Why natural stone?
September has been an exciting month for Norse Stone. We have seen summer turn to autumn, a new area of the quarry opened and a shiny new website! But that’s not all, during this time we were delighted to receive the Caithness Chamber of Commerce Young Business of the Year award and were also named as finalists in Caithness and Sutherland Business of the Year category at the 2019 Highland Business Awards. Both of these accolades are fantastic achievements and ones that wouldn’t be possible without the amazing Norse Stone team and, of course, our stunning stone.
During the application process for the awards, we began really thinking about our stone and, indeed, natural stone products as a whole. There are so many natural stone and imitation stone products out there, how do you know which to use? Below, we have rounded up our main thoughts on the subject....
Limestone, granite, slate and even our very own Devonian sandstone (otherwise known as Caithness flagstone) all have a range of different properties including colours and textures. Looking specifically at Caithness flagstone, each layer has its own unique natural riven surface texture which can be used in projects throughout interior and exterior building design as well as landscaping. However natural stone, unlike some other materials, can be adapted to suit specific design requirements and trends. Norse Stone itself offers a variety of finishes including Riven, Brushed Riven, Antique, Matt Polished and High Polished along with edging and facing options. If that wasn’t enough, colour variations are also present in natural stone with Caithness flagstone ranging from the standard greys and blues to weathered browns and buffs. Using enhancement treatments, our stone can be made to look virtually black in colour!
Find out more in our finishes guide.
Now there will always be those who claim that they can produce man-made, imitation stone products which look almost identical to the real thing but, often, cheaper. So why shouldn’t you just use one of these instead of natural stone? Well, there are some that do however often at the detriment of their project’s life span. Caithness flagstone has been formed over 3 million years and, like other natural stones, one area it will always excel in is its natural durability. Moulds to copy textures and dyes to mimic natural stone colours are all well and good but by saving money initially, many loose more in the long run. Some natural stones, including our own, are able to withstand use for 100 years or more in comparison with their man-made counter parts which are maybe able last 30 years at best therefore having to be replaced sooner and so incurring a higher life span cost.
Unlike any man-made imitation, natural stone is a 100% natural material. No chemicals or additives, no high energy processing and, usually, far fewer production transport requirements as well. For example, Norse Stone’s primary quarry is Lieurary. We extract the stone by cutting out the layers, (not blasting) and literally take it from one end of the quarry to the other where our fully equipped processing workshop and production line is situated. The only time transport is required is to deliver it to our customers! On the flip side of this, you also have imported stone. Did you know that an estimated 85% of stone used in projects across Scotland is imported? Now, some of them may have similar impact in their local areas however when you add the huge transportation implications to bring them here, the overall environmental figures just don’t add up!
Although, the award proceedings were a fantastic opportunity to showcase Norse Stone, they also provided a really useful means of reflection on all areas of the company including what makes our material so unique. We are passionate about our products and stone and want to raise greater awareness of it and it’s uses. This does mean we are a bit biased and will always recommend natural stone over man-made imitations but with superior durability, stunning finishes and a better lifespan to cost ratio, why wouldn’t we be biased?