Your choice of stone countertop material for the kitchen, bathroom, or vanity is important but your selection is not complete until you choose a surface finish, yes you have a choice, and you should know what they are. This choice will be the final touch needed to complete your countertop decorating or remodeling purchase.
You want to be aware of the different surface finishes if your choice is a soapstone kitchen countertop, a marble vanity countertop, a granite bathroom countertop, or any other natural stone countertop. Because it is the surface finish of the stone that will ultimately determine the appearance of your countertops when installed.
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There are various finishes, each with its own characteristics and presentation. Here are a few of the most commonly used surface finishes and their characteristics.
Flamed Stone Countertop Finish The process of producing a flamed finish involves high heat to produce an exceedingly rough surface texture. At the factory the stone is heated which causes crystals in the stone to start to pop, thus forming the rough surface. This makes a flamed finish surface very porous, requiring it to be treated and sealed. This is recommended for areas that do not get much traffic.
Polished Stone Countertop Finish A machine is used to achieve a polished finish. It draws out the deepest stone colors and the natural veins, providing the shiniest, almost reflective appearance, and colors that are brilliant. This finish makes a particularly powerful color statement. The shine is not from gloss coating but from heavy polishing.
A polished stone kitchen countertop finish is nonporous and very smooth. However, it still needs to be maintained like an all-natural stone. This finish is great for high traffic areas.
Honed Stone Countertop Finish Another machine process that is used to acquire a smooth, satiny surface. It has a flat (low sheen) or matte appearance, different levels of sheen are available. The colors of honed surface finishes are not as brilliant or more muted than other finishes like polished stone.
It offers a very porous and very smooth surface that should be maintained with proper sealing. Honed stone kitchen countertop finishes are good for areas that get high traffic.
Sandblasted Stone Countertop Finish Pressurized combinations of sandy water are use to treat the stone to get a sandblasted finish, resulting in a highly textured surface with a matte gloss.
Sandblasted surfaces are becoming increasingly popular as they give a raw, organic appearance that is both natural and contemporary. Like all natural stone surfaces that are textured sandblasted stone requires proper maintenance sealing.