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.

Photo courtesy of Unilock

4 Recycled Crushed Materials to Start Using in Your Design

Kafka Granite has always taken measures to help the environment. After all, we pride ourselves on the environmental benefits of naturally occurring decomposed granite in comparison with concrete or asphalt. Permeable paver grit, which contributes to groundwater recharge, and white roof options to reduce urban heat islands contribute to our portfolio of eco-conscious aggregates. Using sustainable materials in your next big project could give you points toward a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Creating a LEED-certified project is a reflection of your project’s minimal stress on the environment. It shows you’ve taken the environment into consideration from the design of your project to the material you used. One way to help earn LEED certification (and the trust of many earth-adoring people) is to use recycled materials as often as you can. This means using insulation from recycled jeans, rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires, or even pathways or precast concrete fixtures made from recycled porcelain and fire brick —think outside the box for where recycled materials can be used in your project.

 1. Rejected Toilets and Sinks

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Recycled Porcelain Aggregate

Kafka Granite has teamed with Wisconsin-native businesses Wausau Tile and Kohler Corporation to stick to an impressive recycling initiative. This three-way relationship started when Kohler noted that its landfills were becoming saturated with brand-new toilets and sinks. These fixtures simply didn’t meet the high-quality standards of inspectors, so off to the landfill they went. Wausau Tile took interest in the discarded porcelain goldmine and approached Kafka Granite for its impeccable crushing facility. The crushed porcelain was to be used for a new product line that Wausau Tile was going to create, but another world of benefits was also unlocked.

Companies like Wausau Tile can use recycled crushed high-quality porcelain in terrazzo flooring and as a unique component to decorative precast concrete. Its potential has also been explored and makes a great material to use in exposed aggregate architectural panels, pathway materials, and epoxy overlay streetscapes. Whistling Straits, the famous Kohler Company owned golf course, is even using their recycled porcelain as bunker liners using the Better Billy Bunker Method. Recycled porcelain is incredibly durable and absorbs minimal water, which makes it especially ideal for climates where continual freezing and thawing is common.

 

 

2. Old Electronics Glass and Mirrors

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Kafka Granite Recycled Smoked Glass

Other materials adding an element of smoke or sparkle to quartz countertops everywhere are electronics glass and discarded two-sided mirrors. Thousands of outdated boxy TVs are tossed to the curb every day, but now the thick smoky glass could see new life by being crushed for other purposes. Two-sided mirrors are also seeing new life as they can add a reflective glimmer to be used in terrazzo flooring, countertops, or anywhere else crushed recycled mirror could add a unique touch. The depth added by these crushed materials gives new life to old, useless glass.

 

 

 

 

3. Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka Granite Recycled Copper Slag

Kafka also recycles some less obvious materials for crushed aggregate, such as copper slag. Recycled copper slag is a unique option that you can use as a recycled aggregate in your next project. Durable, attractive, and recycled, these options could help push you toward a LEED certification. But what exactly is copper slag?

Copper slag is a byproduct of copper smelting. Smelting is the refining process that copper ore goes through. Copper ore is what’s mined from the earth, usually from quarries, and is a mix of minerals and rock. In order to extract the usable ore from the mineral and rock blend, the mixed deposits undergo smelting; the process during which the deposits are heated with an agent that triggers a chemical reaction that forces the desired metal end-product out of the ore deposits.

The non-metallic dust, soot and rock are what make up copper slag. Copper slag is friendly to both the health of people, as oppose to alternatives like silica sand that is harmful when inhaled, and the environment. It also has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio, making it a durable, long-lasting option for different projects. Copper slag is primarily black in color with flecks of red and lighter greys, resulting in a pleasant and versatile aesthetic that is mostly used as aggregate in precast concrete to increase its recycled content.

Many prestigious projects have utilized our copper slag recycled materials, such as Chicago’s Navy Pier. The designers on the project were looking for a material that could stand up to the test of thousands of visitors and rapidly changing weather, all while being made using recycled content. Our copper slag ended up being exactly what the project called for, and ended up being a large contributing factor that helped the final Navy Pier project received a gold SITES certification.

4. Firebrick

Kafka Granite Recycled Firebrick

Just like copper slag, firebrick is an eco-friendly material that can earn your project those highly desirable LEED points. But what exactly is firebrick?

Firebrick refers to the dense bricks made to withstand intense heat. These bricks are usually found lining kilns, furnaces, and fireplaces. These bricks are designed to hold even under during rapid temperature changes; such as in locations with mercurial environments. When firebricks reach the end of their application, though, they could end up at a crushing facility like Kafka’s. Crushed firebrick blends have a great blend of light tans, greys, browns and reds. Such a varied yet neutral color palette and strong compaction characteristics makes crushed firebrick a great recycled option for pathways.

Crushed Recycled Material Available for LEED Certification

Being environmentally conscious is never a bad thing, especially if it can earn your project LEED certification. Architectural customers as well as the eco-friendly consumers will benefit from using recycled materials in their next projects. Instead of clogging landfills, these materials are being crushed to exact specifications to breathe unique life into many products like terrazzo floors, precast concrete, and even pathways. Kafka Granite has been pushing the environmental envelope for years and has just what you’re looking for when it comes to recycled aggregate. To get free samples or find where you can get your hands on recycled porcelain, firebrick and copper slag, contact us today. We’re waiting to help find the right aggregate for your project, especially if helps toward LEED certification.

Glitter Series Raw Stone

Kafka Granite Acquires A New Quarry

Kafka Granite has grown mightily since its inception in 1979. What started as a one-man operation run by Glenn Kafka has turned into one of the top decorative aggregate providers in the country. Through sweat, hard work, and a couple of tears, Kafka Granite has transitioned from a one-man decomposed granite operation to the most diversified aggregate providers in the country (while remaining family owned and operated). Through all of our changes and growth, we’ve retained what matters most to us: our brand identity and history. No matter how much we grow, we still strive to maintain the same values that Glenn Kafka started out with nearly 40 years ago.

Currently, Kafka Granite provides over 60 different color varieties of granite, marble, quartz, and recycled aggregates, but we are excited to announce that this new quarry has been shown to yield something a little extra – sparkle. Due to the high concentration of mica intertwined with strong quartzite, this beautiful glittering natural phenomenon is something that is not commonly found among aggregates. If that wasn’t rare enough – the colors range from black, to green, to pink. With only 60 of the 700+ acres exposed, we are yet to discover all the colors that may lie beneath the surface.
We are beyond thrilled to incorporate this thrilling new product into our product lineup. With the addition of the various colors mica enriched quartzite, we will be able to provide our customers with an even wider variety of manufactured sands, accent pieces, landscape stone, and natural stone veneer. With its signature look and feel, this remarkable stone is opening up a lot of opportunities for Kafka Granite and our loyal customers and supporters.

 

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Exploring Our New Mica Enriched Quartzite Quarry

At over 700 acres, our new quarry is an abundant deposit of mica enriched quartzite. This spectacular stone develops naturally into multiple distinct colors and two different hardnesses and consistencies, making the possible applications of this rare find seemingly limitless. Geologists estimate that our mica enriched quartzite deposit was formed around three million years ago when tectonic plates deep inside the earth slammed into the Canadian Shield, heating the host rock of clear quartz and colored mica until it reached liquid form. The color from the mica then transferred into the clear quartz during cooling, resulting in beautiful, vibrant colors of quartzite laced with an abundance of mica.

Kafka Granite Glitter, LLC

Although the deposit was created horizontally in different colored layers, it was later thrust up vertically into a 10.5-mile-high mountain with the colored layers becoming vertical bands/transitions through the deposit.  This means that now the

colors appear next to one another, not on top of each other. Overtime, the glaciers removed the mountain top overburden. With minimal ground cover to clear, this leaves the company with easy access to the different color bands of stone, and a far more sustainable approach to blasting and quarrying. According to geological estimates, the deposit runs approximately a mile below the surface; however it’s estimated to contain over 20 billion tons of material sitting above ground alone.

We have identified a plethora of color varieties at the site so far, including an enticing black, vibrant pink, and various shades of green, but have barely scratched the surface.

 

The Glitter Series

The new shimmering stone sourced from this quarry will accurately be named the Glitter Series. The Glitter Series is set to debut with five new manufactured sands. Those sands will include our newest colors Galaxy Glitter, Rosa Glitter, Mint Glitter, Aspen Glitter, and Plum Glitter. These new color variations will accompany the other 60 aggregate colors that Kafka already provides to customers across the United States.

Mint Glitter

Mint Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Aspen Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

Galaxy Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter

Rosa Glitter

Plum Glitter

Plum Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy, Mint, and Rosa are also available in beautiful varieties of decorative stone and large boulders for stunning accents, show-stopping water features, and unique retaining walls.

 

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Mint Glitter Landscape Stone

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Multi-Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Rosa Glitter Landscape Stone

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone 1 1/2"

Galaxy Glitter Landscape Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaxy Glitter - Dimensional Cut

While the product will be made available to our customers as manufactured sands, landscapes stone, and accent pieces, early on we determined this remarkable stone was far too special to merely crush. This product has also propelled us to start a new business in fabricating and supplying a unique line of building stone products in 2018. This new venture is set to include a variety of “Glitter Series” products, while also launching a “Legacy Series” of classic Kafka Granite colors you already know in love – made available in thin and full veneer.

And that’s just the start. As we dig through our new deposit we plan on unveiling additional stone colors, as well as new products; so stay tuned!

 

Experience The Glittering Beauty Of Kafka Granite’s Newest Quarry

We are beyond thrilled to be able to share our newest quarry with our valued customers and friends. Sitting on picturesque Reynolds Lake, the glittering stone from this new quarry perfectly reflects the natural beauty that can be found surrounding our latest quarry. We urge those wishing to learn more about our newest quarry or about the product that the quarry is expected to yield to call their representative or to contact Kafka Granite directly at 800-852-7415.

Photo courtesy of Unilock

Using Unilock at Navy Pier: A Kafka Granite Case Study

Kafka Granite has been supplying aggregates to some of the country’s largest remodels and revamps for years. From the Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, NY to the Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, WI, a wide range of Kafka Granite products can be found at some of the country’s most popular attractions. Such attractions include the Buckingham Fountain, Yankee Stadium, and Chicago’s Navy Pier. The Navy Pier project was one of Kafka Granite’s crowning achievements. Through hard work, determination, and collaboration with Unilock, Kafka Granite was able to help the city of Chicago restore their historic landmark.

Navy Pier was first opened in 1916 and has seen millions of visitors since. Most recognize Navy Pier by it’s glowing ferris wheel and lively family-friendly entertainment. In 2016, to celebrate the Pier’s 100th birthday the city of Chicago decided to give the beloved destination a makeover. The goal of the project was to preserve the history and integrity of Navy Pier while making it more eco-friendly and ensuring its longevity for future generations. Navy Pier is a massive venue with over 50 acres of stunning lake front property. When city officials began researching ways to revitalize this historic landmark they knew that whatever products they decided to utilize would have to withstand hot Chicago summers, wave barrage from Lake Michigan, and the harsh winters that cover the Midwest every year.

Kafka Granite has a long history of creating green alternatives that can be utilized in a variety of applications. Some of Kafka Granite’s eco-friendly projects include the white roofing materials and decomposed granite mixtures. However, one of the most common ways Kafka Granite can help projects attain a LEED or SITES certification is through the use of their recycled aggregate blends, and the Navy Pier project is a perfect example. Through a partnership with Unilock, Kafka Granite was literally a key ingredient in restoring one of America’s most iconic landmarks and achieving the prestigious SITES Gold Certification through GBCI.

WHEN:

Renovations began in 2013 in order to be complete for Navy Pier’s 100th Anniversary in July 2016. The project was awarded Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES ) Gold Certification in November 2016.

WHERE:

Navy Pier needed to cover the entirety of the 50-acre pier with a high quality, yet aesthetically pleasing, concrete pavers. In the eyes of the design team responsible for the Pier’s redesign, the pavers needed to act as an organizational device that could help inspire the design aspects of the other areas of the Pier’s new design and serve as the fabric that tied the entire redesign together as a whole. The new pavers made in partnership with Unilock and Kafka Granite can be seen on the tree-lined South Dock Promenade, as well as the expansive and newly developed Polk Bros. Park and Fountain.

WHO:

James Corner Field Operations ultimately won the competition that the Navy Pier was holding to choose their next design firm. James Corner Field Operations then decided to partner with Unilock. Unilock is a leading manufacturer of interlocking precast concrete pavers. Unilock knew that they needed to partner with a local, regional aggregate provider to create the pavers that the James Corner Field Operations were looking for, and Kafka Granite was a natural fit.

WHAT:

James Corner Field Operations, the company who won the right to lead the redesign of this historic landmark, needed a paver that could function in a variety of settings. For this project, the paver ultimately chosen needed to work in areas of heavy-duty pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and in areas that were designated as heavy-duty vehicular roadways. Additionally, certain areas needed to be permeable to help direct rainfall away from the storm sewer systems and back into the natural ecosystem. If that weren’t enough, James Corner Field Operations had a few additional qualifications when it came to choosing their winning paver.

  1. The company who provides the paver must be able to provide support for the lifetime of the project
  2. Pavers must meet SITES certification standards
  3. Pavers must be comprised of at least 30% recycled content
  4. Pavers must come from and be manufactured from within the region
  5. Any aggregates used in the pavers must be regionally extracted
  6. Pavers must have a high SRI value

HOW:

The vision of the leading-edge landscape architects at James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) was brought to life in part due to an innovative partnership between Unilock and Kafka Granite. One major goal of the Navy Pier’s redesign was to establish an area that was less commercialized and more focused on uniting green space and people. The first challenge of this project was buried in trying to expand the desired green spaces and improve pedestrian access while concurrently improving stormwater management and using recycled materials in an effort to have the project SITES certified. Due to the Pier’s proximity to lake Michigan, all care and consideration had to be put forth into the design and development of the runoff system for the Pier’s vast 50-acre surface area.

Kafka Granite and Unilock responded to the call and rose to the challenge of creating this new urban oasis landscape while remaining environmentally conscious by creating a one-of-a-kind Navy Pier collaboration. As the nation’s premier manufacturer of concrete interlocking pavers, Unilock was an obvious partner when it came to creating a gorgeous surface for the improved landmark. In order to meet the rigorous specifications JCFO established for materials to be used, Unilock teamed with Kafka Granite to create a solution that would check all the boxes mentioned above.

Kafka Granite’s recycled copper slag was an imperative part of the Navy Pier redesign puzzle. With Kafka providing recycled crushed aggregate to Unilock, specifications were precisely met while environmental needs were surpassed. Not only was a portion of the pavers permeable, which will aid in stormwater management, but their clever incorporation of recycled materials made this project’s SITES Gold certification possible. In total, 30% of the materials used for the entirety of the redesign were made from recycled content.

Kafka Granite has been incorporating sustainable processes and products into the aggregate industry for years. From its state-of-the-art crushing facility to its use of recycled porcelain, kiln slag, copper slag, firebrick, glass, mirror, and more, Kafka Granite is a company that understands the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. By using recycled copper slag that would have otherwise found its way into a landfill, Kafka made it possible for Navy Pier, and various other projects, to achieve highly a sought after SITES certifications. Not only will the Navy Pier’s new design have a positive effect on the city of Chicago, but the gold certification acquired using Kafka Granite recycled aggregates rendered the redesign to be the first project to earn such a pristine level of eco-friendliness under SITES v2 requirements. Kafka Granite looks forward to helping many more companies and project become eco-friendly and be awarded green certifications in the years to come.

Photo courtesy of Unilock

The Unbeatable Benefits of Decorative Precast Concrete

(cover photo courtesy of Unilock)

Decorative precast concrete is a superior option for creating practical accents to your architectural or landscape design. Through the use of the incredible variety of precast concrete products, you can incorporate custom fixtures including planters, tables, columns, chairs, light poles, water fountains and more into your design that will last a lifetime. The variety of precast concrete pavers allow for a durable and incredibly decorative hardscape for your unique design. Permeable pavers have become incredibly popular, blending the decorative and high-end finish of decorative precast pavers with the eco-friendly benefits of stormwater runoff control. Nearly any paver or amenity you can dream of, decorative precast concrete can create to add just the right touch to your project.

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Kafka Granite can supply crushed granite, marble, quartz and recycled materials for use in decorative concrete fixtures. Whether you’re planning amenities for a restaurant, hotel, office building, plaza, park, government building or university, or designing a new public space with a beautiful, yet permeable, hardscape, Kafka Granite supplies aggregates to many of the highest quality producers of decorative precast concrete products, including Wausau Tile, Unilock, Oldcastle, and more. The combination of high-quality raw materials and the exceptional craftsmanship of our customers calls for the best selection of decorative precast concrete products. When seeking durable outdoor solutions that are both functional and beautiful, precast concrete could be your solution.

What Is Decorative Precast Concrete?

Before 1950, precast concrete was a relatively unknown building material. When the Walnut Lane Memorial Bridge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania finally opened to carry traffic across the Monoshone Creek, it was the first time such a structure had been built using prestressed concrete girders. The implementation of precast elements made this first-of-its-kind bridge 30 percent cheaper than a regular concrete arch bridge design. The success of the Walnut Lane Bridge caused precast concrete to quickly become the trend for quickly constructing a variety of structures across the nation. Today you would be hard-pressed to look across a city and not see a variety of buildings utilizing precast concrete wall panels dotting the skyline.

Standard concrete applications are poured and cured on the jobsite. Precast concrete, in contrast, is poured off-site and brought to the site once cured, which is what adds the “precast” element to the name. It’s a way to work around potential job site restrictions that disable you from creating a feature on-site, as well as achieve complex customizations you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Precast concrete can serve as architectural elements, such as walls, ramps and beams, as well as decorative features and amenities. These concrete structures can take on nearly specification you may have for your project. Since they can be produced off-site, multiple phases can be occurring for a project at the same time. Precast concrete created off-site doesn’t have to wait on the progress of on-site elements, allowing both to be crafted simultaneously. Once completed, each piece can be quickly assembled, cutting down on costs overall.

Decorative precast concrete enhance the practicality and durability of concrete products with a variety decorative finishes. These products offer a seemingly endless selection of designs, colors, finishes and details for whatever your project calls for, whether it be custom interlocking pavers or durable amenities such as benches, trash bins, planters—or even precast basketball hoop stands. Kafka Granite manufactures crushed granite, marble, quartz and recycled materials, like porcelain and copper slag, in its state-of-the-art crushing facility in the heart of Wisconsin. With a palette of more than 50 colors to choose from across the variety of aggregate materials, customization is inevitable. Many of Kafka Granite’s decorative precast concrete customers source a variety of aggregates in the production of their standard products, but also come to Kafka Granite for the best selection of crushed stone for custom designs.

Kafka crushes the natural stone or recycled materials to exact specifications—whatever size you may need—and gets to crafting the high-quality pavers or amenities you need to add the perfect unique flair to your project. Through a close partnerships with our customers, we are able to help provide you with one-of-a-kind elements.

Why You Choose Decorative Precast Elements

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

When the color variety of Kafka aggregates and manufactured sand is added to the exposed faces of precast pavers and amenities, your space suddenly goes from bland to memorable. You don’t always have to count on a flourishing garden or piece of art to bring life to a space when you could achieve stunning looks through the functional elements, too.

The veritable rainbow of colors you have to choose from can complement any space you’re constructing or designing. Flex your environmental muscles and choose the unique aesthetic quality of recycled porcelain or copper slag. When you dovetail precast concrete elements into your project, options are seemingly endless.

Don’t Forget to Look Down

Decorative precast designs go beyond large fixtures. Decorative precast concrete elements can include sidewalks, driveways, courtyards, and patios, too. Adding color and style variety to sidewalks, landings and stairway caps can bring a comprehensive beauty to an entire design. Considering every element is what will make your space truly stand out.

Transform your Decorative Precast Concrete Products with Kafka Granite

Ditch the bland amenities you think you might be stuck with. You don’t want to invest in something that is obtrusive to your design or simply isn’t durable. The addition of Kafka aggregates to precast concrete products not only adds a beautiful, decorative finish – but also strength and durability, which means the features you add will be there for the long haul.

Kafka stands by high-quality products and craftsmanship. Our quality checks ensure consistently produced aggregate for the production of decorative precast pavers and amenities. We also work closely with our Decorative Precast Concrete customers to help customize pieces, whether that calls for special colors and sizing, or incorporating recycled content.

If you’re a landscape architect looking for just the right solution, consider the possibilities of decorative precast concrete products. Get the high-quality products you need with all the decorative finish you crave. Necessary amenities such as trash bins or snuffers don’t need to be unsightly. Instead, create a thoughtful look so snuffers don’t distract from your overall design. Decorative precast concrete solutions will complete your project in the best way possible.

To be put in touch with several quality decorative precast concrete producers that utilize Kafka aggregates in their mix designs, call or send us a message today. Don’t let your next project finish without the durability, strength and aesthetic benefits of precast concrete solutions.

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.

 

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.

Kafka Granite manufacturing

A Simple Guide to Kafka Granite’s Commercial Offerings

From specialty crushed stone in over sixty different colors for manufacturing, to beautiful multi-colored, naturally round granite boulders for landscaping, Kafka Granite is one of the largest and most specialized producers of architectural and landscape aggregates. Having been a leading and established supplier of granite, quartz, marble and recycled materials for over three decades, many of the top architects, landscape architects, contractors, and manufacturers turn to Kafka Granite aggregates for variety of projects, including:

  • Architectural precast aggregates for exposed precast concrete office buildings, medical complexes, skyscrapers, sports stadiums, etc.
  • Specialty crushed aggregates and manufactured sands for manufacturing decorative precast concrete pavers, or bricks, and precast concrete amenities such as trash cans, tables, planters, etc.
  • Over 60 colors of granite, quartz, marble, and recycled materials crushed, dried, and bagged for use in manufacturing epoxy resin countertops, tile, and terrazzo flooring.
  • Epoxy Overlay Aggregates for High Friction surfacing applications that provide high-friction, non-skid surfaces for bridge decks, entrance/exit ramps, curves, bike paths, and pedestrian crosswalks.
  • Bulk quantities of decorative landscape stone that includes various colors and sizes of crushed stone, round pebbles, multi-colored granite boulders, and decorative rip rap boulders.
  • Decomposed Granite pathway materials for a more natural alternative to traditional hardscape solutions such as asphalt, concrete or pavers.
  • Premiere ball yard infield mix, warning track mix, and mound clay available at a variety of price points to provide lower maintenance, better drainage, safer footings, and consistent ball hops.

With so many products available, sometimes it’s difficult to understand all of the choices, but we are here to help! The Kafka sales team is standing by to help with your next project, but this short guide might be a simple first step in answering many of your questions. Let us break it down:

Architectural Precast Aggregates

Architectural precast is one of the most durable materials used in the exterior construction of commercial buildings today.  But it is the exposed precast stone aggregate that truly gives the final product its unique aesthetic. Architectural precasters are looking for the perfect combination of aggregate with a very specific combination of stone size, color, and strength to create the perfect end product.  With a massive network of stone quarries throughout North America and the unique ability to meet any size specification, Kafka Granite has the perfect aggregate and will work with you to make your next project a success.

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Photo Courtesy of Wausau Tile

Decorative Precast Concrete Aggregates for Decorative Paver and Brick Manufacturing

Concrete bricks and pavers are always a popular decorative hardscape solution. However, adding Kafka Granite’s naturally colored aggregates to your precast concrete mix has the power to make them even more unique, by adding visual interest to the face-mix. Many of the top producers of decorative precast concrete pavers, bricks, and amenities trust Kafka Granite as their aggregate supplier–especially for the specialized colors, sizes, and recycled content not found anywhere else. With the rise in popularity of permeable pavers, we also offer complimentary permeable paver grit that’s crushed to size to ensure proper drainage and durability in freeze/thaw conditions.

Epoxy Resin Aggregates for Countertop, Tile, and Terrazzo Floor Manufacturing

With the ability to crush, dry, and bag 60 different colors of granite, quartz, marble, and recycled materials, Kafka Granite has a long history of supplying crushed stone chips for manufactured countertops, tiles, terrazzo flooring, and other epoxy resin based manufacturing. Many of the top producers of Manufactured Quartz Countertops use a variety of Kafka’s aggregates and recycled materials in their production. Furthermore, Kafka has a longstanding relationship with T&M Supply, who distributes Kafka’s aggregates for stunning terrazzo flooring solutions throughout the world.

Epoxy Overlay Aggregates for High-Friction Roads and Non-Slip Pedestrian Walkways

There are many times when traditional concrete and asphalt are simply unsafe for high traffic roadways and walkways.  During certain times of the year, these surfaces can become extremely slippery and unsafe, especially on bridge decks, sharp curves, and entrance/exit ramps. High Friction Surfacing is the perfect solution, with Kafka Granite’s Epoxy Overlay aggregates offering a high level of traction in all kinds of weather, while also being durable enough to withstand harsh freeze/thaw conditions. The epoxy overlay aggregates can also be used for Streetscape applications such as crosswalks, medians, sidewalks, and bike lanes to create a non-slip surface for pedestrians while also enhancing the aesthetics of the pre-existing hardscape.

Landscaping Stones and Boulders

Kafka offers a wide variety decorative landscape stone and boulders that will provide the perfect solution for landscape designers and contractors.  Offered in a variety of colors and sizes, use Kafka’s Decorative Landscape Stone to define walkways and driveways, to enhance gardens and flower beds, or to brighten heavily shaded areas.  Kafka Granite also offers a beautiful array of naturally round, glacially deposited multi-colored boulders that range in size from 3-6-inch cobbles to massive boulders over 60-inches in diameter. Use round boulders, or consider the variety of Decorative Rip Rap boulders, for retaining walls, water features, ponds, shorelines, or simple, yet effective, accent pieces in your landscape design.

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

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

Pathway Materials

For pathways, bike paths, and other trail systems where a more natural look and feel is desired, consider a more organic material that is both aesthetically appealing and durable.  Sometimes traditional concrete or asphalt just won’t do. The Standard Pathway Mix is made from decomposed granite or crushed stone, screened to a specific size to ensure a maximum compacted surface that retains firmness, flexibility, and permeability.  Kafka also offers two additional levels of durability. The Stabilized Pathway Mix includes an organic binding agent for a stronger, more stable, and less erosive surface.  Meanwhile, the Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is the best pathway solution for extremely high traffic areas or steep inclines, as it’s non-permeable surface allows water to bead off the surface, eliminating mud, dust, and erosion.

Ballyard Materials

Finding the proper materials for baseball or softball diamonds can be a nightmare; most of the traditional materials are too muddy, too dusty, and too high maintenance, which all take valuable time away from both the groundskeepers and players. However, Kafka Granite specializes in low maintenance, high drainage products that minimize mud and dust, while retaining the natural playing surface that players know and love. From standard high-drainage top dressings, to high-quality, professional grade infield mixes and warning track mixes, Kafka Granite offers a variety of solutions for any price point: from the little league to the major league.

Kafka Granite Does It All!

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Just ask! After all, most of Kafka Granite’s products were originally developed to meet customer requests, and we are not limited to the product lines you just read about. We are a custom-orientated company, so whether your firm is trying to match an aggregate used in a pre-existing structure, meeting a unique size specification for your manufacturing process, or just making a statement with a completely unique, custom color combination, Kafka Granite will work with your team to make it happen.

 

 

Kafka Granite Crushing Facility - Mosinee, WI

HOW IT’S MADE: An Insight into Kafka Granite’s Manufacturing Process

To commemorate 35 years of growth in the specialty aggregate industry, Kafka Granite has developed this video to give our customers a closer look at what makes our manufacturing process unique.

 

 

Jack Caldwell, Project Designer at Waldrop Engineering, was one of the first to view Our Manufacturing video after recently taking a tour of our crushing facility. He noted, “We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the process and how much growth your company has experienced…we were able to see a much bigger picture. It’s a great video and a helpful tool for us to educate our design team with!”

Whether you are an architect or an engineer, a purchaser or a manufacturer, or one of the other many friends of Kafka Granite, we hope this video proves to be a helpful tool for you and your team as well!

Our new video is available for viewing on our new and improved website. While you are there, take a look around…there is a lot of updated information, photos, and other resources!

As always, please let us know if Kafka Granite can help you with your next project. We would be happy to provide you and your team with a tour of our facilities, a lunch and learn presentation, or samples of our products. Contact our sales team for more information. 

Like our video? Contact David Schulta Videography!

 

Video produced by David Schulta & Tiffany Kafka. Video directed and edited by David Schulta Videography LLC.