Polished and honed and flamed, oh my!
Choosing a natural stone to use in your home or business is one thing, but that’s far from the end of your selection process. You’ll also need to consider what type of surface finish to opt for.
According to the Marble Institute of America (MIA), there are three main types of stone finishes. These include polished, honed and flamed.
“A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and markings of the material,” the MIA states.
If smooth and shiny is the look you’re going for, chances are you’ll want a polished finish. Whether it’s marble, granite or some other type of natural stone, a polished finish can spotlight the special characteristics of your stone.
As a bonus, polished surfaces can make surface cleaning and maintenance easier. The higher the polish, the more it closes off the pores of the stone’s surface. This can help stones repel water, oil and other liquids, reducing the chance for stains.
However, a polished surface is not the same as a sealed one, meaning it’s still important to invest in a premium-quality impregnating sealer to keep your polished stone looking great.
A product like META CREME begins working immediately once it comes into contact with the stone surface. Self-assembling components enter through the tiny capillaries in the treated material and deeply connect on a microscopic level to the subsurface. META CREME bonds permanently to the material, repelling damaging liquids and water-borne salt.
The MIA describes honed finishes as a “satin smooth surface” that features relatively low reflection of light.
“Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces,” the organisation continues.
In short, think of honed as smooth without the shiny. However, this can be preferable in areas where walking feet would ruin an otherwise reflective surface.
Keep in mind that a less polished finish means a surface more susceptible to liquid absorption, and therefore problems like staining and structural damage such as efflorescence, freeze-thaw damage, spalling and picture framing.
Fortunately, in addition to products that will help you protect your honed natural stone, there are those that can enhance its look.
ENHANCE-PLUS is a breathable, semi-surface treatment that provides long-lasting enrichment of color, as well as water-based stain protection.
Besides enhancing stone’s natural beauty, ENHANCE-PLUS can hide scratches, efflorescence and other imperfections, as well as make surfaces more resistant to acid etching.
“A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles,” the MIA states.
If you were hoping for a hotter description of flamed finishes, you might have better luck understanding how they’re created. A high-intensity flame is applied to the surface of the stone until the surface bursts and becomes rough.
This creates a very textured surface, so forget both smooth and shiny as adjectives for your flamed finish.
Flamed stone is a popular choice for outdoor use, as well as anywhere where better grip underfoot is important. Not every stone can be flamed, but when this finish is applied, it can create a practical yet beautiful surface.
Of course, as with every other type of finish, surface protection remains essential.
One option is STAIN-PROOF Original, an impregnating, invisible and breathable sealer that can not only be used for natural stone, but also tiles, pavers, concrete and grout. It will help protect against damage from water, salt and oil-based stains.