When it comes to choosing a natural stone for a project, there are several factors to consider, as we described in our previous post. Some of these factors include the appearance, the hardness, or the suitability of the stone for the project. After selecting a stone, the next step is to choose the finish. We know that this might be a bit confusing at first, so we would like to give a bit of insight into this matter.
The most common finishes for natural stone are polished, honed or satin, leathered/brushed and bush hammered. Examples of other finishes that are not so common are hydro finish and flamed surface finishes. You can see below the main differences between them.
Polished is one of the most common types of stone finishes. Polishing is usually applied to marble, travertine, and granite, as it enhances and highlights the natural color and pattern of the stone, making the surface brilliant and shiny. Homeowners who are looking for a glossy effect will find polished finish suits what they are after. A polished surface will certainly add a touch of beauty and glamour to your home, and it will enhance the ambiance where it is installed.
Polishing is achieved by repeated application of abrasive treatments. Through this process, different particle sizes become finer, giving the stone a brighter and lustrous appearance. The polished finish is a classic choice for bathroom wall cladding, floors, console tables, and walls. However, it is not recommended for outdoor areas because it is very slippery.
Honed or Satin
The honed finish provides a smooth, consistent, matt surface. It is contemporary and natural-looking. The satin finish is further achieved by finishing off the process using special fine abrasive pads following the honing process.
As a result of being honed, the shades might look lighter than a polished finish, however, the overall color and depth of the stone are preserved.
A honed finish is usually preferred for floors, stairs, hallways, and other areas with a lot of foot traffic. When a honed surface gets wet, it is less slippery than polished making it a great choice for flooring. Additionally, the honed finish also works well in areas with heavy traffic like countertops, bathrooms, wall coverings, and facades.
Another advantage is honed surfaces are more resistant to scratches and etching, and they go unnoticed for a longer period.
The leather finish has become increasingly popular in recent years. The leather finish provides an undulating, soft, and slightly matte surface. This finish is achieved by brushing the slab with a range of brushes. As a result of this process, the surface looks less glossy than polished, but it also has more depth than a honed finish. The result is a refined and captivating stone that will add a touch of warmth and authenticity to any ambiance.
Leathering treatment closes the pores of the stone, which will make leathered stone more resistant to stains and less susceptible to damage over time. Acid etching on marble is much less obvious and visible on a leather finished surface. Leathered surfaces hide fingerprints, water spots, and smudges well. That’s why this finish is a great option for countertops, bathrooms, fireplaces, and also for outdoor applications. In our collection, you can find Calacatta do Brasil, Nero Assoluto, Taj Mahal, or Quarzite Nera with a leathered finish.
If you are looking for a finish with slightly more texture and rustic feel, a brushed finish may be the perfect alternative. This effect is created by the stone being brushed by steel mechanical brushes under high pressure. This helps to enhance the natural color of the stone and add an extra bit of texture, leaving the surface rougher and more porous than honed or polished.
Brush finishes are often used in combination with a bush-hammered finish. A brushed finish can be an excellent choice as it maintains the practicalities of a honed finish, however, with a little more detail. This gives the stone an authentic and natural look. The brushed finish is the best option for shower flooring.
This highly textured finish is achieved by the application of a hydraulic bush hammer to the surface. It is commonly used for external applications such as flooring, paving, thresholds, and walkways, as its slip resistance rating is greater than other finishes. A mechanical hammer hits the stone, creating uneven irregularities on the stone. A bush-hammered finish leaves the surface of the stone textured with small indentations, suitable for anywhere indoors and outdoors. The roughness may be varied by using different levels of bush hammering.
Overcoming the Challenges of Stone Cutting with Waterjet Technology
In a recent survey on home buying preferences, one out of every four respondents said they preferred a custom-built home rather than a new home already built or existing home. There are many advantages to having a custom-built home: unique finishes, custom floor plan, superior quality, and getting exactly what you want.
But when your customer requests a unique design, you’re often faced with several challenges, especially when it comes to trendy materials for kitchen countertops, lobby entranceways, and other living spaces in the home. As an architect or home designer, you can use software programs to easily imagine all kinds of personalized elements for a custom home. But converting those designs from the computer screen to the tangible real world? That presents an entirely different set of problems during the construction phase.
These challenges are magnified when the design involves the use of stone. Cutting granite, marble, slate, limestone, soapstone, travertine, engineered stone for intricate counter and floor designs can result in major manufacturing headaches.
Cutting stone: What could go wrong
Recent design trends look great when they jump off the page of the latest interior design magazine and the finished product can be extremely attractive – if the components are properly cut. Many contemporary kitchen and bathroom designs include waterfall countertops – a very different construction from traditional countertops which involve a single horizontal surface that ends at the edge of an island, peninsula, or bank of cabinets.
The waterfall concept, in contrast, drops down vertically from the sides creating a continuous flow to the floor. This design requires that you cut the top of the slab at a 45-degree angle from the edge and then glue the drop-down piece to give the impression of a thicker piece of marble down to the floor. This intricate design introduces an especially tricky cutting problem.
Additional cutting challenges comes when customers request the use of man-made rather than natural materials. Many of these manufactured materials are non-porous, naturally resistant to bacteria and mold, durable, and easy to maintain. That’s good news. The bad news is that these materials are extremely brittle and difficult to cut.
Sintered stone is another man-made material gaining in popularity. It is created by exposing minerals to extremely high temperatures and pressure, creating an incredibly strong and durable surface, resistant to heat, abrasions, and scratches. Again, all positive attributes for the end customer. But the manufacturing process to create this material introduces serious issues when it comes to cutting. The high amount of tension can cause the material to shatter when cutting with conventional bridge saws.
The move to these types of materials isn’t going away. So how are you going to address the resulting cutting challenges?
Waterjet to the rescue
Fortunately, there is a solution to working with difficult natural and man-made stone materials: waterjet cutting technology. Whether you’re cutting natural or engineered stone or other material for floors and counters, you can rely on the abrasive waterjet’s unique ability to cut intricate designs at high speed without breakage. This advanced technology is the key that enables you to bring these imaginative designs to life. Compared to traditional cutting tools and CNC machines, Waterjet cutting systems are easy to use, dramatically increase productivity, and reduce costs when working with stone, glass, and tile.
Flow – Dynamic Cutting Stone
There are several advantages waterjet has over traditional cutting tools when it comes to cutting stone or tile. No heat or surface stress introduced ensuring the stone or tile retains its original appearance and strength. Minimal kerfs improve material utilization, reduces costs, and increasing profits. Virtually no chipping on the edge even on thin materials. Reduced scrap and significant raw material savings. Low operating costs with long cutting nozzle life and light flexible tooling. Omni-directional cutting eliminates constant repositioning on the cutting bed. Minimal lateral and vertical forces eliminate the need for extensive parts clamping. Single-pass cutting for most materials. Net or near-net cutting reduces the need for hand finishing. Real-world results
Juan Trujillo, the owner of Atlanta Natural Stone, has experienced the benefits of waterjet technology first hand. He has been a Flow Waterjet customer for over two years and now has two units – Mach 2B and Mach 200. Before bringing in the waterjet systems he used bridge saws and performed tough cuts by hand. With the Flow waterjet units, Trujillo has been able to grow his business while keeping costs down. The company’s work involves the most high end, a million-dollar custom home market that requires high quality to meet the intricate, unique design requirements.
“We couldn’t do the work we do without the waterjet technology,” Trujillo said. “Our competitors can’t do the type of work we do because they don’t have waterjet systems. They come to me for their high quality, tough cutting needs.” The company employs eight people and brings in extra contract labor to help during peak demand periods. They are now able to do complicated work like waterfall counters two to three times faster than they could with conventional cutting tools. The raw material savings and increased productivity have been a boom to his business.
“Waterjet technology has been key to the success of my business,” said Trujillo. “If you want to take your business to the next level, you should invest in the waterjet.”
Added by expert and export team of Bhandari Marble World…….