High Friction Surfacing

The Benefits of High-Friction Surfacing

Every four years, the ASCE Committee on America’s Infrastructure issues a report card grading the country’s many categories of infrastructure. In 2013, we received an overall grade of D+. In 2017, the country received the same grade—but the transit sector actually suffered, dropping from an individual grade of D to D-. Today, more than ever, America’s roadways need help. Businesses like Kafka Granite are developing solutions to issues like slippery bridges and deteriorating highways.

Whether you’re a Department of Transportation decision-maker or a contractor sourcing materials for a roadway project, you’ve probably come across high-friction surfacing treatments. High-friction surfacing is used to improve traction on bridge decks, entrance/exit ramps, curves, overpasses, and more. But it doesn’t just improve driving conditions—it also saves lives. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of this treatment.

6 Advantages of High-Friction Surfacing

1. Increased Traction

High-friction surfacing consists of a layer of two-part epoxy topped with a hard, fractured aggregate. The most significant benefit of this roadway treatment is the increased traction it offers when applied to roadways, bridge decks, and other high-crash locations. With proper surface preparation, non-skid surfacing epoxy overlays can be used to improve driving conditions on pre-existing roadways and new installations alike.

2. Safer Driving

That increased traction helps vehicles stay on the road, which is essential when winter weather, low temperatures, and even simple rainstorms create slippery driving conditions. Bridge decks, in particular, are prone to ice, as cold temperatures from below cause these areas to freeze faster than the rest of the roadway. Ultimately, high-friction surfacing allows tires to better grip a hardscape, which helps cars, trucks, and other moving vehicles navigate potentially dangerous conditions and high-risk areas of the road.

3. More Efficient Deicing

In addition to improving driving conditions upon installation, non-slip aggregates like Kafka Granite’s also help to improve the condition of the road itself. The aggregate in high-friction surfacing traps road salt, resulting in a quicker, more effective deicing process. This is particularly useful in areas of the country that experience extreme winter weather, such as the Midwest.

4. Durability

High-friction surfacing is better able to withstand the day-to-day forces of heavy traffic, the freeze/thaw cycle, and other weathering forces that would otherwise cause significant deterioration in a roadway. This is all thanks to the extremely hard non-slip aggregates used in this kind of surface treatment.

5. Cost Savings

High-friction surfacing may require an initial investment, but it more than makes up for this cost when you consider the lifecycle of the installation and the mounting costs of America’s many deficient roadways. These treatments can last for approximately 10 years, saving motorists and the government significant funds over that period. Additionally, after the aggregate has set, the excess material can be collected and reused in another project, ensuring that you get the most out of your investment.

6. Quick Installation

Halting or altering the flow of traffic is a major concern for DOT projects. A huge amount of work goes into simply setting up a project site with appropriate signage, lighting, lowered speed limits, and more. Ultimately, the faster a project can be completed, the better. High-friction surfacing fits neatly into this mindset, as treatments can often be installed over the course of a few hours.

Surface preparation is essential to a successful installation, however. First, the pre-existing hardscape must be cleaned and inspected for damage like cracks and breakage. Once any damage has been repaired, the area may also need to be scarified with a grinder to facilitate the adhesion of the epoxy.

Non-Slip Aggregates for High-Friction Surfacing

A consistent, high-quality aggregate is crucial for a lasting high-friction surfacing treatment. Kafka Granite has supplied aggregate for these projects across the United States. We offer a selection of extremely hard aggregates that will hold up under heavy traffic, intense freeze/thaw cycles, snowplow usage, and more. We’ve worked with a number of state DOT offices and are fully prepared to supply aggregate that meets your specifications.

Our quartz, granite, and recycled materials are available in over 40 colors, meaning that we can match any aesthetic and even allow you to distinguish sections of the road for bike paths, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, and other demarkation projects. Our non-slip aggregates are also ideal for use in more decorative epoxy overlay streetscapes.

Installing High-Friction Surfacing? Partner with Kafka Granite!

Kafka Granite is dedicated to doing our part in making America’s roadways safer and more efficient. We’re extremely proud to have provided high-quality aggregate for high-friction surfacing projects across the nation.

If you’re looking for a non-skid aggregate that can be customized to your project needs and Department of Transportation requirements, contact Kafka Granite today. Our knowledgeable sales team will be happy to help you source the perfect aggregate and get to work improving your roadways and streetscapes.

Galaxy Glitter Ledgestone Thin Stone Veneer.

Commercial Renovations Using Thin Stone Veneer

With the low maintenance, added value, and lifetime they provide in exterior and interior design, stone veneer options have become a welcome trend in modern commercial projects. Thin stone veneer can be especially beneficial for developers, designers, and business owners looking to add a memorable and valuable update to the aesthetic of a property.

4 Benefits of Using Thin Stone Veneer in Your Next Commercial Project

First, let’s look at some of the major perks that come with using thin stone veneer for corporate renovations.

1. Convenient Size Means Cost-Efficient

Weight and dimensions are among the most vital aspects when choosing material for your corporate renovation. This is particularly due to the connection between material weight and the subsequent cost. Heavier, bulkier material is often more expensive to ship, potentially giving your budget a significant hit.

That being said, the thickness of thin stone veneer is often between ¾ inches and 1 ½ inches, making for a lighter weight product and more coverage per shipment than standard building stone, which can be 3-5 inches in thickness. Therefore, thin veneer weighs much less than full veneer stone—75 percent less, in fact. So, the lighter weight and reduced thickness of thin stone veneer make for a much more affordable shipment and installation, especially when purchasing in bulk.

2. Dynamic Use—Inside and Outside

Renovators may find thin stone veneer’s potential uses especially convenient for design and application purposes. Thin stone veneer can be adhered to various surfaces and be installed without ledges or footings, making for dynamic opportunities in outdoor and indoor projects. With the right surface preparation, this veneer can be installed over drywall, paneling, plywood, metal, and concrete. You can use thin stone veneer for a lobby fireplace or to dress your property’s outdoor pillars.

3. Adaptable and Easy to Install

Whatever your commercial project, there is a good chance you can find a use for thin stone veneer. Not all nonstructural building materials are as easy to maneuver, shape, and manipulate as needed for a renovation. Upon installation, you are not limited to the shape and scale of the material when it comes to thin stone veneer. Kafka Granite cut options include the following and more:

  • Dimensional Cut
  • Castle Cut
  • Sawn Dimensional
  • Dimensional Drystack
  • Mosaic Cut
  • Ashlar Cut
  • Ledgestone

Naturally Durable

Contrary to manufactured stone veneer, natural stone veneer is less porous and better able to hold up against years of weather and wear. Our natural thin stone veneer is absent of concrete composites; its elements are not the result of synthetic mixtures or artificial coloration.

What’s more, because it is derived entirely from quarried rock, natural thin stone veneer is a high-quality material that maintains its color and texture for a long, long time. Is your commercial property in need of a pool? Chemicals like chlorine are much less likely to have a negative effect on natural stone.

What Are My Color Options?

Perhaps you want to have a sleek, modern appeal in your reception area. Or, maybe you are looking to give the exterior a more rustic feel. There is no mistaking the authenticity of natural stone, especially when pitted against manufactured veneers. Due to years and years of the geological process, stone veneer comes in a wide spectrum of natural colors, convenient for meeting the branding and tonal preferences of a commercial location. For example, Kafka Granite color options include:

  • Misty Gray Marble
  • Gun Metal Marble
  • Imperial Gray Granite
  • Sierra Granite
  • Starlight Black Granite
  • Harvest Gold Sandstone
  • Chateau Granite
  • Galaxy Glitter
  • Ebony Glitter
  • Sedona Glitter
  • Wisconsin Fieldstone

Sourcing our natural stone from quarries across the United States and Canada provides us the opportunity to offer varying shades and tones of thin stone veneer.

Applications of Thin Stone Veneer

The versatility of thin stone veneer provides opportunities for interior and exterior use. To list just a few examples of stone veneer applications:

  • Exterior building siding
  • Fireplaces
  • Chimney surfaces
  • Office walls
  • Lobbies
  • Façades
  • Columns and pillars
  • Retaining walls
  • Signage
  • Staircases
  • Interior accent walls
  • Kitchen backsplashes
  • Water features

The list could go on, as the sky is the limit for this adaptable, natural stone product.

A Timeless Natural Stone Product for Corporate Renovations

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the beauty of going with natural stone in your design is that you are choosing a timeless material. Humans have benefited from the versatility and build options of stone veneer for millennia and will continue to find dynamic uses for it in the future. Ultimately, how you benefit from your renovation material will depend on your design and intended use.

At Kafka Granite, our Wisconsin-based company proudly provides a wide range of specialty natural stone products across North America. Connect with our office today to learn more about our offerings and the benefits of thin stone veneer.

Starlight Black Granite Thermal-Top Steps, Sawn Cut Drywall, Sawn Edging, and Caps

Introducing Kafka Granite’s Natural Stone Hardscapes

We launched our specialty building stone product line in 2018. Since then, we’ve been working on the next addition to our offerings—and here it is! Kafka Granite is pleased to announce our line of natural stone hardscapes. This endeavor was the logical next step in our mission to supply our customers with the natural stone solutions they need to complete stunning projects.

At Kafka Granite, we strive to provide high-quality natural stone products that both anticipate and exceed the needs of our customers. We already offered an extensive selection of landscape supply products, including landscape stone, granite boulders and cobbles, and decorative rip rap. The question became this: what’s next? 

Customer listening played a significant role in our decision to introduce Kafka Natural Stone Hardscapes. We saw a need for not only a high-end, contemporary spin on natural stone hardscapes, but also a highly-efficient product line that would cut down on installation costs. In addition, we picked up on the demand for non-slip hardscape surfaces that could provide a safer walking path in both residential and commercial installations.

Natural Stone Hardscapes from Kafka Granite

Here’s a brief look at our latest product line. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to talk through natural stone needs.

Sawn Cut Drywall

Our Natural Stone Sawn Cut Drywall is perfect for incorporating dry stacked walls into your landscaping project. From raised flower beds to retaining walls, these natural hardscapes will lend an air of elegance and sophistication to any project.

To reduce costs and simplify installation, we ensure that each solid stone block is sawn on both the top and the bottom. This produces an extremely clean look and makes a project progress that much more efficiently. At the same time, split faces and ends allow this product to retain a natural, rugged beauty.

Thermal-Top Steps

Whether you’re building on a steep hill or a gently rolling slope, a striking set of steps is just what you need to finish off a landscaping project. Our Natural Stone Thermal-Top Steps are solid, durable slabs that will provide a non-skid hardscape surface for years to come.

Each unit is sawn to height for an efficient installation process. Rock-faced on one long side and two short sides, these steps show off the versatility and variation of natural stone. 

Thermal Flagstone

Set those manufactured hardscape surfaces aside in favor of a premium, natural stone hardscape. Because who said that patios couldn’t be beautiful, functional, and long-lasting?

Kafka Granite’s Thermal Flagstone, available as either irregular-edged flagstone or as a repeating pattern of sawn flagstone, will allow you to add visual interest to any landscaping project—whether you’re creating a welcoming patio to gather with family and friends or building a meandering pathway that will allow visitors to take in the scenery. A sawn height ensures consistency, decreases sorting and installation time, and essentially eliminates shimming and re-leveling. Finally, a thermal-top finish both provides added traction and further spotlights the beauty of each natural stone unit.

Sawn Edging

Kafka’s Sawn Edging adds a thoughtful and impressive detail to any landscape project. Sawn to consistent 4″ heights, the product marries a convenient installation with the sophistication of natural stone. This distinctive border stone can create a beautiful and functional barrier for Kafka’s Pathway Mix or Landscape Stone.

Treads, Caps & Coping

Round out your landscape project with the addition of Kafka’s Treads, Caps & Coping. Each natural stone color takes on a new life with the various finishing options available. Add texture and traction with a Thermal or Bush Hammer finish, or opt for a Sawn or Honed finish to create clean lines and a contemporary flair.

Natural Stone Hardscapes for Your Commercial and Residential Landscape Projects

Our natural stone hardscapes are ideal for any outdoor project, from commercial installations to residential features. See our product page for exact specifications of each stone hardscape product.

All Kafka Granite Natural Stone Hardscapes are available in four classic Kafka colors: Sierra Granite, Starlight Black Granite, Harvest Gold Sandstone, and Imperial Gray Granite. This range of hues ensures that you’ll find an option to complement any color palette or landscaping project.

Sourcing Natural Stone Hardscapes? Let’s Talk!

Kafka Granite is proud to add yet another high-quality line of natural stone products to our offerings. Whether you’re an architect, contractor, or homeowner, we’re dedicated to helping you source the perfect flagstone, thermal-top steps, and sawn cut drywall for your needs. Looking for a specific color of natural stone, want to learn more about our products, or find yourself in need of samples? Contact us today, and let’s get started.

Boulders and Cobbles

“Why Are Boulders Round?” and Other Geology Questions

As one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of specialty aggregates in the United States, Kafka Granite knows natural stone inside and out. We have Wisconsin’s unique geology to thank for the bountiful quarries that gave us our start. But we realize that, while many people know quite a bit about the various applications of crushed stone, thin stone veneer, landscaping stone, and more, they aren’t necessarily familiar with the science behind these products.

Today, we’re digging deep into some of the most interesting aspects of our planet by answering some commonly asked questions about geology. Read on for a peek into the forces that have shaped the natural stone and specialty aggregates industry.

How Is Natural Stone Formed?

Natural stone was formed when the mineral gases that originally made up the planet solidified and compacted over millions of years. Intense heat and high pressures resulted in stone that can be classified into three separate categories: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Within those categories are dozens of types of natural stone that can be used for everything from pathway mixes to retaining walls. Granite, marble, quartz, and limestone are just a few common examples of the many kinds of natural stone found around the world.

What Is the Difference Between Pebbles, Cobbles, and Boulders?

You’d certainly be able to tell a pebble from a boulder if the two were placed side by side. But where do cobbles come in? And why is it so important to classify these different rocks?

The primary difference between pebbles, cobbles, boulders, and other rocks is size. These specifications matter quite a bit when it comes to landscaping applications. For example, stone mulch, pebbles, chips, and gravel can be used to create wide-spreading ground cover, while cobbles and boulders are suitable for accent pieces, retaining walls, water features, and other similar installations.

As you can imagine, sediment size plays a crucial role in the quality control of natural stone products. Our Wisconsin Granite Landscape Boulders are screened to remove sand and smaller particles, so that we only transport rocks over 3 inches. After the screening process is completed, rocks ranging from 3 inches to 18 inches in diameter are sorted by size and washed using a large machine that moves them into specific categories. The size ranges go as follows: 3-6”, 4-8”, 8-12”, and 12-18”. Bigger rocks in the ranges of 18-24”, 24-36”, 36-48”, and larger are sorted with an excavator.

Why Are Boulders Round?

So why are boulders, cobbles, and pebbles round? One major cause of round boulders is glacial movement. As massive glaciers slowly made their way across the continent during an ice age, they transported and weathered boulders and other rocks with them. Once these ice sheets melted, the rocks were left behind. 

Here in Wisconsin, most of our natural stone resources were glacially deposited. These rocks go back to the last Ice Age, when the shrinking Laurentide Ice Sheet covered and then receded from large areas of Wisconsin. This large-scale event left the state dappled with lakes, rivers, and an abundance of natural stone. Kafka Granite’s boulders, cobbles, and most of our pebbles are all glacially deposited.

Other rocks have been rounded by running water that smoothed their sharp edges over time—hence the name, “river rocks.” As water flows over sediment, rocks rub against each other and the river bed. Eventually, all of this abrasion both smooths any rough edges and begins to wear down individual stones.

What Causes Color Variations in Natural Stone?

Geology has gifted us with a rainbow of hues to choose from when it comes to natural stone. But what really causes those different colors? The answer to this question is so interesting that we’ve actually tackled it fully in its own blog post. But, in short, color variations in natural stone are caused by the minerals and other organic deposits that were present as the stone formed. 

You may have heard the term “rainbow rocks” used to refer to Wisconsin’s glacially-deposited boulders. One look at our multicolored granite boulders will tell you that this is an apt description. No two boulders are the same, thanks to varying amounts and arrangements of minerals and other deposits like feldspar and iron oxide. The presence of these various materials produces a veritable rainbow of hues, from red to gold and even green or purple. The result is unique colors, patterns, and textures that just can’t be replicated with manmade materials.

While additive dyes exist, Kafka Granite doesn’t use them in any of our natural stone products—they don’t need any extra help! The beauty of these cobbles and boulders truly speaks for itself.

Natural Stone Products for Your Next Project

Kafka Granite is pleased to offer a wide variety of natural stone products for use in landscape design. Whether you’re specifying crushed rock, round pebbles, or large boulders for a project, we can deliver. Not quite sure what you need yet, or having trouble finding the right color of stone for your retaining wall, water feature, or other project? Just give us a call—our knowledgeable sales team is happy to work with you and find the right solution for your next installation.

Gun Metal Marble Dimensional Cut Thin Stone Veneer, with most rust tones removed.

How Much Thin Stone Veneer Do I Need for My Project?

What would you say is the single most crucial factor in a successful thin stone veneer building or design project? At Kafka Granite, we’d have to say that high-quality stone products are the most important ingredient in a job well done. Which begs the question: how do you figure out how much thin stone veneer you actually need for your project? This query can be daunting, particularly for homeowners—which is why we’ve put together some helpful information to help you assess the approximate square footage of thin stone veneer you’ll need.

Before we get started, we do want to stress that a formal takeoff should always be performed by a professional mason. But before you get one on the line, this simplified method can give you a preliminary estimate of the material you’ll need to purchase to complete a project.

Calculating Your Thin Stone Veneer Needs

To figure out how much thin stone veneer you need for your project, multiply the length by the width of the areas to be covered. Instead of trying to take tricky, piecemeal measurements, you can simply calculate the total surface area of the wall or feature and then subtract the square footage of openings like windows and doors. This is the total square foot of your project.

Thin stone veneer flats are sold by the square foot, while corners are sold by the linear foot. Corners cover the exterior of a feature to its edge, rather than the interior. Make sure to measure the linear feet of corners, pillars, fireplaces, doorways and any other features that will require 90-degree corners.

How Much Thin Stone Veneer Do I Really Need?

The rugged beauty of natural thin stone veneer makes it the perfect material for almost any decorative project, but it also means that each unit of stone is different. Whether you’re going for a streamlined look or more of a mosaic pattern, your thin stone veneer will likely need to be cut, snapped, or otherwise modified to ensure that it fits in the desired space.

Essentially, you’re bound to wind up with some amount of stone trimmings that aren’t usable—meaning that you’ll actually need to order more than just the bare minimum square footage that you estimated. The last thing you want is to have to place your project on hold while you await another shipment! Again, a professional stone mason is the best person to accurately determine how much thin stone veneer you’ll need to cover the whole project.

Thin Stone Veneer vs. Full Veneer

Thin stone veneer offers a number of advantages when compared to full veneer—it’s lighter per square foot, doesn’t require footings or wall ties, and is comparatively more affordable to ship and install. Kafka Granite’s natural thin stone veneer has a nominal thickness of ¾” to 1½” and meets industry standards for weighing less than 15 pounds per square foot. When installed correctly, thin stone veneer looks nearly identical to full veneer, which is several inches thicker and therefore, heavier!

The difference in weight translates to lower shipping and installation costs, making natural thin stone veneer an excellent choice for both interior and exterior non-structural projects. In fact, you can get about 3.75 times the coverage per shipment of thin stone veneer.

Installing Thin Stone Veneer

As with calculating how much thin stone veneer you’ll need for a specific project, we recommend letting a professional stonemason handle the installation. While thin stone veneer can be installed over a number of different surfaces, they first need to be prepared. At the very least, outdoor surfaces will need to be waterproofed to industry standards. Certain surfaces may also require a non-corrosive wire lath and a setting mix.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer for Every Project

If you’re on the hunt for a cost-effective method of incorporating natural stone into your project, thin stone veneer will fit the bill beautifully. Kafka Granite is proud to offer an extensive selection of natural thin stone veneer in a variety of colors and cuts. Feel free to reach out with any questions—we don’t perform formal takeoffs, but our knowledgeable sales team is always happy to chat about your project and provide an estimate!

Galaxy Glitter Castle Cut Thin Stone Veneer.

New Home Building Spotlight: 2021 Color Trends and the Natural Stone that Accentuates Them

There was a time when bright, vibrant colors dominated neighborhoods, and when interior spaces were just as extravagant with hues like burnt orange and barn red. While more adventurous property owners are adamant about taking the risk into now-niche territories like these, the majority of property owners select modern colors for new home builds that are less likely to stand out with flashy impressions and more likely to take on tones of elegance, sophistication, and simplicity.

Of course, no residential build is complete without the complementary beauty of natural stone and its various applications. In this post, we’ll dive into current new home color trends and how natural stone products can bring out the best in them.

The New Home Colors You’re Most Likely to See

These days, homeowners are gravitating toward neutral hues. If it’s peaceful, classy, and provides an opportunity for brilliant accents, it’s likely that new homes will be dressed in it. However, “neutral” does not always have to mean sheer grays and whites. Certain tones can still carry that neutral essence without losing the zest of a cool or warm base. Noteworthy color choices include:

  • Blue-gray
  • Beige
  • Warm taupe
  • Green-gray
  • Wood stain themes
  • Alabaster white
  • Deep gray
  • Navy blue
  • Caramel brown
  • Olive green

Architecturally, the modern farmhouse style and other contemporary takes on traditional styles have gained a lot of traction over the last few years, and it would seem these colors couple wonderfully with such designs. What’s more, homes with these and other neutral colors lend well to a variety of material accents (wood or stone, for example) and earthy or bright white trim hues. In fact, you’ll find that many of these color selections and exterior aesthetics derive from colors seen in nature, which explains why they do so well with akin visual elements. 

Pair Your Color Palette with Elegant Natural Stone

So, let’s talk about stone. When it comes to residential architecture and design, few products couple as well with a neutral color palette like thin stone veneer and natural stone hardscapes. Unlike manufactured stone, natural stone is unique. They aren’t like carbon copies – while made of the same stone, each piece will boast its own character. Sourced from the earth itself, they are the original model. And, when installed, each unique stone comes together like a stunning mosaic art piece that speaks to the beauty of using natural stone.

Thin Stone Veneer

Natural thin stone veneer comes with several color and cut options which provide opportunities for dynamic, creative applications. Popular color options for thin stone veneer include those in our black and gray varieties like Imperial Gray Granite or Starlight Black Granite – both hues bring out the classiness of a neutral, modern tone.

Furthermore, thin stone veneer has a ton of great perks. This product may be used in many of the same applications as regular stone veneer, but with some added benefits. It can be installed without support ledges or footings, therefore appropriate for an array of exterior and interior applications. The product is cut to a nominal thickness of ¾” – 1 ½” thick, significantly reducing the products weight relative to full bed veneer. This drastically reduces shipping and installation costs.

Natural Stone Hardscapes

Kafka’s natural stone hardscape collection includes sawn cut drywall, thermal-top steps, thermal flagstone, sawn edging, treads, caps, and coping – all of which come in four classic Kafka colors and a variety of finishes. Whether you’re building a retaining wall or adding a much-needed walkway and steps navigating the property, you’re going to want a stone that complements a new home in both color and functionality.

Natural stone hardscapes do just that. Thermal finished for traction, thermal flagstone and thermal-top steps bring more than an aesthetical boost to the property. They’re built to withstand seasonal exposure and their durable nature will retain their elegance for decades to come. 

Elevate the Beauty of a New Home with Kafka Granite

Kafka Granite is proud to partner with designers and contractors to provide homeowners with the right natural stone solution for their residential construction or renovation needs. Our stone products are harvested from our network of quarries throughout North America, and are all custom produced in Central Wisconsin. Connect with our office today to learn how our products will meet the demands of your project.

 

Pathway Wax Erin Hills

4 Pathway Problems and How to Deal With Them

Decomposed granite (DG) and crushed stone are excellent options for creating natural-looking nature trails, golf course pathways, garden paths, and other landscaped routes. But like any pathway material, poor maintenance, harsh weather, and other issues can compromise the integrity of a DG installation. Let’s take a look at some of the problems that affect pathways—and how to handle them.

Watch Out for These Decomposed Granite Pathway Issues

1. Muddiness

The inherent promise of a pathway is that it will provide a clear route from point A to point B. That promise is quickly broken when visitors or guests have to tramp over a muddy expanse to get where they’re going.

What causes decomposed granite pathways to get muddy? For the most part, the culprit is inadequate drainage, poor design, or subpar installation. Improper compaction and excess water can make a mess—particularly as ground thaws and snow melts in the spring. To avoid this issue, decomposed granite pathways should be installed with drainage flow in mind. A stabilized pathway will remain permeable, but has an additive that absorbs water. Alternatively, you can opt for a wax polymer pathway, which is impermeable and will never get muddy.

2. Erosion

Decomposed granite pathways are made of aggregate screened to a specific size and compacted to create a firm pathway. However, the surface is still designed to have a natural look and feel, with a loose layer of material on top. Forces like rainfall and heavy traffic can exacerbate this movement further.

Again, it’s important to be aware of drainage flow near your pathway. If water is the primary source of erosion, you might want to install drains or diverters to control the flow and reduce the damage to the pathway. For new pathways that need to withstand significant erosion, consider opting for a stabilized or wax polymer pathway mix. 

3. Debris

Thanks to nature, decomposed granite or crushed stone pathways will inevitably end up covered in things that don’t belong in a pathway mix—namely debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt. Depending on the location of the pathway, you may find that it remains relatively clear for long periods. Other areas, like those under trees or downwind, may end up covered in debris. Whatever the case, you’ll need to routinely remove these materials by raking the area. 

4. Poor Maintenance

No pathway is entirely maintenance-free. A lack of routine care can actually end up costing more in the long run.

So how can you keep a pathway looking good? What do you do if you’re hired on for a maintenance project and find a deteriorated wreck once you arrive? 

Ideally, there will be a solid maintenance plan already in place. Regular upkeep, including raking and occasional hydrating and recompacting, will be enough to refresh a decomposed granite pathway already in good condition—keeping it functional for years to come. Severe damage, on the other hand, will likely require excavating the area, rototilling, and possibly top dressing or tilling in new mix. Ultimately, the type of pathway mix you’re dealing with will determine the specific maintenance and replacement needs of the pathway system.

Selecting the Right Pathway Material

Even the most robust maintenance plan won’t do much good if you’re starting with a low-quality pathway. Selecting the best material for your project and installing it correctly will create a beautiful, natural-looking pathway that stands the test of time. 

At Kafka Granite, we understand how important both color and performance are to choosing a mix. We’re pleased to offer over 40 colors of decomposed granite and crushed stone, ensuring that you find the perfect match for your landscape. Here’s some insight into the benefits of our various pathway mixes.

Standard Pathway Mix

A decomposed granite pathway makes an attractive alternative to hardscape materials like concrete and asphalt. Our Standard Pathway Mix consists of aggregate screened to ¼” with fines. This is an excellent choice for low-traffic walkways, bike trails, garden trails, and other flat areas.

Stabilized Pathway Mix

Our Stabilized Pathway Mix blends our standard aggregate with a stabilizing binder. The addition of the binder creates a more durable pathway that stands up under traffic, extreme weather, and other erosive forces. Stabilized pathways are appropriate for a wide range of projects, from nature trails, corporate walking paths, courtyards, and more.

Wax Polymer Pathway Mix

Working with hilly terrain? Our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is the perfect solution for steep grades. An innovative combination of engineered polymers creates a dustless, waterless, non-permeable pathway that stays dry and performs beautifully under stress. We’ve seen this mix used in projects ranging from nature preserves to private residences. Erin Hills even replaced a number of their highly erosive paths with wax polymer pathways ahead of the 2017 U.S. Open. Our Wax Polymer Pathways have been most popular for golf courses, horse trails, driveways, and other demanding projects.

Create Lasting Pathways with Kafka Granite

Whether you’re looking to install wax polymer pathways that will reduce golf course maintenance needs or you’re on the hunt for the perfect color of aggregate for a new pathway system, Kafka Granite has you covered with a wide range of choices. Not quite sure what you’re looking for yet? We can help you there, too. Our sales team is eager to work with you and identify the correct solution for your project, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Starlight Black Granite Thermal-Top Steps, Sawn Cut Drywall, Sawn Edging, and Caps

What COVID-19 Means for the Landscaping Industry

This past summer, Tiffany Koss of Kafka Granite was featured in an article by Use Natural Stone. In it, she shares how the stay-at-home orders brought on by the pandemic have influenced people to see opportunities for exterior renovations. Specifically, the article explores the various ways natural landscaping stone may be used throughout a property. 

Now that we’re several months into the pandemic and the new year is dawning, it’s time to take another look at the landscaping industry to see what may have changed in light of the pandemic’s influence, and how landscaping stone can bring natural beauty and functionality to residential and commercial properties.

Companies See an Influx of Demands in Landscaping

Now, it seems the landscaping industry is experiencing an influx of demands for installations and renovations. Stoneyards are having trouble staying stocked as the demand for updates and maintenance on private and commercial properties rises.

Perhaps one reason why there is an influx of landscaping demands is the fact that many homeowners are spending more time at home. And with more time than ever to spend enjoying their property, they’re seeing opportunities for increasing their yard’s aesthetic appeal and, consequently, their property’s value. Why put money toward vacation during a pandemic when you could invest in something that elevates the beauty of your home? 

Let’s not also forget the effect that the pandemic has had on the housing market. Improved landscaping may give sellers the bump in the value they need to make up for property value they may have lost.  

More than Just an Investment

While property value is a motivator for people looking to shake things up with landscaping changes, it’s important for people to also note opportunities for increases in functionality. Decorative stone, for example, can be used as ground cover with greater longevity than mulch. What’s more, when renovating or updating with natural stone products as opposed to manufactured products, you choose a product that is less susceptible to color fading. This improvement will wear and weather beautifully, so it can be enjoyed for the lifetime of your home. 

How Kafka Granite Can Meet Your Landscaping Needs

At Kafka Granite, we supply landscape contractors and suppliers nationwide with a variety of natural stone hardscapes, pathway mixes, landscaping stone, and thin stone veneer. Our materials are derived from quarries around the continent, providing us with an array of colors and natural stone solutions crushed or cut to meet your project’s needs. When it comes to landscaping, there are several reasons to invest in a new design or update your current one.

Outdoor Gatherings Mean Even More Now

As people continue their attempts at social distancing, the time has never been better for you to update your outdoor space – whether you’re a property owner or a business owner working to adapt to pandemic restrictions. With the right landscape designer or architect, the value of outdoor living spaces will skyrocket. Designers masterfully curate the necessary stone materials and plants to create a beautiful and functional space perfect for parties and intimate gatherings. 

For contractors and property owners seeking a bit of sophistication for their project, our natural stone drywall and sawn steps come in four sleek and natural-looking colors—including Harvest Gold and Starlight Black—and the natural rock, unsawn facing of our steps help to maintain the integrity of an organic aesthetic.  You can also create additional routes across your property with the help of our Thermal Flagstone.

Create an Inviting Impression for the Property

Prevent an unkempt property landscape by boosting a building or home’s curb appeal. Whether looking to our striking thin stone veneer for a beautiful facade or reliable natural stone hardscapes to create a statement retaining wall the opportunities for an eye-catching first-impression are vast. 

Looking to sell your home or commercial property in the near future? Having a landscape architect update your property with an inviting environment could significantly increase your home’s value, not to mention leaving you with something to be proud of. What’s more, nothing adds to the tranquility of a neighborhood or industrial block quite like a well-designed, natural landscape. Combat the hustle and bustle of everyday metro life with natural materials that are sure to improve the overall mood and quality of your environment.

Contribute Positively to the Environment

When you supplement your project with natural stone rather than manufactured stone, you choose a longer-lasting, durable product that is far more likely to sustain its color and avoid negative impacts on the environment. Take, for example, Kafka’s decomposed granite pathway mix which is both permeable and sustainable for long periods of time. Retaining walls and riprap may also help reduce the property’s chances of erosion. 

Learn More About Kafka Granite’s Natural Stone Landscaping Products

We have provided natural stone solutions to businesses and contractors for over 40 years. Connect with our office today to better understand how our landscaping products can improve the quality and aesthetic of both commercial and residential environments.

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Wisconsin Natural Stone

Kafka Granite began in 1979 when Wisconsin native Glenn Kafka bought a backhoe at a local auction and started laying tile for local farmers. Shortly thereafter, he took advantage of an opportunity to purchase a granite pit and found himself taking his next steps toward a multifaceted natural stone company.

Flashing forward to the present day – Kafka Granite utilizes quarry sites in both the United States and Canada. But the heart of our business remains in Central Wisconsin, where we manufacture our diverse aggregates for a wide variety of client needs and specifications.  

Wisconsin Is Our Home and Is Perfect for Our Industry

To find the right spot for Kafka Granite, Glenn Kafka never had to go far. Much of Wisconsin consists of a unique geological makeup which makes it a perfect home for us. The varying granite, marble, and quartzite available helps Kafka Granite acquire its large variance in natural stone colors.

In fact, our immediate area is rich in mineral deposits – providing us with the opportunity to have numerous hues on hand. Other states in our country offer less variance in natural stone. Within just a hundred miles of our Wisconsin location, you can find pink, blue, red, green, gray, and black granite, beige and gray limestone, and gold, gray, and purple quartzite.

Get to Know Our Products

Our range of materials can serve the demands of various industries and project types. From indoor commercial remodeling to outdoor siding and decorative landscapes, our 60+ color options and dynamic natural stone products are perfect for nearly any endeavor. Here are just a few of our products.

Specialty Aggregates

Aggregates for Precast Concrete Applications

Our precast aggregates come in a wide spectrum of colors and can be used for a variety of purposes, including architectural wall panels, pavers, pour in place concrete, and site amenities. These products featuring Kafka’s specialty aggregates are commonly used in hospitals, office buildings, stadiums, and other commercial locations.

Aggregates for Epoxy Resin Applications

We manufacture and supply specialty aggregates for terrazzo flooring, epoxy stone flooring, and manufactured quartz countertops, These customers need stone that meets specific specifications, while also being dry and dust free, allowing them to produce high-quality floors and countertops for residential and commercial applications. 

Aggregates for High Friction Surfacing and Demarcation

Kafka Granite produces specialty aggregates for use in epoxy overlays – perfect for roads, bridges, curves, crosswalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, and various streetscapes in need of better traction on surfaces. Our high-friction surfacing aggregates can withstand the harshest of Wisconsin’s weather conditions, providing efficient traction for your surface year-round.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer

Our natural thin stone veneer is a durable, nonstructural product that can be used in both outdoor and indoor projects. Benefits of choosing thin stone veneer include:

  • Lightweight: The lightweight nature of thin stone veneer makes it cost-effective and easier to ship in bulk. Its weight also makes for an easier installation – in fact, it can be installed without footings or support ledges.
  • Versatile and long-lasting: You can use thin stone veneer for a fireplace in a lobby or as a facade on a multi-story office building. Its natural durability also prevents excessive wear and tear from harsh weather and temperatures.
  • Easy application: While we still recommend hiring a professional for installation, note that thin stone veneer can make for a relatively easy application. With the right preparation, it can be installed over various surfaces, including concrete, metal, and plywood.  

Our thin stone veneer will look just as natural and beautiful as full stone veneer, and it comes in classic colors perfect for commercial and residential endeavors. 

Sports Turf Solutions

From our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix to Stabilized Ballyard Mixes, we are proud to manufacture a selection of softball, baseball, and golf course materials. Our ballyard materials enable safe footing and consistent ball hops, while our golf course solutions are designed to create easy to install, low-maintenance, erosion resistant, and dust-free pathways and out of play bunkers. 

Pathway Materials

We also offer alternatives to hardscape for pathway needs. We manufacture materials fit for garden paths, bike paths, courtyards, nature trails, and more. Not only do our pathway materials come in over 40 colors and have a natural look and feel, but they are designed to reduce mud, dust, and erosion. 

Landscape Supply

Looking to add to the beauty of your outdoor landscape? Our natural stone hardscapes include cut steps, drywall, and flagstones that will help you design a lasting landscape oasis, while our landscape stone, boulders, and rip raps are the perfect accent to round out your project. 

Learn More About What Kafka Granite Can Provide for You

For decades, Kafka Granite has helped local and nationwide businesses and contractors find the material they need to achieve their goals. Whatever your project, our state-of-the-art process allows us to crush and screen aggregates to meet the needs of your design or specification.

Thanks to our extensive selection, architects, stonemasons, designers, and contractors from various industries come to Kafka Granite with thin stone veneer, aggregate, and other natural stone needs. We offer a broad range of specialty natural stone products for an array of project demands and are always expanding our offering to meet the needs of our customers.

Whatever your situation, we can steer you toward the right product. Contact us today – our knowledgeable sales team is happy to chat through your project or provide you with samples.

Specialty Aggregate Colors

A Simple Guide to Kafka Granite’s Commercial Offerings

From specialty crushed stone in over sixty different colors for manufacturing, to beautiful multi-colored, naturally round granite boulders for landscaping, Kafka Granite is one of the largest and most specialized producers of landscape and architectural aggregates. Having been a leading and established supplier of granite, quartz, marble and recycled materials for over three decades, many of the top architects, landscape architects, contractors, and manufacturers turn to Kafka Granite aggregates for variety of projects, including:

  • Architectural precast aggregates for exposed precast concrete office buildings, medical complexes, skyscrapers, sports stadiums, etc.
  • Specialty crushed aggregates and manufactured sands for manufacturing decorative precast concrete pavers, or bricks, and precast concrete amenities such as trash cans, tables, planters, etc.
  • Contemporary natural thin stone veneer in a wide variety of cuts and colors for both commercial and residential design
  • Over 60 colors of granite, quartz, marble, and recycled materials crushed, dried, and bagged for use in manufacturing epoxy resin countertops, tile, and terrazzo flooring.
  • Epoxy Overlay Aggregates for High Friction surfacing applications that provide high-friction, non-skid surfaces for bridge decks, entrance/exit ramps, curves, bike paths, and pedestrian crosswalks.
  • Bulk quantities of decorative landscape stone that includes various colors and sizes of crushed stone, round pebbles, multi-colored granite boulders, and decorative rip rap boulders.
  • Natural stone hardscapes including thermal-top steps, sawn cut drywall, and thermal flagstone, for a variety of functions and applications that elevate the beauty of commercial and residential properties 
  • Decomposed Granite pathway materials for a more natural alternative to traditional hardscape solutions such as asphalt, concrete or pavers.
  • Reduce golf course maintenance with Kafka’s erosion resistant Wax Polymer Pathway Mix and Bunker Sand 
  • Premiere ball yard infield mix, warning track mix, and mound clay available at a variety of price points to provide lower maintenance, better drainage, safer footings, and consistent ball hops.

With so many products available, sometimes it’s difficult to understand all of the choices, but we are here to help! The Kafka sales team is standing by to help with your next project, but this short guide might be a simple first step in answering many of your questions. Let us break it down:

Architectural Precast Aggregates

Architectural precast is one of the most durable materials used in the exterior construction of commercial buildings today. But it is the exposed precast stone aggregate that truly gives the final product its unique aesthetic. Architectural precasters are looking for the perfect combination of aggregate with a very specific combination of stone size, color, and strength to create the perfect end product. With a massive network of stone quarries throughout North America and the unique ability to meet any size specification, Kafka Granite has the perfect aggregate and will work with you to make your next project a success.

Decorative Precast Concrete Aggregates for Decorative Paver and Amenities Manufacturing

Concrete bricks and pavers are always a popular decorative hardscape solution. However, adding Kafka Granite’s naturally colored aggregates to your precast concrete mix has the power to make them even more unique, by adding visual interest to the face-mix. Many of the top producers of decorative precast concrete pavers, bricks, and amenities trust Kafka Granite as their aggregate supplier–especially for the specialized colors, sizes, and recycled content not found anywhere else. With the rise in popularity of permeable pavers, we also offer complimentary permeable paver grit that’s crushed to size to ensure proper drainage and durability in freeze/thaw conditions.

Thin Stone Veneer 

An elegant, nonstructural stone product fit for numerous applications, natural thin stone veneer can be used in indoor and outdoor renovations. Lighter in weight than full stone veneer, thin stone veneer is also cheaper to ship in bulk and can be easily installed without support ledges or footings. With proper preparation and installation by a professional mason, this product may also be adhered to a variety of existing surfaces such as plywood, paneling, concrete, metal, and more. Kafka Granite thin stone veneer comes in dozens of natural color choices and will hold up to weather and wear much better than manufactured, artificial stone alternatives. 

Epoxy Resin Aggregates for Countertop, Tile, and Terrazzo Floor Manufacturing

With the ability to crush, dry, and bag 60 different colors of granite, quartz, marble, and recycled materials, Kafka Granite has a long history of supplying crushed stone chips for manufactured countertops, tiles, terrazzo flooring, and other epoxy resin-based manufacturing. Many of the top producers of Manufactured Quartz Countertops use a variety of Kafka’s aggregates and recycled materials in their production. Furthermore, Kafka has a longstanding relationship with T&M Supply, who distributes Kafka’s aggregates for stunning terrazzo flooring solutions throughout the world.

Epoxy Overlay Aggregates for High-Friction Roads and Non-Slip Pedestrian Walkways

There are many times when traditional concrete and asphalt are simply unsafe for high traffic roadways and walkways.  During certain times of the year, these surfaces can become extremely slippery and unsafe, especially on bridge decks, sharp curves, and entrance/exit ramps. High Friction Surfacing is the perfect solution, with Kafka Granite’s Epoxy Overlay aggregates offering a high level of traction in all kinds of weather, while also being durable enough to withstand harsh freeze/thaw conditions. The epoxy overlay aggregates can also be used for Streetscape applications such as crosswalks, medians, sidewalks, and bike lanes to create a non-slip surface for pedestrians while also enhancing the aesthetics of the pre-existing hardscape.

Landscaping Stones and Boulders

Kafka offers a wide variety of decorative landscape stone and boulders that will provide the perfect solution for landscape designers and contractors. Offered in a variety of colors and sizes, use Kafka’s Decorative Landscape Stone to define walkways and driveways, to enhance gardens and flower beds, or to brighten heavily shaded areas. Kafka Granite also offers a beautiful array of naturally round, glacially deposited multi-colored boulders that range in size from 3-6-inch cobbles to massive boulders over 60-inches in diameter. Use round boulders, or consider the variety of Decorative Rip Rap boulders, for retaining walls, water features, ponds, shorelines, or simple, yet effective, accent pieces in your landscape design.

Natural Stone Hardscapes

Thanks to a wide range of uses and sleek, natural colors, stone hardscapes have the ability to seriously elevate the beauty of your property. From flagstone to retaining walls and stone steps, Kafka Granite is proud to offer stone hardscapes that serve your project needs. Some of our hardscape products include Sawn Cut Drywall, Thermal Flagstone, and Thermal-Top Steps. A thermal finish on the top surface of your hardscape can increase traction while maintaining the natural integrity of your stone. 

Pathway Materials

For pathways, bike paths, and other trail systems where a more natural look and feel is desired, consider a more organic material that is both aesthetically appealing and durable. Sometimes traditional concrete or asphalt just won’t do. The Standard Pathway Mix is made from decomposed granite or crushed stone, screened to a specific size to ensure a maximum compacted surface that retains firmness, flexibility, and permeability. Kafka also offers two additional levels of durability. The Stabilized Pathway Mix includes an organic binding agent for a stronger, more stable, and less erosive surface. Meanwhile, the Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is the best pathway solution for extremely high traffic areas or steep inclines, as it’s non-permeable surface allows water to bead off the surface, eliminating mud, dust, and erosion.

Golf Course Solutions

Kafka Granite has developed solutions specifically for golf courses. These products are designed to provide a natural look while being incredibly easy to install. They drastically reduce maintenance, mud, dust, and erosion. Durable, long lasting and lightweight, Kafka’s Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is perfect for golf course pathways. Not only is it appealing to the eye, it’s erosion resistant, easy to install, and dustless. Developed with the same technology, our wax polymer bunker sand was designed for out of play or target bunkers, and may be installed easily over preexisting bunker sand. It allows water to shed into draining systems without erosion. 

Ballyard Materials

Finding the proper materials for baseball or softball diamonds can be a nightmare; most of the traditional materials are too muddy, too dusty, and too high maintenance, which all take valuable time away from both the groundskeepers and players. However, Kafka Granite specializes in low maintenance, high drainage products that minimize mud and dust, while retaining the natural playing surface that players know and love. From standard high-drainage top dressings, to high-quality, professional-grade infield mixes and warning track mixes, Kafka Granite offers a variety of solutions for any price point: from the little league to the major league.

Kafka Granite Does It All!

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Just ask! After all, most of Kafka Granite’s products were originally developed to meet customer requests, and we are not limited to the product lines you just read about. We are a custom-orientated company, so whether your firm is trying to match an aggregate used in a pre-existing structure, meeting a unique size specification for your manufacturing process, or just making a statement with a completely unique, custom color combination, Kafka Granite will work with your team to make it happen.