Pause for a moment and think about the spectacular limestone that comprises the Acropolis in Athens. Got that image? Now take a second to think about a smooth, sleek, marble countertop. The two are extremely different, and yet both are made from natural stone. The difference comes in the finish. While all natural stone is known for being extremely tough, durable and able to withstand the tests of time, each type of finish has something unique to offer. As a result, choosing the right stone finish for your property is extremely important.
Natural cleft and sandblasted stone finishes are extremely popular throughout NJ and its neighboring states. Both finishes offer a naturalistic yet sophisticated appearance that can add a dash of elegance to any landscape or hardscape. Both offer numerous benefits to users and can help to increase property value. So which stone finish is right for you – natural cleft or sandblasted? In an effort to help you make the most educated decision possible, we’ve assembled this guide to compare these two equally popular, but very different, stone finishes.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Type of Natural Stone Finishes
Projects involving natural stone are meant to last a lifetime. As a result, it’s extremely important that you take care to choose both stone and stone finishes that you feel confident that you can live with in the many years ahead.
This means that you must consider the overall appearance of the stone finish as well as any maintenance or cost considerations associated with it. Knowing all of the benefits and considerations will help you to make a smart choice.
Natural Cleft Stone At-a-Glance
Natural cleft stone finish enables users to enjoy the all natural look of split stone. This particular type of finish is only possible when the materials are layered and able to be split. Skilled workers then split the stone on a natural fault and the end result is a surface with a natural cleft texture and finish.
This means that the surface is slightly uneven. It’s not something that can be truly duplicated, as this type of finish is 100% naturally occurring. Typically this type of finish is only available in slate and sandstone, although you may find that some granites and limestones may be available with very heavy clefting.
Sandblasted Stone At-a-Glance
Sand blasted stone finishes differ from natural cleft finishes in that this particular type of finish is actually engineered by seasoned professionals. A high pressure blast of silica sand is applied to the surface of the stone through an air gun in order to create a finish that is very finely textured and granular.
This results in a rough but tidy appearance that can work well within design styles ranging from rustic to modern chic. The stone finish is well recognized for its small craters that are formed by the sand which work to highlight the natural color of the stone.
Natural Cleft Stone Benefits
There are several reasons why one might choose natural cleft stone finishing over other options. Some of the benefits include:
- Natural Beauty – Obviously, the biggest draw to natural cleft stone finishes is that it’s 100% natural. Because the only manufacturing done to the stone involves its splitting and sizing, you can enjoy the natural vibrancy and beauty of Mother Nature without any human intervention. This allows users to create stunning patios, floors, walls and other surfaces that are harmonious with the great outdoors.
- Unique Texture – Due to the fact that natural cleft finishes are naturally occurring, you can be rest assured that no one else will have stone quite like yours. Each stone will feature its own unique, one-of-a-kind texturing and patterns. This creates a great deal of visual interest and aesthetic value.
- Affordability – When compared to other stone finishes, natural cleft is among the most affordable. Minimal processing is used in order to prepare these stones for purchase meaning that expenses can be kept at a minimum.
Sandblasted Stone Benefits
Stone with a sandblasted finish comes with its own unique set of benefits, such as:
- Rich Texturing – The fine granules of silica sand that are blasted onto the surface of the stone create a rich texture like no other. This adds a great deal of depth and dimension to the stone while also creating a warm and vibrant atmosphere that is both relaxing and visually appealing.
- Soft Coloring – Although the craters of sandblasted stone can highlight the natural color of the materials, the sand softens out these hues for a very soft and subtle palette. As a result, these stones are often used to create a sense of tranquility in both outdoor and indoor living spaces.
- Excellent Traction – The sandblasted stone finish offers a great deal of traction making it ideal for high traffic areas or areas that may become wet after periods of rain or around swimming pools.
Natural Cleft Stone Considerations
While the unique textures and patterns associated with natural cleft finishes are certainly a big draw, it’s important to remember that this means that you will not be able to expect uniformity in the texture from one stone slab or unit to another.
If you’re looking for consistency, you may need to think about going a different route. Natural cleft stone comes “as-is” and thus may feature some imperfections. Most homeowners consider this to be part of the charm, but if it bothers you, consider another finish.
It’s also important to remember that natural cleft stone finishes are limited to specific types of stone, so if you desire more flexibility it’s best to ask a professional about your other options.
Sandblasted Stone Considerations
The granular and porous texturing associated with a sandblasted stone finish can make it a bit trickier to keep clean than other finishes.
Without proper sealing and care, spills can be absorbed into the sand and stone and create lasting blemishes. To avoid these types of issues, we strongly encourage you to consult with a professional to discuss sealing options and cleaning tips.
Natural Cleft Stone Cost
As mentioned previously, natural cleft stone finishes are extremely budget-friendly. There isn’t any extra work or manufacturing involved with this type of finish so you can expect a very low and affordable cost.
Sandblasted Stone Cost
Sandblasted stone finishes are also very reasonably priced and are considered to be quite affordable. Because the sandblasting process requires extra time, labor and materials, you should plan to pay a bit more than for natural cleft stone.
Where to Buy Natural Stone in NJ
Braen Supply offers a wide range of natural stone products that are available with either natural cleft or sandblasted stone finishes. Residents of NJ and its surrounding areas know that they can count on our massive inventory of high quality materials to meet their every need.
Our skilled professionals are more than happy to work with you to select the right stone and finish for your project, and to help you make plans for the work with the practical budget you can afford. We sell stone at competitive wholesale rates.