Stone and Tile Articles



Survey Finds Granite Countertops Still No. 1

NewsUSA) – By overwhelming majorities, American adults prefer granite to any other countertop surface for their dream kitchens, and believe granite countertops increase home resale values, according to a new national survey’s findings.

The survey of 2,021 U.S. adults aged 18 and over was conducted in October by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Marble Institute of America (MIA). It asked respondents which countertop they would most want in their dream kitchen. At 55 percent, “granite countertops” was the most popular choice, followed distantly by “synthetic stone” at 12 percent.

Asked how much they agree with the statement “granite countertops increase the resale value of a home,” 90 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed.

“After months of inaccurate reporting and questionable research aimed at raising doubts about granite, it’s gratifying to know consumers believe granite countertops are as safe as they are beautiful, practical and durable,” said MIA President Guido Gliori.

In fact, 84 percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement “Granite countertops are among the most safe, beautiful and durable kitchen counter surfaces on the market today.”

“The survey results show consumers’ preferences for granite countertops are virtually the same across all regions, genders and age groups,” Gliori said.

For more information, visit


Natural Stone: Discovering New Forms of Art

(NewsUSA) – Art can take on many different shapes and sizes in a variety of media. From watercolor paintings and bronze sculptures to still-life photographs and wood carvings, art can become the focal point of any interior living space. But, what if art could become part of a home’s architecture in unexpected ways? The answer is yes, it can, and it comes in the form of natural stone.
Perhaps it’s the allure of the exotic location from which it originated, or an unusual texture or uncommon color — representing that single event in time illustrating when and how the stone was created. Whether it’s a rare stone that is one in a million or one that was uncovered from the depths of the earth, natural stone can truly make a beautiful and exotic piece of art.
“Mother nature definitely has defined and shared her art with us through her supply of natural stone,” says Tom Harty, director of procurement at Stone Source, a company that specializes in curating natural stone and a member of MIA + BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. “The beautiful and creative veining found in natural stone is like a painting on a canvas.”
Whether natural stone is used to draw attention to a fireplace design, or is carefully selected as a standout countertop in a bathroom, the ways in which it can be used are endless. Some homeowners even enjoy mounting stone slabs on interior walls as pieces of art.
Chris Schulte, president of Las Vegas Rock, Inc., a quarry that concentrates on extracting metaquartzite stone and also a member of MIA + BSI, explains that the company’s “rainbow gardens” offer a multitude of natural stone colors ranging from purples and reds to yellows and browns. Some of these stones are so beautiful, they can stand alone as art. “We have many customers who have purchased slabs as wall art,” he says. “In fact, in the cities of Henderson, Nevada and Las Vegas, government buildings have slabs of metaquartzite displayed on the walls.”
Onyx is another type of exotic natural stone that can be used in artful ways. “The translucent character of many onyxes lends them to be backlit and incorporated as decorative pieces,” says Harty. In fact, popular uses of onyx include bar backsplashes, built-in wall cabinets, bathroom countertops, staircases, and fireplaces.
Those who find beauty in nature might see natural stone as more than just another building material; they see it as a unique piece of fine art. For more information about natural stone, visit


Granite Countertops Still Top List of Home Improvements

NewsUSA) – Despite the sputtering economy, consumer spending on home renovation remains healthy. Across the nation, homeowners are investing in home remodeling projects – especially kitchen makeovers – either to make their homes more appealing to buyers or more comfortable and enjoyable while they ride out the housing slump.

And one of the most popular home improvements is, once again, granite countertops.

A recent study of 10,000 consumers, conducted by the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence, found that kitchen renovations remain at the top of the list for consumers seeking to add value to their homes. When the study asked homeowners, “If you were changing your kitchen now and had no budget constraints, what improvement would you make?” granite countertops were among the kitchen features they coveted most.

Many consumers are tightening their belts but remain eager for granite countertops, according to Garis Distelhorst, executive vice president of the Marble Institute of America, the nation’s leading natural stone association.

“Historically, consumers recognize that granite countertops enhance the value of a home in ways few other improvements can,” said Distelhorst. “No other countertop surface can measure up to granite in terms of practicality, timeless beauty, durability and safety. This natural stone has held its value in ways more trendy materials have not.”

Consumers continue to invest confidently in kitchen makeovers because the projects typically increase the resale value of their homes. In the last five years, kitchen remodeling projects have generally returned 80 to 85 percent of consumers’ investments, according to the “Cost versus Value Report” from Remodeling magazine.

Because kitchen renovations increase resale values, experts agree that if consumers can only afford to renovate one room in their homes, it should be the kitchen. In fact, an all-new kitchen “that looks great and is fun to work in” was the top priority of 2,200 home enthusiasts surveyed recently by Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

“What we’ve discovered is that the home continues to be our emotional center and the sweet spot of everyday life,” said Gayle Butler, Better Home’s editor in chief. “Economic uncertainty aside, we won’t stop spending, improving and dreaming.”

For more information, visit the Marble Institute Web site,