Text: Dmitri Babich; Photo: Archive
How to choose the right stone
Natural stone has been one of the most used elements in construction since the beginning of time, due to its excellent characteristics. Today, we can see a great comeback of natural stone, and the key to keeping the current trend fresh is using it in small doses, by which I mean in accents and statement pieces (rather than in amounts that overwhelm the eye). In this case, less is infinitely more.
How do you choose the right stone for your project, though? Well, the choice is greatly based on your personal preference. There is a wide spectrum of colors and patterns, so choosing the right color of stone is vital. Some shades can subtly tie the whole project together, whereas others draw in your eye and attention. Lighter shades expand the space, while darker hues add mood. Each stone has a distinct personality, and it is important to find the one that the project resonates with the most.
There are also practical aspects to selecting your stones, however. Not all stone is suitable for all jobs. For example, it is not recommended to use marble or onyx on a kitchen countertop, as the materials are softer than granite or quartzite and will require a lot more looking after. Therefore, when choosing the right stone, it is important to consider the purpose of the project and consulting about your ideas with a natural stone specialist. Budget is another important factor to consider, as the range in price of natural stone is almost as huge as the range of available colors.
Nature is strong in creating uniqueness
Materials like marble, granite, quartzite, and onyx are not only practical, but are also beautifully unique. No two slabs are identical, and every piece has its own character – this is what makes natural stone so attractive, as it allows every project to have its own uniqueness, without the need for a special design. Mother nature still holds the upper hand in this. What’s also interesting about natural stone is the fact that flat surfaces are not the only way they could be utilized – with the right tools and skills it is easy to work on them to create amazing, curved shapes, sculptures, and carvings.
Another reason why natural stone is such an amazing material is that it has such a huge range of possible finishes, resulting in the same material looking completely different with a different surface finish. Almost no engineered products have such a choice in surface finishes. Besides the standard polished and honed finish, there are also flamed, brushed, leather, acid washed, split faced, sandblasted, tumbled, textured, sawn, and custom 3D design surfaces. This gives designers and projects such an amazing tool to be able to use the same material in different parts of the same project, as each finish can also create a completely different 58 look if applied horizontally or vertically.
Natural stone wins over engineered materials
Natural stone has many advantages over engineered materials. Firstly, as we already mentioned, natural stone is more unique in its colors and patterns, and can be more beautiful than anything man-made. Secondly, natural stone can be just as durable as any engineered material, and sometimes withstand even more. It can be restored, re-polished, and repaired, though that is not possible to do with quartz or porcelain. Thirdly, the cost of natural stone in comparison to engineered materials can be considerably lower. You can find quarries of natural stone all over the world, which makes some materials cheaper because logistically they have lower costs. Last but not least, natural stone is a “green” material. The process of quarrying, cutting, and processing has a much lower carbon footprint than many alternatives.
Natural stone can sometimes be considered a luxury product but it is not always expensive, and thanks to modern technology it can even be cheaper than many other types of products for interiors or exteriors. For example, 2cm-thick slabs of Italian white marble could cost as low as €50-60/m2 (1.250-1.500 Kc/m2) in Prague. Obviously, materials like Onyx or Brazilian quartzite can easily cost over €500/m2 (12.500 Kc/m2). Of course, you need to consider the cost of work as well, but with the right natural stone supplier, controlling all the costs is easy.
founder and CEO of KNF Marble & Granite s.r.o., is a natural stone specialist with over 17 years of experience in the industry. The company supplies natural stone for private and commercial clients in the CR and Central Europe, and delivers, as well as develops, custom projects with natural stone in both exterior and interior aspects. www.knfmarble.com