Stone Polishing and Restoration Issues: Luster

When it comes to the polish level (‘finish’) of stone, our commercial and residential stone restoration and polishing services involve some subjective interpretation.  The question of ‘how shiny’ to make the floor can be a large one.  It can bring up questions of aesthetics, cost, and even safety.  If the finish makes the floor more slippery—which happens sometimes when a gloss finish is chosen—our commercial clients, developers, and property managers have to worry about liability.  Usually everyone is on the same page, but occasionally a demonstration sample is required for specific jobs, to illustrate to the client what the final product will be.  For example, a client says “I want the floor honed,” which in most cases means very dull, flat luster.  But when they see the results they realize what they really want is a notch shinier than honed—either a buffed eggshell patina, or maybe a low satin shine.  Due to our years of experience, along with the communication skills of our Sales and Estimating Team, this type of miscommunication is rare.

Our luster expectations can generally be described this way:

High Gloss – the shiniest mirror-like finish.  If you look ninety degrees straight down at the floor you should see your reflection.  Some stone, based on its properties, will never be able to reach High Gloss.

Low Gloss – the lowest level of mirror-like shine that will still allow a person to see their reflection (just barely!) when looking straight down.

High Satin, Medium Satin, and Low Satin – these describe levels of polish that are shiny and radiant, but not shiny enough to see one’s reflection at any angle.  They offer sophistication and beauty, but are less labor-intensive to achieve and less work to maintain.

Eggshell Patina – this is how we describe a surface that has a very slight amount of luster, similar to an eggshell.  In other words, a surface that appears to have been worn over decades having a slightly buffed appearance, but is not ‘shiny’ per se.

Honed – honed surfaces are wet ground and finished luster-free.  Truly honed surfaces are ‘dead’ (no luster).