Marble surface finishes, what do you get? by Lawrence Payne

The world of marble is an endless and challenging venue for mosaicists. With all the different colors, textures, and finishes to choose from, it can be difficult to understand what you’re working with.

Do you know the difference between polished, honed, and brushed finishes on marble surfaces? Here is a quick guide for understanding what each finish means. Polished Marble: This surface has been ground to give it a shiny, reflective appearance. Honed Marble: The top layer of this material has been sanded off with a machine or by hand and then polished to create an even more reflective surface. Brushed Marble: In contrast to polishing or honing, the surface is roughened up by brushing with metal wires or some other abrasive tool before being smoothed out again with another wire brush. These different methods produce different textures. Any of these finishes you can get with marble rods, generally though you will get the more matt finish.

When you cut the stone with a hammer and hardie then you also have the option of using the inside cut surface, known as the riven cut. This riven cut shows what we term as the true colour of the marble. This means it is a surface that does not need polishing or waxing or any chemical agents to enhance the colour, you use it just as it is.

By cutting the marble so you have the machine edge against your baseboard and the riven surface uppermost you can get a very distinct finish to your mosaic. Obviously, this is just for decorative or wall mosaics, not floors!

Originally published at

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Lawrence Payne

Lawrence Payne

I help people create authentic copies of Roman mosaics even if they do not have any background in art or crafts.