Finishing Tiles with a Tumbled or Cobbled Texture

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Although a clefted, or bumpy, surface is the most common stone surface seen on natural stones, it is not the only option. Over the years The CleftStone Works has developed several different finishes that can be applied to our product line. We have the capability to provide straight-cut edges, tumbled edges, and cobbling on the top edges of our products. In addition to these edge treatments, some of our stones are available with honed or brushed surface finishes.


Tumbled, or rounded corners, has become one of our more popular finishes over the years. The CleftStone Works can produce a tumbled finish on most of our natural stones, for tile sizes ranging from 1"x1" to 16"x16". This finish can be applied to all tile shapes and patterns, excluding thin linear items.

The CleftStone Works produces its tumbled finish by hand finishing and physically distressing cut stone tiles using rotary tumblers. Take note that typically the larger the tile, the more rustic it may become when tumbled. Larger tiles may become more chipped and have a more distressed appearance or missing corners because they are heavier and wear differently in our large rotary tumblers.

It is important to remember that all stones do not tumble equally.

The hardness and character of a material can dramatically impact the resulting finish of a tumbled stone tile; sandier stones may result in a more rounded finish, while harder or brittle stones may appear more chipped. We recommend ordering samples and range photos of larger tumbled stones for your clients review prior to ordering.

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Cobbled, or a chipped surface edge, is one of our newest capabilities in stone finishes. We are able to cobble tiles ranging from 6”x6” to 24”x24” in size. Although the final aesthetic result may range, the standard for cobbling consists of a ¼” to ½” chiseled surface on all four edges of the stone surface. Heavier cobbling and cobbling on different shapes may be available upon request. Cobbling can be combined with any of our other finishes and used for certain patterns.

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The terms “honed” and “polished” are often used interchangeably for slates and quartzite-type stones. When referring to the finish on our honed slates and quartzites, it has a mirror-like reflective shine. When referring to the finish on our honed travertines, it is sanded and smooth.

Our honed material arrives direct from the quarry, so only certain products are available with a honed finish.

Our honed line right now consists of four slates: Brazil Black, Brazil Green, Brazil Gray, and Brazil Purple, three quartzites: Copper Multicolor, Silver Gray, and Udiapur, and four travertines: Bisanthe, Ivory Beige, Golden Royal, and Rustic Walnut.

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A brushed, or smooth and soapy-like finish is our newest finish available. A brushed finish does not have a sheen or glossy appearance, but more of a smoothed surface with minimal clefting. At present, our brushed material comes direct from the quarry, and only four products are available: Brazil Black, Brazil Gray, Brazil Purple, and Brazil Green.

The CleftStone Works is investigating purchasing our own brushing machine to enhance this component of our line. Stay tuned for more updates!

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