176 Clingman Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
Many varieties of natural and engineered stone have been used successfully for interior applications such as countertops, tabletops, fireplaces, tub decks, showers, etc. However, different types of stone have specific properties that offer advantages or disadvantages in various applications. We will work to insure that you understand these parameters and that the finished product suits your application both aesthetically and functionally.
There are hundreds of different and unique material choices and several different surface finishes currently available for use in both residential and commercial applications. While no fabricator or material supplier can possibly have all of these materials in stock for you to view, we will use our selection of samples, remnants, and slabs in combination with our network of material suppliers to find the choice that is right for you.
The full potential of any project is realized when the material selection, design, fabrication, and installation are completed by, or with the consultation of, qualified and experienced individuals.
The term "granite" is used to cover a group of related stones, all of which have their origin deep in the earth's molten mantle. As this extremely hot liquid material rises and cools, it forms a crystalline, granular structure, hence the term granite. Granite and other granite-like stones are formed of hard minerals such as quartz, feldspar and mica, which are fused together into a very hard stone. Because this material is now quarried from around the globe, there is a large selection of colors, patterns, and textures available.
Today’s marketplace includes many stone materials that are not true granites by geological definition. However, because their properties are so similar, the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) lumps them together as ‘granite’. These are some of the hardest stones available, offering high levels of resistance to staining, scratching and heat. The primary minerals in granite are resistant to almost all chemicals commonly found in a home. However, there may be trace minerals present in some granites and granite-like stones that are vulnerable to some acids.
Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits – spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don’t see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure which formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of the stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look man-made.
The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, and onyx - are all very different from granite. Because the main component of these materials is calcium based, they can be affected by mild acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages. The application of a sealer will greatly reduce, but not completely eliminate, their vulnerability to acidic attack. This entire family of stone is also softer than granite and is more susceptible to scratching and abrasive damage. All of these materials can be used for countertops, but their individual characteristics will affect the amount of care needed to maintain their appearance. For many, the inherent natural beauty of these stones is well worth the extra care needed to protect their surfaces.
Limestone is a true sedimentary rock consisting mostly of organic material such as skeletons and shells of marine creatures and sediments. It is formed by material which settles to the bottom of bodies of water, and over millions of years, solidifies (lithifies) into solid rock. Earth movements over extremely long periods of earth’s history can lift limestone miles into the air. The summit of Mount Everest is limestone that started out on an ocean floor.
The surface texture of limestone is fine grained. The common colors of limestone slabs are shades of brown, yellow and gray. Some slabs have shades of blue and green. Limestone imparts a soft & natural look and adds grandeur to any indoor or outdoor application.
Travertine is limestone, in a sense. It is formed by geysers, like Old Faithful, when the extremely hot underground water dissolves the underlying limestone and carries it upwards with the geyser water. When the water falls to the ground and evaporates, it leaves behind the dissolved limestone which re-hardens into stone. The new stone is full of gas bubbles, which give travertine its characteristic appearance. When it is being processed into slabs, these voids are generally “filled” with colored epoxy and then the slabs are polished or honed. Travertine is most commonly light brown to medium brown in color.
Marble has been valued for thousands of years for its rich palette of colors. Marble was made from limestone that has been subjected to extensive heat and pressure. A transformation process took place when the weight of overlying material, pressure from crystal collisions, and heat from the earth's core generated high temperatures and pressures. The texture of marble depends on the form, size and uniformity of grains. The element components of marble determine the color of the stone. Generally calcite and dolomite marbles are of pure white color. The beautiful characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities, which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone.
Onyx, like travertine, is the result of water dissolving existing limestone and re-depositing it as a new kind of stone. For example, in limestone caves, onyx is formed by drip water, as stalagmites and stalactites. It is a very soft stone, and somewhat brittle, and should be installed where it will not be subject to heavy wear.
This exquisitely beautiful stone is characterized by its unique properties. Many varieties of Onyx are translucent and the possibility of back lighting the stone opens up onyx's areas of application to virtually anywhere you can imagine it. Onyx usually has alternating light and dark bands, which are colored in various shades of orange, brown, red, black, and/or white.
Slate is a very fine grained rock derived from layered sedimentary material, mostly clay and volcanic ash, that was solidified over time by moderate pressure and heat. It has a laminar construction which allows it to be processed into thin sheets while still maintaining serviceable strength and rigidity. It is a relatively soft stone which is susceptible to scratching and abrasive damage.
When blocks of this stone are mechanically split the resulting surface has a natural "cleft" texture. This surface finish is most often used for tiles. Slate which has been cut into slabs can be honed/polished to produce a smooth surface finish. This material has long been used for blackboards, fireplace hearths, and the cloth covered surfaces of billiard tables.
Slate is most commonly grey in color. However slate occurs in a variety of colors. It can be found in many shades of gray, from pale to dark, and in color mixtures of purple, green and cyan.
Soapstone, (also known as Steatite), is composed of talc, quartz and various minerals that were compressed into rock over millions of years by heat and pressure. There are two types of Soapstone, artistic and architectural. Artistic Soapstone is softer with higher talc content and is suitable for carving. Architectural Soapstone, (steatite), is harder and denser, making it more suitable for countertops, sinks, etc. Soapstone is light gray or green in its natural state with mild to heavy amounts of veining which varies from piece to piece. With age and use the stone darkens and the character and beauty become more apparent. Mineral oil is often rubbed into the surface of the stone to achieve this appearance.
This material is softer than most other naturally occuring stones. Although soft, soapstone is a very dense (non porious) stone, more so than marble, slate and even granite. Since soapstone is impenetrable it will not stain, no liquid will permeate its surface. This is why Soapstone (steatite) is widely used for chemistry lab countertops.
The very dense nature of soapstone makes it a truly hygienic surface for food preparation. Unlike many other natural stones, and even some man-made surfaces, soapstone never needs to be sealed to assure a cleanable and safe surface in the kitchen. The "soft but dense" nature of soapstone makes it easy to repair mishaps and yet allows for an aging process that many think makes it look better with time. Another truly functional property of soapstone is its resistance to heat. Its common use in fireplaces and wood stoves demonstrates this property.
Quartz is a mineral. It is also the term for a category of man-made products commonly used for kitchen and bath countertops. These products are created by combining natural quartz, one of natures hardest minerals, with high quality polymer resins and pigment to produce a very durable yet luxurious surface. There are a wide variety of colors and textures of "Quartz" available. There are a number of different manufacturers providing slabs of this material for use in commercial and residential applications. (See the "Our Suppliers" section of this web site to learn more about the specific products we work with)
All "Quartz" surfaces are very resistant to scratching, staining and scorching. None require the use of sealers to protect from stains. However they are are susceptible to damage from certain harsh chemicals. While all of these materials are very resistant to scratching, they are not scratch proof and could be damaged by excessive force or pressure. While these surfaces are also scorch resistant, they can be damaged by excessive heat and/or thermal shock. When certain basic precautions are taken these surfaces are extremely durable and virtually maintenance free. For this reason these products are commonly used in very high traffic commercial applications.
This material is made from recycled glass that is bonded together to form slabs. These slabs are then polished to produce a smooth, durable and unique surface finish. A wide range of color choices are available.
We work with three different suppliers of this material. Each product is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages in various applications. We recommend that you explore the "Material Suppliers" section of this web site to learn more about the specific properties of the products we work with.
These slabs are, by far, the most exotic selection of material available! Each slab is a uniquely designed and handcrafted piece made from a particular type of semi-precious stone. The manufacturing process is labor intensive and complicated. It includes the shaping, layout and bonding of the individual gemstones, cutting the slab to a specified thickness, and polishing the surface. The resulting product is truly a work of art.
Luxurious, exotic, unique, elegant, breath-taking.... We recommend that you visit the "Material Suppliers" section of this web site to see for yourself.
The following is a brief overview of the most common varieties of stone available: