Kafka Architectural Aggregates Color Chart

How Does Natural Stone Get Its Color?

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

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

What Causes Color Variations in Natural Stone?

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

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

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

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

Granite

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

Marble

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

Quartz

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

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

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

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

Kafka Granite’s Natural Stone Products

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

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

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

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

The Geology of Natural Stone

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

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

Where Does Natural Stone Come From?

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

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

3 Rock Types to Know

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

Igneous

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

Sedimentary

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

Metamorphic

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

How Does Natural Stone Get Its Color?

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

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

Applications of Natural Stone

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

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

Incorporate the Beauty of Natural Stone Into Your Project

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

The Unique Geology of Wisconsin

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

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

Wisconsin Stone Over the Centuries

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

The Wisconsin Glaciation

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

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

A Wealth of Minerals

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

Decomposed Granite in Wisconsin

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

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

What Does Wisconsin’s Geology Mean to Kafka Granite?

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

A Variety of Colors and Stone Products

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

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

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

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

Natural Stone Products From Kafka Granite

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

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

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain - Chicago, IL

A Kafka Granite Guide To Permeable Paver Grit

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference—such is the case with permeable paver grit. Standard permeable paver grit comes in ¼” x ⅛”, and the question is how does something so small make such a big difference in landscaping and construction? Permeable paver grit has numerous benefits for the environment, your budget and your project. View our selection today!

What Is Permeable Paver Grit Made of?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of permeable paver grit. The permeable paver grit at Kafka Granite is comprised of over 40 different types of crushed granite and quartzite available in a palette of colors to match your project – the most popular being Starlight Black, Caramel, and Colonial Red.

Our granite and quartzite aggregates are extremely hard materials that easily withstand the rigors of even the most extreme freeze/thaw cycles. Unlike softer aggregates, such as limestone, our granite and quartzite will not break down and clog your runoff system over time, ensuring maximum drainage for many years to come.

The Role of Permeable Aggregates

Permeable paver grit is made to seamlessly fit between permeable interlocking concrete pavement, also known as PICP. Our aggregate fills the spaces between paver blocks or bricks, which not only adds to your design’s appeal, but it also creates an optimal drainage solution for your project. If you want to avoid harmful stormwater runoff, optimal permeability is key.

Permeable paver grit is an eco-friendly way to optimize the drainage of any project. Permeable paver grit helps reduce stormwater runoff as well as replenishes groundwater reserves. Stormwater can collect and carry harmful pollutants when it settles on the ground, but the permeability of this material helps stormwater seep through the surface of the ground, allowing it to be naturally filtered. This means less stormwater runoff reaches and contaminates our lakes and streams.

How Stormwater Runoff Affects Us All

In the past, contractors and landscapers might have used marbles or limestone as a paver grit but we now know that this can prove to be detrimental to both your project and the environment. By using softer materials like limestone, you run the risk of getting clogged joints over time as your materials break down. Clogged joints cause your expensive commercial permeable pavers to not perform the way they were intended.

In a natural setting that has been left undeveloped, trees and vegetation break the momentum of rain, which in turn helps with erosion and helps filter the stormwater before it reaches larger bodies of water. After the stormwater has been filtered by vegetation, it is drained into streams that then transport the now filtered runoff to large bodies of water. But what happens after land has been developed? Runoff collected from developed areas commonly contains pollutants from cars, fertilizers and other chemicals.

Here Are the Most Common Pollutants that Stormwater Can Pick up:

  • Oil, grease and coolant from automobiles
  • Fertilizers
  • Pesticides
  • Bacteria from pet waste and septic systems
  • Soil from uncompleted construction sites
  • Soap from cars or equipment washing

Biggest Concerns from Unmanaged Stormwater Runoff:

  • Pollutants from stormwater contaminate our waterways and kill off fish and wildlife. This in turn has the power to close local businesses that depend on a source of locally caught fish.
  • When too much water is accumulated and rushes to streams and other drainage systems due to a lack of permeability, it can lead to flooding.
  • When water is kept from reaching the ground naturally, a water shortage can accumulate, which affects the entire community and ecosystem.

Permeable Paver Grit Paired with Decorative Precast Pavers

Kafka Granite does not directly produce precast pavers, but we take pride in providing speciality aggregate and permeable paver grit used in these designs. Our aggregates are sourced from throughout North America. The raw materials are then transported to our crushing facility in Central Wisconsin to ensure the highest level of quality control possible. We then sell our aggregate to the leading paver manufacturers in the country, all of which produce permeable pavers.

Kafka Granite offers nearly 60 different colors of natural stone and recycled materials in any size. Our aggregates can be found in pavers coast to coast. Kafka Granite’s crushed granite, marble, quartz and recycled materials can be used in decorative precast pavers and a broad assortment of amenities such as precast concrete water fountains, trash bins, snuffers, planters, tables, benches, columns, chairs and more.

Find Your Grit at Kafka Granite

True grit doesn’t come from within, it comes from Kafka Granite! To make the most out of your permeable paver project, be careful not to overlook the important function of the permeable paver grit or joint infill.  Contact Kafka Granite to make your next project a success.  

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.

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

How to Use Your Landscaping to Manage Water

Long gone are the days of creating a beautiful landscaping for only aesthetic purposes. Landscape architects today are constantly on the lookout for how the land can serve some utility purposes as well. As masters in their field, landscape architects can plan and create an environment that is both beautiful as well as functional. The trend to “go green” isn’t going away anytime soon.

The surge in environmental consciousness is leading designers and architects to find ways to reduce carbon footprints, utilize environmentally friendly or recycled materials, and minimize a project’s environmental impact whenever possible. Many companies, including Kafka Granite, are creating building materials in greener ways than ever before, which is why we support these efforts where we can. One way to make your commercial landscaping work for the environment is to use it as part of your project’s water management. A useful and beautiful landscape for your project is very possible through research, planning and using the power of permeability.

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain - Chicago, IL

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain – Chicago, IL

What Does Water Management Mean?

The water that lands on the ground during a rainfall might not ever cross your mind again once it’s over and dried up. However, consider the fact that one inch of rainwater hitting one acre of asphalt over one hour yields 27,000 gallons of water. In ideal conditions, this rainwater would easily flow into your city’s sewers and be on its way to your water treatment facility. However, too often do these systems become overwhelmed by heavy storms and debris, causing flooding and even sewage backups. This causes pollutants such as oils and trash to sit stagnant or flow into public waters, neither of which help the environment.

Furthermore, an incredible amount of water is used for the outdoors, especially in regions that experience droughts or very hot, drier seasons. The amount of water used to preserve landscapes is staggering. For example, in North Carolina the average amount of water used for the outdoors is 20–30 percent of a facility’s total water use annually. For environments that have notoriously hotter weather, this water consumption for the sake of lush lawns could be even higher.

So what exactly does water management mean when it comes to landscape designs and function? Best Management Practices (BMPs) for landscape water conservation range from plant selection to irrigation in order to reduce landscape water use. Adopting BMPs for your next landscape design project will help with financial savings and environmental efforts.

How to Start Planning a Water-efficient Landscape

Oftentimes, commercial and industrial workplaces sit across large plots of land. This vast area is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of rainwater and save on using water for outdoor purposes. Before you start implementing a landscape design, you need to consider what the land will be used for.

Ask yourself the following questions before you begin to cultivate your design. When you can answer the questions below then you know that you’re ready to begin creating your landscaping vision. If you are in doubt about the legalities and protections that are in place at the site of your next build we recommend contacting your local government or Department of Natural Resources to answer any uncertainties that arise while reviewing the questions below.

  1. What is the natural habitat of the area?
  2. What are some native plants and animals currently residing on or nearby the project?
  3. What will the pedestrian or vehicular traffic be like once completed? Is this a recreational area?
  4. Will I need automatic irrigation systems?
  5. How will I create a suitable hydrozone for the space?
  6. What type of ground cover should I be utilizing?
Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material - Metropolitan Correctional Center - Chicago, IL

Platinum Granite Standard Pathway Material & Platinum Permeable Paver Grit – Metropolitan Correctional Center – Chicago, IL

Keep Hard Surfaces in Mind: Reduce Stormwater Runoff

Optimal landscape architecture isn’t restricted to lush green surfaces and garden beds. Creating the best landscape for water management also means thinking about the hard surfaces in your project, i.e., driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and courtyards. When these surfaces are made of nonporous material, such as nonporous asphalt and concrete, this creates unwanted stormwater runoff, which draws pollutants to waterways.

Ensuring you use porous materials that provide ample drainage is a key factor to achieving ideal water management with your landscaping. Decomposed granite provides stable, compact surfaces while still allowing rainwater to pass through. Consider a combination of permeable pavers and permeable paver joint infill for large expanses, such as parking lots. Kafka Granite offers a large variety of durable granite and quartz aggregates for permeable paver grit that can withstand intense freeze/thaw cycles. These aggregates emphasize the aesthetic goals of your landscape design as well as provide a way for hard-surfaced areas to provide even more water management opportunities.

Kafka Can Help Your Landscape Start Saving Water

A water management plan integrated in your landscape design can help your project environmentally and financially. Through planning a tight irrigation schedule, creating hydrozones, and implementing permeable surfaces wherever possible, you’ll be conserving water and time all while helping the environment. Reducing stormwater runoff helps ease the stress on sewer systems, reduces sewage backups and flooding, and alleviates the amount of pollutants and debris running into waterways. Interested in permeable solutions for your landscape? Let Kafka Granite help you create a beautiful and eco-friendly space—send us a message or call today for your next project!

Eco-Friendly Permeable Paver Grit in Chicago

Creating green environments—especially in urban areas—is on the rise. From the installation of a new solar panel project every two minutes to the emphasis on reducing carbon emissions, people are focused on reducing energy consumption and helping the environment for a greener tomorrow. Cities today are faced with the challenge of meeting the needs of urban dwellers as well as trying to foster an eco-friendly future. One way to help the environment is right beneath our feet.

Permeable pavers and permeable paver grit help reduce stormwater runoff as well as replenish groundwater. The permeability of these pavers and corresponding crushed aggregate between pavers means that stormwater—which can collect and carry harmful pollutants with it—can seep through the surface of the ground and be naturally filtered as it passes. The encouraged absorption of this rainwater also means that nearby rivers and lakes are less likely to be subject to pollutants and flooding.

Chicago Going Green with Permeability

Nearly 2.7 million people are living in the urban jungle dubbed Chicago. With that many people creating carbon footprints and siphoning energy, any push toward a greener tomorrow is a good one. Check out some of Chicago’s greenest grounds: Buckingham Fountain Plaza, Loyola University and the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Buckingham Fountain

buckingham fountian chicago

The pavers making the expansive plaza surrounding Chicago’s infamous Buckingham Fountain uses Kafka Granite’s aggregate between pavers. Our Sunset Pink permeable paver grit perfectly complements the aesthetic of this historic fountain and landmark while providing the green solution fit for Chicago’s eco-conscious efforts.

Permeable paving in Chicago is most effective in areas closer to Lake Michigan because they’re underlain with sandy permeable soils—which makes Buckingham Fountain the perfect place for a permeable paver grit solution. Kafka’s expansive color variety enabled the paver grit to be a  beautiful compliment to the unique Unilock pavers in this setting, as well as be the most functional solution for a permeable plaza.

Loyola University

loyola university chicago

Loyola University of Chicago is home to more than 16,000 students. When it came to grounds solutions, permeable paver grit was the go-to for this project. Used as fill between Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement, Kafka’s Mauve permeable paver grit (PPG) provides ample stormwater drainage. Our quality materials also easily stand up to high volumes of foot traffic and the grueling freeze/thaw cycles of a Midwestern winter. With Kafka’s aggregate as Loyola’s permeable grit, they won’t have to worry about the grit breaking down or clogging their runoff system.

Metropolitan Correctional Center

pavers at metropolitan correctional center

The Metropolitan Correctional Center was opened in 1975 and stands as a looming 28-story federal prison in the thick of Chicago’s downtown. While this may seem unusual, the prison as a whole fits into the architectural backdrop of the city. With a sleek combination of modern and urban design, complementing the design was important when it came to the surrounding plaza. The MCC’s unique landscape design called on using both Kafka’s Platinum Granite PPG and Wausau Tile’s permeable pavers. What’s more, our standard platinum granite pathway material was used throughout the patio area in order to allow for maximum drainage around the trees.

Superior Permeability with Kafka’s Superior Quality

Our state-of-the-art crushing facility can create permeable paver grit to match your exact sizing needs or standards. Plus our impressive variety of color options, nearly 60 colors in all, means you can find the paver grit to perfectly complement your paving project. The importance of a high-quality PPG that is properly sized for your project cannot be stressed enough. Opting for softer materials, such as marbles and limestones, leaves you at risk for clogged joints as those materials will break down with time. Similarly, a grit that is too small defeats the purpose of a permeable design as it will compact too densely and not allow for optimum drainage. If you’re paying a premium for permeable pavers, make sure to get the most out of them with the right PPG.

Thinking about permeability in your next project is important for the environment. By allowing stormwater to move through pavement, you minimize the risks associated with stormwater discharge. According to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources, permeable pavers and permeable paver grit:

  • Promote stormwater infiltration, groundwater recharge, and stream baseflow preservation
  • Reduce the discharge of stormwater pollutants to surface waters
  • Reduce stormwater discharge volumes and rates
  • Reduce the temperature of stormwater discharge

The importance of permeability in ground-cover solutions is especially important when protecting nature from harmful pollutants, which keeps our cities like Chicago beautiful places to live and visit. Plus, permeable solutions can earn you points toward LEED certification for your project. To hear more about the benefits of Kafka’s permeable paver grit, contact us today. Our experts can answer any question you may have and can help with your project.

Burma Red Hilltopper Warning Track Mix - Yankee Stadium - New York, NY

Top 10: Most Interesting Places to See Kafka Granite

 

 

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

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

10. Walgreens Corporate Headquarters – Deerfield, IL

Application: Pewter Stabilized Pathway Mix

Found in 1901, Walgreens is one of the most prevalent pharmacies nationwide with over 8,200 stores across the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Walgreens Corporate is a bustling campus of employees. As of 2009, 5,200 employees funneled in and around the headquarters every day — all of them walking on Kafka’s stabilized pathway mix.

 

 

9. I-94 Bridge over St. Croix River – Hudson, WI and Lakeland, MN

Application: Platinum Granite DOT High-Friction Surfacing

In order to endure the intense freeze and thaw cycles of a Midwest winter, the bridge overpass over the St. Croix River was covered with Kafka’s Platinum-colored granite high-friction surfacing. Now thousands of commuters and travelers and cross state lines without worrying about spinning out on an icy bridge. This type of high-friction surfacing aggregate is extremely hard and can endure the abuse of harsh winters and relentless snow plows.

Burma Red Hilltopper Infield Mix - UW Softball Indoor Practice Facility - Madison, WI

Burma Red Hilltopper* Infield Mix – UW Softball Indoor Practice Facility – Madison, WI

8. University of Wisconsin, Madison – Madison, WI

Application: Burma Red Hilltopper* Infield Mix

Staying stateside, Kafka Granite was able to provide the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a beautiful outdoor softball infield using Burma Red Hilltopper* mix. After proving hugely successful with softball-wielding Badgers, Kafka was then asked to install Burma Red Hilltopper* infield mix in their state-of-the-art indoor softball field.


7. Buckingham Fountain – Chicago, IL

Application: Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit

Located in “Chicago’s front yard,” the Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Grant Park has been pumping water and churning out impressive light shows since 1927. Standing as one of the largest fountains worldwide, more than 20 million people visit the fountain and park annually, making it the second-most visited park landmark in the United States. Kafka Granite provided the eye-catching sunset pink paver grit located around the expansive fountain in Grant Park, complementing the aesthetic beauty of both park and fountain.

 

Salt & Pepper Granite Stabilized Pathway - Brooklyn Bridge Park - Brooklyn, NY - Project by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Salt & Pepper Granite Stabilized Pathway – Brooklyn Bridge Park – Brooklyn, NY – Project by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

6. Brooklyn Bridge Park – Brooklyn, NY

Application: Salt and Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix

Aiming to be a “world-class park that is a recreational, environmental and cultural destination,” Brooklyn Bridge Park is 85 acres of renovated post-industrial waterfront in Brooklyn, New York. Construction began in 2008, and the park was roughly 74% complete by the end of 2015. Enjoyed by thousands of park visitors every year for its concessions, volleyball courts, playgrounds and natural habitats, Kafka is proud to have its Salt and Pepper Stabilized Pathway serve as a means to walk through and enjoy the scenery.

 


5. Erin Hills Golf Course – Hartford, WI

Application: Erin Hills Custom Blend Wax Polymer Pathway Mix – Pathways

Gearing up to be the host of the 2017 U.S. Open of the United States Golf Association, Erin Hills is a broad expanse of rolling hills and valleys carved by glaciers. As a cartless, walking-only course, Kafka Granite is using a custom blend wax polymer mix to create walking paths for easier access and maneuverability around the glorious course while being unobtrusive and offering a beautiful natural aesthetic.

 

4. Navy Pier – Chicago, IL

Application: Unilock Decorative Precast Pavers using Kafka’s Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka’s unique recycled copper slag aggregate offers recycled content to precast pavers throughout Chicago’s Navy Pier. As a not-for-profit tourist site, Navy Pier attracts nearly nine million attraction-hungry visitors every year — this ranks it as the top leisure destination in the Midwest.

 

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

3. U.S. Capitol Plaza – Washington, D.C.

Application: Wausau Tile Decorative Precast Pavers using Kafka Granite’s aggregates

At the East Capitol Street entrance to the U.S. Capitol building sits the U.S. Capitol Plaza. Lined with wrought-iron and bronze light fixtures, benches for taking in the capitol and precisely placed shrubs and trees of many varieties, Capitol Plaza is a place where visitors can take in the essence of the U.S. Capitol. Kafka’s aggregates only add to the natural aesthetic of the area by being used in decorative precast pavers throughout the plaza.

 

2. Yankee Stadium – Bronx, New York City

Application: Burma Red Hilltopper* Warning Track

Yankee Stadium is home to one of the most well-known baseball teams in history. Having had names like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez on the roster, fans flock to the Bronx to not only watch great baseball, but to also watch a little bit of history. Burma Red Hilltopper* mix from Kafka is what such a prominent sports team uses for its warning track around the field and under the cleats of greats.

 

1. Times Square – Manhattan, New York City

Application: NYC Blend Epoxy Overlay Streetscape application

Often referred to as “the heart of the world,” Times Square is one of the busiest and most recognizable intersections worldwide. From being featured in countless movie scenes to serving as home to harrowing Harry Houdini stunts, the crossroads of Broadway and Seventh Avenue gets pounded by the feet of over 300,000 people every day. Wisconsin’s Kafka Granite is featured as an epoxy overlay streetscape and adds vibrant life to the ground to complement the lights in the sky, while offering a non-slip surface for pedestrians. The streetscape color is a custom New York City blend and is comprised of 37.5% recycled porcelain.

 

 

Hilltopper* is a registered trademark of Stabilizer Solutions. Kafka Granite no longer utilizes Hilltopper* in the composition of their ballfield mixes.

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

LEED Credits With Kafka Granite

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

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

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

Why should your project be LEED-certified?

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

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

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

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

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

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

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

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

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

 

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Kafka Granite Paves Way for Sustainability

Investing in sustainability and eco-friendly ventures is costly. Despite the obvious and necessary environmental benefits, the sheer price tag of going green prevents many businesses from making this ecological leap. Kafka Granite, a family owned small business, has found an impressive number of ways to bear its eco-conscious muscle and help the environment despite its size.

In addition to offering decomposed granite aggregate solutions, which are an inherently environmentally friendly alternative to asphalt or concrete, Kafka Granite offers a broad portfolio of other green solutions, such as white roofs and permeable paver grit. Thinking outside of the granite box, Kafka has even teamed up with several other businesses in efforts to recycle waste product such as porcelain, glass, mirror, firebrick and slag.

Decomposed granite is a natural product and is the result of granitic rocks being weathered and eroded. Although organic stabilizing binders can be added and the aggregate is compacted, the permeability of decomposed granite aggregate perseveres. Beyond natural decomposed granite, many other eco-friendly hardscape solutions are becoming popular. In addition to supplying manufacturers with aggregate to create permeable pavers, Kafka Granite also specially produces permeable paver grit, the joint filler between the pavers.

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain - Chicago, IL

Sunset Pink Permeable Paver Grit- Buckingham Fountain – Chicago, IL

An added benefit of Kafka Granite’s permeable paver grit is its ability to complement the pavers’ color or design. It can be practically camouflaged or can lend itself to the aesthetics of the area while providing the appropriately sized joint filler. Using the correct size, and hardness, of aggregate between pavers ensures that joints between pavers won’t become clogged and the permeability of the joints will remain optimal during its lifespan.

The incredible permeability of Kafka’s aggregate prevents water runoff or unwanted flooding — instead, the water permeates the aggregate and is reabsorbed by the soil and water table below. Ancillary benefits of Kafka aggregate include its lifespan — requiring fewer replacements than alternatives.

Some of Kafka’s aggregates are manufactured for other environmental causes such as white roofs. Also known as cool roofs, Kafka produces recycled porcelain and white quartz which can be applied to pre-existing rooftops using a two-part epoxy overlay. Naturally round Birchwood granite is also available for traditional rooftop ballast applications. White roofs diminish the heat island effect — the occurrence of higher temperatures in urban areas versus rural ones — exhibited by dark roofs. By reflecting the majority of the sun’s rays, the ambient temperature surrounding a white roof is dramatically lower. The cooling costs of a structure with a white roof are also reduced, saving costs for homeowners, business owners, and the atmosphere.

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

As a Wisconsin-based company, Kafka looked to native-Wisconsin businesses Wausau Tile and Kohler Corporation to join in a recycling initiative. Kohler Corporation’s rejected porcelain toilets and sinks, as well as the corporation’s other landfilled materials like slag and firebrick, get crushed to size and used in place of natural stone. Recently adopted was the recycling of glass screens from outdated televisions and computers, as well as two-sided mirrors. Recycled materials can be used as aggregates in precast concrete, terrazzo flooring and countertops, epoxy overlay surfacing, pathway materials and more. The smoky recycled glass serves as an impressive alternative to expensive natural quartz, while the two-sided mirror creates a unique, high-end finish to flooring and countertop products.

Using recycled and sustainable materials helps architects earn points toward LEED certification. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and serves as third-party verification to determine whether new construction is truly green or eco-friendly. By using sustainable materials or recycled products manufactured by Kafka, designers and architects can establish themselves as leaders in green design and construction — a highly sought after quality in modern construction trends.

Kafka Granite's Dust Collection System

Kafka Granite’s Dust Collection System

Even the byproducts of Kafka’s manufacturing process are reused. Taking an eco-friendly leap forward, a state-of-the-art dust-collection system was installed at Kafka’s crushing facility. A huge asset, the system winds through the crushing facility, acting like a large vacuum and collecting dust. This innovative system not only keeps otherwise wasted dust from polluting the air, but after it has been collected, it is being reused in the creation of other products such as pathway mixes.

Kafka’s sustainable efforts aren’t only rooted in the core of the business through the sustainable and recycled product offering, but these efforts branch into big-picture efforts to increase efficiency, reduce its carbon footprint and look for solutions to aid in a greener future. Even its less-noted efforts, like using secondhand pallets for shipping, accumulate to create a more sustainable tomorrow and serve as an example for how even small businesses can aid in the green movement.