What are natural stone finishes?
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.
10 October, 2018
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, and which ones you’ll see across all Eco Outdoor ranges.
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.
The Sawn finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Bluestone, Bolzano, Brannon, Osprey and Scala from our Crazy Paving flooring category; Roda, Sancerre and Scala from our Linear walling category; Brannon and Osprey from our Sandstone flooring category; and Scala from our Travertine flooring category.
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.
The Split finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Alpine, Baw Baw, Jindera, and Mitta Mitta from our Dry Stone walling category; Bokara, Calabor, Canyonfell, Finch, Howqua, Korora and Wamberal from our Freeform walling category; Apollo, Clancy, Coolum, and Newport from our Random Ashlar walling category; Abyss, Endicott, and Luca from our Split Stone flooring category; Scala from our Traditional Format walling category; and ranges in our Porphyry flooring category.
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 Antique finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Bodega and Bullhorn from our Freeform walling category; Barrimah and Broma from our Traditional Format walling category; Nettle from our Limestone flooring category; and Camelhaas from our Sandstone flooring category.
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.
The Brushed finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Torino from our Bluestone flooring category; Colmar from our Linear walling category; Andorra from our Limestone flooring category; Laguna from our Project Stone category.
We also offer Deep Brushed finish on our Colmar Limestone flooring, where additional pressure is applied to the application, resulting in a more textured look.
5. Bush Hammered
A bush hammered finish is 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.
The Bush Hammered finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Buffalo and Tortoise from our Cobblestone flooring category; and Emu and Tortoise from our Granite Flooring category.
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 Sandblasted finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Duro and Rhone from our Limestone flooring category; and Barlow from our Traditional Format walling category.
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.
The Exfoliated finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Buffalo, Emu and Fallow from our Granite Flooring category; Lagano from our Project Stone category; and Luca from our Split Stone flooring category.
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.
The Tumbled finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Arbon, Garonne, and Winbourne from our Limestone flooring category; Bluestone, from our Cobblestone flooring category; Garonne, Pendell and Scala four Batons flooring category; and Ravello and Tolfa from our Travertine flooring category.
Some additional finishes that you will find across our ranges are:
9. Hand Pressed
This finish is achieved by hand, and the tiles are crafted one at a time with the same traditional processes that were used 500 years ago. Natural mineral pigments, marble powder, fine sand and cement are combined into individual moulds and then compacted manually. Once fully cured, each tile is then manually ground and buffed. This artisanal process teamed with the natural pigmentation give each tile a unique colour.
The Hand Pressed finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Cement Tiles
When there is an absence of treatment to the stone, this is considered as having a natural finish. Essentially the stone is extracted from the quarry or the natural material is hand packed into a mould, and cut to the desired format, with the final look completely dependent on the natural characteristics.
The Natural finish is found in these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Antico Arrotato, Antico Luce, Antico Nero and Antico Notte from our Cotto flooring category; Arrotato, Carbonne, Nero, Notte and Panna from our Cotto Brick walling category.
11. Heavily Distressed
This boutique finish is achieved by hand, whereby a combination of finishes – across our ranges, typically Bush Hammered + Sandblasted + Chiselled Edges – are applied to the tiles. This multi-application process is administered to the top and the edges of the stone pieces to achieve this heavily distressed and textured look. While these finishes appear to be aesthetically antique, they sit nicely in contemporary architecture to bring textural relief.
The Heavily Distressed finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Calcetta, Chalford, and La Roche from our Limestone flooring category; and Beauford and Toolara from our Sandstone flooring category.
Whilst applied in a different way we offer a heavily distressed finish across some of our Wood flooring ranges including Haybale, Mountain Ash, Smoke Stack and Willow.
12. Lightly Distressed
Our lightly distressed finish introduces a category of stone finishes that is more subtle. Instead of going against the natural stone type we work with the natural and inherent characteristic of the material. The end result is a less aggressive texture that has been achieved by a mostly mechanical application of at least two finishes.
The Lightly Distressed finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Linton, Sarelle and Wyndam from our Limestone flooring category; and Chambon from our Travertine flooring collection.
We also offer a lightly distressed finish across some of our Wood flooring ranges. Whist the application technique differs to stone, it achieves that gentle weathered look. You will find this finish in our Lady Gray, Lunar, Perla, Summerhouse and Viking ranges.
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.
The Honed finish is applied to Dauville and Laguna from our Project Stone category.
A chiseled finish is achieved by gently breaking the stone with a hammer and chisel. Depending on the type of chisel used and skill level of the person using it, this can provide a very rough surface or a slightly irregular finish.
The Chiseled finish is applied to Sancerre from our Linear walling category.
A picked finish is when the stone surface is covered with small pits produced by a pick or chisel point striking the face perpendicularly.
Predominantly found as a treatment on tiles, a glazed finish is achieved by a coating material. Traditionally this is liquid glass or enamel that is coated on the tiles. Glazed tiles can have either a matt or glossy finish which in turn provides a different aesthetic to the space.
The Glazed finish is applied to these ranges in Eco Outdoor’s collection: Ariglow, Chalk, Espresso, Salty Dog, Sea Ranch, Seafoam and Smokehood from our Cotto Zellige category.
Additional combination finishes that are present across some of Eco Outdoor ranges include:
17. Sandblasted & Brushed
This finish is applied to our Garonne and Rhone Limestone
18. Split & Tumbled
This finish is applied to our Porphyry Baguette flooring
19. Exfoliated & Brushed
This finish is applied to our Nile Cobblestones and Lagano Project Stone
Feature image: Hecker Gutherie interior featuring Seville Project Stone in a brushed finish.