Mass finishing is amongst the most widely used finishing processes in modern manufacturing, in applications from deburring to edge radiusing and polishing. Processing objectives are varied, ranging from the cosmetic to the functionally critical. One such critical application is the hydraulically smooth polishing of aero engine component gas-washed surfaces. In this, and many other applications the drive to improve process control and finish tolerance is ever present. Considering its widespread use mass finishing has seen limited research activity, particularly with respect to surface characterization. The objectives of the current paper are to; characterise the mass finished stratified surface and its development process using areal surface parameters, provide guidance onthe optimal parameters and sampling method to characterise this surface type for a given application, and detail the spatial variation in surface topography due to coupon edge shadowing. Blasted and peened square plate coupons in titanium alloy are wet (vibro) mass finished iteratively with increasing duration. Measurement fields are precisely relocated between iterations by fixturing and an image superimposition alignment technique. Surface topography development is detailed with 'log of process duration' plots of the 'areal parameters for scale-limited stratified functional surfaces', (the Sk family). Characteristic features of the Smr2 plot are seen to map out the processing of peak, core and dale regions in turn. These surface process regions also become apparent in the 'log of process duration' plot for Sq, where lower core and dale regions are well modelled by logarithmic functions. Surface finish (RaorSa) with mass finishing duration is currently predicted with an exponential model. This model is shown to be limited for the current surface type at a critical range of surface finishes. Statistical analysis provides a group of areal parameters including; Vvc, Sq, and Sdq, showing optimal discrimination for a specific range of surface finish outcomes. As a consequence of edge shadowing surface segregation is suggested for characterization purposes.