All of the latest news about Stone Store, our products and our
people – plus industry trends and updates.

AIA Modern Home Tour Houston

We’ve got some work displayed in the modern home tour in Houston this weekend if you have some time to run by. Allegro Modern did a great job with the design work and used a few unique aspects of our company to complement their project.

All the main kitchen counters are 1.2cm Neolith, and a great example of how to use simple clean lines in a modern application.  We have a lot of clients who have a hard time envisioning 1/2″ thick counters when the norm is 3 times thicker, but it looks perfect in this house. We have access to all kinds of specialty products and the knowledge to work with them in all situations. Our waterjet and CNC technology allow us to accommodate tight tolerances and perform cleaner cuts than you could ever achieve by hand. This is especially true on miters and with difficult materials like sintered stone (Neolith, et al) and natural stone like marble and quartzite.

Neolith perimeter

Neolith perimeter

The fireplace surround is Striato Olimpico marble.  Feature walls, whether marble, onyx or natural stone require specific slabs and installation expertise to make sure they don’t fail post-install. With slabsmith technology, we can perfectly book-match and give multiple digital layout options to choose from. You can either come into our office or we can e-mail you different layouts.

marble fireplace wall

marble fireplace wall

Then they were able to fill out some closets, pantries and other rooms using smaller remnants and half-slabs from our inventory to help keep budget down. We have tons of interesting stones in smaller pieces so you don’t have to buy a big slab. On a big project things tend to get out of budget quickly, so using remnants to fill out secondary areas can allow you to have different colors in different areas without buying whole slabs or just keep costs down.


Carrara marble

Carrara marble

Backlit onyx

This would have a greater effect at night, but backlighting onyx in your closet is definitely awesome, even if our phone video-ing skills are less impressive.


Fusion Quartzite 2016

We get more calls about a photo of a particular slab of Fusion quartzite than any other thing we’ve ever posted. Unfortunately it was sold years ago, but here is a current pic of a dramatic 3cm slab that just arrived. There are plenty of other varieties but this one was fairly unique…

fusion quartzite slab in 3cm

fusion quartzite slab in 3cm

Porcelain slabs

The newest countertop category is new enough that there still isn’t a good name for it.  I’ve heard sintered surfaces, ultra-compact slabs, large format porcelain, and a few others.  The main brands available today are Dekton, Neolith and Lapitec.  All come from Europe.  There are a few others, Crossville, Laminam, Fiandre, etc, still most of them coming from Europe, but a few manufacturers are popping up in the USA.

The range of colors and textures that can be achieved with this porcelain is incredible. We have already seen polished, matte, and a bunch of different textured finishes. There are solid colors, woods, limestones in greys and beiges, worn metals, and a bunch of natural stone looks, not least among them the coveted Calacatta and Estatuario marbles.  Some of the marble slabs have different patterns and can be had in book-matched slabs in both the polished and honed finishes.

The main characteristics of these materials are its extreme resistance to scratching, staining, high and low temperatures, chemicals, UV rays, acid, fire, and pretty much everything else. It can be used for anything from countertops to exterior building cladding.  Between that we use it for shower walls, backsplashes, fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens.  We have heard reports on the internet of it chipping easily, but if you come down hard enough with something heavy enough on any sharp corner, it will chip.

The biggest restriction of the material is that you are limited to a square edge or a mitered edge (except on Lapitec). It is also not through-body (except Lapitec), which means you lose the color and texture on the edges. Luckily square edges seem to be the preferred edge these days, so its not so bad.

The other risk with this material is that it is difficult to work with.  Proper equipment and a knowledge of the material is a must for the fabricator/installer. If edges are not eased enough, it will definitely chip, and the material is difficult to repair. Mitering and seams cannot be done by hand consistently.  The saw bed needs to be flat and level, blades need to be tested and replaced often, and installation needs to be well planned.  The slabs need to be trimmed on all sides or it can crack during fabrication, installation, or worse yet, after it is installed. On all specialty surfaces, we highly recommend visiting the fabrication shop you are using to ensure they are capable of working with the material. It is also worthwhile to speak to the fabricator to make sure it is the right product for you. Almost every issue involving this material is a result of bad work being done or the end user not understanding the properties of the material.

New York Times weighs in on marble


Some good thoughts about using marble in your project. Its going to patina, etch, stain, scratch and wear, but its still a beautiful way to finish a kitchen.  If you start with honed marble (matte finish), you don’t notice the etching as much. In the end, it might not be the most practical choice, but it sits apart from any of the alternatives. Engineered quartz (Silestone, Caesarstone, Viatera, et al), porcelain (Dekton, Neolith, Fiandre, Lapitec, Sapienstone, etc), and natural quartzites (White Macaubus, Taj Mahal, Perla Venata) all make for more durable choices in kitchens that will leave you with a lot less to worry about, but don’t be too quick to dismiss marble.  Its been used for thousands of years and is still going strong all over the world.

Slab shower walls

Lately we’ve been getting requests for different ways to use stone slabs.  We’ve done feature walls, fireplaces, shower walls, sinks, flooring and more.  Some of the new materials out there lend themselves beautifully to these applications.  New sintered porcelain slabs like Neolith, Dekton, Fiandre, and Lapitec come in thinner pieces that are perfect for vertical surfaces and come with none of the wear and tear of marble and natural stone.  Some of the new book-matched patterns mimic Calacatta and Estatuario marble better than anything else on the market.  And now they come in both polished and honed, book-matched and continuous.  You can even add shower seats, niches, jambs, curbs, shelves and other details to complete the look.

Fiandre shower walls

Fiandre book-matched Calacatta slab shower walls

Fiandre shower niche

Mitered shower niche

The porcelain slabs work great as horizontal surfaces as well.  Countertops can be mitered to appear thicker and undermount sinks look great.  We’ve even installed baseboards and waterfall panels using the porcelain.

Fiandre porcelain slab vanity

Fiandre porcelain slab vanity

Calacatta End Panels

Some commercial work we just completed with polished Calacatta marble. Every edge is mitered, all end panels have returns. Material is book-matched. Turned out really beautiful. Wish I had better pics.