Natural Stone Hardscapes Colors and Finishes

What Finish Is Right for Your Natural Stone

When carefully done by a professional mason or landscape contractor, the right stone finish will provide superb functionality and elevate the visual attraction of your masonry or hardscape project. Deciding which color is only half the battle, but choosing which finish is best is simpler than you think. There are generally two main considerations when choosing a stone finish for your natural stone accents or natural stone hardscapes: aesthetics and functionality. For example, you may love the contemporary accent a sawn or honed natural stone sill provides, while it is important your natural stone steps have a finish to increase traction. Kafka Granite has put together this list of our most common stone finishes to give you a more up-close look at their purpose and how each look is achieved.

5 Stone Finishes, All with Unique Qualities

From hand tools to machinery and even open flames, the process for finishing natural stone hardscapes and other natural stone products is one of the many ways Kafka helps customize your project. And while each of these approaches differs from start to finish, they share one thing in common: every finish adds multi-faceted value to stone projects.

Rock-Faced

Using a rock hammer or pitching tool, our experts chip away at the face of the stone slab to produce a rugged-yet-crafted, natural appearance. This process is known as rock-facing. Rock-facing is typically reserved for the edges or faces of a natural stone product. You’ll commonly find rock-faces on Kafka’s natural stone sawn cut drywall, thermal top steps, caps, and sill. 

Thermal

Also known as a flamed finish, a thermal finish is produced by running a high-temperature flame over a moistened stone surface. Layers of the stone flake away due to the expansion of the moisture, resulting in a textured surface. Once treated, the thermal finish process produces a subtle, non-skid texture that is an excellent choice for stone walking surfaces like flagstone and thermal-top steps. The act of thermalling also further accentuates the natural character of the stone, which also makes it a preference for purely aesthetic reasons. 

Bush-Hammered

Stones are “bush hammered” using a repeated impact method, which causes the surface of the stone to develop a rougher texture. Consequently, bush-hammered finished stone provides more slip resistance than other finishes while still achieving a visually appealing, robust texture. Bush-hammered stone finishes are a popular choice for natural stone steps and flagstone, especially in commercial or high traffic areas. 

Sawn

The sawn finish gets its name from the means by which it is applied – that is, the sawing of the stone to create a flat, sleek surface. Unlike some other methods, the process of applying a sawn finish doesn’t require treatments. You’ll find that many stone products will come standard sawn on one or more sides, depending on the order or purpose. When sawn on top and bottom, stone slabs may be easily stacked and installed for a variety of applications. Sawn finishes will show fine lines of the saw on the surface of the stone.

Honed

For a stone surface with a clean, contemporary, and easy to clean surface, a honed stone finish is a classic option. Finished by way of grinding and sanding, these surfaces are smooth but not glossy and complement both exterior and interior environments. Honed finishes are commonly applied to more contemporary coping and sill, or to elevate fireplace mantels and hearths. 

A Common Scenario with Simple Solutions

Still unsure which finish is right for you? Consider the following example. Suppose that you’re working with natural stone hardscapes and you’re assisting a property owner with an extensive outdoor application – let’s say you’re installing a retaining wall, a walkway, and steps leading up to the property. 

For the retaining wall, you may want to go with a rock-faced stone finish as the rock facing will complement the natural elements of the outdoors, while our sawn heights allow the cut drywall to be installed without extra time sorting and shimming. Steps and walkways have some leeway in terms of how they’re finished. But, at the very least, these should have a finish that provides traction while also withstanding the elements – thermal, for example, or bush-hammered finishes.

Over 40 Years of Natural Stone Solutions

Since 1979, Kafka Granite has provided stone products for applications ranging from large-scale, commercial projects to private, residential renovations. Whether you’re working with a commercial property in need of a facelift with an updated landscape design or you are tracking down thin stone veneer for a new façade, our extensive catalog of natural stone products and their various custom stone accents will allow for endless possibilities. Connect with our office today to learn more about our natural stone hardscapes, the finishing options, or to place a custom order.  

High Friction Surfacing

The Benefits of High-Friction Surfacing

Every four years, the ASCE Committee on America’s Infrastructure issues a report card grading the country’s many categories of infrastructure. In 2013, we received an overall grade of D+. In 2017, the country received the same grade—but the transit sector actually suffered, dropping from an individual grade of D to D-. Today, more than ever, America’s roadways need help. Businesses like Kafka Granite are developing solutions to issues like slippery bridges and deteriorating highways.

Whether you’re a Department of Transportation decision-maker or a contractor sourcing materials for a roadway project, you’ve probably come across high-friction surfacing treatments. High-friction surfacing is used to improve traction on bridge decks, entrance/exit ramps, curves, overpasses, and more. But it doesn’t just improve driving conditions—it also saves lives. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of this treatment.

6 Advantages of High-Friction Surfacing

1. Increased Traction

High-friction surfacing consists of a layer of two-part epoxy topped with a hard, fractured aggregate. The most significant benefit of this roadway treatment is the increased traction it offers when applied to roadways, bridge decks, and other high-crash locations. With proper surface preparation, non-skid surfacing epoxy overlays can be used to improve driving conditions on pre-existing roadways and new installations alike.

2. Safer Driving

That increased traction helps vehicles stay on the road, which is essential when winter weather, low temperatures, and even simple rainstorms create slippery driving conditions. Bridge decks, in particular, are prone to ice, as cold temperatures from below cause these areas to freeze faster than the rest of the roadway. Ultimately, high-friction surfacing allows tires to better grip a hardscape, which helps cars, trucks, and other moving vehicles navigate potentially dangerous conditions and high-risk areas of the road.

3. More Efficient Deicing

In addition to improving driving conditions upon installation, non-slip aggregates like Kafka Granite’s also help to improve the condition of the road itself. The aggregate in high-friction surfacing traps road salt, resulting in a quicker, more effective deicing process. This is particularly useful in areas of the country that experience extreme winter weather, such as the Midwest.

4. Durability

High-friction surfacing is better able to withstand the day-to-day forces of heavy traffic, the freeze/thaw cycle, and other weathering forces that would otherwise cause significant deterioration in a roadway. This is all thanks to the extremely hard non-slip aggregates used in this kind of surface treatment.

5. Cost Savings

High-friction surfacing may require an initial investment, but it more than makes up for this cost when you consider the lifecycle of the installation and the mounting costs of America’s many deficient roadways. These treatments can last for approximately 10 years, saving motorists and the government significant funds over that period. Additionally, after the aggregate has set, the excess material can be collected and reused in another project, ensuring that you get the most out of your investment.

6. Quick Installation

Halting or altering the flow of traffic is a major concern for DOT projects. A huge amount of work goes into simply setting up a project site with appropriate signage, lighting, lowered speed limits, and more. Ultimately, the faster a project can be completed, the better. High-friction surfacing fits neatly into this mindset, as treatments can often be installed over the course of a few hours.

Surface preparation is essential to a successful installation, however. First, the pre-existing hardscape must be cleaned and inspected for damage like cracks and breakage. Once any damage has been repaired, the area may also need to be scarified with a grinder to facilitate the adhesion of the epoxy.

Non-Slip Aggregates for High-Friction Surfacing

A consistent, high-quality aggregate is crucial for a lasting high-friction surfacing treatment. Kafka Granite has supplied aggregate for these projects across the United States. We offer a selection of extremely hard aggregates that will hold up under heavy traffic, intense freeze/thaw cycles, snowplow usage, and more. We’ve worked with a number of state DOT offices and are fully prepared to supply aggregate that meets your specifications.

Our quartz, granite, and recycled materials are available in over 40 colors, meaning that we can match any aesthetic and even allow you to distinguish sections of the road for bike paths, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, and other demarkation projects. Our non-slip aggregates are also ideal for use in more decorative epoxy overlay streetscapes.

Installing High-Friction Surfacing? Partner with Kafka Granite!

Kafka Granite is dedicated to doing our part in making America’s roadways safer and more efficient. We’re extremely proud to have provided high-quality aggregate for high-friction surfacing projects across the nation.

If you’re looking for a non-skid aggregate that can be customized to your project needs and Department of Transportation requirements, contact Kafka Granite today. Our knowledgeable sales team will be happy to help you source the perfect aggregate and get to work improving your roadways and streetscapes.

Galaxy Glitter Ledgestone Thin Stone Veneer.

Commercial Renovations Using Thin Stone Veneer

With the low maintenance, added value, and lifetime they provide in exterior and interior design, stone veneer options have become a welcome trend in modern commercial projects. Thin stone veneer can be especially beneficial for developers, designers, and business owners looking to add a memorable and valuable update to the aesthetic of a property.

4 Benefits of Using Thin Stone Veneer in Your Next Commercial Project

First, let’s look at some of the major perks that come with using thin stone veneer for corporate renovations.

1. Convenient Size Means Cost-Efficient

Weight and dimensions are among the most vital aspects when choosing material for your corporate renovation. This is particularly due to the connection between material weight and the subsequent cost. Heavier, bulkier material is often more expensive to ship, potentially giving your budget a significant hit.

That being said, the thickness of thin stone veneer is often between ¾ inches and 1 ½ inches, making for a lighter weight product and more coverage per shipment than standard building stone, which can be 3-5 inches in thickness. Therefore, thin veneer weighs much less than full veneer stone—75 percent less, in fact. So, the lighter weight and reduced thickness of thin stone veneer make for a much more affordable shipment and installation, especially when purchasing in bulk.

2. Dynamic Use—Inside and Outside

Renovators may find thin stone veneer’s potential uses especially convenient for design and application purposes. Thin stone veneer can be adhered to various surfaces and be installed without ledges or footings, making for dynamic opportunities in outdoor and indoor projects. With the right surface preparation, this veneer can be installed over drywall, paneling, plywood, metal, and concrete. You can use thin stone veneer for a lobby fireplace or to dress your property’s outdoor pillars.

3. Adaptable and Easy to Install

Whatever your commercial project, there is a good chance you can find a use for thin stone veneer. Not all nonstructural building materials are as easy to maneuver, shape, and manipulate as needed for a renovation. Upon installation, you are not limited to the shape and scale of the material when it comes to thin stone veneer. Kafka Granite cut options include the following and more:

  • Dimensional Cut
  • Castle Cut
  • Sawn Dimensional
  • Dimensional Drystack
  • Mosaic Cut
  • Ashlar Cut
  • Ledgestone

Naturally Durable

Contrary to manufactured stone veneer, natural stone veneer is less porous and better able to hold up against years of weather and wear. Our natural thin stone veneer is absent of concrete composites; its elements are not the result of synthetic mixtures or artificial coloration.

What’s more, because it is derived entirely from quarried rock, natural thin stone veneer is a high-quality material that maintains its color and texture for a long, long time. Is your commercial property in need of a pool? Chemicals like chlorine are much less likely to have a negative effect on natural stone.

What Are My Color Options?

Perhaps you want to have a sleek, modern appeal in your reception area. Or, maybe you are looking to give the exterior a more rustic feel. There is no mistaking the authenticity of natural stone, especially when pitted against manufactured veneers. Due to years and years of the geological process, stone veneer comes in a wide spectrum of natural colors, convenient for meeting the branding and tonal preferences of a commercial location. For example, Kafka Granite color options include:

  • Misty Gray Marble
  • Gun Metal Marble
  • Imperial Gray Granite
  • Sierra Granite
  • Starlight Black Granite
  • Harvest Gold Sandstone
  • Chateau Granite
  • Galaxy Glitter
  • Ebony Glitter
  • Sedona Glitter
  • Wisconsin Fieldstone

Sourcing our natural stone from quarries across the United States and Canada provides us the opportunity to offer varying shades and tones of thin stone veneer.

Applications of Thin Stone Veneer

The versatility of thin stone veneer provides opportunities for interior and exterior use. To list just a few examples of stone veneer applications:

  • Exterior building siding
  • Fireplaces
  • Chimney surfaces
  • Office walls
  • Lobbies
  • Façades
  • Columns and pillars
  • Retaining walls
  • Signage
  • Staircases
  • Interior accent walls
  • Kitchen backsplashes
  • Water features

The list could go on, as the sky is the limit for this adaptable, natural stone product.

A Timeless Natural Stone Product for Corporate Renovations

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the beauty of going with natural stone in your design is that you are choosing a timeless material. Humans have benefited from the versatility and build options of stone veneer for millennia and will continue to find dynamic uses for it in the future. Ultimately, how you benefit from your renovation material will depend on your design and intended use.

At Kafka Granite, our Wisconsin-based company proudly provides a wide range of specialty natural stone products across North America. Connect with our office today to learn more about our offerings and the benefits of thin stone veneer.

Starlight Black Granite Thermal-Top Steps, Sawn Cut Drywall, Sawn Edging, and Caps

Introducing Kafka Granite’s Natural Stone Hardscapes

We launched our specialty building stone product line in 2018. Since then, we’ve been working on the next addition to our offerings—and here it is! Kafka Granite is pleased to announce our line of natural stone hardscapes. This endeavor was the logical next step in our mission to supply our customers with the natural stone solutions they need to complete stunning projects.

At Kafka Granite, we strive to provide high-quality natural stone products that both anticipate and exceed the needs of our customers. We already offered an extensive selection of landscape supply products, including landscape stone, granite boulders and cobbles, and decorative rip rap. The question became this: what’s next? 

Customer listening played a significant role in our decision to introduce Kafka Natural Stone Hardscapes. We saw a need for not only a high-end, contemporary spin on natural stone hardscapes, but also a highly-efficient product line that would cut down on installation costs. In addition, we picked up on the demand for non-slip hardscape surfaces that could provide a safer walking path in both residential and commercial installations.

Natural Stone Hardscapes from Kafka Granite

Here’s a brief look at our latest product line. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to talk through natural stone needs.

Sawn Cut Drywall

Our Natural Stone Sawn Cut Drywall is perfect for incorporating dry stacked walls into your landscaping project. From raised flower beds to retaining walls, these natural hardscapes will lend an air of elegance and sophistication to any project.

To reduce costs and simplify installation, we ensure that each solid stone block is sawn on both the top and the bottom. This produces an extremely clean look and makes a project progress that much more efficiently. At the same time, split faces and ends allow this product to retain a natural, rugged beauty.

Thermal-Top Steps

Whether you’re building on a steep hill or a gently rolling slope, a striking set of steps is just what you need to finish off a landscaping project. Our Natural Stone Thermal-Top Steps are solid, durable slabs that will provide a non-skid hardscape surface for years to come.

Each unit is sawn to height for an efficient installation process. Rock-faced on one long side and two short sides, these steps show off the versatility and variation of natural stone. 

Thermal Flagstone

Set those manufactured hardscape surfaces aside in favor of a premium, natural stone hardscape. Because who said that patios couldn’t be beautiful, functional, and long-lasting?

Kafka Granite’s Thermal Flagstone, available as either irregular-edged flagstone or as a repeating pattern of sawn flagstone, will allow you to add visual interest to any landscaping project—whether you’re creating a welcoming patio to gather with family and friends or building a meandering pathway that will allow visitors to take in the scenery. A sawn height ensures consistency, decreases sorting and installation time, and essentially eliminates shimming and re-leveling. Finally, a thermal-top finish both provides added traction and further spotlights the beauty of each natural stone unit.

Sawn Edging

Kafka’s Sawn Edging adds a thoughtful and impressive detail to any landscape project. Sawn to consistent 4″ heights, the product marries a convenient installation with the sophistication of natural stone. This distinctive border stone can create a beautiful and functional barrier for Kafka’s Pathway Mix or Landscape Stone.

Treads, Caps & Coping

Round out your landscape project with the addition of Kafka’s Treads, Caps & Coping. Each natural stone color takes on a new life with the various finishing options available. Add texture and traction with a Thermal or Bush Hammer finish, or opt for a Sawn or Honed finish to create clean lines and a contemporary flair.

Natural Stone Hardscapes for Your Commercial and Residential Landscape Projects

Our natural stone hardscapes are ideal for any outdoor project, from commercial installations to residential features. See our product page for exact specifications of each stone hardscape product.

All Kafka Granite Natural Stone Hardscapes are available in four classic Kafka colors: Sierra Granite, Starlight Black Granite, Harvest Gold Sandstone, and Imperial Gray Granite. This range of hues ensures that you’ll find an option to complement any color palette or landscaping project.

Sourcing Natural Stone Hardscapes? Let’s Talk!

Kafka Granite is proud to add yet another high-quality line of natural stone products to our offerings. Whether you’re an architect, contractor, or homeowner, we’re dedicated to helping you source the perfect flagstone, thermal-top steps, and sawn cut drywall for your needs. Looking for a specific color of natural stone, want to learn more about our products, or find yourself in need of samples? Contact us today, and let’s get started.

Boulders and Cobbles

“Why Are Boulders Round?” and Other Geology Questions

As one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of specialty aggregates in the United States, Kafka Granite knows natural stone inside and out. We have Wisconsin’s unique geology to thank for the bountiful quarries that gave us our start. But we realize that, while many people know quite a bit about the various applications of crushed stone, thin stone veneer, landscaping stone, and more, they aren’t necessarily familiar with the science behind these products.

Today, we’re digging deep into some of the most interesting aspects of our planet by answering some commonly asked questions about geology. Read on for a peek into the forces that have shaped the natural stone and specialty aggregates industry.

How Is Natural Stone Formed?

Natural stone was formed when the mineral gases that originally made up the planet solidified and compacted over millions of years. Intense heat and high pressures resulted in stone that can be classified into three separate categories: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Within those categories are dozens of types of natural stone that can be used for everything from pathway mixes to retaining walls. Granite, marble, quartz, and limestone are just a few common examples of the many kinds of natural stone found around the world.

What Is the Difference Between Pebbles, Cobbles, and Boulders?

You’d certainly be able to tell a pebble from a boulder if the two were placed side by side. But where do cobbles come in? And why is it so important to classify these different rocks?

The primary difference between pebbles, cobbles, boulders, and other rocks is size. These specifications matter quite a bit when it comes to landscaping applications. For example, stone mulch, pebbles, chips, and gravel can be used to create wide-spreading ground cover, while cobbles and boulders are suitable for accent pieces, retaining walls, water features, and other similar installations.

As you can imagine, sediment size plays a crucial role in the quality control of natural stone products. Our Wisconsin Granite Landscape Boulders are screened to remove sand and smaller particles, so that we only transport rocks over 3 inches. After the screening process is completed, rocks ranging from 3 inches to 18 inches in diameter are sorted by size and washed using a large machine that moves them into specific categories. The size ranges go as follows: 3-6”, 4-8”, 8-12”, and 12-18”. Bigger rocks in the ranges of 18-24”, 24-36”, 36-48”, and larger are sorted with an excavator.

Why Are Boulders Round?

So why are boulders, cobbles, and pebbles round? One major cause of round boulders is glacial movement. As massive glaciers slowly made their way across the continent during an ice age, they transported and weathered boulders and other rocks with them. Once these ice sheets melted, the rocks were left behind. 

Here in Wisconsin, most of our natural stone resources were glacially deposited. These rocks go back to the last Ice Age, when the shrinking Laurentide Ice Sheet covered and then receded from large areas of Wisconsin. This large-scale event left the state dappled with lakes, rivers, and an abundance of natural stone. Kafka Granite’s boulders, cobbles, and most of our pebbles are all glacially deposited.

Other rocks have been rounded by running water that smoothed their sharp edges over time—hence the name, “river rocks.” As water flows over sediment, rocks rub against each other and the river bed. Eventually, all of this abrasion both smooths any rough edges and begins to wear down individual stones.

What Causes Color Variations in Natural Stone?

Geology has gifted us with a rainbow of hues to choose from when it comes to natural stone. But what really causes those different colors? The answer to this question is so interesting that we’ve actually tackled it fully in its own blog post. But, in short, color variations in natural stone are caused by the minerals and other organic deposits that were present as the stone formed. 

You may have heard the term “rainbow rocks” used to refer to Wisconsin’s glacially-deposited boulders. One look at our multicolored granite boulders will tell you that this is an apt description. No two boulders are the same, thanks to varying amounts and arrangements of minerals and other deposits like feldspar and iron oxide. The presence of these various materials produces a veritable rainbow of hues, from red to gold and even green or purple. The result is unique colors, patterns, and textures that just can’t be replicated with manmade materials.

While additive dyes exist, Kafka Granite doesn’t use them in any of our natural stone products—they don’t need any extra help! The beauty of these cobbles and boulders truly speaks for itself.

Natural Stone Products for Your Next Project

Kafka Granite is pleased to offer a wide variety of natural stone products for use in landscape design. Whether you’re specifying crushed rock, round pebbles, or large boulders for a project, we can deliver. Not quite sure what you need yet, or having trouble finding the right color of stone for your retaining wall, water feature, or other project? Just give us a call—our knowledgeable sales team is happy to work with you and find the right solution for your next installation.

Gun Metal Marble Dimensional Cut Thin Stone Veneer, with most rust tones removed.

How Much Thin Stone Veneer Do I Need for My Project?

What would you say is the single most crucial factor in a successful thin stone veneer building or design project? At Kafka Granite, we’d have to say that high-quality stone products are the most important ingredient in a job well done. Which begs the question: how do you figure out how much thin stone veneer you actually need for your project? This query can be daunting, particularly for homeowners—which is why we’ve put together some helpful information to help you assess the approximate square footage of thin stone veneer you’ll need.

Before we get started, we do want to stress that a formal takeoff should always be performed by a professional mason. But before you get one on the line, this simplified method can give you a preliminary estimate of the material you’ll need to purchase to complete a project.

Calculating Your Thin Stone Veneer Needs

To figure out how much thin stone veneer you need for your project, multiply the length by the width of the areas to be covered. Instead of trying to take tricky, piecemeal measurements, you can simply calculate the total surface area of the wall or feature and then subtract the square footage of openings like windows and doors. This is the total square foot of your project.

Thin stone veneer flats are sold by the square foot, while corners are sold by the linear foot. Corners cover the exterior of a feature to its edge, rather than the interior. Make sure to measure the linear feet of corners, pillars, fireplaces, doorways and any other features that will require 90-degree corners.

How Much Thin Stone Veneer Do I Really Need?

The rugged beauty of natural thin stone veneer makes it the perfect material for almost any decorative project, but it also means that each unit of stone is different. Whether you’re going for a streamlined look or more of a mosaic pattern, your thin stone veneer will likely need to be cut, snapped, or otherwise modified to ensure that it fits in the desired space.

Essentially, you’re bound to wind up with some amount of stone trimmings that aren’t usable—meaning that you’ll actually need to order more than just the bare minimum square footage that you estimated. The last thing you want is to have to place your project on hold while you await another shipment! Again, a professional stone mason is the best person to accurately determine how much thin stone veneer you’ll need to cover the whole project.

Thin Stone Veneer vs. Full Veneer

Thin stone veneer offers a number of advantages when compared to full veneer—it’s lighter per square foot, doesn’t require footings or wall ties, and is comparatively more affordable to ship and install. Kafka Granite’s natural thin stone veneer has a nominal thickness of ¾” to 1½” and meets industry standards for weighing less than 15 pounds per square foot. When installed correctly, thin stone veneer looks nearly identical to full veneer, which is several inches thicker and therefore, heavier!

The difference in weight translates to lower shipping and installation costs, making natural thin stone veneer an excellent choice for both interior and exterior non-structural projects. In fact, you can get about 3.75 times the coverage per shipment of thin stone veneer.

Installing Thin Stone Veneer

As with calculating how much thin stone veneer you’ll need for a specific project, we recommend letting a professional stonemason handle the installation. While thin stone veneer can be installed over a number of different surfaces, they first need to be prepared. At the very least, outdoor surfaces will need to be waterproofed to industry standards. Certain surfaces may also require a non-corrosive wire lath and a setting mix.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer for Every Project

If you’re on the hunt for a cost-effective method of incorporating natural stone into your project, thin stone veneer will fit the bill beautifully. Kafka Granite is proud to offer an extensive selection of natural thin stone veneer in a variety of colors and cuts. Feel free to reach out with any questions—we don’t perform formal takeoffs, but our knowledgeable sales team is always happy to chat about your project and provide an estimate!

Galaxy Glitter Castle Cut Thin Stone Veneer.

New Home Building Spotlight: 2021 Color Trends and the Natural Stone that Accentuates Them

There was a time when bright, vibrant colors dominated neighborhoods, and when interior spaces were just as extravagant with hues like burnt orange and barn red. While more adventurous property owners are adamant about taking the risk into now-niche territories like these, the majority of property owners select modern colors for new home builds that are less likely to stand out with flashy impressions and more likely to take on tones of elegance, sophistication, and simplicity.

Of course, no residential build is complete without the complementary beauty of natural stone and its various applications. In this post, we’ll dive into current new home color trends and how natural stone products can bring out the best in them.

The New Home Colors You’re Most Likely to See

These days, homeowners are gravitating toward neutral hues. If it’s peaceful, classy, and provides an opportunity for brilliant accents, it’s likely that new homes will be dressed in it. However, “neutral” does not always have to mean sheer grays and whites. Certain tones can still carry that neutral essence without losing the zest of a cool or warm base. Noteworthy color choices include:

  • Blue-gray
  • Beige
  • Warm taupe
  • Green-gray
  • Wood stain themes
  • Alabaster white
  • Deep gray
  • Navy blue
  • Caramel brown
  • Olive green

Architecturally, the modern farmhouse style and other contemporary takes on traditional styles have gained a lot of traction over the last few years, and it would seem these colors couple wonderfully with such designs. What’s more, homes with these and other neutral colors lend well to a variety of material accents (wood or stone, for example) and earthy or bright white trim hues. In fact, you’ll find that many of these color selections and exterior aesthetics derive from colors seen in nature, which explains why they do so well with akin visual elements. 

Pair Your Color Palette with Elegant Natural Stone

So, let’s talk about stone. When it comes to residential architecture and design, few products couple as well with a neutral color palette like thin stone veneer and natural stone hardscapes. Unlike manufactured stone, natural stone is unique. They aren’t like carbon copies – while made of the same stone, each piece will boast its own character. Sourced from the earth itself, they are the original model. And, when installed, each unique stone comes together like a stunning mosaic art piece that speaks to the beauty of using natural stone.

Thin Stone Veneer

Natural thin stone veneer comes with several color and cut options which provide opportunities for dynamic, creative applications. Popular color options for thin stone veneer include those in our black and gray varieties like Imperial Gray Granite or Starlight Black Granite – both hues bring out the classiness of a neutral, modern tone.

Furthermore, thin stone veneer has a ton of great perks. This product may be used in many of the same applications as regular stone veneer, but with some added benefits. It can be installed without support ledges or footings, therefore appropriate for an array of exterior and interior applications. The product is cut to a nominal thickness of ¾” – 1 ½” thick, significantly reducing the products weight relative to full bed veneer. This drastically reduces shipping and installation costs.

Natural Stone Hardscapes

Kafka’s natural stone hardscape collection includes sawn cut drywall, thermal-top steps, thermal flagstone, sawn edging, treads, caps, and coping – all of which come in four classic Kafka colors and a variety of finishes. Whether you’re building a retaining wall or adding a much-needed walkway and steps navigating the property, you’re going to want a stone that complements a new home in both color and functionality.

Natural stone hardscapes do just that. Thermal finished for traction, thermal flagstone and thermal-top steps bring more than an aesthetical boost to the property. They’re built to withstand seasonal exposure and their durable nature will retain their elegance for decades to come. 

Elevate the Beauty of a New Home with Kafka Granite

Kafka Granite is proud to partner with designers and contractors to provide homeowners with the right natural stone solution for their residential construction or renovation needs. Our stone products are harvested from our network of quarries throughout North America, and are all custom produced in Central Wisconsin. Connect with our office today to learn how our products will meet the demands of your project.

 

Pathway Wax Erin Hills

4 Pathway Problems and How to Deal With Them

Decomposed granite (DG) and crushed stone are excellent options for creating natural-looking nature trails, golf course pathways, garden paths, and other landscaped routes. But like any pathway material, poor maintenance, harsh weather, and other issues can compromise the integrity of a DG installation. Let’s take a look at some of the problems that affect pathways—and how to handle them.

Watch Out for These Decomposed Granite Pathway Issues

1. Muddiness

The inherent promise of a pathway is that it will provide a clear route from point A to point B. That promise is quickly broken when visitors or guests have to tramp over a muddy expanse to get where they’re going.

What causes decomposed granite pathways to get muddy? For the most part, the culprit is inadequate drainage, poor design, or subpar installation. Improper compaction and excess water can make a mess—particularly as ground thaws and snow melts in the spring. To avoid this issue, decomposed granite pathways should be installed with drainage flow in mind. A stabilized pathway will remain permeable, but has an additive that absorbs water. Alternatively, you can opt for a wax polymer pathway, which is impermeable and will never get muddy.

2. Erosion

Decomposed granite pathways are made of aggregate screened to a specific size and compacted to create a firm pathway. However, the surface is still designed to have a natural look and feel, with a loose layer of material on top. Forces like rainfall and heavy traffic can exacerbate this movement further.

Again, it’s important to be aware of drainage flow near your pathway. If water is the primary source of erosion, you might want to install drains or diverters to control the flow and reduce the damage to the pathway. For new pathways that need to withstand significant erosion, consider opting for a stabilized or wax polymer pathway mix. 

3. Debris

Thanks to nature, decomposed granite or crushed stone pathways will inevitably end up covered in things that don’t belong in a pathway mix—namely debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt. Depending on the location of the pathway, you may find that it remains relatively clear for long periods. Other areas, like those under trees or downwind, may end up covered in debris. Whatever the case, you’ll need to routinely remove these materials by raking the area. 

4. Poor Maintenance

No pathway is entirely maintenance-free. A lack of routine care can actually end up costing more in the long run.

So how can you keep a pathway looking good? What do you do if you’re hired on for a maintenance project and find a deteriorated wreck once you arrive? 

Ideally, there will be a solid maintenance plan already in place. Regular upkeep, including raking and occasional hydrating and recompacting, will be enough to refresh a decomposed granite pathway already in good condition—keeping it functional for years to come. Severe damage, on the other hand, will likely require excavating the area, rototilling, and possibly top dressing or tilling in new mix. Ultimately, the type of pathway mix you’re dealing with will determine the specific maintenance and replacement needs of the pathway system.

Selecting the Right Pathway Material

Even the most robust maintenance plan won’t do much good if you’re starting with a low-quality pathway. Selecting the best material for your project and installing it correctly will create a beautiful, natural-looking pathway that stands the test of time. 

At Kafka Granite, we understand how important both color and performance are to choosing a mix. We’re pleased to offer over 40 colors of decomposed granite and crushed stone, ensuring that you find the perfect match for your landscape. Here’s some insight into the benefits of our various pathway mixes.

Standard Pathway Mix

A decomposed granite pathway makes an attractive alternative to hardscape materials like concrete and asphalt. Our Standard Pathway Mix consists of aggregate screened to ¼” with fines. This is an excellent choice for low-traffic walkways, bike trails, garden trails, and other flat areas.

Stabilized Pathway Mix

Our Stabilized Pathway Mix blends our standard aggregate with a stabilizing binder. The addition of the binder creates a more durable pathway that stands up under traffic, extreme weather, and other erosive forces. Stabilized pathways are appropriate for a wide range of projects, from nature trails, corporate walking paths, courtyards, and more.

Wax Polymer Pathway Mix

Working with hilly terrain? Our Wax Polymer Pathway Mix is the perfect solution for steep grades. An innovative combination of engineered polymers creates a dustless, waterless, non-permeable pathway that stays dry and performs beautifully under stress. We’ve seen this mix used in projects ranging from nature preserves to private residences. Erin Hills even replaced a number of their highly erosive paths with wax polymer pathways ahead of the 2017 U.S. Open. Our Wax Polymer Pathways have been most popular for golf courses, horse trails, driveways, and other demanding projects.

Create Lasting Pathways with Kafka Granite

Whether you’re looking to install wax polymer pathways that will reduce golf course maintenance needs or you’re on the hunt for the perfect color of aggregate for a new pathway system, Kafka Granite has you covered with a wide range of choices. Not quite sure what you’re looking for yet? We can help you there, too. Our sales team is eager to work with you and identify the correct solution for your project, so don’t hesitate to reach out.