Natural Stone Finish Types

Polished stone tiles

For a stone to take a high polish it must be a very dense stone that can handle its finish being ground until glossy. A polished stone has square corners and somewhat slanting edges that can be fitted together snugly with little grout needed between them. It can be used for any floor, wall, or countertop, but it is not recommended for areas prone to excessive moisture due to slipping danger (i.e. kitchen floor). The finish can lose its shine over time so upkeep is required. Crystallized stones like marble and granite take polish best.

Honed stone tiles

Similar to the polished stone, but does not come out glossy. Rather, grinding and sanding produces a smooth, flat finish known as matte. This is great for low maintenance, high traffic projects. Honed stone tiles give an application a more modern feel that is sleek and more refined. The colors of honed stone tiles are duller than the polished tiles, creating a less formal look. Non-crystallized stones like limestone and travertine hone best.

Tumbled stone tiles

The opposite of polished, tumbled stone creates a rustic, old world look that is timeless. The stones are literally tumbled in a blend of sand, water and mild acid that creates a weathered appearance. Typically, tumbled stone tiles are also ground down on their back in order for a smoother installation. Must be installed by a wide grout joint due to uneven edges.

Cleft stone tiles

Has a rough and uneven surface that works great for flooring, exterior applications, or wet surfaces since its surface provides for better grip. Cleft stone tiles are split, instead of cut with a saw, and would be a terrible choice for a countertop application.

Diamond Sawn tiles

A type of honed finish cut with use of a Diamond-toothed Saw, a stone block is sawn into slabs, cleaned, and left smooth. It is somewhat reflective, but not close to a glossy, polished finish. You can use a diamond sawn finish on any stone.

Rough Sawn tiles

A rough sawn finish, which is a natural stone in its “rough” state, can give any project a rustic, natural feel. The tile is uneven and works well for flooring outdoor or indoor applications.


This finish is a rough, patterned surface with the use of different abrasive power-tools such as the bush hammer itself. Semi-abrasive for slip-resistance, therefore a good choice for surfaces that see heavy foot traffic. This finish can be applied to any material with a minimum thickness of 3″ (2cm).


Use of an abrasive material delivered by a sandblaster can give natural stone a bumpy, rough surface if originally smooth, and a smooth surface if originally rough. Sandblasting is used in stone engravings in most modern cemeteries, art, to refurbish buildings, and for various cleaning applications.


literally impacting a stone with a hammer and chisel, therefore the tile is usually very thick. Any stone can be chiseled and the resulting surface (ranging from either very rough to only slightly rough) is reliant upon the skill of the person and the type of chisel being used. This finish leaves uneven edges and an uneven surface, which gives any project an antique feel.


Use of intense heat flaming treatment leaving a coarse surface with little reflective qualities. The color of the stone treated can actually change depending on varying levels of minerals (i.e. Iron) within each stone