10 Types of Natural Stones and Finishes

Published by Armstone, 11 August, 2020

Natural stones are available in a vast array of finishes and surfaces, with new finishes regularly appearing on the scene. Whether the surface or finish is a classic one or new one, it has its own unique characteristics. The variety of stone finishes are achieved using different mechanical processes and techniques which allow the stone to be adapted for specific uses, especially as stone pavers.

As such, it’s important to choose a finish type that will suit your intended use for the stone.

In this article, we highlight the most frequently requested stone finishes, which stones they are best suited for and their ideal place of installation. 

1. Natural Split

A natural split finish, like the name suggests, is truly natural stone that has that split stone look. Once it is extracted from the quarry, the stone is not treated in any way. It is simply cut into blocks and sold on the market as is. The final appearance of the stone depends on its natural look and because it is natural, no two stones will look the same. When installed outside, stones with a natural split finish require sealing to protect them from the elements.

Porphyry and Himalayan Sandstone and Quartz are two stones that are available with a natural finish.

Pazzo Quartz Crazy paving

2. Tumbled

The tumbled finish is essentially an ageing effect, best suited for highly resistant natural stones. This is a popular finish because it creates softer surfaces and rumbled edges. It’s a very aesthetically pleasing choice for external pavers.

The stones that are most suited, and popular, for a tumbled finish include travertine, limestone and marble. The tumbled finish gives immense character and warmth to these natural stone pavers.

Siri Marble Pavers ArmstoneCheck out these striking tumbled Siri Marble Pavers for a poolside setting at Armstone

3. Sandblasted

A matte-textured surface finish produced by small particles (“sand”) striking the stone surface at high velocities. A sandblasted finish is achieved by blasting the stone several times with an air gun containing an abrasive agent such as silica sand. This gives the stone a textured finish and can even lighten its colour.

One of the advantages of sandblasting is that it can add a degree of slip-resistance to the stone, making it an ideal finish for external stone paving. Stones such as limestone, marble, sandstone and bluestone respond particularly well to a sandblasted finish.

The sandblasted Merino Marble Pavers, pictured below, add elegance and class to this suburban Sydney pool.

These beautiful Sandblasted Merino Marble Pavers are available at Armstone

4. Flamed or Thermal

For a flamed or thermal finish, the surface of the stone is directly exposed to high temperature, typically in the form of a flame. This process alters the natural colour of the stone and gives it a characteristic roughness. Stones that have a flamed finish tend to have greater anti-slip properties. This makes them a perfect choice for outdoor paving.

Raven Granite PaversFlamed Raven Granite Pavers are available at Armstone

The flamed Raven Granite Pavers, pictured above, add an urban cool aesthetic to this minimalist courtyard.

5. Sawed Finish or Sawn

A sawed (or sawn) finish describes a stone’s appearance where it has been cut by a blade and some of the saw marks are still visible. This results in a textured, irregular surface with a rough feel. As a sawed finish can make stones slip-resistant, it’s a popular choice for external applications such as paving, walkways, patios, driveways and outdoor steps.

Sawed finish is popular with Bluestone Pavers and sandstone pavers.

Ivar Bluestone Pavers

6. Acid-Washed

An acid-washed finish is achieved by applying corrosive chemicals on the stone’s surface. These chemicals burn through the stone, creating small pitted indentations on the stone’s surface. This gives it a naturally rustic look and feel. The advantage of an acid-washed finish is that any scratches on the stone (which will happen over time with wear and tear) are much less visible. 

Most natural stones can withstand an acid-washed finish. The surface of the gorgeous Oyster Limestone Cobblestone, pictured below, has been both acid-washed and tumbled.

Oyster Limestone CobblestonesThese acid-washed Oyster Limestone Cobblestones are available at Armstone

7. Honed

A honed finish is achieved when rubber heads smooth out the stone’s surface to create an overall consistency and uniformity in the stone’s texture. Honed finishes have a smooth, non-reflective, satiny sheen and are used for both interior stone surfaces. When manufacturers are finalising a honed finish, they typically sand the stone just before it reaches the polishing phase. This accounts for its lack of glossiness and gives the stone a more matte appearance.

8. Polished

To achieve a polished finish, the natural stone undergoes repeated treatment with abrasives until a glossy, mirror-like surface is achieved. This process brings the stone’s natural colours and character to life, and makes its porosity virtually invisible. An advantage of a polished finish is that it can boost the stone’s overall resistance.

Polished finishes are best suited to indoor applications such as walls and bench-tops. A polished finish can be slippery, so it’s not recommended for outdoor paving.

9. Micro-Sanded

This finish is used mostly on our  outdoor Porcelain Tiles and Pavers, a favourite in our Porcelain Pavers range. Micro-sanding technology creates a sand-paper like finish that gives these pavers a high slip-resistance and recreates the look and feel of natural sandstone. This finish makes Sandstone Porcelain Pavers, pictured below, an ideal choice for pools, wet areas and walkways exposed to the elements.

Sandstone Porcelain paversOur popular Sandstone Porcelain Pavers are available at Armstone

10. Bush Hammered

A process which produces textured surfaces with small evenly spaced pits produced by hand or pneumatic hammer. A bush hammered finish is typically applied to granite. Specialised tools are used to give the stone more texture, making the surface more slip-resistant.

Contact us

For more information about stone finishes for stone pavers, reach out to us online or call our Sydney showroom at 1300 560 560. One of our team experts will be able to answer your questions and guide you with advice to help bring your dream home project to life. 

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Arman Minas

Arman Minas

Director at Armstone
A committed and enthusiastic expert, Arman has more than 10 years experience in the stone industry and 20 years in the design space. Arman’s strong, customer focused passion has seen countless projects come to life. At the head of the Armstone team, Arman oversees all aspects of the business.
Arman Minas

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