotne looks somewhat “splotchy”. You can see an example of this in the photo above. That photo is of white marble with grey veining that is non-linear and more random in appearance. Here is another photo that shows the look of a cross cut stone.
As you can see, some great popular stone finishes can be created by simply cutting te stone in a certain manner. And most times, the finish is enhanced by adding a treatment to the stone after it is cut. This adds even more visual interest to the finished surface. But what are some of those popular finishing treatments? We will consider some of them now.
Even though visual interest can be created by simply cutting your stone in a particular manner, you an also enhance your surface using surface treatments. These treatments are often used in conjunction with certain cuts to gain maximum appeal.
One of the most popular surface treatments used for finishing natural and engineered stone is polishing. Fabrication professionals create this finish by using diamond impregnated discs to treat the surface of the stone.
These diamond polishing pads work much like sandpaper does for wood only they are designed to smooth stone materials. The polishing process can be completed using a variety of polishing pad systems. Some kinds of polishing pads include:
- Wet and Dry Polishing Pad Systems
- 3, 5, and 7 Step Polishing Pads
- Polishing Pads for Engineered Stone and Natural Stone
Each system produces a nice shiny polish on the surface of the stone. Polishing also makes the surface more resistant to stains caused by liquids that can make their way into the pores of the stone. This is because the polishing process closes the stone’s pores; not allowing it to absorb liquids as easily.
Like the polishing treatment, a honed surface is exposed to a process that changes the surface. However, a honed finish is not as shiny and non-porous as a polished one. Honed stone has more of a matte or satin look. Additionally, its pores are still somewhat open and it continues to absorb liquids; although not as readily as an unfinished surface would.
Honed surfaces such as marble and other calcareous stones must be cared for using techniques designed for this kind of finish. Even so, the honed finish is one that many select because of its unique look and appealing visual texture.
Leathered Look Finish
Another stone treatment that produces an interesting surface appearance is the leathered finish. This surface treatment is achieved by utilizing a series of abrasive brushes designed to wear away the surface at varying depths. The softer material is removed at a different rate from the harder material; producing a textured look that is very distinctive.
The surface of leathered granite has somewhat closed pores but can benefit from sealing. The leathered finish is a great choice for use in a rustic design.
Sandblasted surfaces are a common finish that can be found in a number of public areas. As you can seef rom the image above, the result is a textured surface that is “grainy” in appearance. This surface treatment finish is commonly found on granite that is used for buildings, statues, and other outdoor features.
Our final stone treatment to discuss is the flamed finish. This surface treatment is exactly as it sounds. This is accomplished by exposing the stone’s surface to a flame. The flame, in turn, burns most of the carbon content of the stone. Additionally, the flame also discolors textured quartzites. The resulting finish is one with a very distinct look.
As we have seen, there are various ways to produce different finishes on natural stone surfaces. The type of cut that is used, the surface treatment employed, or a combination of these methods can produce an appealing finish on you stone surface that will give the project a unique look and feel.