Photo courtesy of Unilock

4 Recycled Crushed Materials to Start Using in Your Design

Kafka Granite has always taken measures to help the environment. After all, we pride ourselves on the environmental benefits of naturally occurring decomposed granite in comparison with concrete or asphalt. Permeable paver grit, which contributes to groundwater recharge, and white roof options to reduce urban heat islands contribute to our portfolio of eco-conscious aggregates. Using sustainable materials in your next big project could give you points toward a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Creating a LEED-certified project is a reflection of your project’s minimal stress on the environment. It shows you’ve taken the environment into consideration from the design of your project to the material you used. One way to help earn LEED certification (and the trust of many earth-adoring people) is to use recycled materials as often as you can. This means using insulation from recycled jeans, rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires, or even pathways or precast concrete fixtures made from recycled porcelain and fire brick —think outside the box for where recycled materials can be used in your project.

 1. Rejected Toilets and Sinks

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Kafka Granite has teamed with Wisconsin-native businesses Wausau Tile and Kohler Corporation to stick to an impressive recycling initiative. This three-way relationship started when Kohler noted that its landfills were becoming saturated with brand-new toilets and sinks. These fixtures simply didn’t meet the high-quality standards of inspectors, so off to the landfill they went. Wausau Tile took interest in the discarded porcelain goldmine and approached Kafka Granite for its impeccable crushing facility. The crushed porcelain was to be used for a new product line that Wausau Tile was going to create, but another world of benefits was also unlocked.

Companies like Wausau Tile can use recycled crushed high-quality porcelain in terrazzo flooring and as a unique component to decorative precast concrete. Its potential has also been explored and makes a great material to use in exposed aggregate architectural panels, pathway materials, and epoxy overlay streetscapes. Whistling Straits, the famous Kohler Company owned golf course, is even using their recycled porcelain as bunker liners using the Better Billy Bunker Method. Recycled porcelain is incredibly durable and absorbs minimal water, which makes it especially ideal for climates where continual freezing and thawing is common.

 

 

2. Old Electronics Glass and Mirrors

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Other materials adding an element of smoke or sparkle to quartz countertops everywhere are electronics glass and discarded two-sided mirrors. Thousands of outdated boxy TVs are tossed to the curb every day, but now the thick smoky glass could see new life by being crushed for other purposes. Two-sided mirrors are also seeing new life as they can add a reflective glimmer to be used in terrazzo flooring, countertops, or anywhere else crushed recycled mirror could add a unique touch. The depth added by these crushed materials gives new life to old, useless glass.

 

 

 

 

3. Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka also recycles some less obvious materials for crushed aggregate, such as copper slag. Recycled copper slag is a unique option that you can use as a recycled aggregate in your next project. Durable, attractive, and recycled, these options could help push you toward a LEED certification. But what exactly is copper slag?

Copper slag is a byproduct of copper smelting. Smelting is the refining process that copper ore goes through. Copper ore is what’s mined from the earth, usually from quarries, and is a mix of minerals and rock. In order to extract the usable ore from the mineral and rock blend, the mixed deposits undergo smelting; the process during which the deposits are heated with an agent that triggers a chemical reaction that forces the desired metal end-product out of the ore deposits.

The non-metallic dust, soot and rock are what make up copper slag. Copper slag is friendly to both the health of people, as oppose to alternatives like silica sand that is harmful when inhaled, and the environment. It also has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, making it a durable, long-lasting option for different projects. Copper slag is primarily black in color with flecks of red and lighter greys, resulting in a pleasant and versatile aesthetic that is mostly used as aggregate in precast concrete to increase its recycled content.

Many prestigious projects have utilized our copper slag recycled materials, such as Chicago’s Navy Pier. The designers on the project were looking for a material that could stand up to the test of thousands of visitors and rapidly changing weather, all while being made using recycled content. Our copper slag ended up being exactly what the project called for, and ended up being a large contributing factor that helped the final Navy Pier project received a gold SITES certification.

4. Firebrick

Kafka Granite Recycled Firebrick

Just like copper slag, firebrick is an eco-friendly material that can earn your project those highly desirable LEED points. But what exactly is firebrick?

Firebrick refers to the dense bricks made to withstand intense heat. These bricks are usually found lining kilns, furnaces, and fireplaces. These bricks are designed to hold even under during rapid temperature changes; such as in locations with mercurial environments. When firebricks reach the end of their application, though, they could end up at a crushing facility like Kafka’s. Crushed firebrick blends have a great blend of light tans, greys, browns and reds. Such a varied yet neutral color palette and strong compaction characteristics makes crushed firebrick a great recycled option for pathways.

Crushed Recycled Material Available for LEED Certification

Being environmentally conscious is never a bad thing, especially if it can earn your project LEED certification. Architectural customers as well as the eco-friendly consumers will benefit from using recycled materials in their next projects. Instead of clogging landfills, these materials are being crushed to exact specifications to breathe unique life into many products like terrazzo floors, precast concrete, and even pathways. Kafka Granite has been pushing the environmental envelope for years and has just what you’re looking for when it comes to recycled aggregate. To get free samples or find where you can get your hands on recycled porcelain, firebrick and copper slag, contact us today. We’re waiting to help find the right aggregate for your project, especially if helps toward LEED certification.

Glitter Series Raw Stone

Kafka Granite Acquires A New Quarry

Kafka Granite has grown mightily since its inception in 1979. What started as a one-man operation run by Glenn Kafka has turned into one of the top decorative aggregate providers in the country. Through sweat, hard work, and a couple of tears, Kafka Granite has transitioned from a one-man decomposed granite operation to the most diversified aggregate providers in the country (while remaining family owned and operated). Through all of our changes and growth, we’ve retained what matters most to us: our brand identity and history. No matter how much we grow, we still strive to maintain the same values that Glenn Kafka started out with nearly 40 years ago.

Currently, Kafka Granite provides over 60 different color varieties of granite, marble, quartz, and recycled aggregates, but we are excited to announce that this new quarry has been shown to yield something a little extra – sparkle. Due to the high concentration of mica intertwined with strong quartzite, this beautiful glittering natural phenomenon is something that is not commonly found among aggregates. If that wasn’t rare enough – the colors range from black, to green, to pink. With only 60 of the 700+ acres exposed, we are yet to discover all the colors that may lie beneath the surface.
We are beyond thrilled to incorporate this thrilling new product into our product lineup. With the addition of the various colors mica enriched quartzite, we will be able to provide our customers with an even wider variety of manufactured sands, accent pieces, landscape stone, and natural stone veneer. With its signature look and feel, this remarkable stone is opening up a lot of opportunities for Kafka Granite and our loyal customers and supporters.

 

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Exploring Our New Mica Enriched Quartzite Quarry

At over 700 acres, our new quarry is an abundant deposit of mica enriched quartzite. This spectacular stone develops naturally into multiple distinct colors and two different hardnesses and consistencies, making the possible applications of this rare find seemingly limitless. Geologists estimate that our mica enriched quartzite deposit was formed around three million years ago when tectonic plates deep inside the earth slammed into the Canadian Shield, heating the host rock of clear quartz and colored mica until it reached liquid form. The color from the mica then transferred into the clear quartz during cooling, resulting in beautiful, vibrant colors of quartzite laced with an abundance of mica.

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Although the deposit was created horizontally in different colored layers, it was later thrust up vertically into a 10.5-mile-high mountain with the colored layers becoming vertical bands/transitions through the deposit.  This means that now the

colors appear next to one another, not on top of each other. Overtime, the glaciers removed the mountain top overburden. With minimal ground cover to clear, this leaves the company with easy access to the different color bands of stone, and a far more sustainable approach to blasting and quarrying. According to geological estimates, the deposit runs approximately a mile below the surface; however it’s estimated to contain over 20 billion tons of material sitting above ground alone.

We have identified a plethora of color varieties at the site so far, including an enticing black, vibrant pink, and various shades of green, but have barely scratched the surface.

 

The Glitter Series

The new shimmering stone sourced from this quarry will accurately be named the Glitter Series. The Glitter Series is set to debut with five new manufactured sands. Those sands will include our newest colors Galaxy Glitter, Rosa Glitter, Mint Glitter, Aspen Glitter, and Plum Glitter. These new color variations will accompany the other 60 aggregate colors that Kafka already provides to customers across the United States.

Mint Glitter

Mint Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter

Rosa Glitter

Plum Glitter

Plum Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy, Mint, and Rosa are also available in beautiful varieties of decorative stone and large boulders for stunning accents, show-stopping water features, and unique retaining walls.

 

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Glitter - Dimensional Cut

While the product will be made available to our customers as manufactured sands, landscapes stone, and accent pieces, early on we determined this remarkable stone was far too special to merely crush. This product has also propelled us to start a new business in fabricating and supplying a unique line of building stone products in 2018. This new venture is set to include a variety of “Glitter Series” products, while also launching a “Legacy Series” of classic Kafka Granite colors you already know in love – made available in thin and full veneer.

And that’s just the start. As we dig through our new deposit we plan on unveiling additional stone colors, as well as new products; so stay tuned!

 

Experience The Glittering Beauty Of Kafka Granite’s Newest Quarry

We are beyond thrilled to be able to share our newest quarry with our valued customers and friends. Sitting on picturesque Reynolds Lake, the glittering stone from this new quarry perfectly reflects the natural beauty that can be found surrounding our latest quarry. We urge those wishing to learn more about our newest quarry or about the product that the quarry is expected to yield to call their representative or to contact Kafka Granite directly at 800-852-7415.

WHITE IS THE NEW GREEN: White Roof/Cool Roof Epoxy Overlay

LEED Credits With Kafka Granite

Since 2000, LEED Certification has served as the industry standard for measuring a building’s environmental sustainability. LEED, standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a way to establish and recognize a building as a “green” or eco-friendly structure or project.

Kafka Granite offers an incredible amount of products that could help your new or old construction project get acknowledged as green and receive one of four levels of LEED certification: certified, silver, gold or platinum.

From energy-efficient options such as white roofing aggregates to recycled materials like crushed porcelain or glass, Kafka offers repurposed and all-natural solutions to be used in a variety of ways. We can also help ensure architects are selecting regionally specific aggregate in order to achieve Regional Priority Credits. Since some of Kafka’s products are sourced from around the nation, it’s critical to ensure you’re getting materials that fulfill “geographically specific environmental priorities” in order to garner LEED credit for RPCs. To learn about all the ways Kafka materials can be used in your project and get it closer to LEED certification, talk to us today.

Why should your project be LEED-certified?

LEED certification will reap different incentives depending on which state your project is in. Not only will an impressively sustainable or eco-conscious build garner media attention or community support from those who appreciate green efforts, but they could also receive tax credits or fee reductions/waivers among other things.

Eight different green aspects of a building are taken into account:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Location and Transportation
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Innovation
  • Regional Priority

Depending on the type of the project, there are 110–136 credits that can be earned. The more credits earned (the more criteria fulfilled) will translate to a higher LEED-certification level: 40–49 credits for certified, 50–59 credits for silver, 60–79 credits for gold and more than 80 credits to achieve platinum certification.

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

“Using more green materials, including renewable materials, recycled materials, and natural materials, is good for the building occupants and the environment.” Using organic or recycled materials from Kafka Granite can earn a project more points toward a higher level of LEED certification.

Is being LEED-certified more expensive than not building with recycled/natural materials?

Aiming to build a LEED-certified project, according to this study, will only initially cost as much or slightly more than a project not building with recycled or natural materials. However, the benefits and incentives gained from LEED certification may likely outweigh or outearn the extra construction and materials costs paid up front.

By working with Kafka Granite on your next LEED-certified project, you will get the best possible natural or recycled materials — such as our expansive variety of decomposed granite, crushed aggregate, and recycled materials — to aid in your green initiative. To discuss your specific needs or potential solutions, get in touch with one of our knowledgeable experts.

 

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.

Kafka Granite manufacturing

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 architectural and landscape 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.
  • 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.
  • Decomposed Granite pathway materials for a more natural alternative to traditional hardscape solutions such as asphalt, concrete or pavers.
  • 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.

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Decorative Precast Concrete Aggregates for Decorative Paver and Brick 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.

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 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.

Pewter Granite Stabilized Pathway - Walgreens Corporate Headquarters - Deerfield, IL

Pewter Granite Stabilized Pathway – Walgreens Corporate Headquarters – Deerfield, IL

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.

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.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of T&M Supply

Hot Trends in Architecture: Terrazzo Flooring

Terrazzo is making a big comeback in architectural flooring. This centuries-old flooring is enjoying new life as architects and designers recognize its environmental friendliness, durability, and ageless beauty. Through Kafka Granite’s longstanding relationship with T&M Supply, terrazzo suppliers and contractors use Kafka aggregates in gorgeous flooring all around the country! Here’s the first in a series discussing some hot architectural trends. So let’s find out more about terrazzo style and terrazzo flooring aggregates!

Terrazzo Flooring – Humble Origins, Timeless Appeal

These floors began life over 1500 years ago as Venetian mosaic workers began carting home marble castoffs to create terraces at home. Their first floors were rough and hard on the feet, gradually being polished and worn smooth by time and use.

Recognized for its glimmering beauty beneath the Italian sun, terrazzo gained its first advancement. Workers began to press the chips into a clay base, then ground and polish them to a high shine. The end result was stunning and durable and was in use often from that time forward. Terrazzo floors lay in St. Peter’s Basilica and even George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon.

In modern times, terrazzo hit a peak of popularity in the architecture of the 50s. Modern-style architects made frequent use of it in the southeast and southwest regions. A rising cost of installation saw a decline in its use at the start of the 70s. New manufacturing and installation techniques have helped bring the price down. An increased awareness of environmental sustainability makes terrazzo an attractive option. The flexibility, durability, and natural beauty of terrazzo promises it will continue to be a trendy option for decades to come.

Photo Courtesy of T&M Supply

Photo Courtesy of T&M Supply

The Benefits of Terrazzo

Style

These floors are unquestionably beautiful. Their unmatched elegance and incredible durability have helped the technique survive to modern times. These floors use flexible metal divider strips that allow unlimited design opportunities. They can be set using Portland cement or thin set epoxy. The aggregates which make the bulk of the flooring  come in a host of materials and colors, including granite, quartz, marble, mother of pearl, synthetic materials, and recycled glass. Epoxy can be tinted to match any color scheme. Imagination is the only limit in designing these floors.  They can create unique shapes, logos, or patterns and match any décor. Current architectural design trends make elegant use of bold and dramatic color schemes. They also showcase the natural beauty of our earth’s stone aggregates. Terrazzo gives you the best of both worlds in an incredibly durable surface.

Architectural Qualities

Terrazzo offers a considerable return on investment. The structure of the material offers incredible durability. The epoxy terrazzo floors boast the lowest life-cycle cost of any hard floor surface. Terrazzo typically lasts as long as the structure it’s housed in. Terrazzo is also a low-maintenance material. Once installed and finished, the polished surface will maintain its look and beauty for decades to come even under heavy foot traffic. Epoxy terrazzo is also chemically resistant and more flexible than its predecessor while offering heavy compression strength.

Used indoor or out, terrazzo also makes fantastic bar tops, counters, table tops, and vanities. Terrazzo, like many hard floor options, can be slippery. When used in areas with small children or the elderly, consider applying a non-slip adhesive to the surface.

Environmental Friendliness

With its origins as a recycled product, terrazzo has always been a sustainable flooring. These days, terrazzo’s regional sourcing, durability, indoor air quality only add to its value. Use of recycled content such as porcelain, glass, and mirror in terrazzo flooring can help a building achieve LEED certification.

Exceptional Durability

These floors last for decades with remarkably low maintenance needs. An annual stripping and resealing can help extend the lifespan with ecologically friendly water-based products and regular maintenance is as simple as dry and damp mopping and semi-regular spray buffing. They can withstand heavy traffic without regular replacement.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Terrazzo is mostly composed of naturally occurring or recycled materials. The granite, quartz, and marble chips are naturally occurring materials specially crushed and dried for use in epoxy terrazzo floors. Porcelain, glass, and mirror chips have a similar origin, but rather than being quarried, can come from factory cast-offs or recycled material. Even the dividing strips and steel substructure can incorporate recycled metals. The extreme longevity and low energy usage required for maintaining these beautiful floors grants them highly favorable embodied energy for their life cycle, meaning the energy used to create and sustain them is lower than other flooring options.

Air Quality and Off-Gassing

Consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about the off-gassing habits of the products in their homes and places of business. The components of terrazzo, whether they are cement or thin set epoxy based, have zero-VOC materials. This means a finished floor with little to no off-gassing. Terrazzo is also free of moisture, mold, and microbial growth since it offers a non-porous surface. The end result is a product that does not contribute to poor air quality.

 

Terrazzo helps create a stylish, unique look in any space, whether a custom home with dramatic flair or the lobby of a high-rise building. The unique properties of terrazzo make it an artist’s medium, allowing for unending design options. The proven durability terrazzo is showcased in its age; this is a product that improves as it ages and lasts a lifetime. With considerable environmental benefits during its manufacturing process and beyond, it is a material you can feel good about using. Terrazzo helps builders achieve LEED status and safeguards the health of those in buildings it resides in. Regardless of placement, terrazzo offers the best of all worlds – stunning design, remarkable durability, and environmental sustainability.

Kafka Granite Crushing Facility - Mosinee, WI

HOW IT’S MADE: An Insight into Kafka Granite’s Manufacturing Process

To commemorate 35 years of growth in the specialty aggregate industry, Kafka Granite has developed this video to give our customers a closer look at what makes our manufacturing process unique.

 

 

Jack Caldwell, Project Designer at Waldrop Engineering, was one of the first to view Our Manufacturing video after recently taking a tour of our crushing facility. He noted, “We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the process and how much growth your company has experienced…we were able to see a much bigger picture. It’s a great video and a helpful tool for us to educate our design team with!”

Whether you are an architect or an engineer, a purchaser or a manufacturer, or one of the other many friends of Kafka Granite, we hope this video proves to be a helpful tool for you and your team as well!

Our new video is available for viewing on our new and improved website. While you are there, take a look around…there is a lot of updated information, photos, and other resources!

As always, please let us know if Kafka Granite can help you with your next project. We would be happy to provide you and your team with a tour of our facilities, a lunch and learn presentation, or samples of our products. Contact our sales team for more information. 

Like our video? Contact David Schulta Videography!

 

Video produced by David Schulta & Tiffany Kafka. Video directed and edited by David Schulta Videography LLC.