Monuments can be finished in a variety of ways. Like any industry, the monument industry has its own lingo used to describe its products. Short definitions of the common monument finishes are listed below.
POLISHED SURFACES are smooth and shiny. After granite blocks are quarried, they are sawn into slabs of the desired thickness. The sawn surfaces are then polished firstly with a coarse abrasive, then successively finer abrasives until perfectly smooth. The final shiny finish is achieved with a buffing process that uses an extremely fine abrasive. Most monuments have at least some polished areas.
ROCK PITCHED are rough, rock surfaces that have been pitched by hand using a hammer and chisel to achieve a finished, consistent rock effect.
SAWN SIDES are smooth, but may have lines in the finish from the saw blade, and are generally used only for surfaces that will not be visible after the monument is installed.
HONED SURFACES are surfaces that been partially polished. They are not shiny but are very smooth. They are rarely used – their primary application is the provide decorative contrast to polished areas.
STIPPLED surfaces appear as small white “dimples” caused by stunning the surface with a small pointed tool.
STEELED SURFACES are smooth surfaces that have been sandblasted using steel shot, which gives a bright, white, textured finish.
DUSTED SURFACES are smooth surfaces that have been sandblasted using abrasive grit. It is a more common treatment than steeling, and returns a similar texture, but it is not as bright. Both dusting and steeling are used for exposed monument surfaces where polished or rock pitched effects are not desired. A very common application for both treatments is the contrasting panel behind sandblasted lettering on memorials.
Common Monument Finish Abbreviations
BRP = Balanced Rock Pitched
P1 = Polished 1 surface only
P2, BRP = (Used for Dies) Polished front and back, top and ends are rock pitched.
P3, BRP = (Used for Dies) Polished front, back, and top with rock pitched ends.
P5 (or AP) = All 5 exposed surfaces are polished. AP stands for “All Polished”
PFT BRP = (Used for Bases and Grass Markers) Polished flat top with remaining exposed sides being rock pitched.
PFT SS = (Used for Grass Markers) Polished flat top with remaining exposed sides being sawn.
PSF = (Used for Slants) The front slant face is polished.