Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix - Akron Art Museum - Akron, OH

Complete Your Project with Today’s Landscaping Trends

As we head into 2018 landscaping season, so should your landscaping design. The trends for landscape design change slightly from year to year, and now more than ever is a growing emphasis on bringing facets of green living—living more environmentally friendly—to the great outdoors. When designing the ideal outdoor space for your next project, there are quite a few elements to keep track of on your landscape checklist.

Kafka Granite is a premier manufacturer of architectural and landscape aggregates in the heart of the Midwest, so keeping our thumb on the pulse of landscaping trends is crucial. We work with landscape architects to perfect the materials used in green outdoor spaces for large-scale projects. Whether it’s the ideal material to complete a walkway, a supply of boulders for retaining walls or water features, or the perfect aggregate for decorative precast concrete  pavers, flower beds, trash cans, and more, we take pride in creating the best of the best when it comes to crushed aggregates for landscape projects.

Things to Consider for the Perfect Landscape

You might have a dream landscape in mind, but before you start digging and plotting, there are a few things to consider. When you begin a project, one of the first constraints you have to work within is a budget. Especially small budgets mean you need to get clever in terms of materials—and maintenance costs. A design outfitted with several seating areas, fire pits, pergolas, and sprawling gardens is going to be substantially more costly than wide-open lawns. Considering cost every step of the way will force you to prioritize the goals of the project and better plan for features to include.

In relation to cost is function. How will this space be used? Does it need to be fit for large crowds, heavy foot traffic, vehicular traffic, etc.? The functionality needs of your landscape architecture often dictate where the budget absolutely needs to go. For example, while having an impermeable wax polymer pathway through the project isn’t exactly what you want, it may be what the project needs in to eliminate erosion on a very steep slope while maintaining a natural aesthetic.

You also have to work within your physical boundaries. Small, awkward areas can be complex to not only design, but install. By exploring all the different colors and textures of materials available, even the smallest of landscaping projects can be crafted into functional, beautiful areas that people can enjoy and use. However, keep in mind limitations that may occur during installation. Often times, with some creative problem solving, a quality landscape contractor, and a little extra elbow grease, solutions can be found for the tight areas where heavy equipment access is unlikely.

5 Booming Trends in Landscape Architecture

Xeriscapes (Dry Gardens)

Creating an xeriscape or a dry landscape is an excellent solution in particularly arid climates. When an area receives little to no rain and is subject to drought, consider this as it requires no irrigation. While these have become popular options in dry climates, xeriscapes can be created anywhere water conservation or minimal maintenance is desired or required. Planning dry gardens means taking into account how the sun reaches your project so you can appropriately plan where you would want to plant shade-producing trees or shrubs and where you’d plant grasses or succulents.

Low-water-use plants in conjunction with an appropriate base, such as a decomposed aggregate, make for a water-conscious landscape design that can provide ample space for gathering, walking around, and more.

Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix - Akron Art Museum - Akron, OH

Salt & Pepper Stabilized Pathway Mix – Akron Art Museum – Akron, OH

Using Native Plants

One sure-fire way to have your landscape design blend into its surroundings is to use plants and flora that are indigenous to the area. It would be awkward to include a variety of palms in the heart of Wisconsin, so plan accordingly. Successfully incorporating native plants, though, requires a bit of research. Discover what plants thrive in the area, as well as call that space home, by garnering inspiration from nearby forests or nature preserves.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is exactly what it sounds like: Collecting rainwater in wells or barrels for reuse in lieu of letting it run off. Developing the right system to collect rainwater is a process that may need additional assistance. You could create very simple systems, e.g., rain barrels under downspouts, and more complex ones that include sunken reservoirs and more complicated withdrawal techniques. Harvested rainwater is ideal for watering gardens, irrigation, and groundwater recharge.This trend is booming especially in urban landscapes.

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

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

Gathering Areas

Don’t let your landscaping architecture go unnoticed. Let your beautiful space be observed and appreciated while being used to maximum capacity by creating inviting gathering areas. Especially if your project includes an open expanse of space that’s begging to be filled, a popular trend is to fill that space with areas to congregate, sit and meet with one another. Maybe it’s the perfect spot for employees to eat their lunches or for passersby to take their next phone call. It could be a gorgeous midway point for people to take a quick break when heading from point A to B.

Your gathering area may be anchored by precast concrete benches, low-lying flower beds, fire pits, or more. If your budget and space allows gathering to be a possibility, the opportunities are endless.

Efficient Irrigation

While not as outwardly trendy as a sleek and custom precast concrete planters and benches, efficient irrigation is a landscaping trend that’s hard to ignore. An irrigation system is simply one that waters your landscaping at regular intervals. Efficient irrigation systems will only provide plants, trees, and shrubs with water when and where they need it. It’s also important to have rain sensors so that your irrigation system won’t kick in before, during, or after rainfall. Efficient irrigation is a way to conserve water as well as ensure you won’t have to worry about flooding from over-watering in the future.

Get Started on Your Next Landscaping Project

So, what will your next landscaping project shape up to be? These trends aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so utilizing these tips now will put your project in the limelight for years to come. If you’re a landscape architect searching for the right aggregate, pathway material, or decorative stonefor your next project, call or chat with us today.

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!

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.

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.

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.

 

Recycled Fire Brick Blend

Kafka Granite Re-Introduces Recycled Fire Brick for use in Pathway Mix

Recycled Fire Brick Blend Stabilized Pathway Cart Path - Whistling Straits Golf Course - Kohler, WI

Custom Firebrick Blend Stabilized Pathway Cart Path – Whistling Straits Golf Course – Kohler, WI

Due to popular demand, Recycled Fire Brick Blend is back! As part of Kafka Granite’s sustainability initiative, Kafka recycles several landfilled materials or waste products such as porcelain, glass, mirrors, slag, and now–fire brick. These products can be used in place of natural aggregates for a more environmentally-friendly design.

Recycled Fire Brick Blend consists of a beautiful array of warm oranges and golds, due to the various colors of fire brick used by Kohler Corporation in their kilns during the production of porcelain toilets and sinks. Rather than wasting away in a land fill, Kafka collects this material and carefully crushes it to size for use in standard, stabilized, and wax polymer pathway mixes–giving the fire brick a new life.

In the past, Recycled Fire Brick Blend had been so popular that Kafka had depleted Kohler’s land fill– a good problem to have! However, we have now inventoried enough of the product to introduce it back to the marketplace. Want to help us clean up the landfills? Request Recycled Fire Brick Blend for your next pathway project!

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. 

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

WHITE IS THE NEW GREEN

Kafka Granite’s White Roof Aggregates help reduce the Heat Island Effect:
Finally! Summertime is here and the sun’s getting hotter. Throughout the nation, temperatures are on the rise. However, did you know that the annual mean air temperature in cities can be 1.8 to 5.4°F warmer than its rural surroundings? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, this difference can be as drastic as 22°F in the evening. This anomaly, referred to as the heat island effect, is a result of the dry, urban surfaces, including pavement, rooftops, and other infrastructure, that replaces the natural landscape and vegetation as cities are developed. However, there is a solution that can help offset this heat island effect.

Cool roofs are being developed with both a high solar reflectance, or albedo, and a high thermal emittance. Together, these characteristics allow the surface to absorb less heat, keeping the roof up to 60°F cooler than traditional roofing materials. These roofs assist in reducing energy costs, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing human health and comfort due to decreased air temperatures.

While cool roof products have been developing over the last twenty years, Kafka Granite’s White Roof Aggregates are suitable for both new and preexisting roof tops! Kafka Granite specially produces both Crystal White Quartz and Recycled Porcelain aggregates and manufactured sands in a variety of sizes suitable for use in several application techniques of white roof coating. Kafka Granite’s White Roof Aggregates can be quickly and easily applied to any preexisting rooftop using a two-part epoxy. While our Crystal White Quartz is a brighter white, our Recycled Porcelain can help increase the LEED points earned on your project.

Do you want to reduce energy costs, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions in your metropolitan area? Kafka Granite aggregates can help! Contact one of our knowledgable sales representatives to receive more information or to request complimentary samples.