The Story: Kafka Granite Introduces Specialty Building Stone

After nearly 40 years in the crushed aggregate industry, Kafka Granite recently announced they would be launching a new line of Specialty Building Stone products. Watch the video below to learn how the story unfolded. 


Glenn Kafka, Founder: In 1979, I started in the decomposed granite business. Bought a quarry. 40-acre deposit, and I started bidding road projects and what not. I was moving this rock; it was probably 12 feet in diameter, and I got so far, and it fell back against the blade and it hit it hard, it jarred me, and voila. It glittered. Not quite to this effect, but it did glitter. It had, it had some mica in it, and it was what we call dynamite orange to this day. It sparkled. And I’m like, “wow; It would be awesome if we would crush that and make a decorative aggregate.” So that’s kind of how I had the idea of crushing different colors. Today we have 60 different colors of aggregates, and we collect them from Canada and throughout the U.S.

I did not find this mica-enriched quartzite. I searched for years, looking for aggregates, but this one found me. It sparkles, it glitters. The colors are amazing, are vibrant. It’s just, like, something you’ve never seen before.

The colors. There are so many colors that I haven’t even brought here yet. I’ve never seen anything like this, it was like a red, and a green, and this black, and it just sparkled, and glistened, and it was amazing. And it’s something that nobody else has. It intrigued me.

I said, why don’t we market the glitter stone in a thin stone veneer? That would be something that nobody has. A week later I was up there, and a month later I owned it.

Jason Hestekin, Director of Dimensional Stone Division: So I talked to Glenn 20 years ago about his products, and back then I already knew what was, what was different about what he did. Kafka does things one way, and it’s a top shelf. And part of being Kafka is blazing the trail and setting a new bar.

I’ve worked at a few other quarriers. I’ve been out in the yard, I’ve been in the fabricating end of it, I’ve been in sales. From residential, commercial, agricultural; homes that are bigger than most commercial projects. Just some incredible things that you just to see. You see things because you’ve seen so much. And you’re not afraid of “can you, can’t you,” whatever that looks like. Yes. We can do it; there’s a way. We have proven for a long time we can do a lot of things, and our aggregate industry, we are ready. We are doing everything we can to be a building stone supplier.

Glenn: As far as the quality, we actually have a jump on that because we’re taking a piece of stone that is this large, and we’re trying to make that perfect. What we’ve done in the past was taken that stone and made it into a million little pieces, and had to keep that quality.

Jason: It is so specific. Can you do that in building stone? That’s crazy. Nobody has that type of specification; that type of requirement. And we’re already exceeding that? We got this.

The most exciting part of all of this is, is it isn’t just one product or one specific material, it is a large amount of products that we already have that have an endless amount of opportunity. Something nobody else has. And it’s not one thing, it’s 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 different products that nobody’s never seen. And we’re going to bring all of them to the market.

The launching pad for Kafka’s building stone is our Glitter Series. We will launch with a couple of specific colors, and as we continue to work through that quarry, we will bring other Glitter products to the market. This mica-enriched material is unbelievable, and you have this big “Wow! Holy smokes, I have never seen anything like this before.” It defines what you want to do, which is, nobody else has it so it’s unique, it’s top shelf, it’s the best of the best. We can do all of that with so many other products we already have–that’s the turning point.   

So, you can also expect to see our Legacy Series, and that will be a combination of products from many other quarries that we own. And you can expect to see that immediately this year. Those products are things that are not out on the market that nobody else has. We can truly be a one of a kind. We’re creating our own market, and we’re going to lead the way with it.

Glenn: I’m not getting in this business to compete with anybody that’s already in this business. That’s not my goal. My goal is this. To offer something that nobody else has–something that I love. And I want to show the world. With the mindset of quality comes first, and the product can never be good enough, that’s what we hang our hat on, and that’s where we’re focused on in the future.

I believe that we’re barely scratching the surface. The possibilities are endless.

Jason: We’re ready to roll.

Announcing Specialty Building Stone by Kafka Granite

Kafka Owner and Founder, Glenn Kafka, is excited to share with his loyal customers Kafka Granite’s newest natural stone offerings. Having purchased his first 40-acre quarry in 1979, Glenn has worked tirelessly over the years to evolve and grow the Kafka name into what it is today.

Amongst his first discoveries within that first quarry was an unexpected find; an orange granite with traces of mica in it. This aggregate was discovered by accident when a large solid boulder toppled backward and broke, revealing the dazzling surprise inside. This discovery inspired Glenn to wonder “what if we crushed down this stone to make a decorative aggregate?” And the rest, as they say, was history. Once the concept of crushing decorative aggregate was seized upon, Kafka began producing over 60 unique color variants of specialty aggregates, including Dynamite Orange Granite.

And while satisfied with the results of his crushing endeavors, one day Glenn was approached by an individual looking to sell a quarry with some very unique features. Glenn wasn’t interested in opening another quarry in Canada, but it was promised to Glenn that this new quarry found in Northern Ontario contained something spectacular; multi-colored mica enriched quartzite. And so, after seeing a sample, a week later Glenn decide to venture out to go see the site. Once he laid his eyes on the quarry, he knew just how special it really was. A week later he sent trucks to the quarry to bring back raw material, and a month later he owned it!  Glenn couldn’t help but think: this stone is far too spectacular to merely crush; what other products could we make of it?

The stone found at Kafka’s newest quarry sparkles and glitters in glistening, vibrant hues, making it something that’s yet to be seen on today’s market. Glenn himself has admitted to never having seen anything quite like this new stone. Red, green, black, and more shades have already been discovered within this dazzling new resource. And while Glenn saw this potential for this product as a crushed aggregate, he also had the thought to use this one of a kind stone to make something completely new; glittering natural stone veneer.

There are no comparable products on the market today that can hold a candle to our new stone’s brilliance and shine. At Kafka, we have always prided ourselves on the high product standards we maintain, and we knew that these specialty building stone products would have to live up to our established Kafka standards. After all, part of being Kafka is blazing the trail and setting a new bar.

Our crushing facility produces some of the highest quality, speciality aggregates on the market, and we’re maintaining that same level of quality when it comes to our thin and full natural stone veneer.

And we’re not just talking about one product; these high standards are being applied to our entire new building stone line, which will someday be comprised of a multitude of products. These new products have an endless amount of opportunity.

Naturally, when it came time to decide on the launching series that we would use to introduce our new veneers to the market, the only name that seemed fitting was the Glitter Series. Launching with a few preselected colors, the line will eventually expand to encompass a wide range of sparkling colors as we work through our new quarry. But the Glitter Series will not be our only foray into veneers, our newly released Legacy Series will likewise be comprised of thin and full veneers. These new granite, marble, and quartz building stone products will be made from the same Kafka colors that our customers know and love. This high-end building stone will be ideal for any number of applications from building facades to interior features and will be available in a wide range of cuts and colors. 
We didn’t get into this business to compete with anyone else. We came to create our own market and lead the way. At Kafka Granite, our goal has always been to offer something that nobody else has. And whether that’s through specialty aggregates or veneers, we strive to ensure that our products stand apart from the rest. When it comes to our new veneers, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Make sure to stay tuned for future updates about our new veneer lines and the exciting products we’re turning out.

Listen to how the story unfolded by watching the video below.

Ash Grey Basalt Interlocking Tiles by Norstone

How to Install Norstone Basalt Panels

When designing the interior space for any new office or commercial space, there are few products that look as good and are as easy to install as Norstone natural stone wall tiles. While stacked stone finishes are part of their impressive portfolio, the modern beauty of Norstone’s basalt tile collection is irresistible. As the world’s only medium-format lava stone cladding system, any ordinary space can quickly be made into an unforgettable one.

Whether you are looking for the perfect material to complete the exterior of your office or commercial space, or simply a stunning accent wall or fireplace in your own home, Kafka Granite is the Midwest’s exclusive distributor of Norstone products. Lynia interlocking tiles and Aksent 3D panels are crafted to bring a truly natural yet contemporary aesthetic to your next project. When seeking a modern natural stone solution that can be used both indoors and outdoors, basalt tiles could be your answer.

 

Ash Grey Basalt Interlocking Tiles by Norstone

Benefits of Basalt Tiles

Kafka is always seeking opportunities to bring you the best materials for the job. Just as we stand behind our broad variety of aggregate, we fully trust in the unquestionable quality and beauty of Norstone products, which is why we offer them to you. With two basalt tile options, you are guaranteed a natural wall cladding solution that offers a cleaner, more modern touch than Norstone’s more rugged rock panels.

Lynia IL Tile Collection

Ebony Basalt Interlocking Tiles by Norstone

Lynia interlocking tiles start as large slabs of cooled basaltic lava rock, the most common type of volcanic rock type. Once ready, these slabs are cut and honed into individual basalt strips that range in height. The assorted heights add a pleasing visual variety instead of bland uniformity when fully assembled. Once honed, the precision-engineered strips are then mesh mounted. Nine staggered strips, including spaces for grout, are included on each mesh-mounted unit.

Lynia IL Tiles are available in Ash Grey and its darker counterpart, Ebony. Ideal for modern atmospheres, these shades of grey can add a timeless design no matter where applied. These tiles can be used indoors or in the elements, as they’re durable enough for whatever the outdoors throws at them. Consider cladding feature walls, backsplashes, water features, fireplaces, service counter fronts or business signs to add a unique and sleek aesthetic. Popular commercial applications include hotels, restaurants, office buildings and casinos—wherever a professional and contemporary design is desired.

Aksent 3D Panels

Ebony Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Norstone’s 3D panels are a truly one-of-a-kind stone veneer. Similar to Lynia IL Tiles, each tile originates from a slab of cooled basaltic lava, but each is cut and honed at varying thicknesses. When mounted together on a sheet, the varying thicknesses of basalt tiles create a three-dimensional look that adds another level of depth and visual appeal. Additionally, Aksent 3D tiles offer a “stepped” interlocking edge profile. This means that these panels are designed so that each unit tightly interlocks into its neighboring panels in a seamless design. There are no grout gaps to fuss with and no vertical seams to stress about. The clean, seamless look will leave you (and all who see it) in awe.

Aksent 3D panels are also available in the same contemporary colors as the interlocking panels; Ash Grey and Ebony. Popular in office lobbies, exterior facades, pools, spas, water features and fountains, retail areas and more. When craving a contemporary and natural solution, look no further than the depth and variety of 3D panels.

Easy-to-install Wall Cladding for Anywhere

You don’t have to go broke for beauty. Norstone Basalt tile options will save you significant time and money when it comes to installation. The precision by which these tiles are engineered and pre-mounted render installation a quick and painless process.

Tools Needed for Installation:
Trowel
Thinset
Level
Tile Saw
Sponge
Unsanded Grout (for Lynia IL tiles only)
Stone Sealer

**Don’t use mastics as they aren’t suitable for the rock panel collection.

Step 1: Prepare Your Surface

Basalt tiles can be installed on cementitious surfaces, such as cement board, brick or block, or over a traditional lathe and scratch coat. Do not install these products over drywall or sheetrock. Since stone wall cladding is relatively heavy, ensure your wall or surface is able to withstand and support the weight of the product.

Step 2: Apply Thinset

Before laying each panel, apply a generous amount of thinset to the surface and to the back of each tile unit. Notch the thinset on the wall as you would if you were installing a tile backsplash or wall.

Step 3: Place the Tiles

When placing each tile unit, make sure you press it firmly into place while rotating the unit just a little. Norstone Basalt tiles are designed to easily interlock with neighboring units, so be sure to follow the installation pattern of your product. When necessary, cut panels to size using your tile saw. During this step, ensure to remove any thinset that may get onto the face of the tiles before it hardens.

Step 4: Grout and Seal

If you choose Aksent 3D panels, the interlocking edges and 3D aspect don’t require grout. However, Lynia IL tiles require the application on unsanded grout once the panels have fully set. Once you’ve grouted your Lynia IL tile feature, wait for that to fully set before moving onto the next step.

The final step to completing your gorgeous and contemporary basalt stone veneer wall is cleaning and sealing its surface. Sealed stone is easier to clean and maintain, which makes everyone’s life easier in the long run. Choose a sealer appropriate for the environment—indoors or outdoors, humid or dry—and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. Before applying sealer to the whole space, test in an inconspicuous area first.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Timeless Design!

With the time and money saved on installing Norstone tiles, the final step is to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your one-of-a-kind basalt application will create a warm and natural aesthetic while feeling modern or edgy. If you have questions about how to get started with your Norstone tile project, whether it’s to create a clean office environment or a modern commercial space, call or message Kafka Granite. We can guide you through choosing the Norstone product best for your project as well as answer any questions you might have about the product or installation. For a clean and modern design, let’s talk today.

basalt bathroom tile

4 Walls Made Stunning with Basalt Tiles

When it comes to designing the perfect space, there are a lot of elements to consider. You need to incorporate the right textures, colors and functionality in order to make the most of your space, no matter where it’s located. If you’re in dire need of a timeless design feature to bring any space, new or old, up to date, check out the unique aesthetic and diverse benefits of basalt tiles.

Norstone has been innovating how natural stone can be used, which includes a variety of natural stone veneer applications. Precision-cut basalt veneer comprises Norstone’s Interlocking Lynia and Aksent 3D tile collections—both of which can be used in nearly any way you can imagine. Kafka Granite is the Midwest’s premier distributor of Norstone products, which means you can get started with adding modernity with a natural twist to your project now.

What Is a Basalt Veneer Tile?

Basalt is an all-natural stone, so while its dark gray tones insinuate a modern design, it still adds a natural element to the overall aesthetic. Basalt is an incredibly abundant rock that underlies much of the earth’s surface. Basalt is a volcanic rock that develops from quick-cooling magma after it breaks through the crust of the earth. Its fine-grained nature gives it a smooth and consistent appearance

Norstone has mastered the craft of cutting blocks of basalt stone into thin veneers that are hand-assembled into sheets that are roughly 1 square foot in area. By pre-assembling panels with precision, installation is easier than ever. There are two basalt tile veneer options being made right now:

Aksent 3D Panels: When you truly want your walls, backsplashes, water features (or whatever you like) to make a statement, Norstone’s new Aksent 3D Panels are a surefire choice. These tiles are dimensional, meaning each individual veneer is set on its panel in a precise way that adds depth and vividness to any area.

Lynia IL Tiles: Unlike Aksent 3D Panels, these mesh-mounted tile sheets are made up of nine staggered precision-cut basalt tiles that are set at a uniform height. Each tile is .4” to .6” in thickness, creating a sleek, uniform look across your project’s surface.

The Easiest Tile to Install

When you think of installing tiles on any project, your mind might instantly jump to thoughts of endlessly placing individual pieces. The time-consuming placement of spacers and working with single tiles over large spans of area is distant memory with Norstone’s basalt tiles. Both IL and 3D options arrive pre-assembled. They are expertly crafted so that each unit perfectly interlocks with its neighboring unit. Stepped edges ensure a cozy fit as well as a natural, varied look instead of long stretches of vertical seams.

By requiring very few tools and minimal experience, these have become some of the easiest tiles to install. Simply apply a scratch coat of a polymer-modified thinset and lay your pre-assembled sheets. Lynia IL tiles require the use of unsanded grout once the thinset has cured, but Aksent 3D panels don’t require grout so to better achieve the dry-stacked stone aesthetic. Both varieties require a natural stone sealer since basalt is a porous surface—doing this will ensure your basalt addition stays gorgeous for years to come in any environment.

Four Times Basalt Tiles Made a Boring Wall Awesome

Norstone’s basalt tiles can be used in virtually any setting: feature walls, backsplashes, bathrooms, shower enclosures, retaining walls, water features, indoors or outdoors. Anywhere a contemporary feature could make the perfect statement, these tiles can be used. These are four instances where a drab wall was ditched in lieu for a sleeker, sexier design.

1. Bringing Indoors Outdoors

There are a few reasons the Gray 3D Aksent Panels used in this bathroom really make the space what it is. The modern yet natural look and feel of dimensional tile made from a natural stone is mimicked by the modern bathtub that’s made warmer by a wooden surround. This bathroom feels both modern and midcentury through its fixtures and aesthetic. However, what really makes this bathroom stunning is the extension of the basalt tiles from indoors to the wall outside, which makes the room feel large and as if it’s extending outside. The versatility of Norstone basalt tiles is being used to its fullest here.

basalt bathroom tile

2. Residential and Commercial Kitchens

Whether you are designing the perfect kitchen in the home or looking to create a professional and durable commercial kitchen, Lynia IL Tiles can bring any kitchen into modern times. Bring incredible design to an incredible space with sleek and durable basalt that can deflect whatever food comes its way.

basalt tile kitchens

3. Large Focal Walls Made Easy

When creating a focal wall, it’s easy to pick a tile material or pattern that becomes overwhelming or too busy on a large scale. The smooth texture and cooling grays of basalt are soothing to the eye, even in big proportions, and won’t have you worrying if you chose too much of a good thing.

basalt tile accent wall

4. Modern Stone Pools

Picking a pool’s surround is a big job. It sets the tone for the area whether it’s indoors or outdoors, so being on-par with the surrounding aesthetic is important. However, it has to be a material durable enough to stand up to rowdy poolgoers, varying temperatures and constantly running water features. This pool and water feature are brought into a sleek and modern design with the use of Gray Lynia IL Tiles. Where the designer could’ve stuck with a bland cement surround or a blue liner, they chose an option that will stay trendy and contemporary for decades.

stone pool tile

Choose the Basalt Tile to bring Your Space up to Speed

When it comes to designing the ultimate contemporary space using all-natural materials, look no further than basalt veneer tiles. Get in touch with Kafka Granite today to find out more about the dynamic uses and durability of Norstone Tiles. Whether you need the ideal material for indoor or outdoor use, dry or wet areas, basalt can provide the natural yet modern appeal popular today for any room you’re working on.

Ochre Rock Panels by Norstone

Your Guide to Picking the Perfect Norstone Products for You

Picture immense feature walls covered in cascading natural stone or imagine your kitchen backsplash making a bold statement with modern lines in a contemporary gray. Norstone has been crafting natural stone tiles to fit a variety of design needs from natural to contemporary. Kafka Granite is proud to be the Midwest’s exclusive distributor of Norstone’s premium stone veneer panels and tile, and we’re always willing to help you find the right Norstone solution for you.

What Is Norstone?

Norstone is a premier manufacturer and supplier of natural stone products globally and has been focused on innovating natural stone as an interior and exterior design element. With its advanced stone systems, Norstone is able to provide thin stone veneers and tiles that turn ordinary spaces into remarkable ones.

Norstone products have been used to adorn everything from fireplaces and feature walls to pools and luxury showers. Large-scale businesses, such as hotels and concert halls, to private residencies have taken advantage of the immense beauty, functionality and ease-of-installation offered from Norstone products.

Charcoal Rock Panels by Norstone

Go with Natural Rock or Modern Basalt Tiles

Norstone makes a variety of natural stone products to fit the ever-changing needs and trends of today. They manufacture standard and XL stacked stone veneers, as well as natural basalt tiles that can be acquired in a three-dimensional panel or flat tile pattern. These varieties come in a smattering of different colors to match the aesthetic your heart desires and, the best part: they’re so easy to install, which insures a beautiful natural stone feature wall without the steep labor costs of individually placed stone.

Norstone Standard Rock Panels

Norstone Standard Rock Panels

 

Norstone XL Rock Panel

Norstone’s XL Rock Panel are still one square foot panels, but with larger stone pieces than the standard panels.

Norstone’s stacked stone veneers resemble large blocks of stone meticulously stacked and arranged in just the right way to fit your space. However, Norstone has ditched the bulk, time and weight of entire stones to bring you just the veneers—which are essentially just the face of the stone—preassembled into one square foot panels. With four different colors available of its natural stone rock panel tiles, as well as its bigger brother XL rock panels, nearly any design aesthetic can be achieved with this staggered natural stone option. Unlike assembling a wall out of stone piece by piece, these veneers will arrive in preassembled panels that seamlessly interlock with finger-jointed corners for a seamless design. The goal is to be able to create a luxury-level space in an easy and manageable way.

 

 

Basalt IL Tiles

Basalt IL Tiles

 

Basalt 3D Panels

Lynia 3D Panels are the only three dimensional basalt veneer rock panels on the market.

If a textured stone surface isn’t quite the match for your space, Norstone also manufactures sleek natural basalt tiles. The Lynia Tile Collection is a “righteous marriage of design, technology and extraordinary stone” that will make any room feel like a haven for all things contemporary. Available in two tones of grey, Ash Grey and a dark Ebony, basalt tiles can complement nearly any space design with modernity in mind. Unlike the flat Standard Lynia IL Tiles, Norstone’s new Aksent 3D Tile Collection is composed of sheets of staggered basalt tiles to create the only three-dimensional basalt panel on the market. Both varieties of basalt tiles are crafted by hand with unique interlocking edge profiles so that one panel of tiles will seamlessly interlock with neighboring panels.

Where Are You Installing the Tiles?

Before you commit to one of Norstone’s products, truly take into consideration where you are looking to install it. What is the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve? What is the aesthetic of the existing surroundings? For example, while you may love the look of Lynia IL Tiles, they may not be the perfect complement in a log home or rustic restaurant.

If you’re seeking a natural surround for around your fireplace, pool waterfall, retaining wall, or kitchen backsplash, Norstone’s Rock Panel Collection could be your best fit. The unique and varying texture that shows through on the face of these stacked stone panels will take you back to natural rock ledges or stony walls found in nature. The Ochre panels have a beautiful range in natural colors, while the stark White Quartz panels are more modern with still a rough, natural stone finish.

Ochre Standard Rock Panels

If sleek lines and contemporary fixtures will surround your project, then Lynia IL tiles will only add to the modern atmosphere you’re trying to achieve. The long, sophisticated lines of basalt tiles are the epitome of modernity.

Ebony Basalt Interlocking Tiles by Norstone

No matter which design appeals to you more, you can rest assured that all of Norstone’s panels are assembled by hand to ensure that meticulous specifications are met. Finger-jointed corner systems means you won’t have to miter corners or worry about cutting each tile with hopes they’ll fit together. The only iteration of Norstone’s tiles that requires grouting with an unsanded grout is the Lynia IL collection. However, these prearranged tiles are mounted on a mesh backing for a perfect one square foot sheet every time. The simplicity of installation will save you time when it comes to measuring, cutting, laying, and grouting.

The Perfect Stone Solution for Indoors or Outdoors

You don’t have to keep Norstone tiles restricted to indoor applications. While the naturally sourced stacked rock veneers and basalt tiles will “wow” anyone who comes into your space, they can also earn a great deal of curb appeal when used for exterior facades, retaining walls, water features, and landscaping. The applications are seemingly endless—you simply need to have a space that’s begging for an easy and beautiful update.

Ash Grey Basalt Interlocking Tiles by Norstone

A Short List of What to Consider

Budget: Consider your budget. With Norstone products, you’ll be spending a fraction on labor costs with these preset stone veneers than what you would spend on a mountain of full-sized, individually stacked stone to create the same look. And because this is a groutless solution, with the exception of Lynia Interlocking Tiles, you will be saving money on those associated expenses.

Design: By taking into account the aesthetic of the areas surrounding your project, you’ll be better guided in choosing between all of what Norstone has to offer. While all four product lines are made from naturally sourced stone that cannot truly be mimicked by machined or man-made stone, the standard stacked stone veneer will complement more traditional projects in a wide variety of settings while the modern basalt tiles will make any space feel more contemporary.

Time: Each panel is assembled to exacting specifications to that you can rest assured each will perfectly nest into the edge profile of its neighboring panel. With little to no cutting of individual tiles or corner miters, installing an entire project will take a fraction of the time than if you were to cut and set each stone individually. Groutless solutions mean your job is done after the adhesive has set, but even when grouting with Lynia IL tiles, you’re guaranteed consistent grout lines and a clean look.

Standard Charcoal Rock Panels by Norstone

Kafka Has the Natural Stone Veneer Solution for You

Chat with us today. We’d be more than happy to discuss your architectural project, send you free sample to help you make your decision, and point you in the direction of your nearest Norstone dealer for residential projects. We know you’ll be pleased with the burst of beautiful design Norstone adds to any space.

Chocolate Brown Granite Stabilized Pathway - Private Residence, WI - Installed by Lakeshores Landscape and Design

4 Reasons to Invest in Landscape Design

The space outside your home often takes up more square footage than the area inside your home, and it’s what most people first notice. No matter if you are in charge of maintaining an office building, a college campus or even your own home sweet home, making sure its landscape is well-designed can make a great and lasting first impression.

Creating a cohesive, unique and aesthetically pleasing landscape through a variety of flowers, plants, pathways and strategically placed water features or boulders could be exactly what you need to up your curb appeal. You can do-it-yourself, but we promise seeking out the help of a professional is well worth the investment. Here are four reasons why:

Ochre XL Rock Panels by Norstone

Ochre XL Rock Panels by Norstone featured in an Minneapolis Outdoor Kitchen

1. Create the Best Outdoor Living Space

When it comes to your home, living doesn’t have to be restricted to indoor areas. In 2016, one of the most desired features for a home to have includes prime outdoor gathering areas. Creating a functional living space isn’t simply adding a patio set and a few potted plants, though. To truly add value and create an ambient space, you may need an expert’s touch. Landscape architects or designers can masterfully curate the right materials, features, plants and furniture to make your outdoor living space not only incredibly functional, but also seamlessly integrated into the rest of your property as a whole.

Perhaps you want a great place to warm up by a fire in colder Midwestern weather. Creating a designated area to sit back and roast a marshmallow or have great conversations with family can be done through a thoughtfully integrated decomposed granite patio surrounding a stone or metal fire pit. Forget the chairs—dot the fire pit surrounding with natural granite boulders to create an outdoor living space that truly integrates with its natural surroundings. By crafting a hub for family and friends to gather outside will add immense appeal and usefulness to all parts of your home.

Midnight Blue Granite Decorative Rip Rap - Private Residence, WI

Midnight Blue Decorative Rip Rap creates stunning curb appeal at this Wisconsin home.

2. Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Most people feel better about going into a home that looks inviting on the outside instead of one that looks rundown or unkempt—this is where professional landscaping proves its value. If you are looking to sell your home, exact return on investment numbers vary as some people report a 20 percent increase in home value up to a 150 percent increase in value. It depends how much you can spend on your landscaping.

Kafka Granite has the landscape materials to add the perfect aesthetic to your space. From decomposed granite in nearly 60 colors to naturally round multi-colored boulders, we can supply the unique materials needed to put your yard ahead of the rest. Selecting the right landscape stone for your garden could be just the right feature to complement your home. With cleverly designed landscaping, including the right materials, textures and colors, your home could be the talk of the block.

Chocolate Brown Standard Pathway - Private Residence, WI

Chocolate Brown Standard Pathway Mix was a great solution for a permeable patio at this Wisconsin Lakehome. 

3. Help the Environment

When done properly, a great landscape design can also contribute to the environment. If you’re an eco-conscious person, look into a landscape architect who has specific know-how in how to make your landscape not only look great, but function better for the environment. Natural cobble retaining walls could help stave off erosion, which could stop urban soil from getting into nearby waterways.

Creating shaded areas also contributes to diminishing the urban heat island effect by helping lower temperatures in and around cities. And by considering how permeable your groundcover is, you could contribute to groundwater recharge and stormwater control. If you design a patio, driveway or walkway made from materials that offer little to no permeability, you could be harming groundwater recharge and stormwater control as the water has no opportunity to absorb into the earth—instead it runs into storm drains, which in large volumes causes flooding and pollution. If you choose to landscape with a permeable material, such as standard decomposed granite aggregate or landscaping stone, you’ll help rainwater or melting snow get right back to where it belongs; in the soil.

If you’re unsure how to create an outdoor space that functions well and looks beautiful, get in touch with your local landscape architect or nursery to start searching for eco-friendly solutions like these.

Wisconsin Granite Boulders - Private Residence, IL

A suburban Chicago residence created a tranquil water feature with Wisconsin Granite Boulders.

4. Add Peace in a Hectic City

Lastly, one of the more important aspects to having a landscaped yard, you could add much-needed tranquility. Especially if you live in or around a buzzing metro, creating a livable and peaceful landscape in your own backyard, office courtyard, etc., could be exactly what you need to clear your head. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can improve mood and memory in city-dwellers. Too much stimulation, the standard for your busy city, can weaken some of the mind’s functions.

If you take the time and consideration to create quiet spaces outdoors, in a natural environment, you can help make your yard more useful than ever. Block out the noise of the city and enjoy the outdoors!

Kafka Granite Can Help Create Your Great Landscape

If ever you’ve doubted the power of landscape architecture and design, these four reasons should have you considering its investment, environmental and aesthetic appeal. Kafka Granite supplies the cobbles, permeable pathway mix, landscaping stone, and thin-stone veneer you need to create an inviting and functional landscape that everyone can enjoy. Get in touch today to learn about where your nearest Kafka Granite dealer is, or, if you’re interested in becoming a dealer yourself, simply ask us about our dealer program! Why settle for a few potted plants and a lawn gnome when you could be enjoying beautiful crushed stone patios, winding pathways and natural retaining walls in a yard the neighbors will stop and awe? Make use of your valuable outdoor space now.

Ebony Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Norstone’s Newest: Basalt 3D Panels

Kafka Granite is the Midwest’s exclusive distributor of natural thin stone veneer rock panels by Norstone. Kafka is now incredibly excited to be able to offer customers a new offering; Norstone’s undeniably modern and chic new product — the Basalt 3D Panel collection.

Ebony Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Ebony Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Meticulously crafted by hand, Norstone’s new interlocking basalt panels are hand-assembled to precision. These panels are also the only dimensional basalt panels available in the market: Norstone’s innovations add a three-dimensional facet to any design. Able to be applied in both commercial and residential settings, Basalt 3D Panels complement any modern aesthetic by lending clean lines and modern colors to any project.

The interlocking characteristic of these tiles completely eliminates the appearance of vertical seams while rendering them an easy-to-install option. Additional time-saving attributes show up in these panels’ two-part finger-jointed corner system: the need to arduously miter and join corners is nonexistent.

What is Basalt?

Basalt 3D Panels are made of 100% natural stone. Also known as “lava rock,” basalt is an extrusive igneous rock formed by the rapid cooling of basalt lavas at or near the earth’s surface. The hues of grey and black exhibited in these tiles are a result of being untouched for millions of years. Both the Ash Grey and Ebony Basalt color options are purely basalt and purely contemporary.

Norstone Basalt 3D Panels add a chic beauty to nearly any area — from residential backsplashes and fireplaces to expansive commercial feature walls or even water displays such as towering fountains and swimming pools. These dimensional panels flawlessly interlock to exacting standards and retain the easy-to-install nature of a veneer panel system.

Ebony Basalt 3DAsh Grey Basalt 3D

How are these Panels Installed?

Basalt 3D Panels are the essence of simplicity from appearance to installation. As an interlocking panel system, Basalt 3D Panels can be installed rapidly over prepared surfaces such as cement board, brick/block, or over a lathe and scratch coat using thinset.

Since each panel is precisely crafted to interlock into neighboring panels, there is no need to grout or mortar between individual pieces. However, as a porous stone, Basalt 3D Tiles should be coated with a water-based penetrating sealer. Depending on which sealer is chosen, different levels of sheen can be achieved, creating a truly unique look.

Ash Grey Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Ash Grey Basalt 3D Panels by Norstone

Kafka Granite, as the exclusive Midwest distributor of the unique and contemporary design options crafted by Norstone, can show you the vast array of stacked stone and basalt tile panels sure to complement your next project. Timeless yet contemporary, these three-dimensional basalt ledgestone panels could be the perfect addition to your space. To talk about the possibilities, give us a call today.

Standard Ochre Rock Panels by Norstone

Kafka Granite: Exclusive Midwest Distributor of Norstone

Standard Charcoal Rock Panels by Norstone

Standard Charcoal Rock Panels by Norstone

Along with being a premier manufacturer of speciality aggregates, Kafka Granite has the unique trait of being the exclusive Midwest distributor of a variety of other architectural products. Covering the spectrum from stacked stone to reclaimed wood, Kafka has creative and beautiful solutions to interior and exterior needs by being able to offer both Norstone natural stone veneers.

The variety of looks and impressions Norstone lend to most spaces is unmatched. Norstone offers stacked stone and ledgestone panels, as well as undeniably modern Lynia Interlocking Tiles. Simple and cost-effective, both options are all-natural and easy-to-install. Both the Rock Panels and Lynia IL Tiles are installed similarly to any mat-mounted tile product while remaining low-maintenance throughout their life.

Linden Natural Barnwood Tile - E&S Wood Tile

Linden Natural Barnwood Tile – E&S Wood Tile

Norstone Rock Panels and Lynia IL Tiles can be used in both exterior and interior applications. The design aspirations, however, are boundless. Both commercial and residential spaces make fitting arenas for the variety, customization and visual appeal of both products and their unique aesthetic offerings.

Kafka Granite exclusively distributes Norstone throughout the Midwest. For samples, quotes or to discuss any project that could be enhanced with natural wood tiles, stone veneers or ledgestone panels, please contact us today.