Where Do I Find The Most Reputable Stone Suppliers?
The stone industry is booming today with so many designers, builders and architects using natural as well as engineered stone to enhance their designs in both residential and commercial spaces. Both stone suppliers and stone distributors play an important role in stone industry, working closely with retail stores, builders and designers alike.
Stone suppliers are the companies that actually find and harvest natural stone throughout the world and then sell it to stone distributors, wholesale and retail dealers and commercial builders. They work with stone experts who search quarries all over the world for the finest and highest quality natural stones. Natural stone is found around the world, but only true experts can pick out the best stone.
A reputable stone supplier should be highly professional, have an experienced staff and supply only the highest quality stone. They should also offer excellent customer service and the most competitive prices.
P & L Stone is an innovative stone supplier and distributor that manufactures, exports, and distributes high quality natural stone products from around the world. As a premier stone supplier in the industry, their goal is to exceed the expectations of clients with distinctive products and superior customer service. They have established an excellent reputation as the supplier of choice for national and international clients.
What do Stone Distributors do?
Stone distributors are basically the suppliers to the natural stone industry. They provide access to the stone materials as well as knowledge, expertise and technical support to their buyers. They research and search the world for quality stone and stone materials, hand-selecting the very best products for their market. They often stay on top of the latest design trends so that they can acquire the stone and natural stone materials that their clients are looking for. Their clients may be builders, designers, retail suppliers or chains, architects or even the general public. Stone distributors often have showrooms that display their stone materials and other natural stone products. Stone distributors choose the stone (often bought by a stone supplier) and then sell it the public.
What do Stone Manufacturers do?
A stone manufacturer or stone fabricator is the hands-on natural stone expert who executes the process from templating the stone to the final details of installation. This includes measuring, figuring out exactly how much stone, or other material, is needed, laying out the stone to ensure the best view of striations, veins, shading and other features of the surfacing product, executing edge details, and basically ensuring that the final product looks perfect. Stone manufacturers are experts at what they do in regard to layout, placement and design.
What’s popular in the stone industry today?
There are many natural stones and materials that are quite popular today. According to Stone World Design.com, stone mining, production, fabrication and distribution are part of a complex industry. “One thing is evident; a great deal of thought, planning and investment are put into each stone production process. Many companies specialize in exotic and high-end stone material. Each has devised its own system to ensure their customers receive top-quality products. From the moment a slab enters the factory until it is loaded in a container great care is taken throughout the production process.”
Natural stone is a perfect accent to any setting and it is used widely in many commercial and residential designs across the world. According to successful stone suppliers and stone distributors, following are some of the most popular types of stone used in the design and building industry today:
Marble is prized for its unparalleled aesthetic beauty. It is a very popular choice for floors, countertops, bathrooms and many other surfaces. Marble comes in a wide variety of colors and with different veining and sizes. It is very beneficial for use because natural marble is very hard, making it a versatile choice.
Soap stone offers a very traditional look. The color of soapstone ranges greatly depending upon the type of soapstone used. Over time, natural soapstone develops a natural patina. Soap stone is stain, chemical and water-resistant but scratches easily. Soapstone is a great choice for kitchen countertops. This stone is not porous, so it does not stain. It is also largely resistant to heat and will not crack nor burn if hot pots are placed upon it. Because it does not absorb water, and actually repels it, soapstone is also a great material for shower wall coverings and bathtub surrounds.
Onyx generally comes in swirling, colorful patterns. It is considered one of the most rare and beautiful materials in nature, due to its translucency and sleek, modern look.
Granite is a popular choice because of its durability and resistance to scratching, staining, and etching. Granite can take a higher heat than other natural stone, but it does require a sealant because it has varying levels of absorbency. Granite offers a wider selection of color and choices because of its natural variations. The unique beauty of granite countertops is the perfect complement to any home or business location.
Most limestone from the United States is light in color, ranging from yellow to pink to gray in color. Limestone imported from other countries is often light or even dark red, brown, or black. Limestone is typically a softer material, that can be scratched and it may have a dull finish. In some cases, a limestone can be polished to a high shine.
Slate has a distinctive pattern and is usually uniform in color. It is available in different shades of slate include green, black, dark red, gray, or even mottled purple. Slate is very hard, durable, and waterproof.
Pure quartzite is usually white to gray in color, though quartzite often occurs in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide. Quartzite is a decorative stone which is often used for kitchen countertops, to cover walls, as roofing tiles, in flooring, and for stair steps. It is extremely popular due to its marble-like appearance and granite-like properties.
Engineered stone is made of natural stone but it is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive. The two common stones used in producing engineered stone products are marble and quartz. Engineered stone is made in a factory and created as either blocks or slabs, cut and polished by fabricators, and assembled at the worksite.
What are the different types of natural stone finishes?
The most common finishes for natural stone today are polished (shiny), honed (matte) and brushed or leathered. The finish of a natural stone often depends on the client’s preference.
The Natural Stone Supply Chain: From Stone Miner to Stone Supplier and Stone Distributor
When you admire beautiful granite counter top or a stunning marble floor, you don’t probably don’t think much about the origin of the stone. Since stone is a natural material – it had to start somewhere. And from its origin on a mountain or in a quarry far away, there are many steps in between a piece of rock becoming a beautiful countertop in your home. Understanding the global supply chain of natural stones provides a glimpse into what goes into the process of extracting the stone from the earth and getting it into your kitchen or bathroom!
Phase One – Stone or Slab Manufacturers
Slab manufacturers, sometimes referred to as “quarries”, are the workers who physically extract the natural stone out of the ground. The stone is extracted in large blocks and then the blocks are sliced into slabs. Each block is considered a “lot” and each lot from the same quarry can look very different.
Phase Two – International Stone Suppliers
International suppliers purchase the lots of stone from all of the quarries in their area. They often travel around the world looking for the unique and beautiful stone for their clients. They then package the lots from different quarries and ship them all over the world to local distributors. International suppliers sell the lots of stone by the container load.
Phase Three – Local Stone Distributors
Local distributors will purchase containers of slabs from the international suppliers. The distributors then sell the lots by the slab to local fabricators. Local distributors will help retail clients choose stone, but will only sell the stone to fabricators who have their own area of expertise.
Phase Four – Stone Fabricators
Retail stone fabricators cut the stone to size and install it in your home. Fabricators will usually purchase stone from one or two distributors in their area, but have the ability to purchase from any fabricator they choose.
The entire process is an interesting (often world-wide) journey!
If you are looking for the highest quality, natural stone materials for a design or building project, contact the experts at P & L Marble Inc. P & L Marble Inc. features a diverse and vast selection of the highest quality materials to meet the needs of designers, architects, contractors and distributors all over the world. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, they are proud to have become a premier supplier of the highest quality natural stone and superior tile products.