Monthly Archives: July 2015

Applications for River Rocks

River rocks, found on the beaches of Indonesia, are a popular material for bathroom and shower floors. Like other natural stones, they have a pleasing variation in color, size, and beauty that complements a number of different homes. In addition, many people choose to use the stones because of the way that they feel underfoot. With the rounding tops of the stones pressing on the feet, they can help massage the feet, offering a spa feeling to the bathroom.

These are not the only applications for river rocks, however. These beautiful stones can be used on walls and ceilings as well. A lot of current trends in home design are leaning more toward natural products and textures that can invoke the feeling of nature within the home. River rocks differ from other natural stone products because each stone is left intact and mortared together with the others, rather than being cut or polished.

Installing river rocks on the ceiling or walls of a shower along with a waterfall or deluge showerhead can help produce a very natural and aesthetically pleasing look in the shower. If an entire wall of the rocks is too much for a small space, a border of the stones can be run at eye level or used to surround each wall to help give the same effect.

River rocks can also be installed in other areas of the home besides the bathroom. Smaller-sized rocks and flatter varieties can make beautiful additions to a kitchen backsplash. Larger or “King sized” pebbles can be used to cover the surround of a fireplace, making a particularly dramatic look when extending to the ceiling.

For outdoor use, river rocks can make a beautiful addition to gardens, pathways, patios, and pool decks. Whether mortared into place or left loose, river rocks can help complement a variety of outdoors spaces, providing a peaceful, Zen setting and a pleasing feel underfoot.

While river rocks may retain their popularity on bathroom and shower floors, be sure not to overlook them for a variety of other applications as well.

Loose River Stone Pebble Floors

River stones have been a popular floor covering for bathrooms and dressing rooms for multiple years now. These smooth, rounded stones are frequently installed on sheets and first mortared, then grouted onto the floor. The result is a lot like any mosaic flooring, with the added advantage of the natural appearance of the stones and the way they feel underfoot.

In more recent years, loose river stones have begun to be used in and around the home in much the same way. These are the same stones found on the beaches of Indonesia. The difference is that instead of being mounted onto sheets and mortared into place, they are left loose.

Initially, these types of stones were primarily used in landscaping. More and more homeowners, however, have begun to use them on the floors of their homes. This can provide a more natural looking floor with the same beauty of the stones and the feel under the feet, along with a natural shifting that can be pleasing to the touch and to the eye.

Unfortunately, they do have some drawbacks as well, which many homeowners may not always consider.

The fact that the stones shift almost constantly when stepped on means that they’ll need frequent raking to ensure that they contain to cover the floor evenly. And without grout between the stones to help keep moisture out, water can collect beneath them, encouraging mold and the rotting of the subfloor. Therefore, a drainage system should be installed along with the rocks to help prevent this.

Like all natural stones, river rocks should be sealed to help prevent staining. Because the rocks can be shifted and turned over, this makes it more difficult to keep them well sealed and means that the rocks may be subject to stains and other issues over time.

Loose river stones can make an excellent addition to pool decks, gardens, and patios. Take care to consider the care and maintenance required before bringing them indoors.

Conglomerate Stone

There are a lot of different natural stones on the market that are labeled and sold as granites that are not in fact an actual granite. Known as commercial granite, these stones may be igneous like true granite, or they may be metamorphic, and even sedimentary. One such stone that is getting a lot of attention lately for its unique structure and beauty is a type of stone frequently called “Mariachi”. These stones may come in a number of different colors, including black, red, and green and all of them appear to be filled with circles of varying colors, unlike the more traditional flecks or veining of color seen in other granites.

Like many stones, Mariachi is not a true granite, but is in fact a conglomerate stone. This sedimentary stone is made up of many different things, which makes no two conglomerate stones ever the same.

A conglomerate stone is made up in layers like limestone. They frequently form on the bottom of a river red, where rounded stones of all sizes, mineral type, and composition are washed and settled into layers of silt. Over time these layers harden and coalesce to become a single stone known as a conglomerate for the many different pieces making it up.

When conglomerate stones are cut to become countertops, the different pieces inside are sliced horizontally, which is why the finished counter will appear to have so many different circles of color surrounded by a background of a different color.

While conglomerate stones are sedimentary, they can be made up of countless different types of stones including some granites. This can mean that a counter made of a conglomerate stone may be harder or softer, and more or less resistant to etching depending upon its makeup. Because of this, it’s very important for homeowners choosing to use a conglomerate to perform the acid and water test shortly after purchase on a sample taken from their slab. The results can help inform the homeowner about how much care this particular slab may need to keep it looking its best.

Conglomerate stones are very unique in the world of stone counters both due to their appearance and their makeup. Treat each one as an individual to ensure their lasting beauty.

Natural Stone and Kids’ Bathrooms

As the trend of using more natural materials and styles begins to grow, more people are beginning to install natural stone in a variety of settings, including in children’s bathrooms. And while stone is a beautiful addition to any space, parent’s putting stone into a child’s bathroom should be aware of some of the issues that may arise in this setting.

One of the biggest concerns for using stone in a child’s bathroom is etching. Young children in particular are not always careful or likely to wipe up spills and messes as soon as they occur. And many things in the bathroom from urine to toothpaste can leave etch marks, or dull spots, on some stones. Polished stones and softer stones like limestone are the most likely to show these marks over time if they aren’t carefully protected and cleaned. Conducting the water and lemon test is a good way to determine if a stone is prone to etching or not. Stones that don’t etch easily may be better choices for use in a child’s bathroom.

Another concern for parents with older children is staining, particularly in the sink and shower areas. Older children and teenagers may be more likely to experiment with things like makeup and hair dye, which can permantely stain natural stone. Some dark stones may not show stains easily, but if your teen likes to dye her hair purple on occasion, a white or light colored stone may absorb some of the color.

Some bath and beauty products may also etch stone, so if older children and teens are likely to be using a lot of bath products on a regular basis, be sure to keep the stone well sealed to help prevent damage over time.

Natural stone can make a beautiful addition to any room of your home, including a kids’ bathroom. Just be sure to take care to keep it well sealed and clean, and to choose stones that are less likely to etch than others to help keep it looking great for years to come.