Stone is the original “Green” building material. This abundant natural resource is very durable, naturally beautiful and available in a full spectrum of colors, textures, and shapes. Stone has been used for centuries for creating buildings, streets, walls, flooring, and art. Savannah’s prized River Street ramps and walls were was constructed with ballast stones from incoming ships. The still-standing buildings and walls along the street were made from local brick and ballast stone, creating beautiful and, obviously, long-lasting structures. Stone is a reuseable product and many homeowners are choosing to use reclaimed stone in their new or remodeling projects. There is a natural stone option for every project and every imagination.
- Travertine, limestone and marble: These stone cousins are great for interior and exterior applications. Honed and tumbled finishes will add a classic finish on flooring, walls and backsplashes. Polished finishes add high style to formal and commercial spaces. Take them outside in a tumbled finish for a non-slip, cool to the touch patio, pool deck or even a driveway. There are now a variety of products available for every budget.
- Bluestone: This slate product quarried in Pennsylvania and New York is very different from the imported slates that arrive from India and China. Good quality bluestone is resistant to flaking and shaling and does not typically need to be sealed. Bluestone can be used in many forms. The irregular flagstone or pattern flagstone with a natural cleft texture can be mortar-set or dry-laid for patios, walkways, stepping stones and driveways. The quarries also produce large blocks of bluestone that can be fabricated into step treads, coping, sills, thresholds, curbing and other architectural elements. A range of available finishes include a non-slip thermal (flamed) finish, bush-hammered, honed or even polished. Historic Savannah and Charleston are laid with thousands of square feet of bluestone sidewalks, courtyards, patios, and architectural details.
- Granite: Every where you look in Savannah, you see granite curbing and cobblestones. Travel up the eastern seaboard and you will see granite cobblestone streets in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. In Europe, Roman roadways paved with granite cobblestones are still in use or can be found underneath many modern streets. This hardy, classic stone is a perfect complement to traditional and contemporary architecture. A popular and versatile stone, granite can be made into honed and polished tiles and countertops.
- Coral Stone and Coquina: Ancient oceans full of aquatic life were long ago formed into fossil and shell filled limestone. Cut from huge blocks of stone that are now well above sea level, coral stone and coquina is a perfect material for pool decks, patios and architectural elements. Coquina contains a huge array of shell and small animal fossils in each tile. Coral Stone contains a range of preserved coral fossils. Both of these light-colored stones stay cool in hot sun with a non-slip texture perfect for pool decks and outdoor areas. The blocks of stone can be carved into anything you can imagine; fireplace surrounds, balustrade systems, columns, tables, benches, urns and more.
- Midwestern Limestone: Limestone quarried in the Midwestern United States, especially Indiana and Wisconsin is a beautiful addition to most any architecture. The first quarry in Indiana opened in 1827 and the area has been producing stone for buildings across the country ever since. The Empire State Building, Chicago’s Tribune Building and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC are clad in limestone. Classic courthouse design, seen in Ridgeland, SC, implements limestone water table, sills, banding and pedaments. The limestone from this area is very consistent in color and texture, making it an ideal product for historic restoration as well as new construction. The large blocks of stone can be fabricated into door and window surrounds, cladding, sills, steps, column and wall caps, and pedaments. The fabricators are capable of reproducing any architectural drawings for decorative and structural elements.
- Fieldstone: Fieldstone refers to a stone harvested from above ground, basically picked up in fields. This stone has been weathered and aged to a rustic finish. Quarries sort the fieldstone by size and shape into pallets. Historically, fieldstone was used to construct low landscape walls to divide properties and contain farm animals. Today, this stone is a great addition to landscape as garden borders, retaining walls and veneer stone for homes, businesses, and fireplaces. Different areas of the United States produce different colors of fieldstone, so there is sure to be one for any project.
- River Rock: River Rock has been culled from stream and river beds and sorted by size. These smooth, mostly rounded stones are perfect for many uses. The pea gravels are used in driveways, walkways and planting beds. Slightly larger stones are a great alternative to pinestraw or wood mulch as well as drainage areas. Large river rocks can be used for borders and low walls. River Rocks used as a veneer stone on a home or fireplace can mimic the look of historic ballast stones and rustic mountain homes. A newer trend is using river rocks imported from Mexico, Indonesia and South America. These countries offer a large range of colors, including black, green, red, peach and white. Colored river rocks are a fine accent in water features, fountains, planting beds and zen gardens.
- Clay brick pavers: Clay brick pavers installed in Savannah over 100 years ago can still be found on streets and sidewalks all over downtown. Clay brick pavers are fired to a high compressive strength and are a durable alternative for driveways, patios, streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks, as well. Clay bricks will not fade or crack and require virtually no maintenance. Paver systems are easy to install and repair. Clay brick pavers are manufactured throughout the Southeast, making them a cost-effective local resource. Many manufacturers are now producing a permeable alternative to the classic clay brick paver. These are a necessary tool to facilitate drainage and to help maintain clean groundwaters for a healthy environment.
9. Flagstone: Flagstone refers to a variety of slates and sandstones, typically found in an irregular or broken shape. This material is quarried from many sites across the country and is simply split and palletized in its irregular form. Most popular in this area are the Tennessee and Oklahoma sandstones. Tennessee sandstone incorporates a beautiful palette of brown, gold, and beige with some black and pink. Oklahoma flagstone is a more subtle mix of brown, gold and black. Flagstone can be incorporated into large and small designs as pool decks, patios, walkways, stepping stones and driveway accents.