Stones can have many different kinds of textures and finishes. One rough, natural texture that quickly comes to mind is clefted which can be found on most slates. Polishing is the main and the most frequently applied finish. It follows the finest honing and employs polishing abrasives that add brilliance with mirror effect to the stone surface. A honed finish is not reflective and makes the color tones slightly dull, but the treatment preserves the material’s natural aesthetic characteristics. In the picture below, a travertine was used on the walls of this walk-in shower in conjunction with polished marble in the striping.
In sandblasting, a high-pressure jet of siliceous sand or carborundum or steel shots is applied to the area to be treated. It produces a smooth abrasion, leaving the material slightly scratched on the surface, but not rugged. One of my most favorite is a brushed finish. It is obtained by applying hard plastic or metal brushes to the stone surface. The heavily action removes the softer part of the stone and wears out the surface, giving it a look similar to that of an antiqued finish. A new type of finish that has been introduced to the market over the past year is the leather finish. It is kind of like a river-washed effect, as if the softer portions of the stone had been eroded by a natural stream over many, many years. To the touch, it has the slightest texture as you run your fingers over it. It also takes away most of the shine, leaving a soft, satin look and feel. A color enhancer can be used to bring back the vivid, color uniqueness of the stone.
When choosing a finish for the stone in your bathroom, it is important to think about the utility of the room. The floor is going to get wet. If you are using a polished stone on the floor, then it is going to be very slippery. The rougher the stone, the more tactile it will be, which will result in a safer floor when wet. Other considerations include durability. Polished and honed stones can scratch, while clefted and sandblasted ones are more resistant to damage, and hide it better.