What is Basalt?

Basalt is very often overshadowed by its more famous cousin, granite. It is however a very beautiful stone that can create a soft yet slightly industrial feel to your home.

Basalt is an igneous rock that is formed when magma cools very rapidly, for example when the lava flow from a volcano hits the ocean. Because the cooling process is rapid there is no time for crystals to develop in the stone and basalt as a result tends to be very finely grained. This is where basalt differs from granite as the latter forms when magma cools very slowly under the earth’s crust. Granites tend to have a much coarser structure as crystals have time to develop and the colour of the resulting crystals is dependant upon the minerals present in that particular part of the world.

Basalt is one of the most frequently occuring rocks on earth and in fact the dark areas visible on our moon are plains of basaltic lava flows! It’s finely grained texture and gentle movement provides a subtle pattern in the surface that adds interest without being overpowering. We recently fabricated and installed this beautiful bespoke Basalt sink..

If you are looking for a surface that is a little bit out of the ordinary we recommend you take a look at basalt! You are welcome to visit our showroom for a sample..

Calacatta Oro

Calacatta Oro

We had this beautiful Calacatta Oro marble delivered last week. This marble will add drama to any area of your home..

August Bank Holiday

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Saturday 27th August – 9.00 am to 1.00 pm

Sunday 28th August – Closed

Monday 29th August – Closed

An al fresco supper..

outside kitchen 2     outside kitchen 1

Why not make more use of your outdoor space? We installed Kashmir Gold granite surfaces on this fantastic outside kitchen last week – just in time for the warmer weather!

Desert Silver Marble

desert silver 2

This stunning Desert Silver marble was delivered to us last Saturday – perfect for a bathroom renovation!

Big bathroom? No problem! All of the marble required for your project will be sourced from the same block to ensure that the tones and colours match…

desert silver 1

Carrara Marble

carrara 1 Bianco Carrara CD

Carrara (Nile) 30 mm July 2016 Bianco Carrara C

The 650 quarries located in the Apuan Alps surrounding the city of Carrara in northern Tuscany have produced more marble than any other place on earth. This is not surprising considering the fact that Carrara marble is perhaps one of the most beautiful and iconic of all the natural stones.

Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo is said to have visited the Apuan Alps on several occassions in order to personally select the blocks of Statuario marble from which he would create his masterpieces. The pure white Statuario deposits have now unfortunately been depleted but Carrara (grades C and CD), as well as the distinctive Calacatta Gold marble, is still quarried here.

Each slab of Carrara marble is unique and whether you prefer soft blue-greys or sharp dark grey veining we will source the perfect slab for you!

Sensa Orinoco Granite

Orinoco 1

We had this beautiful and unique slab of Orinoco granite in our work shop recently. This particular slab is a Sensa by Cosentino meaning that it has been protected with a special treatment during the manufacturing process. The patented treatment, which provides a high stain resistance to common household stains and makes the granite virtually maintenance free, also has a 15 year warranty. There are many granites available in the Sensa range and you are welcome to visit our Oxford premises to learn more…

Granite vs Quartz: Which is Better?

This is possibly one of the most frequently asked questions relating to stone work surfaces. The answer is not altogether straightforward and the question perhaps needs to be amended to ‘Granite vs Quartz: Which is better for you?’

Both granite and quartz are popular choices for kitchen work surfaces but the different properties of each stone product tend to make one or the other better suited to your lifestyle and kitchen design.

Lemurian Blue     Verde Savana 1730 001     Pisani Bianco Eclipse March 2016     Cosmic Black Stoneyard 1     Bianco Eclipse, Gerald Culliford Feb 2016     Nile Tading Shivakashi Jan 16

Granite – a natural product – is quarried in blocks, spliced into slabs and polished. Quartz, on the other hand, is an engineered stone surface comprised of over 90% natural quartz stone which is ground down and mixed with resin to form a slab.

So which will look best in my kitchen?

There are hundreds of different granites quarried all over the world – ranging in age from approximately 250 million to over 1300 million years – making each slab entirely unique! Customers interested in granite are welcome to visit one of our many suppliers to select the exact slabs that will be fabricated into surfaces for their home. The variation inherent in natural stone is one of its many attractions but if you prefer something a little different, perhaps a more uniform surface for your kitchen, quartz may be a great option for you. There are many manufacturers of quartz and consequently an enormous choice in terms of colour: pure white, sparkly mirror flecks, bright greens and reds, neutral tones of brown and cream and definitely more than 50 shades of grey.

But which is more practical?

Quartz is virtually non porous meaning that it is difficult to stain. This resistance to staining does not disappear over time and you will never have to seal your quartz surfaces – maintainence free hurrah! Granites do however need to be sealed to help prevent staining. Your granite surfaces will be sealed on installation and the frequency with which you will need to re-seal is dependant upon the granite you have chosen (darker granites are naturally denser and as such require less frequent sealing than lighter granites). If you are considering granite for your kitchen then the fact that sealing is required should not be a deal breaker – it is a very simple process which you can do yourselves relatively quickly.

redwine

As quartz contains resin, extremely hot objects (pans from the hob or casserole dishes from the oven) should not be placed directly onto the surface as this may cause a burn mark. We recommend the use of trivets with granite also but the natural stone is more tolerant to hot temperatures without causing damage.

Both granite and quartz are durable and strong materials capable of looking as beautiful as the day they were installed 20 or 30 years down the line. This makes either choice a thoroughly worthwhile investment. It should be remembered however that stone surfaces are not completely indestructible and severe knocks can cause damage in the form of a chip (for example if one were to drop a heavy dish from a significant height on to the surface).

Can I see some samples of different granites and quartz to help me decide?

You are more than welcome to visit our Oxford premises at any time to have a closer look at some of the timeless granites and beautiful quartz available. One of the team would love to talk to you about your kitchen plans. We hope to see you soon!

 

Easter Weekend Opening

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Good Friday – Closed

Saturday 26th March – 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Easter Sunday – Closed

Easter Monday – 9.00 am to 5.00 pm