Glossary of Terms in Stone

Glossary of Terms in Stone


A term which covers various ageing and distressing methods applied to achieve a worn and aged look to the stone. The effect of the various antiquing methods and processes will vary and is dependent upon the type of stone and the country of origin.


A finishing process which gives a slight texture to the surface of the stone. The effect of brushing will vary and differ from stone to stone depending on the type of stone and the degree of brushing applied.


Indicates tiles which are calibrated are of nominal variation in thickness.


Usually applies to travertine that has been cut horizontally to the running vein in the block.


Primarily relates to Travertine Tiles which are characterised by holes and pits to the surface. These holes can be pre-filled at the factory by a stone resin which is similar to the colour of the stone. Once filled the stone can then be Honed, Polished or Tumbled. All the pits and holes will not be filled at the factory and therefore even pre-filled tiles may require some filling with grout during the installation. It is not unusual for natural stone tile to have some degree of surface filling present. Ongoing resin filling may be needed as part of a maintenance regime.


This is a thin or thread like line of mineral veining which normally contrasts with the base colour of the stone.


A type of antique finish obtained by heating the surface of the stone with high temperature flames. This finishing method gives a textured surface as the various component crystals are affected by the heat. Flamed stone can also be brushed after being flamed for a softer feel.


Fossils are remnants of animals or plants which have turned to stone over millennia. Fossils are generally found in Limestone, Marbles and occasionally Sandstone and can take many forms.

Free Length

A format for laying tiles where the width of the stone is one, i.e. 400mm or 600mm and the length of the tiles vary randomly or are a mix of a minimum of three different lengths, giving an overall look which is reminiscent of traditional stone floors.


A smooth matt finish to the face of the stone. Edges are either straight or with a slight bevel which gives a contemporary/classical look.


A repeating modular pattern made up of at least four different tile sizes in order to give a random effect to the floor./p>


A high reflective, gloss finish given to the surface of the stone with diamond discs.


A natural cleft face achieved by splitting blocks of stone along natural planes. This term usually relates to Slate, Schist, Sandstone and occasionally Limestone.

Split Face

A finish which gives a highly textured, variegated and tactile surface. Often used as a feature wall, Split face products come in many materials and are available in mosaics, cladding blocks and wall panels.


A process of ageing stone, whereby the tiles are tumbled to give them a rounded, distressed edge finish. This process may also leave the surface more open and textured.


Stones that vary in thickness between tiles and across individual tiles. Normally applies to Riven materials.


This term usually relates to Travertine which is characterised by naturally occurring surface pits and holes. An unfilled finish leaves these holes open. The Travertine will need to be ‘slurry grouted’ at installation across the surface in order that the holes are filled. Small holes are found in Limestone, Marble which can be left unfilled or filled with grout depending on preference.


Irregular lines of minerals found in stone, most notably Marble but also Limestone, usually contrasting with the base colour of the stone.


A term which means that the tiles or slabs are cut in line with the natural veins present in the stone. These striations give a banded appearance to the finished surface of the stone.

Porcelain Glossary


A small variation from stated sizes and thicknesses which occurs due to production methods used. This variation should always be expected and can be more pronounced the larger the tile.


Porcelain that is cut to size prior to the firing process. Some size variation will be present from tile to tile. Tiles of this type are referred to as non-rectified.


Also known as Dimensionally Stable Tile, this is a term used to describe porcelain tile that is consistent in its dimensions. This is due to the fact that sheets of porcelain are cut after being fired. Traditional tiles are cut prior to firing, often leading to inconsistent shrinking. Because rectified porcelain tile is more consistent in size, it is very easy to decorate with. Complicated tile work is more easily achieved with this type of tile. It is also easier to achieve thinner grout lines with rectified porcelain tile.