Natural Stone Flooring Finishes

Jim Williams
Posted in:
Buying Guides

Beyond choosing your type of flooring, you’ll have other decisions to make when remodeling – including the finish of your floor. If your flooring choice is natural stone, you have a range of finishes to choose from. It may seem like an overwhelming decision, but once you break each option down the choice should be clear.

Here are the most common natural stone flooring finishes. Each beautifully unique, you may have a tough decision selecting the ideal finish for your space!


Polished finished natural stone has incredible shine. Manufacturers apply polishing techniques with compounds, powders, or sanders to achieve a mirror-like finish. Polished natural stone floors bring out the shine and sparkle of the crystals and veining found in natural stones like marble and granite. When caring for polished natural stone floors keep in mind that they will need to be specially treated. Avoid installing polished tiles on areas that are prone to moisture.

Common polished stone floors: marble, limestone, granite, quartz, onyx


A honed natural stone tile appears more flat or matte than polished stone. Honed natural stone tiles do not have any bumps or ridges, and they provide a nice middle-ground option between polished and natural finishes. Honed stone floors hide scratches more effectively than polished floors, although many people prefer the “pop” of polished stone flooring. Check out some visuals of honed tiles on Houzz.

Common honed stone floors: marble, limestone, slate, travertine

Saw Cut

Saw cut, or unfinished natural stone, is great for homeowners or remodelers looking for a rustic appearance. The natural stones are saw cut and then moderately polished to create an “unfinished” look. This is a semi-smooth finish that is slightly rougher then honed and yet smoother than sandblasted. The saw blade may leave visible saw marks, making it good for hiding scratches.

Common sawcut floors: all stone applications


Flamed finishes are achieved through engineering. Once the stone slab is cut, the surface is heated with a blowtorch then rapidly cooled. This will cause crystallization, leaving a rough, unrefined texture. This texture makes an ideal surface for non-slip areas like showers, bathrooms, patios, pool areas, or kitchens.

Common flamed stoned: granite

Split Faced

Split faced finishes offers a rough texture, but not as rough as a flame finish. The look is acquired through hand chiseling. Slabs of stone are stratified and cut parallel to the bedding so the natural orientation is exposed.

Common split faced floors: granite


Tumbled natural stone evokes the natural beauty of a room. With a rugged and Old-World feel, this type of natural stone finish has naturally soft edges and a textured look. Tumbled stone requires little maintenance – just make sure that debris, dust, and dirt stay out of the textured ridges.

Common tumbled floors: limestone, travertine