Natural stone as cladding

The type of finish you may select for your upcoming project is beside design aspects also related to environmental influences based on the region where your project will be located. The environment in the GCC region with high temperatures above 50 Celsius centigrade, a high humidity during summer reaching above 80% on the sea side, and a salty environment is giving a different problem to solve, compared with cities in Europe with low temperatures in winter and mainly rain. A general regulation can be therefore not given and is related as well to the possibilities the selected Natural Stone is giving for its limitations.

Different finishes are possible for cladding:

Natural cleft

Natural Cleft Unique to slate & sandstones, it has a slightly uneven surface that is still usable for flooring. This finish cannot be created, but occurs naturally as the layers are quarried. One side (back side) can be gauged to facilitate ease of “thin set” installation. Some marbles, granites and limestone are available with heavy clefting, suitable for wall installations or paving purposes only.

Polished

Grinding, sanding, and buffing produces a high gloss, mirror-like surface. Polishing can be done only on crystallized stones. A polished finish doesn’t affect the porosity of the stone. A polished finish is quite popular as it enhances the colour and markings of the material. A stone with a polished finish is very smooth and reflective. This type of finish is used in reception areas, where marble, granite and some harder limestone are laid. The most popular uses of polished stone are in; interior and exterior wall cladding, Interior and exterior paving, Fireplace facing and hearth, Lavatory tops, Residential & Commercial counter tops, Table Tops etc. A high gloss and reflective surface finish that brings out the colours in the stone. The polishing of natural stone follows the same process as honing using finer abrasives. The degree of polish of the natural stone is determined by its mineral elements and texture and not all natural stones can be polished. Usually recommended for wall covering, polished stones are not usually recommended as stone flooring due to their low slip resistance value.

Honed 

Grinding and sanding produces a smooth, yet not glossy finish. This is best for low maintenance, high traffic applications. Honed finishes unlike polished finishes are not reflective. The honed finish is a satin smooth surface with little light reflection. This finish is often used on walking surfaces and other areas where heavy traffic would wear off a polished finish. Honed finishes are used in interior wall covering. It can also be used on the exterior in warm environments, table tops, very light duty residential flooring, etc. A smooth matt to light shine surface finish (depending on the stone). Created using different grades of abrasives under factory conditions, honed stone is the most commonly used and recommended internal floor finish.

Flamed

A flamed finish is one of the most popular finishes for external use where slip resistance is a concern. It is produced by applying a high-temperature flame to the surface of the stone which creates thermal shock and causes the inherent crystals to fracture, resulting in deeply textured surface ideal for external surfaces. This finish is mainly used on granites, and will hide surface imperfections and tone variations.

Sandblasted 

This is a rough, but tidy look created by applying a high pressure blast of sand to the stone’s surface. A sandblasted finish creates a finely textured surface ideal for use in traffic-ways. Applying a high-pressure jet of water mixed with sand, this treatment softens the colour and characteristics of the original stone.

Leather finish 

Available only in some varieties of marble & granite, this finish gives the stone a suede look and feel. This texture is smooth and slip-resistant.

Split face 

Mainly used for cladding, this is achieved by splitting stone either by hand or by machine so that the surface exhibits a natural quarry texture. It has a flat back and uneven front surface, and creates the uneven look of protruding bricks. The surface evenness varies with the stone and not all stones can be obtained in split face finish.

Veneer Stone

Any stone used as a decorative facing material as wall cladding which is not meant to be load-bearing. Veneer may be made from different finishes, such as split face, cleft, honed, polished, flamed or tumbled.

Antiqued

This stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles etc. to create a weathered, aged finish. An antique finish gives stone an aged appearance by replicating use and wear. Tumbling & at times acid wash is applied to surface of the stone which etches the surface of the stone. This generally dulls the colour of the stone. The surface is then be brushed with mechanical wire bush to make the stone smooth and slightly restore the colour.

Bush Hammered

A natural stone finish achieved by the application of a hydraulic bush hammer to the surface. The appearance of the bush hammered finish is industrial with a large number of close and small indents. A bush-hammered finished is created with a purpose-built high impact pitting device to engineer an evenly textured surface. The even grazing creates a non-slip surface ideal for high traffic external areas. This finish also lightens the colour and dulls any patterning found in a stone’s natural state.

Tumbled

Tumbling stones in a solution of sand, water and mild acid creates an old world, weathered look. The process of hand honing and then tumbling the natural stone giving a worn look with a natural patina from day one.

Fleuri Cut / Sawn Cut

This is achieved by cutting quarried marble, granite or stone parallel to the natural bedding plane. Saw cut finish has acquired its name owing to the saw cuts that are made on the surface of stone. When the stones are broken free of the cut layer they are shaped to uniform size. Saw Cut finish offers complimentary accent to other types of stone work. It is generally used for walls, gate entries, patios, landscape design applications etc.

Gauged / Ungauged

Stone is cleft out of blocks to form tiles. When it is cleft by machine or saw, it is gauged because a uniform thickness is formed. Ungauged stone is hand-cleft and its thickness may vary depending upon specific requirement of the customer.

Chiseled Stone

The appearance of this type of natural stone finish can be likened to a linen texture with the fine grooves positioned closely together and parallel to the edges.