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Honing Polishing and Finishing: The Finer Details of Interior Stone

Oct 12, 2023

Honing Polishing and Finishing: The Finer Details of Interior Stone

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Honing, polishing and finishing is the first in a series of short posts focussing on how some of the finer details of interior stonemasonry really come into their own when carefully worked into broader project planning.

AF Jones Natural Stone Interiors: specialist honing and polishing and finishing at our Oxfordshire workshops

AF Jones Natural Stone Interiors: one of our specialist stonemasons inspecting a marble worktop at our Oxfordshire workshops

The tactile nature of stone is one of its main attractions for clients, and when it comes to planning in stone choice for kitchens, bathrooms or any other interior space, getting the best finish can be the difference between a good and outstanding for a project.

Slate, marble, limestone, and granite all have their own particular qualities dictating the best finishes possible. Accounting for these right from the start of a project can help establish a stone choice to hit client expectations rather than feed misconceptions as installation location, usage all impact upon choice of finish.

For example, slate can take a polish, but it’s advised only to go to a honed level because a polished slate will easily show up every scratch of the process and beyond. However, a Kilkenny or Belgian limestone, with comparable dark colouring can take a high polish for that sense of highly worked reflective finish. This is the kind of detail and direction a skilled stonemasonry company can give right from the start of a project where the client’s expectations can be set and then met successfully at the stone selection stage.

AF Jones Natural Stone Interiors: specialist honing and polishing at our Oxfordshire workshops

AF Jones Natural Stone Interiors: polishing marble at our Oxfordshire workshops.

The list of finish types is long: some are traditional giving an artisanal feel like bush hammering, whilst others are more involved such as tumbled finish. For each project, considering the cost of each finish at scale as well as the fit-for-purpose nature of each is as essential as taking on aesthetic appeal.

A honed finish is perfect for high foot traffic areas and also works well for soapstone worktops. A leathered finish, where the stone is heavily brushed, doesn’t show hand and finger-prints, water spots or smudges and is also stain and slip-resistant, whilst the weathered look of a tumbled finish is as decorative as it is low maintenance.

So, whilst we all know the basics of what finishes are available – Google has it all – the early-stage detail and knowledge of the “why” of honing polishing and finishing and their varying cost implications can make the difference to getting the project right at an early stage for contractors and architects.

At AF Jones Interiors, our masons can give this kind of advice right at the inception of a design or specification process ensuring the timeless feel of carefully finished natural stone is borne out in the quality, practicality and longevity of the completed installation.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What role do honing, polishing, and finishing play in interior stonemasonry? Honing, polishing, and finishing are crucial techniques in interior stonemasonry that significantly impact the tactile nature and aesthetic appeal of stone installations. These processes not only enhance the beauty of the stone but also determine its suitability for various applications, from kitchens and bathrooms to high-traffic areas, based on the stone’s inherent qualities.
  2. How does the choice of stone affect the final finish? Different stones, such as slate, marble, limestone, and granite, have unique properties that dictate their optimal finishes. For example, while slate is recommended to have a honed finish to minimize the appearance of scratches, Kilkenny or Belgian limestone can be highly polished for a reflective finish. Understanding these characteristics is vital for selecting the right stone and finish to meet client expectations and project requirements.
  3. Why is it important to consider the finish type at the start of a project? Early consideration of the finish type allows for a more accurate alignment of the stone’s aesthetic and functional aspects with the client’s expectations and the project’s design goals. It also aids in managing misconceptions by selecting the most appropriate finish based on the installation location, usage, and maintenance requirements, ensuring the stone’s longevity and appeal.
  4. What are some common finish types and their recommended applications?
    • Honed finish: Ideal for high foot traffic areas, offering a matte surface that conceals scratches and marks.
    • Leathered finish: Provides a textured surface resistant to fingerprints, water spots, and smudging, making it suitable for areas requiring frequent cleaning.
    • Tumbled finish: Offers a weathered, decorative look that is low maintenance, perfect for achieving a rustic aesthetic.
  5. How can AF Jones Interiors assist in the planning and execution of stone finishes for a project? AF Jones Interiors’ specialist stonemasons offer expert advice on the selection and application of stone finishes, ensuring that each project benefits from the timeless beauty, practicality, and durability of carefully finished natural stone. By integrating this expertise from the project’s inception, AF Jones Interiors helps architects and contractors achieve outstanding results that align with design specifications and client satisfaction.