Stone is a versatile and beautiful material for use in interior, exterior, and landscape design. It adds permanence and substance and can be used strategically to create a strong anchor or focal point. Stone serves multipurpose functions in all types of design and construction, from structural uses to the purely decorative. There are few materials that offer a more dramatic or effective design component. Adding a naturalistic quality to any setting, it represents one of the four primal elements of earth, water, fire, and sky.
Stone is one of the more costly and permanent choices in materials and therefore should be selected with great care. Man-made or cultured stone often closely replicates the aesthetics of natural stone and can sometimes be used effectively as an alternative, although generally it is not a cost savings. Both natural and synthetic stone have particular characteristics and aesthetics that make one or the other an appropriate choice for a particular use. Large or small, rectangular or irregular, smooth or rough, the beauty of stone is unmatched.
Natural stone includes the most exquisite and exotic selections from around the globe as well as beautiful and practical choices available locally or regionally. Stone is classified according to its mineral and chemical composition, conditions of formation, and particle size. The characteristics of stone determine to a great extent its appropriateness for specific uses. The type, hardness, porosity, and resistance to staining affect its performance and durability and offer considerations for selection. Origin, availability, fabrication, installation methods, and finishing are some of the factors that affect $$.
Natural stone surfaces may be polished, unpolished, or a honed finish that sometimes produces a nearly 3D effect. Stone varies in configuration, thickness, and size for use in specific applications. It is also a wonderful choice for an unexpected feature such as a bench, a carved vessel sink or a translucent alabaster light fixture.
MAN-MADE and PRECAST STONE
Precast, cultured, or man-made stone has many uses in design. In the landscape, precast pavers and block create durable and beautiful paths, patios, and retaining walls. Designed for relative ease of installation and flexibility, precast stone is a great alternative, especially if there is a potential for future reconfiguration as it can be taken up and reinstalled. Some cultured stone for use on walls is available with precut corners, saving time and labor during installation. Composite granite countertops are similar in appearance to some granite, but offer greater resistance to scratching, chipping, and staining. As with all stone, choose appropriately and follow the correct procedures for fabrication and installation to obtain results sure to last for many years to come.
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