Where Does Natural Stone Come From?
Natural stone is formed when mineral sediments are exposed to millions of years of heat and pressure. These minerals make up the variety of colors and patterns that are characteristic of natural stone. Various types of stone, in a multitude of colors and textures, are found around the world. Global imports natural stone material from over 20 countries. Much of our granite comes from Brazilian, Indian, African or Chinese quarries. Marble is frequently imported from Italy, Spain and Mexico. Slate is imported from Brazil, India and China, while travertine and limestone come from Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Peru.
Can Natural Stone Be Used On The Exteriors of Homes Or Commercial Buildings?
Yes. Many natural stones can be used for exterior wall cladding, even in extreme temperatures. Proper installation and consideration of site-specific details are essential to success in exterior applications. Because each stone has slightly different physical properties, let our staff assist you in finding just the right fit.
Why Is One Material More Expensive Than Others?
There are numerous factors that contribute to the cost of each different type of natural stone, including the quality, supply and demand, and even the value of the US dollar. First quality materials offer the finest processing and the most aesthetically appealing selections, and for that luxury there is a surcharge over commercial grade materials. The size and mechanization of a stone’s quarry are other factors contributing to its cost. For instance, a small quarry will only have a limited quantity of first quality blocks available, which can raise the cost of the stone. In addition, some quarries are located in places where the climate only allows them to operate part of the year, thus reducing their output and increasing cost. Some pricier materials contain semi-precious stones which have a higher market value in other industries. Or a material may be more costly because it requires more skill and careful attention during the processing and fabrication process, increasing the cost of the finished product. Finally, the distance a shipment has to travel to the port before being loaded on a freight liner can also contribute additional cost.
Can I Buy Materials Directly From Alpha Stone Gallery?
While our showrooms are open to the public, Alpha Stone Gallery is a strictly wholesale distributor, so we sell only to trade professionals, including architects, designers, builders, general contractors, tile contractors, and fabricators. Slab material may be purchased only by authorized fabricators. Contact your Alpha Stone Gallery sales representative for information on establishing an account.
How thick are slabs?
Natural stones are available in both 2cm (3/4”) and 3cm (1 -1/4”) thicknesses. Consult your fabricator or contractor about which is needed for your particular project.
Do You Do Any Fabrication?
No. At Alpha Stone Gallery, we specialize in selecting, importing, and distributing natural stone.
What is the difference between 2CM & 3CM Slab Material?
While there is no difference in the durability between 2cm and 3cm material, one may be more appropriate than the other for your project. In fact, some materials are only available in one of the two thicknesses. For example, in the Midwest granite is more typically stocked in 3cm, while marbles, limestones, travertines, and onyx may only be available in 2cm. While the slab cost of 2cm material may be a little less, it may need to be laminated if you choose a more elaborate edge profile, bringing the finished project cost up to the same price as using 3cm material (which doesn’t require lamination). Your fabricator will guide you to the right choice for your project.
How much does a slab weigh?
While the density of each stone and the slab size will affect the weight, 3cm granites weigh about 19 pounds per square foot, or about 900-1,200 pounds per slab. A 2cm marble will weigh approximately 600-700 pounds per slab.
How are sinks installed in natural stone countertops?
A cut-out can be made in the stone to accommodate the type of sink you choose. Any sink that you purchase will have instructions and a template for the cut-out needed.
Do you have remnant pieces of slabs for small projects?
At Alpha Stone Gallery, we distribute materials in full slabs only. Since we do not cut any materials, we will not have a stock of remanants. For the largest selection of options for your project we encourage you to visit our slab warehouse.