Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Kafka Granite Paves Way for Sustainability

Investing in sustainability and eco-friendly ventures is costly. Despite the obvious and necessary environmental benefits, the sheer price tag of going green prevents many businesses from making this ecological leap. Kafka Granite, a family owned small business, has found an impressive number of ways to bear its eco-conscious muscle and help the environment despite its size.

In addition to offering decomposed granite aggregate solutions, which are an inherently environmentally friendly alternative to asphalt or concrete, Kafka Granite offers a broad portfolio of other green solutions, such as white roofs and permeable paver grit. Thinking outside of the granite box, Kafka has even teamed up with several other businesses in efforts to recycle waste product such as porcelain, glass, mirror, firebrick and slag.

Decomposed granite is a natural product and is the result of granitic rocks being weathered and eroded. Although organic stabilizing binders can be added and the aggregate is compacted, the permeability of decomposed granite aggregate perseveres. Beyond natural decomposed granite, many other eco-friendly hardscape solutions are becoming popular. In addition to supplying manufacturers with aggregate to create permeable pavers, Kafka Granite also specially produces permeable paver grit, the joint filler between the pavers.

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain - Chicago, IL

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain – Chicago, IL

An added benefit of Kafka Granite’s permeable paver grit is its ability to complement the pavers’ color or design. It can be practically camouflaged or can lend itself to the aesthetics of the area while providing the appropriately sized joint filler. Using the correct size, and hardness, of aggregate between pavers ensures that joints between pavers won’t become clogged and the permeability of the joints will remain optimal during its lifespan.

The incredible permeability of Kafka’s aggregate prevents water runoff or unwanted flooding — instead, the water permeates the aggregate and is reabsorbed by the soil and water table below. Ancillary benefits of Kafka aggregate include its lifespan — requiring fewer replacements than alternatives.

Some of Kafka’s aggregates are manufactured for other environmental causes such as white roofs. Also known as cool roofs, Kafka produces recycled porcelain and white quartz which can be applied to pre-existing rooftops using a two-part epoxy overlay. Naturally round Birchwood granite is also available for traditional rooftop ballast applications. White roofs diminish the heat island effect — the occurrence of higher temperatures in urban areas versus rural ones — exhibited by dark roofs. By reflecting the majority of the sun’s rays, the ambient temperature surrounding a white roof is dramatically lower. The cooling costs of a structure with a white roof are also reduced, saving costs for homeowners, business owners, and the atmosphere.

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

As a Wisconsin-based company, Kafka looked to native-Wisconsin businesses Wausau Tile and Kohler Corporation to join in a recycling initiative. Kohler Corporation’s rejected porcelain toilets and sinks, as well as the corporation’s other landfilled materials like slag and firebrick, get crushed to size and used in place of natural stone. Recently adopted was the recycling of glass screens from outdated televisions and computers, as well as two-sided mirrors. Recycled materials can be used as aggregates in precast concrete, terrazzo flooring and countertops, epoxy overlay surfacing, pathway materials and more. The smoky recycled glass serves as an impressive alternative to expensive natural quartz, while the two-sided mirror creates a unique, high-end finish to flooring and countertop products.

Using recycled and sustainable materials helps architects earn points toward LEED certification. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and serves as third-party verification to determine whether new construction is truly green or eco-friendly. By using sustainable materials or recycled products manufactured by Kafka, designers and architects can establish themselves as leaders in green design and construction — a highly sought after quality in modern construction trends.

Kafka Granite's Dust Collection System

Kafka Granite’s Dust Collection System

Even the byproducts of Kafka’s manufacturing process are reused. Taking an eco-friendly leap forward, a state-of-the-art dust-collection system was installed at Kafka’s crushing facility. A huge asset, the system winds through the crushing facility, acting like a large vacuum and collecting dust. This innovative system not only keeps otherwise wasted dust from polluting the air, but after it has been collected, it is being reused in the creation of other products such as pathway mixes.

Kafka’s sustainable efforts aren’t only rooted in the core of the business through the sustainable and recycled product offering, but these efforts branch into big-picture efforts to increase efficiency, reduce its carbon footprint and look for solutions to aid in a greener future. Even its less-noted efforts, like using secondhand pallets for shipping, accumulate to create a more sustainable tomorrow and serve as an example for how even small businesses can aid in the green movement.

Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix - D.C. Everest Softball - Schofield, WI

Kafka’s Stabilized Ball Yard Mix Installation

Easy Steps to Installing Stabilized Infield Mix & Warning Track Mix

Kafka Granite’s Burma Red Stabilized Infield and Warning Track Mixes are made of a premier blend of our decomposed granite-based infield or warning track mix and a natural stabilizing binder by Stabilizer Solutions. To ensure that maximum stability, permeability and cohesion are achieved from this infield mix, proper installation is critical.

One of the advantages of a decomposed granite-based ball yard mix is its ability to offer superior permeability due to its granular nature while staying compacted better than sand-, limestone- or clay-based infields. Appropriate preparation and installation of the infield or warning track mix and its base materials will help make any ball field safe and stable for all players while significantly minimizing maintenance for groundskeepers down the road.

Ruby Red Stabilized Warning Track Mix - Buffalo Grove Park District - Buffalo Grove, IL

Ruby Red Stabilized Warning Track Mix – Buffalo Grove Park District – Buffalo Grove, IL

Easy-to-Follow Installation Steps

Measure and lay out infield or warning track. Per your specific field dimensions, measure where the infield or warning track will be laid. This includes marking where existing sprinklers are.

Excavate. Once laying out the field is complete, it’s time to break ground. For the Burma Red Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix, make sure a minimum 3-inch depth is reached all around.

Level native soil. Native soil, the soil that is native to the ground that was just excavated, is often an acceptable base for the Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix. However, if your native soil is sandy, you will have to bring in a different clay-based soil for a compacted base. After the base is laid, it should be leveled, preferably with a laser grader.

Water and compact base layer. After the base layer has been leveled, water thoroughly. Allow the base to dry until damp. The base layer should not be muddy. Then, compact the native soil base using a one-ton drum roller. A plate compactor can be used, if necessary, in hard-to-reach areas.

Spread Kafka’s Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix. Using a front-end loader, the loose material should be laid down to allow for a minimum 3-inch compacted depth. Note: The estimated coverage for Kafka Stabilized Infield Mix is 70-square-feet per ton for a 3-inch depth and 50-square-feet per ton for a 4-inch depth.

Ensure the infield or warning track is sloped at ½%.  A ½% slope of the infield or warning track allows water to drain laterally off the field, which further helps prevent flooding and delayed gameplay. Using a laser grader is preferred to ensure a consistent slope.

Water newly laid infield or warning track. Thoroughly watering Kafka’s Burma Red Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix after it’s been laid and sloped will activate the stabilizing binder. It is always better to overwater the infield than not water it enough at this stage of installation. The field should be damp but not muddy.

Compact infield track. Wait 24–48 hours after watering to compact the infield or warning track. The amount of wait time depends on the amount of water used and the local climate. As soon as the field allows, compact with a one-ton roller. Do not use a vibratory plate compactor or the vibratory setting on the roller, as the vibration may separate the stabilizing binder from the aggregate.

Quality assurance and finishing touches. Check the field for low areas. If any exist, add infield or warning track mix as needed and compact. Repeat as necessary until all low areas are gone. Install base anchors and home plate, and get ready for a great season!

If properly installed, Kafka’s Stabilized Infield or Warning Track Mix will provide a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly ball yard that offers the best permeability and stability around. Expect safer footing and consistent ball play all season long.

Burma Red Hilltopper Infield Mix - Chicago Bandits Stadium - Rosemont, IL

Kafka Granite: Perfecting Baseball & Softball Infields

Burma Red Hilltopper Infield Mix - Penn Park - University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

Burma Red Hilltopper* Infield Mix – Penn Park – University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

Play Ball, Rain or Shine

Kafka Granite is perfecting the art of ball yard mixes. Offering Standard, Stabilized and Hilltopper* varieties, Kafka understands the fluctuating needs of every ball field’s infield and warning track.

Comprised of decomposed granite, Kafka’s infield and warning track mixes offer a premium ball-playing experience. While most infields use a blend of sand, silt and clay, Kafka realizes the vast advantages of decomposed granite when it comes to player and fan experience. Whether it’s permeability of the infield or its ability to act consistently with hopping balls or skidding players, decomposed granite offers more than other typical infield mixes.

There’s a fine balance when it comes to creating an infield that drains well, yet remains compact enough to provide a firm, stable playing surface. Kafka Granite utilizes a decomposed granite-based infield mix, which reacts better to rain and gameplay than merely compacted clay, sand, or limestone.

Kafka Granite’s decomposed granite is crushed and screened to size and in some instances, pre-blended with either an organic stabilizing binder or an engineered wax polymer for the most cutting-edge technology in ball fields. Continue reading for a brief summary of our infield options and to learn what sets them apart from your everyday muddy and dusty fields.

Standard Topdressing

Kafka Granite’s Burma Red Standard Topdressing mix is a premium, yet cost-effective solution for existing infields. Only ¼” to ½” of depth is needed to cover existing infield material to provide the safe footing, smooth sliding and consistent ball hops known to come standard with Kafka infields.

Stabilized Infield Mix

The Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix combines the best of two worlds: Kafka’s decomposed granite infield mix with Stabilizer Solutions Organic Binder. Stabilizer Solutions’ proprietary natural binder coupled with Kafka’s decomposed granite infield mix provides enhanced stability and footing with increased cohesion while maintaining permeability. With the ability to hold 12 times its weight in water and release moisture when the infield runs dry, Burma Red Stabilized Infield Mix’s ideal moisture reduces mud and dust, provides preferred cushion and flexibility, and requires less maintenance and preparation — which means more time to play ball!

Hilltopper Technology

Hilltopper* Technology

Hilltopper* Infield Mix

Comprised of Kafka Granite’s Standard Burma Red Mix, the Burma Red Hilltopper* Infield Mix also incorporates a water-shedding wax polymer proprietary to Stabilizer Solutions. The cutting edge of infield technology comes from Kafka Granite; the wax polymer combined with the tried-and-true decomposed granite infield mix makes it possible to continue gameplay minutes after a storm has passed, or even during the rain if you wish! As soon as the clouds roll out and the rain stops pouring, this infield mix provides players with a waterless, mudless and dustless playing surface while providing fans with less waiting and more gameplay.



Hilltopper* is a registered trademark of Stabilizer Solutions. Kafka Granite no longer utilizes Hilltopper* in the composition of their ballfield mixes.

Platinum Granite High Friction Overpass Overlay - Marathon County Highway Department

In the News: America’s Infrastructure

America’s Infrastructure Could Be Improved With Kafka’s Products

Every four years, America’s infrastructure is graded by the Advisory Council comprised of American Society of Civil Engineers members*. In 2013, the United States of America barely passed, earning an overall grade of D-plus. However, more and more businesses and initiatives have sprung up to try and resolve the deteriorating condition of America’s infrastructure, and Kafka Granite is with them in seeing opportunities to aid in raising our grade.

The categories being routinely graded are public facilities, energy, water and environment, and transportation. By using a simplistic report card scale of A to F, grades are assigned based on eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience and innovation. Kafka Granite offers products that could help improve the safety of dangerous overpasses, slippery bridges, failing roads and other types of surface transportation, which received an individual grade of D.

Within the ASCE’s 2013 Infrastructure Report card, it was determined that 32% of America’s major roadways are in poor to mediocre condition. As unpleasant as it is to drive on a roadway in poor or hazardous condition, it’s more unpleasant to address the surmounting costs incurred by motorists around the nation. When a road, whether it be a bridge, overpass, or an exit/entrance ramp, suffers from a loss of traction and surfaces become increasingly slippery and dangerous, the safety of motorists is compromised. 

Less-than-ideal conditions can range from roadways being poorly planned to being poorly maintained. The financial costs of U.S. motorists traveling on deficient pavement stood at a staggering $67 billion per year in 2013 while also costing many lives. In 2010, 32,885 motorists, nearly one-third of traffic fatalities, were a result of roadway deficiencies.

The importance of a healthy infrastructure affects more than just motorists. The following video summarizes the 2013 ASCE Report Card for America’s infrastructure and its value.

Kafka Granite Has High-Friction Solution to a Slippery Problem

Kafka Granite sees a way to construct safer surfaces and even improve the condition of diminishing and dangerous roadways: high-friction surfacing. High-friction, or non-skid, surfacing epoxy overlays can improve the safety of preexisting roadways as well as be used during new roadway construction to create a safe, high-traction, high-friction surface from day one. A slippery surface renders roads more dangerous, especially when these roads are heavily used. A high-friction epoxy overlay on a new or deteriorated roadway vastly increases traction between the road and vehicle, which could prove critical for accident-bound stretches of road such as bridges, overpasses and exit/entrance ramps.

Colonial Red & Platinum Granite High Friction Surfacing Overlay

Colonial Red & Platinum Granite High Friction Surfacing Overlay

Recognizing that 47% of urban interstate VMT (vehicle miles traveled) are traveled over deficient pavement, Kafka sees potential for improved safety, cost savings and a higher ASCE grade for infrastructure on the next report card. High-friction epoxy overlays dramatically increase traction year-round and help motorists stay safe whether trekking across roads coated with rain, ice, or snow.

High-friction surfacing aggregates are extremely hard and can endure rigorous environmental conditions, including harsh freezing and thawing cycles. These aggregates can be manufactured to meet Department of Transportation specifications and generally add 3/8” thickness to pre-existing roadways.

Kafka Granite’s unique and vast aggregate color selection also makes it possible to enhance a roadway’s safety even more by being able to distinguish bike paths, street shoulders or crosswalks with colors that contrast against the street itself.

It’s predicted that the financial needs to improve America’s surface transportation infrastructure won’t be met by 2020. With businesses like Kafka working to provide potentially more cost-effective solutions, roads across the nation can adopt solutions like these and become safer for motorists nationwide.