Galaxy Glitter Ledgestone Thin Stone Veneer.

Commercial Renovations Using Thin Stone Veneer

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

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

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

1. Convenient Size Means Cost-Efficient

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

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

2. Dynamic Use—Inside and Outside

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

3. Adaptable and Easy to Install

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

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

Naturally Durable

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

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

What Are My Color Options?

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

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

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

Applications of Thin Stone Veneer

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

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

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

A Timeless Natural Stone Product for Corporate Renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calculating Your Thin Stone Veneer Needs

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

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

How Much Thin Stone Veneer Do I Really Need?

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

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

Thin Stone Veneer vs. Full Veneer

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

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

Installing Thin Stone Veneer

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

Natural Thin Stone Veneer for Every Project

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

Galaxy Glitter Castle Cut Thin Stone Veneer.

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

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

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

The New Home Colors You’re Most Likely to See

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

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

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

Pair Your Color Palette with Elegant Natural Stone

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

Thin Stone Veneer

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

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

Natural Stone Hardscapes

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

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

Elevate the Beauty of a New Home with Kafka Granite

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

 

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.

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.

Quality Control 101: What Is Specific Gravity?

So far, in our quality control series, we’ve discussed Mohs hardness and absorption—but there are still many other factors that play a role in creating specialty aggregates, natural thin stone veneer, and other products that will last. Today, we’re diving into the importance of specific gravity and bulk specific gravity in stone. Let’s take a look at what this physical property can tell us, why it’s so important, and how it’s measured.

What Is Specific Gravity?

Specific gravity is a ratio of the mass of a substance to the mass of the same volume of liquid (typically distilled water). This physical property plays an important role across a wide range of processes, from biological processes like kidney function to product performance. 

You may have also heard this property referred to as “relative density.” The word “relative” should hint at the fact that specific gravity is a unitless measurement. To make sense of this property, measurements must be compared against a standard. For solids and liquids, that standard is water at its most dense (about 39 degrees Fahrenheit), while gases are measured against room temperature air.

As water is the typical standard, it is understood to have a specific gravity of 1. A specific gravity below 1 indicates that a substance is less dense than water and will therefore float in the liquid, while a specific gravity greater than 1 means that the substance is more dense and will sink. Specific gravity in natural stone ranges from 2 to 3, meaning that stone is two to three times denser than water.  

Water Absorption and Bulk Specific Gravity in Stone

Specific gravity doesn’t exist in a vacuum, however; when it comes to the performance of natural stone products, other physical properties must be accounted for. Water absorption and specific gravity are two properties that go hand in hand.

All types of natural stone are porous to some degree, meaning that they will absorb a certain amount of water. Absorption allows us to assess that porosity, which in turn allows us to evaluate how well a stone will withstand weathering and structural stress. In general, denser stone is less porous. Because water absorption is measured as a percent by weight, however, a low-density and high-density stone can have the same absorption capacity—but the higher-density stone will actually absorb more water by volume. 

To allow for this caveat, we measure bulk specific gravity. This property takes into account a stone’s absorption capacity, giving us a better understanding of how strong the resulting product will be, how it might be affected by the freeze-thaw cycle and other natural forces, and what it can realistically be used for.

Specific Gravity and Quality Control

So, how does specific gravity in stone relate back to quality control? When it comes to natural stone products, consistency is key. Specialty aggregates used in architectural precast, decorative precast, and other manufactured products need to meet specifications for a particular application or installation. At Kafka Granite, we make key measurements like Mohs hardness, specific gravity, and absorption available directly to our customers, so that they can make the most informed decisions when sourcing materials for their projects.

Even non-load bearing products like natural thin stone veneer have to hold up to the installation process, the elements (if exterior), and forces like heat and changes in humidity. This means that every masonry unit needs to fit into an acceptable range of physical properties, from Mohs hardness to bulk specific gravity. 

How Is Specific Gravity in Stone Tested?

It’s not enough to simply be aware of standards—those standards need to be met every time. Kafka Granite adheres to ASTM material specifications for our stone products. Samples of our dimension stone are sent out for a number of tests, including ASTM C97: Standard Test Methods for Absorption and Bulk Specific Gravity of Dimension Stone. This particular assessment is used to measure both absorption capacity and bulk specific gravity for all types of dimension stone except slate. 

Absorption is up first. At least five test specimens are dried for 48 hours in an oven to ensure they’re completely free of moisture. Their dry weight is recorded, and they are then submerged in water for another 48 hours to make sure they’ve naturally reached their absorption capacity. When fully saturated, the samples are weighed again. The percentage difference between these two values is the absorption capacity.

To determine bulk specific gravity, the saturated specimen is suspended by a wire in air and weighed. The process is repeated with the stone suspended in water. The difference between these two values is the bulk specific gravity, which can then be used to determine density.

The testing process is similar for our specialty aggregates, but it’s important to note that, unlike dimension stone, aggregate or crushed stone isn’t required to conform to any one standard. However, this data determines whether crushed stone is appropriate for a specific application—so it still needs to be collected. Samples of our specialty aggregates are subjected to a similar process of drying, soaking, and weighing to determine both their absorption and specific gravity.

Kafka Granite’s Commitment to Excellence in Stone Products

Our decades of experience in the industry have made it clear to us that architects, designers, stonemasons, and others need high-quality specialty aggregates and masonry units that will hold up under stress and against natural forces. At Kafka Granite, we’re committed to providing consistent, useful products that fit perfectly into a project. If you’re searching for thin stone veneer or other natural stone products, reach out today. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Quality Control 101: What Is Absorption?

Here at Kafka Granite, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality stone products—but that’s not the only thing that makes us an industry leader. Our dedicated team is constantly seeking out colorful new deposits and developing innovative uses for natural stone and products to meet the ongoing needs of our customers. We’re also happy to share our technical knowledge. To that end, we’re diving into the next topic in our quality control series: absorption. 

In previous installments, we’ve talked about the overall importance of quality control, dug a little deeper into Mohs hardness, and specific gravity. Now, we’ll be looking at what absorption is, how it’s measured, and why it matters to the end-user.

Why Does Absorption Matter?

Absorption is the percent by weight increase in the mass of a material when water is absorbed into its pores. (This does not include any water adhering to the surface of the material.) This acts as a measure of a stone’s porosity, which can tell us quite a lot about how durable that stone will be for a particular installation.

If you’re wondering exactly why water absorption matters in natural stone products, know that it all comes back to quality control. Different absorption levels determine how well a specific type of stone will withstand weathering and structural stress, and, by extension, how a product can be used. It’s essential that the qualities of a stone match the needs of the application; otherwise, your project simply won’t last.

Absorption capacity is particularly important in natural stone products that will be exposed to the elements and undergo the freeze-thaw cycle. If you’re creating a building facade from natural stone, for example, you’ll need to select an appropriate type of stone—one that is durable and not overly porous. If your material absorbs too much water, you’ll find it much more vulnerable to freezing weather. 

As another example, if you’re sourcing decorative aggregates for the face mix of your pavers, you should opt for an aggregate mix with a lower absorption. Continued freeze-thaw cycles and other forces will make aggregates with higher absorption levels more likely to break down over time, eventually compromising the integrity of the paver itself.

Finally, absorption can also tell us about a stone’s stain resistance. To protect the integrity of your installation and reduce the risk of your material becoming stained over time, it’s essential to choose a stone with a low water absorption.

How Do You Test for Water Absorption of Stone?

Water Absorption of Dimension Stone

Dimensional stone sold for commercial use must meet certain criteria across a number of categories, including absorption, specific gravity, and compressive strength.

ASTM International is a non-profit organization that develops both material standards and testing methods for products and materials throughout numerous industries. ASTM C97: Standard Test Methods for Absorption and Bulk Specific Gravity of Dimension Stone is used to test absorption capacity for a variety of types of dimension stone, such as marble and granite. 

Here’s a brief look at how the test progresses:

  • Five or more test specimens are prepared.
  • The samples are dried in an oven for 48 hours to ensure they are completely free of excess moisture. 
  • When totally dry, the specimens are weighed.
  • Next, the samples are submerged in water for another 48 hours to make sure they’ve naturally reached their absorption capacity.
  • When completely saturated, the samples are weighed again.

The absorption capacity of each sample is determined by calculating the difference between the fully dry and fully saturated weights. The resulting value, expressed as a percentage, gives us one piece of the puzzle for determining whether a type of stone is appropriate for a specific application.

Along with testing methods, there are ASTM specifications to which natural stone products must adhere. The standard requirement for water absorption in granite, for example, is .4 percent, while marble is .2 percent. 

It’s important to note that the absorption capacity of each type of dimension stone is actually a range, rather than one number. Absorption capacity in granite typically ranges from .8 to .01 percent, while marble goes from .8 to .04 percent. This means that a portion of natural stone sold on the market will fall outside of ASTM specifications. 

This brings us back to the essential nature of quality control. Remember that the most affordable option may not be the best option for your project—in fact, specifying low-quality natural stone products may actually end up costing you more in repairs and replacements in the long run. If you ever find yourself in doubt, be sure to ask your supplier for proof of ASTM testing.

Water Absorption of Crushed Stone

Our crushed stone is also regularly tested for absorption, Mohs Hardness, and specific gravity. But unlike dimension stone, there is no universal standard for water absorption of aggregate or crushed stone. Instead, organizations or businesses typically have specifications for materials they use in different projects. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, for example, has a set standard for epoxy overlay aggregates. It’s essential that materials used in projects like high-friction surfacing installation meet these specifications. Otherwise, the aggregate will break down—reducing traction and failing to perform. 

To ensure that an aggregate meets the requirements for a particular application, samples are tested according to ASTM standards, such as ASTM C127: Standard Test Method for Relative Density (Specific Gravity) and Absorption of Coarse Aggregate

The method for testing water absorption in aggregate or crushed stone is similar to that of dimension stone:

  • Aggregate samples are first dried to remove any excess moisture.
  • Once dry, the oven-dry density of the aggregate is measured.
  • Next, the samples are soaked in water for a prescribed period to ensure that they reach maximum absorption capacity.
  • Finally, the soaked samples are used to determine the saturated-surface-dry density and absorption.

High-Quality Stone Products From Kafka Granite

When you purchase specialty aggregates or other natural stone products from Kafka Granite, you can rest easy knowing the materials you receive will be of the highest quality. To further demonstrate our commitment to transparency and quality, all test data is available to our customers upon request.

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and continuous pursuit of excellence—and we’re always happy to discuss your newest project. If you have any questions about our range of products or specifications, feel free to contact us today.

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend - Dimensional Cut

The Possible Applications of Natural Thin Stone Veneer

Natural stone gives both commercial and residential projects a highly sought-after, rugged look that has stood the test of time. Where trends fall out of fashion as the seasons change, natural stone sticks around. But all too often, designers and builders have to choose cheaper or more readily available options like manufactured stone for their projects.

Fortunately, natural thin stone veneer offers an attractive alternative. This versatile specialty building stone adds the same look of natural full stone veneer while lowering shipping and installation costs dramatically. This type of building stone has multiple uses and can complement a variety of interior and exterior projects—in fact, there are so many possible applications for natural stone veneer that it can be difficult to narrow down your options and determine exactly where you should use this material. 

If you’re looking for some natural stone veneer inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Kafka Granite has spent decades sourcing natural stone from quarries across the continent. Our selection of natural thin stone veneer offers the perfect color and cut for every need, and we’re happy to help you figure out which option is right for your unique project. Here’s a look at some of the potential uses for natural thin stone veneer.

The Benefits of Utilizing Thin Stone Veneer

Thin stone veneer can range in thickness from ¾ inches to 1½ inches. This specification results in a product that weighs less than 15 pounds per square foot. Not only does this cut down significantly on shipping prices when compared to full veneer, but it also impacts installation costs. Due to its light weight, thin stone veneer doesn’t require footing or other supports, which makes the installation process simpler and often quicker than laying full veneer. 

Natural stone veneer can complement a wide variety of projects—both within a building or home and out. But while thin stone veneer is ideal for use in both commercial and residential projects, Kafka Granite does recommend hiring a professional stonemason to install this specialty product. He or she will be able to ensure that your natural stone materials are installed properly.

Applications of Natural Stone Veneer 

The sky is truly the limit when it comes to the use of natural thin stone veneer. This specialty building stone is a striking addition to any non-structural project, whether it be a restaurant building facade or an indoor waterfall. Let’s take a look at some of the many possible applications of thin stone veneer. 

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend - Dimensional Cut

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend – Dimensional Cut

Interior Thin Stone Veneer Projects

Natural thin stone veneer is an excellent option for incorporating the beautiful look of natural stone into an interior project. Because the product is relatively lightweight, thin stone veneer does not require special footing and can be easily installed for a variety of non-structural features, from accent walls to kitchen backsplashes. 


Interior Accent Walls

Whether you’re decking out your home in natural stone or just hoping to create a single accent wall, thin stone veneer will do the trick. Because quarried stone varies depending on its source, you’ll find a wide variety of colors available—and one is sure to match your vision.

Fireplace Projects

Indoor fireplaces can add a cozy feel to any room, depending on how they’re built and decorated. Natural stone veneer can turn a plain fireplace facade into an eye-catching centerpiece.

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend - Dimensional Cut

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend – Dimensional Cut

Kitchen Backsplashes

Backsplashes might not seem like an obvious choice for thin stone veneer, but they present a unique opportunity to showcase the beautiful, natural colors of these products.

Interior Accent Finishes

Perhaps you’re working within a smaller space or simply don’t want to use natural stone for an entire project. You can still incorporate the lovely look of natural stone with the help of thin stone veneer panels and other products. Our wide variety of cuts and colors makes finding the right accent for your project a breeze.

Exterior Uses for Thin Stone Veneer

Natural thin stone veneer also stands up extremely well in the outdoors. When installed with care and maintained correctly, this specialty building stone will retain its integrity and keep your project looking striking for years to come. 

But remember—if you are planning to utilize natural thin stone veneer in your exterior project, the surface area that will be in contact with the natural thin stone veneer will first need to be waterproofed before this specialty product can be installed. 

Gun Metal Marble - Dimensional Cut

Gun Metal Marble – Dimensional Cut

Exterior Siding and Columns

Natural thin stone veneer is an ideal material for exterior or partial wall siding, as well as exterior columns. The material holds up extremely well to the elements, including harsh winds, rain, and snow. Whether you’re looking to add some old-world country charm to your home or create a clean, contemporary feel for the front wall of a business, you’ll be able to find the perfect blend amongst our numerous cuts and colors.

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend - Dimensional Cut

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend – Dimensional Cut

Chimney Surfacing

Natural stone can look just as handsome on your exterior chimney as it can adorning your fireplace—even as time and the elements weather the product. In contrast to artificial or manufactured stone, which can fade over time, natural stone will retain its color and integrity, giving you a chimney surface or other exterior project that lasts.

Natural Stone Veneer From Kafka Granite

Over the past 40 years, Kafka Granite has distinguished itself as an industry leader in specialty aggregates, and we’re proud to extend that same level of excellence, dedication, and innovation to our specialty masonry stone products. Reach out today to speak to a knowledgeable sales representative. We look forward to helping you incorporate natural stone into your project.

Gun Metal & Misty Gray Marble Blend - Dimensional Cut

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Thin Stone Veneer

The manufacturing process for creating thin stone veneer products has been around for some time, yet this versatile material is still a mystery to many. A few short years ago, Kafka Granite expanded our line of stone products to include thin stone veneers made from granite, quartz, and marble, in the classic Kafka colors that architects, designers, and builders have come to know and love. 

Homeowners and designers alike are now discovering and benefiting from the unique properties of natural thin stone veneer. Here are a few fast facts you may not have known about this specialty building material.

1. Thin Stone Veneer Doesn’t Require Footing

One of the most significant advantages of thin stone veneer over full veneer is that the former can be installed without support ledges or footings. Why? It all comes down to weight. At less than 15 pounds per square foot, thin stone veneer can weigh up to 75% less than full veneer building stone. This makes installation significantly easier, but it also cuts down on shipping costs dramatically. 

2. Natural Thin Stone Veneer Works for Interior and Exterior Projects

Natural thin stone veneer is prized for its versatility and durability. As we mentioned, its light weight cuts down on shipping and installation costs. And because natural stone retains its integrity as it weathers, natural thin stone veneer is an ideal choice for both interior and exterior projects. That means that anything from your kitchen backsplash to a building facade can be enhanced by the beauty of natural stone.

3. When Installed Correctly, It Looks Just Like Full Veneer Stone

Thin veneer ranges in thickness from ¾ inches to a maximum of 1½ inches. This is significantly thinner than full veneer building stone. You might wonder how this slimmer version could possibly compare to stone that is several inches thicker. In reality, thin stone veneer stands up quite nicely to its full counterpart. The two are both made of quarried stone, meaning that they’ll both retain their integrity and hold up as time passes. Because of its less expensive shipping and installation costs, thin stone veneer is the ideal choice for adding natural stone into non-structural projects. Some types of thin stone veneer are also available in corner-shaped masonry units, meaning that a project can be extended around corners while maintaining the illusion of full building stone.

4. Not All Thin Stone Veneer Is Created Equal

Thin stone veneer products can be made from natural stone, but they can also be made from manufactured stone. Artificial or man-made stone is made from materials like Portland cement and aggregates. Oxide colors and other chemicals are used to give these man-made materials the look of natural stone. 

But while manufactured stone may look like natural stone during the installation process, the two won’t weather the same, particularly when used in exterior projects that are exposed to the elements. The chemicals in man-made stone are prone to fading over time. In contrast, natural thin stone veneer consists entirely of quarried rock—meaning that this material will retain its color and integrity as it weathers.  

5. There’s a Right and a Wrong Mortar for Thin Stone Veneer

If you’re a homeowner, you may not be at all familiar with mortar—but there’s more than one type of mixture out there. Of the five official types of mortar, type N, S, and M are the most popular. However, you still need to make sure that you’re using the correct mortar for the type of product you’re working with. If you choose a mortar with a higher compressive strength than that of your building material, for example, your masonry units could crack over time. Kafka Granite recommends type N or S for use with our natural thin stone veneer.

6. Installing Natural Stone Veneer Calls for a Professional

While it is possible for homeowners to install thin stone veneer on their own, we do recommend hiring a professional stonemason to ensure that this specialty building product is properly applied. A knowledgeable professional will be familiar with the necessary conditions and pre-installation steps that need to be taken, as well as the artistry behind blending shape, color, and pattern for a stunning outcome.

With the proper surface preparations, natural thin stone veneer can be adhered to a wide variety of surfaces, including plywood, concrete, and metal—but the surface of exterior projects will first need to be waterproofed. Depending on the material of the surface that will be in contact with the thin stone veneer, your stonemason may also need to apply additional materials, such as a non-corrosive metal lath. 

You might think following a DIY video or installation instructions online is all there is to creating a beautiful project with thin stone veneer, but even professional masons will get different outcomes with the same materials. Some simply have a better eye for arranging units than others. Because no two sections of natural thin stone veneer are the same, masons will have to meticulously fit pieces together, sometimes even altering them with a rock hammer or saw. Additionally, these professionals need to balance shape and color, whether by following a visible pattern or creating a more freeform mosaic. All of this is to say that you’re not just paying a professional stone mason for the labor—expertise and eye for design are also important factors.

Natural Stone Veneer From Kafka Granite

If you’re searching for a way to incorporate natural stone into your project, thin stone veneer offers an affordable, lightweight alternative to full veneer building stone. At Kafka Granite, we’re proud to offer a wide range of colors and cuts, ensuring that you find the perfect style of natural stone for your project. Contact us today to learn more about this specialty stone product.