Natural Stone Finishes, Terms & Definitions

We always take pride in educating our Arizona clients about their Travertine, Granite, Marble and Limestone product. We feel that the more we can educate our clients, translate industry jargon into plain everyday speech, and empower our clients to learn more about their Natural Stone…..well, let’s be honest, the more likely we are to get called when there is a problem! All selfishness aside, here are some important things you ought to know about your Natural Stone product.

Finishes – There are three primary stone finishes:

  • A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and markings of the material.
  • A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little 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.
  • A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles.

Many other finishes are available and used throughout the world. Consult with a Arizona stone professional if your finish does not match these three primary types.

Commonly used Terms and Definitions

Calcareous Stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It is sensitive to acidic cleaning products and frequently requires different cleaning procedures than siliceous stone. Types of calcareous stone include: marble, travertine, limestone, and onyx. What may work on siliceous stone may not be suitable on calcareous surfaces.

Impregnators are water- or solvent-based solutions that penetrate below the surface and become repellents. They are generally hydrophobic (water-repelling), but are also olio phobic (oil-repelling). Impregnators keep contaminants out, but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping. These products are considered “breathable,” meaning they have vapor transmission.

Lippage: A condition where one edge of a stone is higher than adjacent edges, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance.
Maintenance: Scheduled cleaning, specific procedures, and inspections performed on a daily, weekly, or other regular basis to keep the stone in proper condition.
Poultice: A liquid cleaner or chemical mixed with a white absorbent material to form a thick, stain removing paste.
Refinishing: Repolishing or honing of dull, once-polished marble, limestone, or granite floors and walls.
Renovation: Cleaning and repolishing of neglected dimension stone surfaces.
Restoration: Large-scale remedial actions taken to restore a structure or area to its original or acceptable “near original” condition.
Siliceous Stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions. Types of siliceous stone include: granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone, and bluestone.