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Stone surface finishes: satin, honed, and textured



Did you know there are several categories of surface finishes in the stone care world: honed, satin, gloss, leathered, flamed, cleft and textured. Some people may think stone finish simply refers to being polished or unpolished, but there’s a lot more nuance to surface finishing than you may realize.

Let’s dig into these lesser known surface finishes.

Textured stone finish

For a stone surface to be textured, it is usually rough, uneven, and may fall into what some people traditionally define as unfinished.

Flamed granite and natural cleft slate are common stones with known textured finishes. Textured surfaces have more surface area and therefore more exposed open and interstitial pores. The rougher surface can hold dirt more readily, but may hide wear more effectively providing a trade-off suitable for high traffic areas and high sand content areas around beaches.

Textured surfaces will also tend to hold cleaning liquids and oils more readily given their greater surface areas and highs and lows, making an impregnating sealer like MARBLELIFE® Stone Sealer essential to its maintenance routine. It doesn’t help to reduce wear but enhance staining possibilities by leaving these surfaces unsealed. Textured stones aren’t usually refinished as frequently since the process would remove the contrasting height areas, though that does not mean they cannot be. Generally, they will need a professional service less frequently, but eventually wear does its damage. Once you can see a walk pattern it is past time for a visit.

Honed stone finish

Honed stones feature a smooth and scratch-free finish void of shine. This finish is favored in high traffic areas or sandy areas. The higher the hone, the more color and reflectivity the stone will have. Some drawbacks to honed material, however, include the potential for “honing marks” or “swirls.” These are actually the diamond grinding marks and are a sign of a poor quality hone. These can be removed by a professional craftsman.

Satin stone finish
This finish provides a sheen without the clarity associated with a gloss or mirror finish. Beautiful on travertine, this is a nice balance of light reflectivity and color. Satin finished surfaces are generally flat surfaces that have not been polished to a full mirror reflectivity. They are preferred for higher traffic areas that still seek a sheen.

Gloss Stone Finish
These surfaces have either been polished to a mirror reflectivity allowing light to bounce true, and offering a mirror image of the light source. Often the quality is sufficient you can see the label on the light bulk reflected in the floor. Favored for low traffic elegant areas such as affluent home foyers, or Class A office building entrances. These surfaces require routine maintenance to maintain their elegant appearance with an office or hotel seeing visits on a monthly basis, whereas a home may need attention every few years.

As with all things, the frequency of service is related to the quality of day-to-day care. Bring on an acidic cleaner and marble floor will need assistance in a matter of months, versus years with an appropriate non-acidic marble cleaner. Cleaner selection is the number one factor impacting maintenance cost. Unfortunately, this is a lesson often learned after the service. A ten dollar investment could result in thousands of dollars in damage. It pays to be informed. MARBLELIFE maintains a site that outlines the risks and what to look for as you consider your surface care approach. MARBLELIFE also provides free guidance to review and assist in answering questions.



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