We've heard it all before: the often-debated question of stone or no stone. Developers and architects often question why they should build with natural stone. Looking for some good arguments in favour of natural stone? Try these ten!
1.) Natural stone is a natural product with individual properties determined by the type and bonding of the minerals comprising the stone. Natural stone has an outstanding reputation among all building materials. Components of natural stone are unique specimens which can be combined with each other and with many other materials.
2.) Natural stone is eco-friendly. Natural stone as a building material is found naturally in a virtually finished form. No energy is needed for its actual manufacture. Energy is only consumed for quarrying and processing, but the share is small compared with other building materials. The stone is extracted mostly from relatively small quarries without major blasting operations. The unused stone waste can be used directly for filling in the parts of the quarry where stone has been extracted. Nothing is lost in the complete cycle of natural stone quarrying, processing, and returning to nature.
3.) Natural stone is environmentally compatible. As a natural building material, natural stone contains no pollutants that are damaging to your health. Natural stone can be used safely in food areas. It also releases no substances that are hazardous to health in case of fire. Natural stone requires no auxiliary chemical substances such as protective coatings, impregnating agents or coatings before it can be used as a building material.
4.) Natural stone is varied. No other building material has as many different colors and structures as natural stone. Various surface finishing processes make this variety virtually unlimited. Developers and architects therefore have a broad spectrum of choice, which allows matching to any desired appearance or ambience. Natural stones are often chosen for their good visual and technical qualities. Natural stone is available in a variety of different colors, structures and textures. A suitable natural stone is available for virtually any requirement imposed on a building material.
5.) Natural stone can be individuated. Natural stones are quarried in large blocks and cut to the desired size by natural stone companies. The sizes of natural stone slabs are limited only by the size of the rough blocks and not by standard dimensions specified by production. The sizes can be adapted individually to meet planning requirements. Any desired shape can be provided, not only square or rectangular slabs. Modern processing machines allow inlay work in natural stone. The variety of the stones and the individual processing and design possibilities constitute the uniqueness of the building material.
6.) Natural stone ages well. Many building materials become unsightly over the course of time but natural stone retains a natural patina which is not detrimental to the beauty of the natural stone. Many natural stones are like good wine; they only attain their full elegance with advancing years. Natural stone can also be cleaned easily and cheaply. Even centuries-old floor coverings of natural stone can be ground and restored to their original condition. The lifetime of natural stone is extremely long. With the right planning and construction, buildings of natural stone have been known to survive for thousands of years.
7.) Natural stone is three-dimensional. Any desired shape of stone can be produced as well as slab sizes. Milling grooves and flutings in the stone surfaces can create interesting light and shade effects. Such processed slabs radiate strength and solidity when mounted on a facade. Solid components like moldings, frames and pillars permit an aesthetically pleasing structure.
8.) Natural stone is attractively priced. If the total cost of building materials are considered over a useful life of 30 years or more, independent investigations show that natural stone is no more expensive than comparable synthetic building materials. The relatively high investment costs are offset by the low long-term maintenance costs and longevity. The cost of cleaning and maintenance of natural stone is low.
9.) Natural stone is practical. Natural stone has very good thermal conductivity and a large heat storage capacity. Natural stone as a facade material absorbs the heat radiated by the sun and prevents unwanted heating up of the building. Tests show an energy requirement of 100-150 kWh/m2 (1076-616 kWh/ft2) for multi-story buildings with stone facades, in contrast to an energy requirement of 300-700 kWh/m2 (3229-7534 kWh/ft2) for the necessary heating and cooling of glass facades.
10.) Natural stone is durable. The high-pressure resistance values of many natural stones have given the material a reputation of being an everlasting building material. Only the so-called stainless steels, which are costly in production, achieve the durability of natural stones. Natural stone is also the most durable material with the lowest abrasion values for floor coverings. Coverings of granite or similar hard stones show hardly any signs of wear even after decades of use.