Resources

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.

Natural Stone Hardscapes

Exterior Renovation for Homeowners: Why You Should Invest in Your Home

With so much time spent at home in 2020, people are recognizing the areas in need of improvement as well as opportunities to increase the value of their properties. Homeowners are especially keen on sprucing up the external elements of their homes – particularly renovations to landscaping and outdoor living spaces.  

Despite the pandemic, the housing market is still quite active. In fact, by fall of this year, housing prices were up over 11% annually, which is the fastest pace for the housing market in nearly 15 years. If you are considering selling your home at any point in the future, this current market season provides ample reason to invest in exterior renovations.

The Benefits of Hiring A Professional Architect and Contractor

While it may be tempting to try to save a buck and do it yourself—or call up your handyman uncle or sibling—exterior renovations are worth the investment you make when you hire a professional. Many architects and contractors have a well of knowledge from experience. Not only do they know the dos and don’ts, but they will have a better idea of the range of options you will have in renovating. Other benefits include:

  • Renovations made with high standards of quality
  • Acquired experience in project planning
  • Expertise that will help you prevent future issues 
  • A network of resources necessary for the job
  • Niche industry awareness 
  • Your own valuable time saved 

Perhaps most vital to your exterior renovations is the architect and contractor’s vision for your home’s potential. Having another mind, an expert mind that is, to share ideas for your home with will give you a better sense of what will work and ultimately add excitement to the endeavor.

Increase the Value of Your Home with Quality Exterior Updates

A well-designed, appealing exterior will go a long way in providing a great first impression to potential home buyers. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the right landscape design to add upwards of 20% to a property’s value, which could mean additional home pricing in the tens of thousands.

Furthermore, the right renovations and landscaping updates will not only add numbers to your home’s final price tag, but in building something you will be proud to sell, you are also helping the potential new owners feel confident that the property was in good hands.

That said, selecting the right material for your renovations is vital to achieving this goal. When it comes time for you and the expert you hire to start getting down to brass tacks and hammer out the details, know that there are few things that can improve the functionality and aesthetic of exterior renovations quite like natural materials.

Natural Stone Hardscapes and Landscape Stone

Looking to add sophistication and elegance to your property? Updates with natural stone can do wonders for your curb appeal. You could simply amplify the aesthetics of your groundcover with crushed, unique landscape stone, and feature decorative accent pieces with decorative rip rap boulders. And why stop there? Add retaining walls and a staircase using natural stone hardscapes that will bring a unique charm to your property.

Establish an Accent Wall with Thin Stone Veneer

Looking to update your vinyl or brick siding? Few external updates are transformative as an exterior facade made of natural thin stone veneer. Thin stone veneer is lightweight, making renovations simpler than a structural full stone veneer. Due to his lightweight, it is also more cost effective to ship and install than full veneer building stone. Kafka Granite’s thin stone veneer comes in dozens of color and cut options, ranging from contemporary to rustic.

Whatever your project, natural stone not only provides functionality and beauty, but it will stand the test of time.

Update Your Exterior Spaces with Kafka Granite Natural Stone

Between our reputable pathway materials, quality landscape materials, and elegant thin stone veneer, Kafka Granite’s offers a wide variety of natural stone selections for your exterior renovation needs. Since 1979, we have provided quality products to natural stone suppliers and contractors seeking to amplify their product offering and services.

Contact our office today to learn more about how our products will complement your projects.

Kafka Architectural Aggregates Color Chart

How Does Natural Stone Get Its Color?

No two pieces of natural stone look alike—even if you’re comparing two pieces of granite extracted from the same quarry. This variation of color, pattern, and texture is part of what makes natural stone so unique and so highly prized as a building and landscaping material. If you’re on the lookout, you’ll notice it in a variety of projects, from chimney facades to public pathways. Currently, thin stone veneer is a particularly popular natural stone product for both commercial and residential projects.

But how, exactly, does natural stone get those striking colors, and why can’t you find the color you’re looking for in your area? Geology holds the answer to these and further questions.

What Causes Color Variations in Natural Stone?

When it comes to color variations in natural stone, it’s all about minerals. Take Wisconsin, for example. Kafka Granite’s home state has glacially deposited minerals to thank for the wide range of colors we see in our local stone quarries.

Minerals and other organic components that were present when rocks were being formed resulted in the rainbow of different colors that we see today. The exact arrangement and abundance of said components are what create the beautiful graining, textures, and varied hues that natural stone is so well known for.

Those various minerals and organic compounds all have different properties and chemical makeups, meaning that they all affect natural stone in different ways. Iron oxide, for example, creates a vivid red color, while serpentine can create a green coloration in stones like marble. The abundance of the mineral deposit will also determine how varied the colors are in a particular stone. You might be able to clearly see a mineral deposit in stone extracted from a certain part of a quarry, while other areas contain lesser amounts of the mineral and therefore fewer bursts of color.

Here’s a look at how minerals affect the hues of several common types of natural stone.

Granite

Granite, primarily composed of minerals and rocks like quartz and mica, is found in a wide range of colors across the country. An abundance of potassium feldspar will give a deposit of granite a warm, pink hue, while the presence of quartz will create that classic, milky-white tone. Thanks to its glistening tones, granite is an excellent option for interior and exterior thin stone veneer projects.

Marble

With zero impurities present, marble is largely white and uniform—but you’d be hard pressed to find any significant amount of naturally occurring marble that doesn’t contain color variations. The striking veined patterns that make marble such a popular natural stone are caused by deposits like feldspar and iron oxide.

Quartz

Quartz is a naturally clear stone, so the presence of any impurities will change its appearance. You’ll find this stone in just about every color you can imagine, although some are more common than others. Purple, yellow, and gray are just some of the hues you’ll come across when purchasing quartz stone products. 

Why Can’t I Find a Specific Color of Stone in My Area?

If you’re looking for a specific color of natural stone for your project, the good news is that there’s an immense variety of colors out there. The bad news is that you might find your own options somewhat limited, depending on the area from which you’re trying to source materials. 

Wisconsin’s unique geology makes it rich in naturally occurring decomposed granite, along with quartz and feldspar. But other areas of the country may lack some types of natural stone entirely, or they may have an overabundance of one color. The solution, then, is to locate a supplier of high-quality natural stone products, one who can source the color that matches your design.

Kafka Granite’s Natural Stone Products

Kafka Granite is proud to offer natural stone products in dozens of dazzling colors. We have so many hues on hand because our immediate area is rich in the mineral deposits that create them. As we mentioned, our state of Wisconsin is known for its naturally occurring decomposed granite in fiery reds and golds—but that’s not all we have to offer. We’ve spent over 40 years scouring the country for different colors of natural stone. 

Today, we source our natural stone products from quarries across North America. This allows us to offer a color and product selection that you simply won’t find anywhere else. So if you’re wondering why you can’t find pink granite or anything other than gray limestone when sourcing materials for your next project, now you know: your area likely doesn’t have any deposits of the type or color of natural stone you’re on the hunt for. But if you have your heart set on a specific color for your installation, we’d be happy to help. 

Looking for the Perfect Color of Natural Stone for Your Next Project?

If you’re having a hard time finding the right natural stone for your project, don’t settle. Instead, contact Kafka Granite today. Architects, designers, stonemasons, and more come to us for our extensive selection of specialty aggregates, thin stone veneer, and other natural stone products. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, our knowledgeable sales team is here to help. We look forward to helping you incorporate the beauty of natural stone into your next project.

The Geology of Natural Stone

Designers, architects, and stone masons get to see quite a variety of stone products, from specialty aggregates to natural stone veneer. Even more people get to see the end results of Kafka Granite’s products—in the form of building facades, bridge overpasses, golf cart pathways, and more. But have you ever wondered about where that stone comes from, and how it came to be? Where, exactly, do we get these striking colors and high-quality material? 

Today, we’re backing up a few steps to take a look at the geology of natural stone. And don’t worry if you don’t remember anything from your middle school geology class—we’ve got you covered with this peek into the rock-solid foundation of our industry.

Where Does Natural Stone Come From?

Geology is an earth science that deals with understanding the structure of the planet. It also holds the key to every natural stone product out there. Before the Earth was a solid mass dotted with features like oceans and volcanoes, it was a ball of mineral gases. Natural stone is the result of those mineral gases solidifying and being compressed over millions of years. 

As the Earth’s crust solidified, heavier minerals were pushed towards the core of the planet, where they were subjected to intense pressure and high temperatures. Eventually, these newly solidified minerals were pushed upwards towards the surface, where they formed rock beds. Some of these deposits became the very quarries from which we extract our own natural stone today. 

3 Rock Types to Know

Quartz, granite, limestone, and marble are just some of the natural stones that we use in our products, but these various kinds of rocks can all be classified into three main types.

Igneous

To put it simply, igneous rocks were here first. This type of rock is created when liquid magma or lava cools down and becomes solid. If that process takes place below the surface of the Earth, it results in intrusive igneous rocks, like granite. But if the lava erupts and cools on the surface, we’re left with extrusive igneous rocks, such as basalt. You’ll find these kinds of rocks everywhere from basins to deep in the oceanic crust.

Sedimentary

Sedimentary rocks are fairly self-explanatory: they’re formed by solidifying sediments, such as volcanic ash. The distinctive mesas that litter the landscape of the American Southwest are a prolific example of sedimentary rock. The exact nature of the sediment determines the type of rock that is formed. Clastic sedimentary rocks, such as shale and sandstone, are created from pieces of pre-existing rocks that become compacted. Organic sedimentary rocks form from plant and animal debris being compacted over millions of years, while chemical sedimentary rock is created by dissolved minerals depositing and solidifying from water.

Metamorphic

Again, the name offers a hint: metamorphic rocks were once igneous or sedimentary rocks that underwent a transformation. That transformation involved extreme conditions, like high heat and pressure, that changed the chemical composition of the rocks. Metamorphic rocks include marble and quartzite, two popular choices for specialty aggregate and stone product manufacturers.

How Does Natural Stone Get Its Color?

If you’ve worked with natural stone before, you’ve likely noticed that no two pieces are exactly the same. In fact, this is one of the major draws of natural stone as a building material; the color variations add a kind of character that is difficult to replicate with man-made products. 

So, where does natural stone get its array of colors from? It’s all thanks to the nature of the minerals and other organic components that make up each type of stone. Depending on the exact minerals and the way in which they settle, blocks of stone extracted from the same quarry can vary greatly in color, texture, and pattern. Marble, for example, is widely known for its veined pattern. Those veins are caused by deposits like iron oxide and feldspar. The “purest” marble is largely white and free of color variation, but particular varieties are actually sought after to lend a certain look or color to a project.

Applications of Natural Stone

It’s worth noting that different types of rocks are useful for different building purposes, depending on their hardness and other key physical properties. There are ASTM Standards set out that describe the minimum and maximum specifications for a variety of natural stone types, which is invaluable for quality control

Today, natural stone is extracted from quarries around the world—Kafka Granite owns a number of them across North America. While our business isn’t nearly as old as the rocks that we crush into specialty aggregates, our decades in the industry have shown us that there are nearly endless uses for natural stone. The material is ideal for thin stone veneer products, where all the color variations of a stone can be put on display. Natural stone can also be used in the creation of retaining walls, accent pieces, pathway mixes, and a whole host of other applications. 

Incorporate the Beauty of Natural Stone Into Your Project

Whether you’re an architect seeking a solution for a large commercial project or a designer planning out a rustic, farmhouse-style home, Kafka Granite has the right product for your unique needs. We’re eager to help you find the ideal natural stone product for your project. Contact us today to speak to a knowledgeable sales representative.

The Unique Geology of Wisconsin

Though Kafka Granite sources stone from quarries across the continent, we’re proud to call Wisconsin our home—and the wellspring of many of our beautiful products. But what, exactly, makes this great state the perfect spot for our business? 

Essentially, it’s all in the geology of the area. We’ve put together an overview of the thousands of years of history and natural forces that have made Wisconsin’s geology so unique today. Read on to learn more about this fascinating state.

Wisconsin Stone Over the Centuries

Wisconsin’s uncommon geology didn’t happen in a year—or even a century. It took hundreds of thousands of years for Earth’s cooling and heating patterns to transform the area into what it is today. More specifically, we have glaciers to thank for the vast majority of Wisconsin’s mineral deposits and topography.

The Wisconsin Glaciation

About every 100,000 years, the planet goes through a long period of cooling, followed by a shorter period of warmth. The last occurrence of this cycle, known as the Wisconsin Glaciation, began about that long ago—with the Laurentide Ice Sheet advancing across North America. Large swaths of Wisconsin became covered in ice, which was diverted and interrupted by the natural topography of the area. 

It took thousands of years for the ice to halt its approach and for the glaciers and sheets to melt or retreat from Wisconsin, but that slow process left us with a natural landscape unlike anything else seen in U.S. geology. The shrinking Laurentide Ice Sheet left behind the many lakes and rivers that characterize parts of the state, as well as a wide variety of glacially deposited minerals—the very minerals that create many of the colors in Kafka Granite’s collection!

A Wealth of Minerals

Wisconsin contains deep deposits of iron and other ores, which have characterized the state—just look at the University of Wisconsin’s mascot, Bucky Badger, an homage to the local lead miners of the early to mid-1800s. But you can also find deposits of minerals and gemstones from A to Z across the length of the state. Quartz and calcite are just two extremely common finds.

Decomposed Granite in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s unique geologic makeup, coupled with thousands of years of natural erosion, also resulted in large deposits of decomposed granite (DG) throughout the state. When feldspar, one of the main components of granite, breaks down, it results in flaking, crumbling material that can be further crushed for projects like pathways and baseball fields. Wisconsin boasts a variety of hues of naturally occurring decomposed granite, from bold reds to vibrant golds.

Decomposed granite mining is limited to certain geographical locations throughout the country, but Wisconsin is particularly rich in this material. Today, DG is extracted from the ground, then sent through a screening process. If needed, this natural resource can be crushed to specific sizes and gradations to meet specifications for a particular mix or project. 

What Does Wisconsin’s Geology Mean to Kafka Granite?

Thanks to the rich landscape created by the last Ice Age, Wisconsin offers an invaluable variety of materials, from natural round boulders to crushed quartz, granite, and marble in a startling range of colors. This selection enabled the rapid growth of Kafka Granite—because we were able to source and acquire so many different colors quickly, and in close proximity to our home base.

A Variety of Colors and Stone Products

This level of variety is not normal in much of the country. Head to another state, and you’ll see nothing but gray limestone for miles. Some areas of the country may not have any granite at all, or may only have one such deposit. It’s not easy to source all of these colors if you’re in the middle of Kentucky, for example. 

Wisconsin’s geology—and that of its surrounding states—allows Kafka Granite to source materials like black, pink, and gray granite, or gray limestone, all within 200 miles. In Pennsylvania, you’ll find more gray granite than you can use, but you won’t find the same range of other products and colors. 

It’s that level of convenience that has allowed us to meet the needs of architects, designers, and stonemasons around the country. In fact, about 85 percent of our colors are sourced from Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula. 

We have an immense variety of naturally occurring materials, which you can even pick up on from the comfort of your car. The next time you’re in the area, take a drive around the state—notice the shoulders of the road, which are created from whatever stone is locally abundant. You’ll see shades like purple, gray, and green, all of which will tell you that there’s an abundance of stone that color in the area. Around our facility, you’ll notice plenty of gray and black granite.

Natural Stone Products From Kafka Granite

We’re immensely proud of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that has made Kafka Granite a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialty aggregates and other building products. Clearly, beautiful, rugged Wisconsin has played a pivotal role in the growth of our company over the years. Not only is it home to our crushing facility; but Wisconsin’s geology means that it offers plenty of natural resources and mineral deposits to satisfy the high demand for unique colors and products.

If you’re looking for natural stone products in a wide variety of colors and sizes, you’ve come to the right place. Contact Kafka Granite today to speak to a knowledgeable sales rep about your project.

Black Diamond Landscape Stone - Private Residence, WI

How to Pick Your Landscape Stone Aggregate Color

To many, landscaping is a work of art. When crafted properly, it can add curb appeal and leave passersby with a  positive first impression. You might spend all of your time primping, pruning, planting and planning your landscaping during every warm summer moment, or you might simply throw some perennials in a flowerbed and call it quits. Whatever type of green thumb you are, Kafka Granite can help you make your garden and landscaping look even better through the perfectly complementary pathway or garden base.

With nearly 60 colors of landscape supply to choose from, picking the right color could be a tough decision. With so many colors available, you’re able to make your landscaping a one-of-a-kind design that won’t look like the typical yard using big box-store stone. Go bold or go neutral, the choice is up to you, but whichever way you go you can rest assured that Kafka’s decomposed granite and landscape supply will be the finishing touch you’ve needed to reach aesthetic perfection in your yard. With Kafka Granite’s easy to use aggregates you don’t need to be a design master to create a garden worth a second look.

How to Pick the Color of Your Landscaping Stone

Choosing what color you want your landscaping stone to be isn’t much different than coordinating your outfit. By using standard design concepts and tools, you can make the right choice to complement the rest of your landscaping and home.

Using the Color Wheel for Your Landscaping

You may recognize the color-selection tool to the right: the standard color wheel. Although simple, learning how to use the color wheel can help you create a landscaping masterpiece just likes the pros. The color wheel is built around the three primary colors: yellow, blue and red. While the complexities of the color wheel can run deep, playing it simple can often make the biggest statement when it comes to your landscaping. When picking colors to feature in your garden, limiting the variety to three colors is best. You’ll get a clean, cohesive look if you stick to a few colors instead of all of the colors.

Complementary Colors

A foolproof way to pick a great landscaping stone color is to consider complementary colors. Complementary colors are any two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, if your garden has a lot of purple in it, consider choosing a landscaping stone with more yellow in it. Kafka’s Caramel Quartzite would complement gardens roaming with lots of violets or purple phlox.

Triadic Colors

Similar to the idea of complementary colors, triadic colors are any three colors that are spaced equally apart on the color wheel. Instead of primarily sticking to just two colors, following the triadic theme lets you pick three colors that will undoubtedly go together when using the color wheel to help you decide. In this case, picking a decomposed granite to fill your garden or use as a pathway material that is yellow or tan in color will go well with a garden stuffed with flowers that are light blue and maroon.

Analogous Colors

If you’d rather your landscaping stick to one area of the color wheel, choosing analogous colors is a safe bet. Analogous colors are any three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Sticking to shades of red or blue, for instance will lead to visual harmony. However, there is one caveat: Try to avoid picking analogous colors where one is a “cool” color (blues, purples) and one is a “warm” color (reds and yellows).

3 Insights to Consider when Picking a Landscaping Stone

Garden Palette

Consider the colors you already have in your garden. As mentioned in the examples above, the colors of the flowers and plants in your garden could help you choose the perfect complementary, triadic or analogous color for your landscaping stone. Kafka’s decomposed granite color variety spans browns and tans to violets and greens. If your garden is full of red roses, a pathway made from Wintergreen granite may be exactly what your garden needs.

Home Design

How you design your landscaping may rely heavily on the design of your home. Perhaps you want your landscaping aesthetic to match the era your home was built, or maybe you want your landscaping stone in the garden to complement the color of your home to build a more cohesive look. Taking into consideration the color of your home can help guide your decision when it comes to choosing landscaping material.

Stand Out or Stay Neutral

When it comes to selecting the color of decomposed granite for your garden or pathway, remember staying neutral is always a reliable option. Even if your garden is full of vibrant complementary colors, choosing a neutral color that is more subtle may be the perfect backdrop for beautiful flowers. Also, if your home and garden already add lots of color to your landscaping and curb appeal, maybe it’s best not to add another color to the mix through your landscaping stone.

In the End, It’s up to You!

Ultimately, landscape design is completely up to you. While Kafka Granite is always here to offer helpful tips for selecting which color aggregate may be best for your garden or pathways, the choice is yours! Complementary, triadic, and analogous colors are good options to consider if you want to play it safe with color selection and make sure your end result is aesthetically pleasing. In the end, though, your landscape’s color palette can be as neutral or eclectic as you like. Kafka’s decomposed granite color variety is here to help you express yourself and create the best garden yet.

90% Starlight Black, 5% Salt & Pepper, 5% Snow White Custom Stabilized Pathway - American Greetings Headquarters - Westlake, OH

Basic Principles of Commercial Landscape Design

Commercial properties are often large, sprawling expanses that may be the site for a corporate campus, warehouses, office buildings, or more. Despite not being a small or cozy area, expansive commercial landscapes don’t have to remain barren or boring. Kafka Granite is familiar with making large-scale projects look beautiful inviting, as can be seen by our work on the Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, and Loyola University. We understand trying to strike the right balance between creating a good-looking space while maintaining its functionality.

By providing landscaping materials that are both beautiful and incredibly durable, Kafka is able to offer the product you need to make your commercial landscape architecture stand out from walkway to retaining wall. Whether you’re starting with a blank slate or have some pathways or parking lots in place, let us help you with designing your commercial landscape. Not only will we help you to transform or complete your project, but with our green alternatives you can take your project one step closer to obtaining a SITES or LEED certifications.

Combine Form and Function

The very first step to ensuring your commercial landscaping is stunning, and logical, is to make a plan. How extensive or simple this step is may depend on the size of your lot or the scope of your project; the larger the lot or project, the more planning you may have to do. If you’re sure of what your property needs when it comes to the landscape, then you might be able to do this part by yourself. If you’re uncertain about how you want the layout of your landscaping to “flow,” then the eyes of a professional landscape architect may be necessary.

Draw a map of your property and make note of where structures and trees already exist as well as where the sun hits during the day as this could affect where you plant certain types of sun-loving flora. Once permanent items are marked, the next step is to play around with where you envision things like parking lots, outdoor seating, pathways, gardens or courtyards. Remember that pathways and courtyards don’t have to be so linear or square—make sure to test out different curving lines or shapes, and see what feels best. Additionally, consider how you truly want the space to be used. Can you see your staff wanting to sit outdoors for lunch? Do you envision guests walking along an especially scenic part of the lot? Is there a steep grade that would benefit from a retaining wall? By thinking about how the space will be used, you’ll be better able to plan for what you build in it.

This initial phase is also a good time to try and tie your landscape architecture to the design of your building. You can complement the colors or textures of existing structures by using different colors of granite or flowers within your gardens. Create a tentative color palette for your overall design to serve as an inspiration for the rest of your project.

Make a Good First Impression

The landscape architecture of your business is also important in that it can make or break a visitor’s first impression. If your business is one that sees a lot of visitors, who are clients or otherwise, focus on making a good first impression. This means making the entrance a focal point so that it’s easy to find and is welcoming. Establish a clear path from the parking lot to the entryway.

When it comes to essential elements like trash bins outside the entry, consider using tasteful and good-looking alternatives to the plastic garbage can. By using alternatives like a crushed granite decorative precast waste receptacle, you can make garbage go away with an aesthetically pleasing container. What’s more is that decorative precast features can be made using any color of granite to match or complement materials used elsewhere, and they can include outdoor furniture like benches, tables, and more. Kafka Granite for example, offers over 50 different colors of decorative precast aggregates.

 

Choose the Colors and Materials of Your Landscaping Material

Now that you’ve decided what features you need from your landscaping and how you’ll make a welcoming first impression for your guests, it’s time to figure out what materials you’ll want to use to make your plan a reality. Questions to ask yourself to help figure out what materials you’ll need include:

What will your pathways be made of?

Do you prefer cobbles, pavers or decomposed granite? Each material will have a different aesthetic appeal and one may match the look of your building’s architecture more than the others.

What color will your pathways be?

Color is always a tough decision whether you’re painting a wall or choosing an aggregate. Do you want a natural look? Perhaps you want a look where the pathway truly pops? When you come to Kafka Granite for crushed granite walkways, you’ll be met with over 50 color options. With variety like that, you have your pick of neutrals, greens, reds and more.

What kind of traffic will be on your pathways?

Something you may have considered in your planning stage is how your pathways will be used—are you expecting just foot traffic or will there also be bike, golf cart, ATV or light vehicular traffic? By measuring the wear and tear that will be taking place on your paths, you can choose the best material available whether it’s standard, stabilized or wax polymer. We’ve spoken extensively about the difference between these three pathway materials on our blog.

What is your parking lot going to be made of?

Not every parking lot has to be an endless sea of asphalt. Don’t be afraid to incorporate your parking lot into your grand landscaping architecture design. In lieu of asphalt, imagine using permeable paverss with environmentally friendly permeable paver grit.

What surrounds your gardens?

Depending on your landscape architecture, the gardens or foliage in your design may be natural and unenclosed, or they may require a bit more structure from distinct edging and retaining walls. Retaining walls can be made from boulders or more angular decorative rip rap if you’re looking for a unique and beautiful option. And when it comes to your flowerbeds, will you be using decomposed granite landscaping stone or mulch as your base? These options may seem small but they can make all the difference when it comes your project’s end result. 

How much money or time can you put toward maintenance?

If the answer is, “Very little,” then perhaps high-maintenance gardens aren’t the solution for your landscape. Crushed stone-based xeriscapes can are becoming more popular as they require less maintenance and water, and they are a beautiful alternative to thick gardens. Consider this factor when ultimately deciding how much hardscape to incorporate into your design.

Get Started on Your Commercial Landscape Architecture Today

If you’re looking to get started on a commercial landscaping project, make sure you do it right. Coming to Kafka ensures you get the best materials and the best selection on the market to achieve exactly what you envision. Call us today to find a dealer near you or to speak with one of our expert consultants. If you’re a landscaping materials dealer searching for a way to carry a great selection, chat with us to find out about our dealer program. With so many colors and materials to outfit every part of your landscape’s design, you’ll be thrilled you chose Kafka Granite.

Midnight Blue Granite

Why Is Rip Rap Used for Breakwaters?

The Multi-use Landscaping Tool

There is a certain majesty to waterfront property that is hard to beat. The serenity provided by the sound of lapping waves and gentle movement of the water makes for an idealistic setting for most businesses. Kafka Granite is fortunate enough to be surrounded by numerous bodies of water in the Mosinee area.

With over 15,000 lakes in our home state of Wisconsin, we frequently receive calls regarding how to protect waterfront property from erosion. In these cases, we recommend rip rap breakwaters to those seeking multi-use landscape structures that are both useful and aesthetically pleasing. And just to note, we always tell our customers to refer to their state DNR shoreline regulations when considering making any changes to their property’s shoreline.

Breakwaters and Rip Rap

In need of multi-use landscape supplies that are not only beautiful but functional? Rip rap is comprised of naturally occurring rock that has been broken into pieces ranging from 6” to 30” shards. Kafka Granite offers exceptional quartzite and granite rip rap in a vast spectrum of colors.

Rip rap, sometimes seen as riprap, rip-rap or stone armor comes from the nautical word rip-rap, which in 1822 meant “stretch of rippling water.” Rip rap can be classified as either graded or uniform. Graded rip rap is a mixture of stones that vary in size and shape, whereas uniform rip rap is a mix of stones that are all of a similar size and shape. Records of rip rap can be found well before the 1900s. In fact, rip rap became one of the first forms of erosion control when it was used in the building of the Panama Canal in the early 1800s.

Breakwaters are exactly what the name implies; they are offshore structures that protect property from the force of waves by breaking water before it reaches the shore. The first cited use of a breakwater was in 1769.

Shoreline Erosion

Shoreline rip rap used for breakwaters serves many purposes besides being simply pleasing to the eye. Breakwaters made of rip rap help reduce erosion and absorb the force of waves. Without the use of breakwaters, waves can make a significant impact on shorelines. When left unchecked waves can both deposit debris along a shore or result in erosion. Waves will deposit sediment along the shore when the force of the wave dissipates before it reaches land, this results in layers of gravel, sand and debris being left behind. Erosion occurs when waves break along the shore and then carry parts of the shore back out to the water. It is estimated that wave erosion is to blame for the loss of four billion tons of soil annually, resulting in over $20 billion being spent on replacement soil each year.

Shoreline erosion is a natural process that can occur in lakes, rivers, streams and along the coast. Many factors can contribute to shoreline erosion including storms, strong waves, rain, ice, runoff, winds, loss of vegetation and more. As mentioned above, over time shoreline erosion can present an enormous threat to your property’s value, structural integrity and present a serious financial obstacle, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure your property’s longevity with the use of a rip rap breakwater.

How to Use Rip Rap

Rip rap has many uses; as landscape stone, to form a breakwater, as abutments and more. Rip rap can also be used as a beautiful accent feature or to build striking retaining walls. We are frequently seeing new ways to use this diverse landscape stone, with customers fabricating fountains, steps, benches, and more from beautiful natural chucks of stone. Anyone who owns land along a lake or riverway should first contact their local county, city, or township with questions regarding standards or permit requirements before starting work on their shoreline.

Advantage of Rip Rap Against Other Types of Retainers

Rip rap is an easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain landscape stone that is a very low-maintenance alternative to other traditional retaining walls. Rip rap should be checked annually or after any large storms to ensure that no stones have been displaced. You shouldn’t allow wooden vegetation to grow on your rip rap due to the eventual displacement of your stone from the plant’s root system. Wooden vegetation includes shrubbery such as willow and dogwood plants and smaller grasses such as fox sedge, rattlesnake manna grass and tall manna grass.

A breakwater made of rip rap has another great advantage that you might not have considered—natural wildlife habitat! Traditional vertical seawalls offer no protection or benefits for the local ecosystem, but a rip rap breakwater provides an excellent place for wildlife to feed and hide. Once installed you can expect to see a whole new ecosystem develop around your property. Below are some further advantages of rip rap breakwaters.

  • Rip rap is specifically designed to fight again erosion
  • You will receive a high level of protection for minimal shoreline maintenance
  • Rip rap is intended to withstand a high degree of impact and velocity
  • Once installed, rip rap provides lasting long-term protection
  • Rip rap is a natural repellent to common pests such as rodents and muskrats
  • Rip rap will help secure the longevity of your property’s value

Kafka Granite Rip Rap

After you’ve consulted with your local DNR and are ready to build your rip rap breakwater, look no further than Kafka Granite. Our rip rap selection is comprised of a variety of colored, sized and shaped stones reaching up to 4 feet in diameter. We offer 13 distinctly unique color options including:

  • Cajun Spice Granite
  • Caramel Quartzite
  • Chocolate Brown Granite
  • Dynamite Orange Granite
  • Imperial Gray Granite
  • Linwood Granite
  • Mauve Granite
  • Midnight Blue Granite
  • Platinum Granite
  • Ruby Red Granite
  • Shamrock Green Granite
  • Starlight Black Granite
  • Wintergreen Granite

Rip rap is a great solution for those looking for an aesthetically pleasing stone for a large scale project, for both contractors and architects alike. No project is too small or too large at Kafka Granite. Additionally, while usually known for our crushed stone aggregates, we take pride in offering unique raw rip rap that shines in both form and feature. The natural colors found in our rip rap are sure to complement your next shoreline or breakwater project perfectly. Get in touch with Kafka Granite today to discuss your next rip rap breakwater project. Our rip rap selection is now available for online viewing.

Wisconsin Granite Boulders - Private Residence, WI

Landscape Inspiration for Your Next Retaining Wall Project

Retaining walls are often more than just an aesthetic addition to your landscaping project. They’re used to help control downhill erosion, manage water runoff, and even create usable landscaping space if your green space is steeply graded and difficult to use otherwise. When it comes to building a retaining wall, though, you could be overwhelmed by the number of options available to you.

Kafka Granite knows landscaping stone and can help when it comes to making a unique retaining wall. We offer a variety of granite boulders, cobbles, and decorative rip rap—a large angular stone—that can be used to make a one-of-a-kind retaining wall that will blend seamlessly with your natural aesthetic. The variety of naturally colored stone offered make it possible for your retaining wall to become exactly what you’ve dreamed of: a beautiful, natural solution that blends in with your landscape rather than obtrusive  manufactured concrete block.

Must-dos for Building a Retaining Wall

When building a retaining wall from natural granite boulders or rip rap, the size of the stone you’ll need to build the wall you want will impact your wall’s finished design. If your retaining wall is low and following a particularly curvy course, perhaps around a flowerbed, water feature, or outdoor space, you’re most likely on the lookout for smaller-sized granite boulders. Both boulders and rip rap landscaping stone options can blend into your landscape’s surroundings or stand on their own as a decorative feature.

As professional designers and contractors, most will be familiar with the retaining wall process. But to err on the side of caution, here are the most important details to keep in mind when plotting out your next retaining wall project outside of the traditional type, color, and size of stone considerations.

You’ll need to have an in depth understanding of where the property lines are located, power lines are buried, and  where there is a difference in grade throughout the area. Knowing the difference in grades within the property will allow you to plan where and how your retaining wall will adjust to the environment’s natural ebb and flow. With this information you will be able to discuss with your client how they wish to address some of the project’s challenges. For example, is the final retaining wall going to cut into any hills (and how much material will you have to remove in front of or add behind the new wall) or is it going to follow the natural slope of the property? These conversations will allow all involved to better visualize how the final retaining wall will work in your overall landscape design.

The soil your retaining wall will be holding back is also a vitally important consideration. Soils can range from being clay-based to very sandy. The type of soil used will help determine how much reinforcement your retaining wall will need to provide. Also, a heavy clay soil will provide less drainage than a sandier soil. To ensure optimal drainage and avoid damage from saturation or frost-heave to your retaining wall in the years to come, we recommend using gravel as your primary backfill. When your soil is less than ideal for using behind a retaining wall, using gravel backfill for roughly 2 feet behind the wall is a good solution for drainage. Use gravel backfill until 6 inches below the top of the retaining wall because that is where you can safely fill in with topsoil.

Get the Natural Retaining Wall You’ve Always Wanted

Ditch the manufactured blocks that the big box stores sell and provide your clients with something truly spectacular. Opt for a unique and natural retaining wall that will add just the aesthetic you’re looking for to your landscape design. Whether you want to create a retaining wall that will house next flowerbeds or you need to cut into a hill to create a flat, usable space in your green space, don’t wait. The ideal landscape stone is available from your nearest Kafka Granite dealer.

If you’re interested in Kafka’s granite boulder or rip rap retaining wall options, we can help you to find a dealer near you. If you’re interested in becoming a part of our dealer program, we can help with that, too! Give us a call and let’s talk about your next big project.