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.

Beige Blend Stabilized Pathway Mix - North Coast Harbor - Cleveland, OH

How to Maintain a Stabilized Pathway

Preventative upkeep and regular maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your pathways in good shape. But what are the specific steps you should be taking, and how do you fix a pathway once it’s been damaged? We’ve got the answers.

Kafka Granite’s Stabilized Pathway Mix is a combination of decomposed granite or crushed stone screenings blended with a stabilizing binder. Not only does it offer a natural, effortless look, but it also resists erosion and holds up well under traffic. But like all other outdoor installations, a stabilized pathway requires routine maintenance. Here’s a quick guide to keeping yours looking pristine.

Maintaining Your Stabilized Pathway

For Organic-Lock™ blended aggregates, we recommend doing a thorough analysis one week after installation, followed by monthly evaluations. These regular checks will allow you to identify damage and potential problem areas before they get out of hand.

Erosion

Erosion (usually from rainfall) is one of the most significant causes of damage. Fortunately, the stabilizing binders used in Kafka Granite’s mix allow pathways to resist erosion and hold up significantly better under heavy traffic than a standard or non-stabilized mix. If you do notice erosion damage to your pathway, the best course of action will be to figure out where the water is coming from and then divert it around the pathway. This can be accomplished by installing features such as drains, culverts, and diverters. Once you’ve successfully dealt with the source of the water issue, you can go about replacing any lost material.

Excess Loose Material

While Stabilized Pathways are designed to have some loose material on top, you may find that overtime the installation has more loose material than desired. As your stabilized pathway is exposed to foot traffic, the elements, and the passage of time, pieces of aggregate will eventually loosen on the surface of the installation. If the depth of these particles exceeds ¼ inch, it’s time to either sweep or shovel and remove them. Depending on how much material is removed, it may be recommended to replenish your pathway with new material.

Debris

In addition to excess loose material, debris will likely build up on your pathway. Depending on the location of the installation, that might include soil, gravel, grass clippings, or other organic material. You can remove debris from your stabilized pathway by hand raking or mechanically blowing the area.

Snow

If your stabilized pathway will be exposed to snow at any point during the year, it’s essential to understand how to properly plow it. The blade of the plow will need to be lifted ¼ inch off the surface of the pathway, which can be accomplished with either a shoe lift or rubber baffle. This small amount of space will allow you to plow snow without damaging the pathway beneath it.

Mixing Patch Material for a Stabilized Pathway

Even stabilized pathways that are diligently cared for may eventually require new material. We recommend keeping a small amount of the Organic-Lock blended aggregate on hand as attic stock. When the time comes to patch an area, you’ll have all the supplies you need to address the issue quickly and efficiently.

The Snowball or Step Test

Ideally, your mixture should reach a moisture content of 8-10%, which you can assess using the following techniques. If you can easily form a snowball-shaped handful with your material, it’s ready to go. But if it crumbles or has a wet sheen to it, you’ll need to add more water or more dry material. You can also test your mixture’s readiness by forming a rough ball and stepping on it. You should see a perfect impression of your bootprint, without any crumbling or noticeable wet sheen.

Too Wet

Too Dry

Just Right

Left foot print: too wet | Right foot print: ideal

Fixing Slightly Damaged Areas

If the pathway material below the loose surface particles is damaged, it will need to be fixed—because it can no longer stand up to erosion or traffic. Light damage can be reversed without excavating the area: simply soak the site, scarify with a rake to 1-2 inches, and then use a hand tamper or roller to compact the area.

Fixing Severe Damage to a Stabilized Pathway

Severe damage to your stabilized pathway will require a more in-depth fix. First, excavate the area to a depth of 2 inches to approximately a 50% increase in surface area. Evaluate and add an appropriate amount of stabilized pathway mix to the area. Finally, you’ll need to blend the new mix into the existing site. You have two options for this step:

  • Using multiple passes, rototill to a depth of 2 inches. Take care not to exceed the depth of the blended aggregate. To blend the existing and new material, spray the surface of the area lightly and begin to till. If needed, add water until you achieve the correct moisture content.
  • Remove the existing material and blend in new material on a clean pad. Depending on the size of your installation, you may use either a shovel or a front end loader to turn the material until you’ve created a homogenous blend. Finally, spread your mixture back over the excavated area, and add water until your mixture reaches its ideal consistency.

Pathway Mixes From Kafka Granite

When properly cared for, your stabilized pathway can last for years to come, offering a beautiful and functional route for public or private use. Kafka Granite is proud to provide the products and expert knowledge you need to make a project successful and maintain its integrity over time. If you have any questions about maintaining a stabilized pathway, don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Geology of Natural Stone

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

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

Where Does Natural Stone Come From?

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

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

3 Rock Types to Know

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

Igneous

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

Sedimentary

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

Metamorphic

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

How Does Natural Stone Get Its Color?

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

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

Applications of Natural Stone

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

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

Incorporate the Beauty of Natural Stone Into Your Project

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

The Unique Geology of Wisconsin

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

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

Wisconsin Stone Over the Centuries

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

The Wisconsin Glaciation

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

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

A Wealth of Minerals

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

Decomposed Granite in Wisconsin

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

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

What Does Wisconsin’s Geology Mean to Kafka Granite?

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

A Variety of Colors and Stone Products

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

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

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

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

Natural Stone Products From Kafka Granite

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

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

Kafka Granite manufacturing

The Importance of Quality Control in Stone Products

The importance of quality control throughout the natural stone quarrying, crushing, and fabricating process can’t be overstated. In fact, all quality stone products require a certain level of testing and oversight during their manufacturing process. Why? Because in order to create reliable, manufactured aggregates and other stone products like thin stone veneer, you need to start—and finish—with high-quality, consistent material. 

Whether you’re sourcing quality architectural aggregate or commercial landscaping materials, you need to be sure that you’re getting the best material for the job. That quality assurance you’re looking for starts as soon as natural stone is extracted from a quarry and extends throughout the manufacturing process. 

Kafka Granite supplies products that are used for a wide range of applications, such as architectural precast concrete, terrazzo flooring, manufactured quartz countertops, epoxy resin tile, and more. But we didn’t become one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of specialty aggregates and other stone products in the country through sheer luck—our work requires high-quality materials and careful adherence to set standards. Here’s why it’s so important to monitor and control the quality of stone products.

Why Is Quality Control Critical in Granite and Other Natural Stone Processing?

Not all quarried stone is the same. The quality of the natural stone you source for a project will play a significant role in the overall look of the finished installation—and its continued performance. Your completed building facade might look stunning as the mortar dries, but how will it look five years later? What about five decades? Natural thin stone veneer, for example, should weather beautifully and retain its structural integrity over time. But imposter products, or artificial stone passed off as natural stone, will not yield the same results. 

Price is a factor in any project, and you may be tempted to go with the cheapest option around. But that road may lead to ruin in the form of imperfect stone products that don’t stand the test of time. For instance, precast concrete manufacturers need consistently sized aggregates to use in their mix designs, or their machines will produce varying results—rather than uniform product. Consistency is also critical in pathway materials. These mixes need to meet a certain gradation specification in order to work properly with their binders, and a poorly graded aggregate or incorrectly mixed binder will affect the outcome of the project. Before you get taken in by the price tag, be sure to ask your supplier for the specifications of their products, so that you can ensure you’re getting reliable materials.

What Goes Into Creating Quality Stone Products?

At Kafka Granite, we pride ourselves on producing architectural and landscape aggregates, along with specialty building stone products, that meet industry standards and perform admirably in a wide range of projects. Let’s take a quick look at what goes into the manufacture and installation of quality stone products.

Industry Standard Tests

To remain compliant and produce reliable products, manufacturers need to adhere to quality assurance specifications, regulatory standards, industry standards, and any other regulations that pertain to their natural stone products. A number of these standards are set down by ASTM International, a non-profit organization that develops technical standards for materials and products across a wide range of industries. 

Kafka Granite runs industry standard tests on all of our stone products, evaluating our crushed stone for criteria such as absorption, Moh’s hardness, and specific gravity, as well as regular sieve analysis. All of our thin stone veneer is tested for ASTM C615, the Standard Specification for Granite Dimension Stone. This test data is made readily available to our customers.

Installation Education

We don’t keep our knowledge to ourselves. Education is crucial to the proper installation of many of our products, both to ensure efficient use of the installing contractors’ time and to create a beautiful final result. When working with contractors on installations, we make sure they have the knowledge needed to get the job done correctly. That includes an understanding of the proper conditions under which to install a certain product and the proper tools needed for the job. Our Stabilized Pathway Mix, for instance, should have an 8-10% moisture content for ideal installation. We recommend the snowball test or step test to make sure that the mixture has been prepared properly. We also provide information on the amount of subgrade you’ll need, as well as base construction, surface watershed management, spreading, and compaction.

Innovation

As a leader in the specialty aggregate industry, we are constantly making strides in new applications and manufacturing processes that can improve products while maintaining quality. We work closely with our industrial and manufacturing customers to source aggregates that perform best with their processes, ensuring that they receive the materials they need to produce excellent finished products. And when it comes to pathway materials, Kafka Granite is proud to source some of the best binders in the industry. We recently sourced a polymeric wax that is proprietary to Kafka Granite. Our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is currently patent pending. This particular pathway mix has proved extremely useful on golf course pathways and other pathways that need to withstand both heavy erosion, but maintain a natural look and feel..

Exceed Standards With Kafka Granite

Here at Kafka Granite, we put time, effort, and a lot of research into creating high-quality crushed aggregates and specialty building stone products. We’re proud to adhere to all industry standards and act as an example of manufacturing excellence in the specialty aggregate and crushed stone industry, and look forward to providing classic and innovative stone products for years to come. Give us a call today—we’re always happy to answer questions about our products, help you with a unique project, or provide samples.

Beige Blend Wax Polymer Pathway Mix - Aronomink Golf Club - Newtown Square, PA

How to Properly Maintain Golf Courses through Winter

If you’re lucky enough to own or patronize a golf course somewhere like sunny Florida, you don’t have to worry much about snow, ice, or other cold-weather conditions. But here in the Midwest, golf courses typically have to close up shop during the winter months. 

Come spring, even well-maintained courses will have plenty of prep work to get ready for the golf season. Courses that are ignored or suffer from improper drainage will be significantly worse off. All that melting snow and ice, along with the effects of harsh freeze/thaw cycles, can leave cart paths and the rest of a course a damaged, muddy mess. Let’s take a look at the hard work that goes into maintaining a deceptively quiet-looking course in the wintertime.

Winter Golf Course Needs

Here are just a few of the considerations that golf superintendents and other key managers have to keep in mind as winter approaches and threatens to damage pristine courses. 

Watching the Weather

To maximize the playing season for golfers, courses typically stay open until temperatures get too low or snow covers the greens. They reopen sometime in the spring, when all that snow and ice has melted and the ground has thawed. This requires a number of days with temperatures above freezing, and that can be hard to come by in the Midwest. Because winter weather can be unpredictable, courses must stay closely informed of approaching weather patterns in order to determine when it’s time to close for the season—and when they can safely reopen without risking damage to the grounds. 

Minimizing Turf Loss

Courses that are exposed to severe weather each winter typically suffer damage to their greens. Depending on ground exposure, weather patterns, and other course damage, greens may need to be covered with materials like straw, sand, or even tarps to minimize turf loss. They’ll also likely need applications of fungicide to avoid the risk of snow mold diseases.

Snow can actually protect turf from the ravages of winter winds, low temperatures, and ice. Unbroken ice, in particular, can cause turf loss, due to the lack of oxygen in the soil. If ice persists, it may need to be removed periodically to allow for gas exchange. Some courses even erect a kind of greenhouse over portions of the greens in order to raise temperatures and promote the germination of new grasses.

Preemptive Golf Course Pathway Solutions

Golf course pathway materials like asphalt can freeze, crack, and heave during the winter, leaving groundskeepers with extensive maintenance to get through before play can resume. Other permeable materials will turn pathways into a muddy mess come spring. Some courses are turning to new pathway options to make getting ready to open after winter that much easier. Kafka’s Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is a non-permeable formulation that doesn’t freeze, so you won’t see your cart pathways growing muddy and soft as the weather warms. On top of that, the material’s resistance to erosion makes it the ideal option for courses that cover hilly terrain and want to emerge from the winter with intact pathways. 

Protecting Equipment

Winter weather can badly damage everything from golf carts to pins to maintenance equipment, so it’s essential for courses to store these materials away from the elements. Courses typically also use this time to update or replace older equipment, setting the stage for a better player experience in the springtime. 

Tackling Projects

It can be difficult for golf courses to complete large projects when golfers are playing the course for most of the daylight hours. As such, winter provides an opportunity for courses to take care of more significant projects. That doesn’t mean that groundskeepers will be out in the middle of a snowstorm, but the winter is long here in the Midwest, and the right conditions and an empty course can allow plenty of time to tackle projects or source new materials.

Effective Golf Course Pathway Solutions From Kafka Granite

Here at Kafka Granite, we take great pride in producing high-quality aggregates, while at the same time adapting and developing exciting new applications for these reliable materials. Our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix has proven to be a valuable solution for courses who need cart pathways to stretch across hilly terrain. This product won’t crack, crumble, or heave, and it remains malleable, allowing for easy reworking if necessary. And because this material is non-permeable, it holds up to repetitive freeze/thaw cycles, making it the perfect low-maintenance solution to muddy, eroding, or heaving pathways. The natural look of our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix also makes it less obtrusive than asphalt or concrete pathways. 

In pursuit of other exciting golf course applications, we’ve also developed erosion-resistant bunker sand, which stands up beautifully to heavy rains and severe winds. This product utilizes the same engineered polymeric wax that makes our pathway mix so useful.

Reach out today to learn more about our golf course pathway solutions, Wax Polymer Bunker Sand, and other landscaping materials that will take your course to the next level. We look forward to working with you.

Wax Polymer Pathway Mix for Golf

Keeping Golf Course Pathways Pristine With Kafka Granite

You don’t need us to tell you that golf course pathways are essential to the operation of a course. Whether your terrain is crisscrossed with cart paths or features narrow, walking-only trails, that pathway system enables your entire course to function. When golfers aren’t walking the paths, maintenance workers and caretakers need those pathways to transport material and equipment, seed the greens, and otherwise monitor and maintain the course.   

At Kafka Granite, we put our years of experience in specialty aggregates to work developing customized solutions to age-old problems like erosion and weathering. Often, that involves an innovative application of one of our products—or the creation of something entirely new. Along those lines, we developed our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix to overcome an issue with pathways washing out at the Erin Hills golf course, site of the 2017 U.S. Open. 

We’ve put together some helpful information for golf courses looking to install high-quality pathways or overcome existing terrain issues. Here’s what you need to know when looking for a new pathway material. 

Where Traditional Golf Course Pathways Fall Short

Standard hardscapes like asphalt or concrete might not be the best choice for your course. These pathway materials fail in a number of ways, from small to seemingly insurmountable. Poor design, coupled with inappropriate pathway material, can leave your hardscape cracking and crumbling or more natural solutions messy and muddy – what’s worse? The wrong material can also leave your pathways dusty in summer and mucky in the spring, not at all what your golfers need for a good game. Many path solutions require constant maintenance or expensive repairs – problems Kafka aimed to solve.

When it comes to aesthetics, pathways play a significant role in the look of your course. Concrete may wear fairly well, but it won’t blend in with the rest of your course. And that’s not even going into the care of these hardscapes—some materials will need significant maintenance as they weather under severe temperatures and erosive effects of rain or high winds.

Characteristics of an Effective Golf Course Pathway Mix

You’ve likely run into some of the issues mentioned above while working to keep your course pristine. If you’re searching for a new type of pathway material to install, you should have a few qualifications in mind for a material that will avoid or minimize these problems. 

Your cart pathways require a pathway mix that is durable but doesn’t need extensive maintenance. Golf courses with hilly terrain and steep surfaces will benefit from a versatile pathway material that can resist erosion and withstand foot and cart traffic. And depending on the location of your course, your cart pathways will need to be able to resist the ravages of severe weather patterns and changing temperatures.

In short, your ideal pathway material is:

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Installed simply
  • Easily maintained

So, where can you find a material that fits all of these criteria? It might be time to reach out for an expert opinion. A knowledgeable professional at Kafka Granite can narrow down your options and work to identify the right material that will meet the unique needs of your course. When in doubt, refer back to those material qualifications and examine how a potential pathway mix might either fit in with your existing cart paths—or replace them entirely. 

Kafka Granite’s Golf Course Pathway Solutions and Bunker Sand

At Kafka Granite, we’ve developed a pathway material and bunker sand specifically for tricky golf course terrain. Here’s a look at two popular products that have made their way onto golf courses across the Midwest. 

Wax Polymer Pathway Mix

Our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix fits the bill for a wide variety of golf course needs, but it’s particularly useful for highly erosive pathway systems. Made up of a non-erosive, wax-coated aggregate, this pathway material blends in with the natural beauty of a course while standing up to heavy foot and cart traffic. Its unique composition allows the Wax Polymer Mix to be laid on the steepest of hills and the twistiest of paths. 

Because the material is pre-mixed, installation is simple. The process doesn’t even require water! Your team just needs to lay the mix, level the surface, and compact—and you’ll be left with an attractive, resilient pathway. This material is also impermeable, waterless, and dustless.

Wax Polymer Bunker Sand

Kafka’s Wax Polymer Bunker Sand was originally developed for high maintenance, out of play bunkers at the Whistling Straits course. This material is a great choice for courses looking to cut back on the amount of maintenance required to keep out of play bunkers in good shape. Made to be extremely resistant to erosion, our bunker sand holds up under everything from heavy rain to high winds. And in terms of installation, the product can be easily placed over preexisting bunker sand.   

Before Kafka Wax Polymer Bunker Sand

Immediately following 2″ of Rain with Kafka Wax Polymer Bunker Sand

Transform Your Golf Course Today

Whether you’re looking for a versatile pathway material for the hilliest section of your course or a reliable bunker sand that can stand up to the forces of nature, Kafka Granite can help. We’re dedicated to providing the materials and information you need to make your course truly remarkable. Contact us today to request samples or learn more about how we can help make your pathway project a success.

Kafka Granite Organic-Lock Stabilized Pathway Mix Installation

Organic-Lock has long been viewed as the strongest organic binder on the market today. At Kafka Granite, we’ve been partnering with Organic-Lock for years to create our stabilized aggregate pathway materials. Thanks to our partnership with Organic-Lock we’re able to offer durable pathway materials that can hold up to anything from busy parks to torrential rains.

Organic-Lock is designed to stabilized aggregate surfaces, making it the perfect binding agent to be added to our unique blends. Through this combination, we’ve been able to offer products that can result in natural-looking, permeable surfaces that can hold up to extreme conditions. Today we’re walking through how to properly install our pre-blended Organic-Lock aggregates on your job site.

What is Organic-Lock?

Organic-Lock is a powdered binder made from renewable resources. It is specifically designed to be blended with crushed aggregate to create natural looking pathways and surfaces. But how does it work?

First, the binder locks the aggregate in place to minimize erosion and worksite maintenance; saving you time and money in the long run. When it rains or your pathways become saturated by moisture of any kind, the liquid permeates the aggregate where it then comes into contact with the Organic-Lock binder. When this happens, the moisture and Organic-Lock binder together turn into a gel that coats each piece of the aggregate. The gel then expands in size and works like glue to hold the pathway together. This process greatly reduces erosion and keeps your finished pathway in one piece longer. This video contains some great illustrations to further highlight how this unique mixture works.

Preinstallation

Your pre-blended aggregate and Organic-Lock mixture will be supplied by Kafka Granite. When prepping your installation surface, you’ll need to focus on moisture content and optimal site preparation. Your delivered mixture will always have room to improve, so we recommend using the snowball or step test to find the ideal mixture of water and aggregate for your batch of material. Ideally, you want your mixture to have an 8-10% moisture content. Here’s how to use those two methods to get your aggregate to this magical moisture level.

The Snowball Test:

When first assessing your material, scoop up a handful in one hand. Try to compact the material into a snowball shape. If it crumbles and can’t hold its form then you need to continue adding moisture. If you can compact it into a ball but it has a noticeable wet sheen then your moisture content is too high.

Too Dry

Too Wet

Just Right!

The Step Test:

In place of the snowball test, you can use the step test to determine your mixture’s readiness. Once again, form a rough ball, then place the ball on the ground and step on it. If your mixture has too much moisture it will have a wet sheen to it, if it’s too dry it won’t be able to hold its shape. An ideal mixture should show a perfect impression of your boot’s tread while holding its shape without any wet sheen visible.

If your mixture is showing a wet sheen the best thing you can do is add additional dry material until you can complete a successful snowball or step test. Once you have reached the ideal moisture content for your mixture, replicate your exact measurements for the rest of your material.

Left: Too Wet | Right: Just Right

 

Installation

The most important aspects of a successful installation of our stabilized mixture are subgrade and base construction, surface watershed management, spreading, compaction, and installation completion. This video will walk you through successfully executing each of these five steps to ensure an astounding finished product.  

The installation process for our stabilized mixture is simple. Our products come with individualized product installation specifications, so there will be no guesswork when it comes to the amount of subgrade you need, how compacted your base should be, or what type of base you should use depending on your region’s DOT recommended crushed granular road base.

This portion of our video guide will also help you to assess potential issues for your pathway system; such as sprinkler heads, uneven terrain, a dense canopy cover, and more. We’ll equip you with all of the installation guidelines and best practices, such as maximum slope, that you’ll need to ensure that your pathway is installed correctly the first time. Saving you time and money by eliminating costly do-overs. If you have any further questions about our stabilized Organic-Lock products give us a call today.

Custom Blend Stabilized Pathway - Kenyon College - Gambier, OH

Revitalizing the Historic Middle Path Pathways at Kenyon College

When the charming and historic Middle Path running through Kenyon College’s campus became pitted, messy, and dangerous, Kafka Granite stepped up to the plate and provided the perfect stabilized DG pathway solution to give this aging pathway new life. Having helped many high-traffic areas resurface their existing pathway systems, we knew that we were up to the challenge.

Using Decomposed Granite for Kenyon College

Some might think that the name “decomposed granite” implies a lesser significance than that of the stronger sounding marble, granite, or stone, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference, as was the case with Kenyon College.

When it came time for Kenyon College of Gambier, Ohio to tackle the mounting problems being posed by its historic Middle Path, Kafka Granite was called to come up with a custom solution that would preserve the historical significance of the path while making it safe for future generations. Through a forensic approach, thorough testing and deep collaboration between Kafka Granite and the college’s design and landscaping team, the historic charm and aesthetic of Kenyon’s Middle Path was preserved by the use of a one-of-a-kind stabilized pathway system.

Using a Stabilized Pathway System to Save the Middle Path

The famed Middle Path is a 3,600-foot-long, 8-foot-wide walkway was originally crafted from local river stone. The landscape of Kenyon’s campus is delicately structured around the well-traveled path, rendering it a staple to the scenery. The smooth, round characteristic of the river stone, however, was creating deep wells, soft patches, and excessive displacement that made for puddles, mud, ice and unsafe travel in inclement weather. Calling Ohio home, the College was frequently plaqued by many differnet types of weather conditions, so they needed a durable aggregate that would hold up to anything the state could dish out.

Kenyon sought a solution that would maintain the aesthetic and experiential dimension of the sound of the stone’s crunch underfoot while providing more stability and compaction for less aggregate displacement while being permeable enough to avoid puddles. Replacing the path with concrete or asphalt would offer more stability, but these materials wouldn’t preserve the charm and overall aesthetic of the much-loved pathway, and would lead to oversaturation in the rainy months.

We were able to create a stabilized pathway solution that was the perfect ratio of organic stabilizing binder and crushed stone. Additionally, we were able to produce the perfect aggregate that was both the perfect color and gradation to give the school’s pathway material optimum compaction and performance. A variety of product mock-ups were rigorously tested on-site at Kenyon using a variety stabilizing binders, specifications, and installation techniques before settling on the combination of a custom Kafka Granite color combination and Organic-Lock stabilizing binder.

Custom Blend Stabilized Pathway - Kenyon College - Gambier, OH

The Installation Phase

We were present at the construction site, which allowed our experts to oversee proper installation as well as answer any questions to grounds crew ran into. Through a close relationship in which multiple experiments and tests were run, our two teams combined were able to identify the best binder for the school’s historical pathway system.

The final organic binder utilized in the stabilized DG was Organic-Lock by Envirobond, which made for the perfect solution to Kenyon’s problem of a deteriorating pathway. With Kafka’s pathway mix blended with Organic-Lock, Kenyon College’s stabilized pathways will experience less erosion than their predecessor, which was the original problem that prompted Kenyon College to reach out to Kafka Granite. Furthermore, the new DG stabilized pathway system will yield less mud and dust while remaining permeable for optimal drainage. The new pathway blends in seamlessly with the natural beauty of the Kenyon College campus and has the added benefit of being ADA accessible, meaning that everyone will be able to enjoy its beauty.

Furthermore, stabilized DG offered a thin loose top layer of aggregate, which replicated the feel of the original path. By being able to conduct thorough testing, provide a solution that was aesthetically ideal, and oversee the entirety of the installation process, our team was able to aid in preserving the historic charm and sophistication of Kenyon College’s iconic Middle Path.

Find Your Perfect Pathway Material at Kafka Granite

At Kafka Granite, we offer more 60 unique colors of aggregate and a full portfolio of innovative products, such as our all new natural stone veneers. From recycled materials to stabilized aggregates, we have the pathway mixes your project needs to meet its goals, be it preserving the past or meeting the demands of the present. If you would like to learn more about the Kenyon College project you can read the full story in the November 2016 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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

Basic Principles of Commercial Landscape Design

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

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

Combine Form and Function

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

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

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

Make a Good First Impression

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

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

 

Choose the Colors and Materials of Your Landscaping Material

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

What will your pathways be made of?

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

What color will your pathways be?

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

What kind of traffic will be on your pathways?

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

What is your parking lot going to be made of?

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

What surrounds your gardens?

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

How much money or time can you put toward maintenance?

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

Get Started on Your Commercial Landscape Architecture Today

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