Timeless and enduring, natural stone walls have always had an aura of quiet quality. The unique characteristics of stones such as marble, onyx, and rose quartz make backdrops that infuse a space with personality.
Natural stone walls come at a cost, but what exactly does that money buy?
The answer is that stone’s popularity draws upon a range of specialised benefits, both visual and practical.
The four practical benefits to natural stone walls are durability, longevity, superior thermal insulation, and sustainability. These are all relevant for long-term cost calculations.
Durability & Longevity
In terms of durability and longevity, the lifespan of the stone depends upon your choice of mineral. The Mohs hardness index is used to grade stones and minerals from 1 to 10, with Talc scoring 1 and diamond scoring 10. A stone must have a higher Mohs scale in order to damage another one, which is why diamonds can scratch other minerals, but nothing can make a mark on a diamond.
This variance can be used to strategically select wall materials that are guaranteed to last.
Durability and longevity is also linked to stone’s maintenance requirements. Calculations usually show that when stone is used for facades, maintenance costs are considerably lower when compared to materials such as glass. This means that natural stone walls can offer remarkable value for money.
The thermal properties of stone are calculated by conductivity (k-value) and thermal resistance (r-value). The natural stone institute has charts and equations that aid in the calculations of how stone surfaces will affect building insulation.
Thermal insulation is becoming an increasingly important consideration, both in private homes and corporate buildings. For the latter in particular, carefully thought-out sustainability planning can offer a range of tax benefits and brand augmentation that go beyond the financial perks of saving on heating bills.
Stone is one of the most important materials in sustainable architecture. There are many reasons for this. Stone’s thermal qualities are a major factor, and its potentially timeless life-cycle is another. However, there are other features, such as its status as being 100% recyclable, as well as its low CO2 footprint. Materials such as cement are currently responsible for up to 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions, whereas stone only impacts the environment briefly whilst it is mined, transported, and fashioned.
For commercial properties in particular, this can be an important consideration in long-term costings.
Stone is the earth’s geological paint box. This is because stone’s formation is intertwined with colour-rich minerals that produce spectrums of variety.
For instance, Calacatta Oro marble has veins that twist and twirl with burnished gold, inky charcoal, and splashes of blue – the preserved memories of distant minerals that were crystallised with the marble as it formed. Whatever the desired palette, texture, or tone, nature is a master of the art and has already created the answer. In high-end projects, this choice and variety often provides the elegance and class that clients are searching for.
Is It Worth It?
The practical benefits of stone become clear in the long-term. Like any good investment, stone gives back over time, making it an astute choice for high-end projects. In the short-term, the unrivalled aesthetic quality of stone can powerfully transform a space, offering the coveted visual desirability upon which so many industries rely. To find out more about using natural stone for your project, please get in touch today.