There are many different ways of dressing the surface of natural stone and the different effects are known as finishes. We've explained what the terms mean in this section and talked about a couple of different ways of laying stone floor tiles that you may hear mentioned.
Sometimes also called tumbled, aged or leather, this is a popular finish with a worn and lived in look. At home with both traditional and contemporary design it is a very practical finish to specify.
A brushed finish is coarser than the Satinato finish and is achieved by first 'bursting' the surface of the stone using intense heat and then brushing the surface with abrasive brushes. Used to create a more rustic look it can also help to improve the slip resistance of stone used in flooring.
Used extensively with travertine to fill the holes that occur naturally in the stone. The filler can be either clear or coloured resin to match the colour of the stone.
To achieve a honed finish the stone is polished using abrasives in the same way as for a polished finish, but the last few fine abrasives are not used and the stone is left with a smooth matt finish. This is ideal for stones that cannot take a full polish or where a high gloss look is not desired.
A leather finish is similar to a tumbled finish except that the pieces of stone are too large to be tumbled and so are brushed and then washed in acid to achieve the desired worn smoothness.
A polished finish is achieved using finer and finer abrasives until the stone has a deep gloss and the surface is reflective. Not all stones will take a high polish and some mineral inclusions in the stone will not polish as deeply as the surrounding stone. Polished stone is usually the easiest to keep clean.
Slate is most commonly riven as it is formed in layers and splits easily along the layers to give a very natural textured finish.
A satinato or leather finish is applied with abrasive brushes and imparts a soft textured finish to the stone. It has the added benefit of making the stone look aged.
Tumbling is a process used to give an aged look to the stone. Tumbled stones possess a rustic and time worn look.
Many travertine floors are supplied unfilled so that the holes are filled with grout at the same time as the joints when the tiles are laid. A grout colour matched to the stone will provide the most pleasing result.