Complete Guide To Stone Tile Finishes

Ever wondered what the difference between honed tiles and tumbled tiles is? This page has all the information you could possibly need to help you make the right choice when it comes to buying the perfect stone tiles.

What are honed tiles?

Honed stone tiles are evenly cut, with a smooth, even finish and bearing no cutting or sanding marks. The finish is naturally matte or flat, and usually is not glossy, while the edges are usually straight cut or slightly bevelled. Due to their uniform thickness and straight edges, they can be tiled with a tight grout joint and lend themselves well to geometric tile patterns.

The honed finish generally does not reflect light as much as glossier or more polished finishes, which makes them a perfect tile to bring subtle character to a space, or to bring a sense of calm to an otherwise open space. They bring a natural look with an even finish – some would say that is the best of both worlds.

Are honed tiles slippery?

Honed tiles are slip-resistant, making them a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens. As they are somewhat porous, they absorb water more readily – but care should still be taken when wet as a film of water on the top of any tile will be slippery.

Do honed tiles need to be sealed?

As they are porous, they will absorb water more easily, and hence stain more easily. Sealing the tiles after they are fitted is essential to their health and longevity. Before sealing, drying and cleaning are strongly recommended – ideally with a product that removes grime and stains. We recommend a product such as Mattstone 1 ltr to seal fitted honed tiles, as it protects the floor against all sources of staining.

How to clean honed tiles?

Sweep or vacuum the area, before using a product such as Grimex to clean the tiles. Wet the tiles with hot water, and apply the cleaning product in firm, circular strokes. If the are is particularly stained, leave the solution for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Any spills or debris should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid scratching and staining.

What are tumbled tiles?

Tumbled tiles get their finish from being put into large containers filled with aggregate and shaken, which wears down the surface of the tile until it is somewhat rough – giving the appearance of having been sandblasted. The edges of the tile will be smooth and rounded , potentially with some chipping.

The tumbling process means that a tumbled finish will hide any imperfections in the stone, and fit perfectly into rustic settings where an aged-looking tile will help create a more timeless environment. Tumbled tiles will often require a wider grout seam to account for the tumbled edges.

Are tumbled tiles slippery?

Tumbled tiles have lots of friction due to the tumbling process, and so are very safe tiles to walk on.

Do tumbled tiles need to be sealed?

Since they are porous, they absorb more water and, as a result, stain more easily. After the tiles have been laid, they must be sealed to ensure their health and durability. Before sealing, thoroughly dry and clean the surface – preferably with a product that removes grime and stains. We recommend a product such as Mattstone 1 ltr to seal fitted tumbled tiles, as it protects the floor against all sources of staining.

How to clean tumbled tiles

Sweep or vacuum the area before cleaning the tiles with a product like Grimex. Wet the tiles with hot water and use firm, circular strokes to apply the cleaning product. Allow the solution to sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing if the area is especially stained. To prevent scratching and staining, any spills or debris should be dealt with as soon as possible.

What are polished tiles?

Polished tiles are the typical finish we think of when it comes to stone tiles. Polishing enhances the natural colours and depth of the stone, and usually reflects more light. Not all stone is hard enough to be polished effectively, so usually you will find polished granite or marble, rather than limestone or travertine. It is a perfect choice for areas that could do with brightening up, and brings a touch of elegance to any application.

Are polished tiles slippery?

Due to the smooth surface, polished tiles can indeed be slippery, especially when wet, so consider the amount of foot traffic in the area you are considering fitting polished stone tiles.

Do polished tiles need to be sealed?

Although polished tiles are usually very hard and smooth, the polishing process can open up many tiny pores in the surface of the stone which can get filled with grime, and lead to dulling. It is best to check with your tile supplier on the best way to seal your polished tiles – in some cases it is unnecessary!

How to clean polished tiles

Sweep or vacuum the area before cleaning the tiles with a gentle cleaning product such as Wax wash. Follow the cleaning product instructions to properly clean the floor.

What are riven tiles?

Riven tiles are tiles that have been split along natural fault lines in the stone, creating a rippled water texture. They look incredibly natural due to the uneven thickness, and clefts and peaks that appear on the surface flow together smoothly. Slate tiles are typically riven in this way, and are perfect for indoor or outdoor tiling.

Are riven tiles slippery?

As they are usually harder stones they can be somewhat slippery, but the slate offers a natural friction, and the uneven surface helps prevent any slips.

Do riven tiles need to be sealed?

It is recommended to seal riven slate tiles as they are porous and can accumulate dirt and grime. A product such as Mattstone is perfect for this.

How to clean polished tiles

Sweep or vacuum the area before cleaning the tiles with a gentle cleaning product such as Wax wash. Follow the cleaning product instructions to properly clean the floor.

Want to know more?

Gen in touch with our experts to find the perfect tile for your application.