Everything you need to know about the different marble surface finishes


Basic marble surface finishes & useful tips for their use in construction & architectural projects

Gian Raska,
Production A Supervisor

Some may consider me biased, but marble is one of the most exciting materials to work with. The surface textures, colors, patterns, and choices that can be found are practically unlimited. Just as endless are the choices that each material offers to express one’s self creatively, taking advantage of its inexhaustible diversity.

Perhaps when some of us hear the word “marble”, we may have in mind a material that is white, bright and shiny like a mirror, but this is not the entire truth.

“In recent years there has been a growing market interest in products with

finished surfaces not only for practical, but mainly for aesthetic reasons.”

In recent years, there has been a growing market interest for products with differently finished surfaces, not only for practical but also for aesthetic reasons, as additional alternatives in architecture and decoration. In many interior and exterior applications, these highlight the timelessness and consistency of the material.

But what exactly does a marble surface finish mean, what are the different marble finishes and what do you need to know to choose the most suitable one for your project?

The Vermion white Greek marble with 3 different surface finishes, polished, sandblasted and bush hammered
The Vermion white Greek marble with 3 different surface finishes

By the phrase marble finish, we mean all those different additional processes that are carried out on the surface of the natural stone, in order to change its appearance, but also to achieve or highlight its characteristics.

A different type of finish can give the natural material a completely differing character and change its end-use properties. In this way, marble can be made suitable for many different applications.

We often hear the terms polished marble, honed marble, tumbled marble, brushed marble, etc. For certain, there are many types of marble finishes that can be applied to these types of natural stone. Below we have gathered the most popular. At the same time, we have added their most basic technical details, as well as their proposed uses in architecture and design.

The most common marble surface finishes:

1. Polished finish

‘’What is a Polished finish on marble?

The most widespread finish given to marble – the classic smooth, reflective look.

The material reflects light and acts like a mirror.”

Marble polishing is undoubtedly the most widespread form of marble finishes; it gives it the classic smooth, reflective look that most of us have in our minds, bringing out all its natural and colorful beauty.

If you wonder how we achieve this, the answer is granulometry, the repeated rubbing of different grains on the surface of the marble, from the thickest to the finest, in order to achieve a smooth, polished appearance.

Following a specific process, the polished marble acquires the ability to reflect light and gain depth, while giving the feeling of a mirror. In addition, the sealer coating layer that may also be applied offers further resistance against penetration of liquids and ensures a longer lasting effect.

Useful tip #1 for interior design applications: The polished finish, or for others, the high gloss finish, is recommended for indoor applications, such as on residential, professional and commercial floors, in fireplaces and on kitchen counters, but also in interior or exterior wall cladding.

Useful tip #2 for using marble in wet areas: Before you decide to apply polished marble to your project, we suggest that you take into account the slipperiness that can occur when it gets wet, in combination with the space to which it will be applied.

4 different marbles with polished surface finishes
Different typed of Greek marble with polished surface finishes

2. Matte or Satin – Honed finish

‘’What is a ‘Honed, matte or satin finish on marble?

A process that gives the marble a smooth but “matte” finish,

with a slight sheen, lower than that found in the polished finish”

To achieve this finish, we use the same abrasives as in the polished finish, but in smaller amounts. In essence, it is a method similar to the previous one, but stops at an earlier stage, maintaining the original depth and color of the marble. It leaves a smooth, matte finish on the surface of the marble.

Matte surfaces end up being smooth, with no glossy or reflective finish appearances. They seem to have a subtle satin finish and a slight sheen.

Useful tip for honed marble: A matte surface is clearly less slippery than a polished one. This is the reason why this slip resistant surface is considered more suitable, by architects and project managers in specific applications, but also where there are safety considerations.

3 different marbles with honed matte satin surface finishes
Different types of Greek marble with honed matte satin surface finishes

3. Antique or Brushed finish

‘’What is an Antique or Brushed finish on marble?

A finish that gives the surface of the marble a relief character,

emanating the feeling of old-fashioned, antique material”

This process is similar to the polishing process, with the difference that here we use brushes as a means of finishing.

The surface of the marble slabs is rubbed on the abrasive machine, on which metal or synthetic brushes have been placed. During the rubbing process, the softest stone on the surface is removed, while at the same time, the solid stone of the slab “emerges”.

This finish gives the marble a relief character, which exudes the feeling of an aged, natural and antique look to the material.

Useful tip for brushed marble: This type of brushed look finish is mostly for decorative applications in interior and exterior spaces. However, it is worth mentioning that, with the right lighting, different properties of the finished surface are highlighted!

3 different marble types with textured antique brushed surface finishes
Different types of marble with textured antique brushed surface finish

4. Sandblasted finish

‘’What is a Sandblasted finish on marble?

A finish that gives the surface of the marble a slightly rough texture”

Sand finishing, or sandblasting, is a finish known in many applications. In the case of marble, it is achieved by blasting particles of silicon or sand on the marble surface for the purpose of corrosion. We mainly use artificial means, in the same polishing machines, but with electrolyzed rollers.

With this process, the material acquires a non-slip character with a slightly rough feel, but pleasant to the touch.

Useful tip for sandblasted marble: This finish gives the material a non-slip character, which is why it is considered ideal for indoor applications on floors, stairs and wall claddings, as well as for corresponding external applications.

4 different marbles with sandblasted surface finishes
Different types of marble with sandblasted surface finish

5. Bush Hammered finish

‘’What is a Bush Hammered finish on marble?

A finish that gives the marble surface a non-slip effect’’

Here, the surface of the marble is finished in the polishing machines by a special tool with multiple pins, placed at equal distances, on wheels. This finish gives the marble surface a non-slip uniform appearance, as well as a lighter color shade, compared to the original material.

Useful tip for bush hammered marble: This application is ideal for use in high traffic areas due to its non-slip nature. It is mainly recommended for outdoor use, in areas such as swimming pools and bathrooms, while if combined with the use of an antiquing brush, it can deliver a softer and more pleasant result.

2 different marbles with bush hammered surface finish
Different types of marble with bush hammered textured surface finish

In our company we have the necessary facilities, infrastructure and machinery so as to offer you all the above texture finish options, as well as the specialized staff which can perform them with precision and perfection. The applications of all the above marble finishes can be perfectly implemented in any kind of project, be it marble floor marble tiles, smaller tiles and marble mosaic tile for the bathroom, or even marble tiles for kitchen counters.

At Stone Group International we constantly monitor the trends in architectural design, while, at the same time, have an extensive knowledge of the marble stone material, its behavior and capabilities. By continuously investing in state-of-the-art equipment we are constantly upgrading our marble supplier services.

Whatever the aesthetic results and specifications of your project,

our team and I, personally,

are here to recommend the most appropriate finish for you.

Do not hesitate to contact us.

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