Tag Archives: Cosentino

Stone Products Today – April 4, 2013

Cosentino Center, Austin, TX

Cosentino Center open in Austin, TX

From Marmol Export USA, GranQuartz, Silestone USA, LATICRETE, Rocky Mountain Stone ▸ MORE


The Week: March 11-18

Cosentino plans bigger 2013 in North America; Premier Surfaces takes on Tennessee; importers shortlisted for Inc. 5000 honors.

From Stone Update:

125_250_Cosentino_100_1COSENTINO PLANS 2013: Some new operations and makeovers of Cosentino Centers are slated for this year, but the big push may be for the new Dekton® surface and its May 20 debut. MORE


125_250_PremierSurfaces_1TAKING ON TENNESSEE: Georgia-based Premier Surfaces expands its holdings to a fourth Southern cities by acquiring Stone Services in Chattanooga. MORE


125_800_601059-b_1QUARTZ IN MILAN: Caesarstone teams up with a Tokyo design studio to bring its surfaces into the fashion world next month at the Fuori Salone 2013. MORE


125_200_AHI_1NEW AT ARTISAN GROUP: AHI Stoneworks in Hot Springs, Ark., becomes the 36th member of the North American premium-countertop fabricators group. MORE


Around the Web:

MAKING THE LIST: Austin, Tex.-based Pacific Shore Stones Inc. begins its ninth year as a stone importer … and gets a nomination for the 2013 Inc. Magazine 5000. MORE

INTRIGUE IN INDIA (yet more): Government squads raid the houses of granite-export executives. MORE

Upcoming Events:

3/21: Grass Roots Regional (ISFA) – Tampa, Fla.

3/21: Texas Stone Summit (MIA) – Houston

3/22: Digital Stoneworking Expo (Park Industries) – Poway, Calif.

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For the latest industry info, check the daily Stone Update Today and our Facebook page.

Name That … Whatever

There’s one point of contention I’ve dealt with since day one of Stone Business: quartz. Or, engineered stone. No, make that agglomerate. Wait, maybe it’s ….

Just talking about something that’s not directly taken from the ground and cut up in to nice, polished slabs and tiles can result in heated arguments among fabricators, installers and other industry professionals. It won’t stop anytime soon, either.

Neither will the debate on what to call the material, or at least in wordage presentable enough for the dinner table (notwithstanding the fact that my mother often had language saltier than the food she cooked). Assigning terms that fit the growing number of surfaces available for fabrication gets harder by the day.

When Stone Business first appeared in the Early Oughts, the common term was engineered stone – the favorite from Breton S.p.A, the Italian company offering the most-popular technology for the process. At the time, we went with the flow.

Not long after that, I went through the rite of passage in spending the better part of two hours on the phone with Marty Davis, Cambria’s chief, over the term. In all the words, he made a good point; you can use more than ground quartz to create slabs and tiles with Breton’s machinery. He preferred natural quartz, which we tried on for size and kept using for more than five years.

We carefully noted natural stone as the term for quarried material. Eventually, natural quartz didn’t seem to have the right ring; when the radon question whipped up to a froth a few years ago, it sounded hollow. The defense of the man-made material as radon-free centered on the stuff never having something that occurs as part of a natural process, so why include natural as part of the tag?

We finally settled on quartz surface to differentiate it from the total man-made materials of solid surface. Unfortunately, as we enter the age of sustainability, we face a whole new set of challenges in defining surfaces.

For one thing, there are the surfaces incorporating exotic and semi-precious stones (such as those from Amazing Stone Ltd. and Caesarstone’s Concetto®) that use resins or other man-made materials to bind everything together for slicing into nice cross-section slabs. Great-looking material highlighting natural stone, to be sure, but it doesn’t occur this way in nature; it’s manufactured. The best term we’ve developed is exotic surface, but it still doesn’t quite hit the stone part of the material.

Technically, it’s an agglomerate, but then we enter the realm of terrazzo and – as Davis pointed out – the fact that the heat-and-pressure Breton process can also be used to form slabs of small pieces of granite, marble or any other natural stone. All are agglomerates.

Luckily, the sustainability movement gives us an out for much of the new combinations.  Since the big push now is for green material, most of the new selections (such as Caesarstone’s Recycled Collection, Cosentino’s ECO® and Santa Margherita’s SECOND.LIFE®) fit the term recycled surface (with the original material added as a modifier, such as “recycled quartz surface”).

But, there’s another set of surfaces fitting the bill as agglomerates and recycled materials, such as IceStone® and Vetrazzo®

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. The binder comes to the rescue here, allowing for the moniker of cementious slabs.

Of course, the central question for many in the industry keeps coming back: Why talk about any of these non-quarried products?

The short answer is one Stone Business arrived at before its first issue: The surfaces can be fabricated. None of it is traditional quarried stone (and we’re careful to not misrepresent this), but it requires much the same equipment, tooling and skill to turn slabs into tops, splashes, surrounds and other goods of the trade.

There’s always going to be an identity crisis over what we should talk about when it comes to materials. We just want to keep the names straight.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at Stone Business Online, where you can also find Joe Becker’s Blog and follow a major restoration job of a Midwest cathedral’s stonework.

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Sundry: New York Times, Cosentino & the SFA, Pakistan

Wrapping up some loose ends:

• The interest in that New York Times article – “What’s Lurking in Your Countertop” – received plenty of short-term attention from online readers. However, it doesn’t appear that it sustained much traffic after a few days of interest.

The article led off the 30-day most-emailed list of articles in the Times after its print publication on July 24. It stayed at the top of the list, sometimes moving around in the top three spots, for weeks after its publication. (See the blog entry of “What’s Lurking in Your Internet?”)

The article kept its top status on the email-referral list late last week, as it passed the 30-day mark after its print debut. Then it started moving down. Way down, to number 23 on Monday. Yesterday (August 26) it disappeared.

I’ll keep checking the list to see if the article reappears, but it looks like the pass-around time for the article appeared to be short-lived. The long-term effect on consumer interest in granite countertops, however, isn’t likely to dissipate as quickly.

• After more than three decades of working for pay in the journalism trade, I don’t get surprised very often. But I never thought I’d write something even close to the headline I wrote for Stone Business Online yesterday: “Cosentino Cuts BuildClean ties; allies with SFA.”

The backstory, as I’ve learned, isn’t all that surprising after all, considering the Stone Fabricators Alliance. Until recently, the mood on the group’s http://www.stoneadvice.comWebsite went beyond surly with quartz producers on the radon/granite issue; even the idea of drawing-and-quartering seemed kind.

That passion for direct action took another form in the past few weeks; to get some tangible movement on the issue, SFA representatives decided to head to Texas and talk directly to executives at Cosentino® North America. After hours of, as they say in the diplomatic trade, frank discussion, the two sides found plenty of common ground in directing efforts toward consumer safety without whacking away at granite’s reputation.

That led to Cosentino pulling the plug on their support of the BuildClean™ effort, and aligning with the SFA on developing solutions for the mutual benefit of the stone trade and consumers. How this will play with the Marble Institute of America – which also had earlier discussions with Cosentino NA chief Roberto Contreras that came to naught – remains to be seen.

• The mid-July article in the New York Times on the Taliban essentially running a protection racket at a Pakistani marble quarry (“Pakistan Marble Helps Taliban Stay Alive”) likely didn’t help efforts to boost the country’s stone trade. Getting quarrying and processing into high gear continues to be a big topic, especially for the Pakistan Stone Development Co.

The group’s chairman, Ihsanullah Khan, sees a big future, with a capability of producing enough marble, granite and other dimensional stone to rival a export giant like Brazil. He’s also promoting modern extraction methods to reduce waste.

However, in a June 30 interview in the online Pakistan Daily, Khan also answered a question about a remote demonstration quarry in Khuzdar that, in light of the Times article, might need some rethinking:

Q: But isn’t Khuzdar in a tribal area, where there is a law-and-order situation problem? How do you get to work there?

IK: No, we don’t have kind of this problem. The tribes, who are all locals, they don’t bother us. We are creating job opportunities for the local people who would get benefit from our projects.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at www.stonebusiness.net, where you can also find this blog at the top of the home page under the clever title of “Editor’s Blog.”