Surface Finishing for Engineered Stone

Surface finishing for engineered stone, has benefited in part from the advanced research on abrasives for natural stone products, and also from the new surface molding technique. So I guess we can say that engineered stone surface finishing has evolved significantly in the last few years. The traditional polished finish and honed finish are currently being threatened by several new finishes that are constantly appearing. These new finishes gives the same product unique texture features which takes a common piece of stone into another level.
Although we do have certain limitations regarding materials and manufacturing procedures, I have listed some surface finishing available with engineered stone:
  • Polished surface or Glossy finish: Polished surface is the most standard finish you will find, it’s basically a shiny finish on a smooth plain surface. Every stone has a gloss index for it’s shine. Some stones can be more glossy than others, but basically you will find on a polished surface more than 50 points of gloss. The stone which I’ve encountered with the greatest gloss index has been black granite which in some cases is above 100 points gloss. In Engineered marble (cultured marble) gloss on average should be between 70 and 85. While engineered quartz will have lower index of gloss around 55-70.
  • Honed Finish or Matt Finish: A honed finish is a lot like a polished finish, the surface is smooth, although the gloss index is lower. Honed finishes are commonly used on some flooring, as it’s less slippery that the polished finish. Producing honed finish surfaces is basically excluding part of the gloss abrasives, therefore making the material a matt finish. Sometimes colour may fade or whiten, for this problem there are many solutions, for example in marble, there are special abrasives to bring out the base colour, so you’ll have a nice perfect colour with a honed finish. Their are even chemical surface treatments that may also intensify the colour of the stone.
  • Bush Hammered finish: Like the ones made on natural stone, the same tooling applies for engineered stone. And like natural stone you may have different types of bush hammered finish, being the fine and the medium tip bush hammered material the most commonly used. 

  •  Aged, Anticato  ...: these finishes are made using steel and diamond fiber filament abrasives. Normally the steel are the first ones, which scrub the surface of the stone, and the diamond fiber filament will basically give it a brush polish finish.
  • Satinato, Silken Leather, Satin ...: many manufacturers will eventually give it a nice commercial name, however they are all more or less similar. Most of them have either a fine or medium bush hammered surface treatment followed by special diamond fiber filament abrasives. Which gives the surface a different texture, the sense of touch is really the base of these products.
Until this point I've mentioned the surface finishes which are done on  plain surface and on any type of stone. Obviously the effect will be different due to the hardness of each type of stone, and in some cases the desired effect or texture may not be suitable. Besides the surface finishes mentioned their are several other types, special type of abrasives are required to make special texture features on several types of stone. Many of the abrasive manufacturers will have unique solutions for you. What I normally do, I involve my R&D, they join effort with the abrasive manufacturers to produce lab tests, before we get into expensive industrial trials. This may save you time and money.

Special texture features for engineered quartz

In the last few years, many engineered quartz manufacturers have launched new surface textures, which have special engraved texture features on the surface of the slab. They have used the technology available in their slab plant to their advantage. The slabs are made in molds, so the textures have been engraved on the slabs mold. They have been able to imitate natural slate very well, and come up with several innovative finishes.

Sand blasted surface features
Sand blasted surface finishes are  rare in the business, but you do see some manufacturers presenting unusual things in International Fairs, based on this technology. The possibilities using sand blasted surface finishes are endless, although it's still a costly process, it does make unique surfaces on any type of stone. Personally, I enjoy the fact that you can actually create very innovative features on your product, and the possibilities available are really enormous.


To My Blog Visitors

To all my blog visitors, I would like to thank you for visiting my blog. January 2011 has been a milestone for my blog, the month is not yet over and the number of visitors has more than doubled my December total.
I'm not a professional blogger as most of you have noticed, and sometimes I think some issues go a little into too much detail. But sharing this information which I've gathered through years and years of experience has been rewarding. I sincerely hope that my blog will help my readers with stone issues, namely engineered stone which I tend to focus due to my past experience in the field. If anyone has a specific question pls feel free to e-mail me at: tomson2101@gmail.com. I will try to help as much as I can.
I've got a whole lot of new posts which I'm working on, they've taken up a lot of my time, which has delayed my publishing schedule, as they say: better late than never.