Tumbled stones are almost always honed first unless otherwise specified. The honing process reveals the identity of the stone and the tumbling process softens the look. A tumbled finish is achieved through a gentle ageing process, rounding edges as well as softening stone markings. To do this, the tiles are placed into a big tumbling machine full of specially designed porcelain chips.
Stones with a tumbled finish yield a subtle, pastel-like appearance and are perfect for those wanting a more rustic look – particularly suiting traditional homes and country cottages.
Main Advantages: Pastel-like appearance, interior and exterior options
The brushing process begins with steel brush heads replacing traditional polishing/honing heads from the production line. These steel brushing heads wear away at the slightly softer minerals within the stone. This creates a textured surface that is slightly different with each stone, whilst still retaining some smoothness.
The surface of a brushed tile is matt-to-slight sheen. The biggest advantage of a brushed finish is its increased slip resistance value. Unlike rough finishes such as sandblasted or acid wash, a moderately higher Slip Resistance Value (SRV) can be achieved without compromising on the aesthetics of the material – making it a great choice for inside and some outside projects.
Main Advantages: Higher SRV, flexibility to work in contemporary/traditional properties, more resistant to scratching
This finish is the perfect compromise between a tumbled finish and a brushed finish. The sandblasting process roughens up the stones surface and washes out most of its features giving quite a flat appearance and rough surface. The brushing process then breathes a little life back into the stone with some of its character coming back into view. At the same time, the brushing process also smooths out the rough, grainy sandblasted surface creating a very tactile finish that feels great under foot.
Main advantages: Textured surface, a high SRV that can work great inside and outside.
A honed tile is essentially polished but to a lower grade. Depending on the stone tile, Honed finishes are smooth to touch with either a matt or slightly sheen surface. Similarly to polished tiles, a honed tile will have a straight cut edge allowing for those tighter grout joints.
A honed tile is perfect for those looking for a crisp, modern finish but without the statement of a glossy polished floor.
Main Advantages: Tight Grout joints, understated and a matt look makes it a popular choice with developers
A polished finish is the finest finish possible with a natural stone tile. A polished tile will have a straight edge and high gloss appearance allowing it to reflect a lot of light. Although great in grand open spaces, the ability to reflect a lot of light also makes it a great choice in low light, smaller areas.
A professional installation is important with polished marble and limestones to ensure the floor is as flat as possible; steps/lippage between tiles can cause reflections to be slightly distorted. However, with the correct installation, a polished tile can transform a room into something of class, elegance and astounding beauty.
Main Advantages: Tight grout joints, reflects light well & can be re-polished on site (natural stone flooring only)