FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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INTERIOR MATERIALS

What is the difference between Natural Stone and Manufactured Tile products?

  • Natural Stone is not manufactured; it is a product of nature. Blocks are removed from the quarry, slabs are cut from these blocks, and the slabs are further fabricated into the final stone to be installed. Each block is different; each slab is different. Skillful blending or matching of the dimension stone blocks, veneer panels, tops, etc., results in a beautiful blending of nature’s variety and man’s design. In contrast to the uniformity of materials produced by machine or assembly line, stone’s naturally varied appearance has wonderful character. “Uniformity of material,” when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs to be understood when making a selection.
  • Manufactured Tile products are produced in a large number of ways. It is important to note that many manufactured tile products can achieve levels of non-uniformity that enhance the natural look. Tile products in this category include ceramics, porcelains, glass, metals, clay, and composite products.

How do I achieve the best finished look from a Natural Stone Installation?

  • The installer should mix tiles from different boxes during the installation to achieve a more even, visually pleasing result in the finished surface. The homeowner should always look at the natural stone with the installer before the installation takes place. Moreover, it is highly recommended that the homeowner gets involved and discusses the stone layout with the installer in details to prevent misunderstandings from occurring. Last, all products are highly recommended to be mixed between boxes, and products requiring sealer should be sealed after installation according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

What is a sealer?

  • A sealer cures as a film on the stone surface. Since the material is actually covering the stone, the appearance of the stone surface may be altered by the application of this type of product. This material will provide somewhat of a sacrificial layer over the stone, and will absorb most of the wear on the countertop. Since the sealer is softer than the stone, normal use of the countertop will result in abrasion of the sealer surface and dictate reapplication to maintain the original luster of the surface. A properly applied topical sealer will normally reduce, although not eliminate, the vulnerability of calcareous stones to attack from mildly acidic solutions.
  • General Precautions: When any surface protection product is used, care must be taken to read and follow the manufacturer’s written instructions accurately. This will provide the greatest benefit from the application and will guarantee safe handling of the product.

How do I prevent staining on Natural Stone surfaces?

  • Most stones are porous and readily absorb liquids and moisture. Materials like limestone, marble, travertine, and sandstone are extremely absorbent, and will absorb liquids that are allowed to remain in contact with them for extended periods of time. The use of a sealant will help prevent staining in most situations. Even a sealed surface can stain if left in contact with a staining agent for a long period of time. Therefore, all spills should be wiped up as soon as possible, and coasters or napkins should be set when serving food or drinks on a stone bar, table or countertop. Soft drinks, coffee, tea and fruit juices contain mild acids and can etch the polished surface of a stone and stain quite rapidly. These should be cleaned off immediately with mild soap and warm water.

EXTERIOR MATERIALS

What is the difference between concrete and clay pavers?

  • Concrete pavers are made by adding colors to concrete, clay pavers are made from natural clay and fired in a kiln.
  • Concrete pavers offer more shape and color options, clay pavers are stronger and resistant to staining and fading.

What is the difference between Manufactured stone veneer and Natural Stone Veneer?

  • Manufactured stone veneer is a molded concrete product that is hand-dyed to give the effect of being real stone.  Natural stone thin veneer is real stone that has been cut to an average 1-1/2” thickness.
  • Both options offer 90-degree corners and are ordered by the square foot for flats and linear foot for corners.
  • Both options can be installed without a footing for support.
  • Both are appropriate for exterior or interior installation
  • Manufactured Stone is typically less expensive than Natural Stone thin veneer.

What is appropriate dry-laid or sand-set installation for pavers?

  • Make sure you select an appropriate paver for this type of installation.  Thickness will vary from product to product.
  • Typical installation for a residential project includes a 4”-6” thick compacted base of crushed granite. Then a thin layer – ½”-1”- of setting sand is leveled out over the crushed granite.  The pavers are then installed on top of the sand and sand is swept into the joints.  An edge restraint is necessary on any sides that do not end at a concrete foundation, walkway or other stationary point. Edge restraints can be steel edging, plastic edging, concrete haunch, header curb, ribbon curb, etc.  Edging type will be dictated by the thickness of the paver and intended use of the area.

What material can I use in my planting beds instead of pine straw or mulch?

  • We offer TN River rock in 3 sizes, mixed shell in 2 sizes, and crushed granite in 3 sizes.  All of these make attractive, long-lasting alternatives to pine straw or mulch.  We also offer steel edging to border your planting beds and keep the stone in place.

What material can I use on my pool deck that won’t get too hot to walk on?

  • There are many natural stone options that will stay cool to the touch even in full sun.  Lighter colors will always be cooler than darker colors, but the material itself also matters.  Marble and limestone will stay cooler than quartzite and sandstone due to the geological make-up of the stone.  We offer many selections of limestone, coral stone, marble, and shellstone.
  • Select concrete pavers are offered in a white cement base which also stays cool to the touch.  We offer Old World Tabby pavers for a cool coastal look.  Several paver manufacturers also offer white cement colors in their selection.

How do I protect my new patio/driveway/pool deck from stains?

  • Any material can be sealed with a chemical sealer.  Oil and water repellants are more effective against stains than a simple water repellant.  Penetrating sealers will last longer and not change the appearance of the stone or paver.  Wet-Look or Enhancing sealers will change the appearance of the stone or paver, but will not last as long as the sun and weather and vehicles/pedestrians will wear the sealer off of the surface.