What's the Difference Between Natural and Polished Slate?

In our line of work as specialist bespoke sign makers, knowing your etchings from your engravings is just part of the job. But for any would-be slate house sign buyer, things aren’t quite as clear cut if you haven’t come across the terms before. From laser machinery to sandblasting, we look at the differences between the two, the pros and cons of each and most importantly, the finish that they will give your house sign.

Laser Printed Natural Slate

The second popular option chosen for slate signs is etched lettering. This process uses a powerful laser that burns onto the face of the slate, causing a distinct change in colour from the dark grey slate to a much lighter grey tone. The slate we use at The Bespoke Sign House is of high grade, making it dark in colour and extremely durable, allowing greater contrast to be made in the etched lettering against the face of the sign. The process of etching does not leave deep grooves in the same way that the engraved slate process creates, instead it leaves a much softer finish to the lettering applied.

  • Pros of Laser Printed Signs

    • Cheaper than the Engraved & Painted option.

    • Laser Etching provides a smooth finish, natural finish.

    • Much quicker turnaround times, within 3 days we can make and dispatch.

  • Cons of Laser Printed Signs

    • Rain can make it harder to read the sign when wet, due to etchings going darker when exposed to water.

    • Only available in 1 colour (off-white).

Engraved & Painted Polished Slate

When it comes to putting lettering on signs, engraving is one of the oldest methods in the book. Albeit, things have come a long way from the days when rock and stick were used to chisel away at the face of the sign. For our engraved signs, we use a modern and skilful technique called sandblasting, which is as the name suggests, where you blast sand at a high velocity at the face of the sign to create grooved lettering. Once all the text on the sign is deeply engraved through the sandblasting process, paint can be applied to the groves making them stand out with a splash of colour against the dark grey slate, before being sealed with a long-lasting oil finish.

  • Pros of Engraved Signs

    • Signs can last for a lifetime if looked after. 

    • Easy to read in all weather conditions, as the engraving is deep.

    • Provides a stylish look to any property type.

    • We can colour the infills in up to 6 different paint colours.

  • Cons of Engraved Signs

    • Due to the process involved, it is slightly more time-consuming to produce, resulting in longer processing times.

    • The most expensive option of the two engraving styles.



Along with these more unusual sign colours, copper, gold and silver paint infills are particularly popular. You can see how they look on the diagram below showing real examples of each. All of these colours are available for selection through any of our online sign designer tools

Get a Sign for Yourself

Whether you're looking for an etched or an engraved sign, The Bespoke Sign House workshop can do it all. We have a wide array of design options available, view some of our best-selling house signs, pick your favourite and start designing your very own sign in seconds. With our online sign designer, you get a live preview, before it is handcrafted by our team, sealed with an oil finish and delivered to your door.