6 Different Types of Natural Stone Finishes

6 Different Types of Natural Stone Finishes
October 11, 2022
6 Different Types of Natural Stone Finishes

The structural design aesthetic of your home is vital. And one of the best building materials today is natural stone. Landscaping with STONEarch natural stones can provide your outdoor space with a cohesive look. You can use our beautiful products in numerous ways, including steps, firepits, retaining walls, decorative accents, and a whole lot more.

To ensure you have the proper stone for your landscape project, you have to consider several factors. These include colour, suitability to your project, and finish.

Natural stone finishes come in various types, which may confuse some people. In this article, we’ll provide you with an overview of these finishes, their advantages, and how you can incorporate them into your design.

Natural Stone Finishes

The six most popular finishes in outdoor natural stone includes:

  1. Honed
  2. Sandblasted
  3. Flamed
  4. Flamed and Brushed
  5. Flamed and Waterjet
  6. Natural Cleft


Stones with a honed finish have a satin smooth, even, flat, and consistent matte surface from sanding and grinding using abrasives. This finish provides the stone with a natural and contemporary look with a little light reflection. Because of the honing process, the shades of the material may look lighter than those with a polished finish and not reflective. Nevertheless, the natural stone’s overall depth and colour are still maintained.

Honed natural stone finishes, such as STONEarch Ivory Mix (also available in tumbled finish), are most suitable for high-traffic, low-maintenance applications. They are often used for walkways, floors, stairs, and other areas that receive plenty of foot traffic. Also, you can use stones with this finish in facades, bathrooms, as wall coverings, and on countertops.

One of the reasons people choose stones with a honed finish is that it is less abrasive on bare skin (which does make the surface a little more slippery) but also makes it the best choice for any indoor-outdoor living space, covered kitchen areas, covered terraces or porches, or even an indoor pool. This does not mean it is not suitable for traditional landscape applications, as many clients will also use our STONEarch Ivory Mix or STONEarch Gray Mix travertines for a walkway or a typical pool deck as shown below. On top of that, a honed finish is more scratch-resistant. And if the stone does get etchings or scratches, they will not be noticeable.

Honed natural stone finishes
STONEarch Ivory Mix Travertine Cobbles Coping


Sandblasted is a natural stone finish with an anti-slip, finely textured surface. STONEarch Indus Gray comes with sandblasted finish and is a great choice for poolside patios, bathrooms, and areas that always get wet.

Stone craftsmen use water or air pressure to spray the stone with a combination of beads and sand. The treatment gets rid of saw marks on the stone, providing it with a smooth surface. Sometimes, the process gives the landscaping stone an almost invisible fine circular imprints. Furthermore, some utilize this method to carve various patters or designs into the tiles.

Sandblasted natural stone finishes
STONEarch Indus Gray Stone Pavers


One of the most popular natural stone finishes is flamed finish for use outdoors because of its slip-resistant property. The stone’s surface is applied with a high-temperature flame to achieve this finish. This approach produces a thermal shock, forcing the natural crystals of the stone to fracture to appear on the surface, providing a rich shine to the natural stone in sunlight. As a result, you’ll get a stone with a beautiful surface that’s very textured, such as STONEarch Gray and STONEarch Butterfly.

You can usually see this finish on granites. Likewise, this type can hide the stone’s shade variations and imperfections on the surface.

STONEarch Butterfly Granite Pavers
STONEarch Butterfly Granite Pavers

Flamed and Brushed

Once the textured flamed finish is achieved, craftsmen can apply a brushed finish. They do this by using brushes, wheels and other tools. Stones with a brushed finished feel smoother to the touch. Likewise, it provides the material with a worn and casual aesthetic.

Moreover, there are different levels of brushing that can be done. Our team of expert consultants can advise landscape architects and designers for commercial projects on the right level of brushing to ensure anti-slip surface that is not too abrasive on bare skin.

Also, other natural stone finishes can be combined with a brushed finish, including flamed. A natural stone tile with flamed and brushed finish has a smoother nooks and crannies. It looks more timeless and feels softer to the touch. This is a good option if you want to achieve an antique-looking flooring that seems like it’s been walked on for many years.

Flamed and Waterjet

Some natural stones that go through the flaming technique may change their colour. When this happens, they are blasted with a waterjet.

Blasting the stone with a waterjet enhances its character and colour. Extreme high-pressure jet of water is focused throughout the surface of the stone, eroding it. It then breaks the crystals and opens the stone’s pores, resulting in a texture identical to flamed finish. The method is only successful in certain types of natural stones such as our STONEarch Onyx Black, which is also available in flamed and brushed.

STONEarch Onyx Black Jet Black Midnight Black Granite 2
STONEarch Onyx Black Jet Black Midnight Black Granite

Natural Cleft

You can commonly see natural cleft finish on slate and sandstone. A good example of this finish is our Flint sandstone, showing off the stone’s natural cleft texture and surface to its full advantage.

The surface of these natural stones are slightly uneven. These natural ridges occur when they are separated from the earth. Hence, natural cleft finish naturally occurs during quarrying. It is not created. You may find some limestones and granites on the market with heavy clefting, suitable only for paving and wall installations.

Natural cleft natural stone finishes
STONEarch Flint Sandstone Pavers

Choosing Between Natural Stone Finishes

Practicality is a top consideration when choosing the type of natural stone and its finish for your project. For instance, if you want your front steps to have a polished marble look, consider a honed finish. You can easily achieve that classic look while having a more texturized and slip-resistant surface.

Meanwhile, a flamed and brushed finish can provide your design with character. For flooring, your best options are sandblasted, natural cleft, and flamed finishes. This is especially true for outdoor areas, such as your deck or patio, that receives high foot traffic.

All natural stone finishes have their own pros and cons. The key here is to find the perfect balance between practicality and which one will make your design stunning. If you’re still unsure which finish is suitable for your application, contact our team, who is more than willing to help you out.

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