Stone Colors 101

Tips to get the color you’re looking for:

As a product of nature, one of the wonderful things about stone is the unique quality of your finished masterpiece. Specific colors or projects are almost impossible to match exactly, but your quarry and mason can work with you to achieve a similar look to another project if you are willing to be flexible.

Gold Flag Horizontal

Stone can get its color a number of ways. From varying percentages of minerals present in the stone, to the environment in which the stone was created (exposure to different elements and/or organic materials such as plant or animal matter coming in contact with the stone creating unique colors, or textures on the outside or within seams), to the way it is processed.

When using full thickness stone, the color can be fairly consistent inside and out (ie. Salado White Limestone, or Salado Cream Limestone) or many times the most colorful stone choices achieve their color from the patina or outside ‘skin’ of the rock (Gold, Hickory). This presents two important issues to customers:

  • First, if a piece of rock gets its color (and/or texture) from the outside layer only, as little as 16% or 1/6th of the surface will have color. Occasionally, when people see the stone in a pile (bulk stone) they have the reaction that the stone does not have as much color as they wanted. Take the pieces and start turning them or wash the dust off. The overwhelming majority of the time customers do this, they ‘find’ the color they thought they were ordering.
  • Second, it is important to communicate your vision with your mason/installation crew. Even if every piece has at least one side of color, but the colored side is turned to the inside of the wall, a very different look will be achieved than if the color is managed to your desired outcome. Most masons or installers will build a small sample panel to get your approval on stone color management, mortar color and joint size/style.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer can be more consistent because the desired/specified color is the portion that is harvested from the full thickness stone. This procedure leaves only one viable side to be installed for display. Using natural thin stone veneer eliminates the choice of whether to turn the color ‘in’ or ‘out’ (but does still leave the need to distribute variances throughout the project).

The end results of any project will depend on the masonry/installation crew. A sample panel and a good flow of communication with your mason about the look you are trying to achieve is the best way to ensure your satisfaction with the finished project.

*Stone is a product of nature. Because of this, actual results of colors, weights, and coverages may vary.

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