5 Factors That Influence the Cost of Natural Stone

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Natural stone makes a statement unlike any other building material. Its beauty, durability and design impact appeals to homeowners and contractors, but the price tag can deter use altogether or drive the decision to choose a cheaper man-made option like cast stone.

Before settling for lesser quality and possibly being dissatisfied with results, weigh these five factors into the cost of natural stone to reveal its true value:

1. Stone is a natural product

Because natural stone is quarried from the earth, there’s no way to accurately predict the type or quantity of material obtained. Scarcity of natural stone containing particular in-demand attributes — like look, size or color — typically increases cost.

2. Size dictates production

There are a limited number of large sized blocks of natural stone that can be extracted from any given quarry. That makes substantial pieces more difficult to find, but limited availability is only one reason why size impacts cost. If large pieces of stone meet project size requirements, they are simply harder to handle and process which increases production time. Plus, large pieces of natural stone require special packaging and shipping protocols that cost more than standard options.

3. Color control can be expensive

If natural stone must fall within a particular color range, more material must be culled to meet the requirements and less of each slab might be used to target particular colors. For example, a job with a tight color range may require 20 slabs to complete compared to 10 slabs for a full color range job — and the final cost of the natural stone reflects this disparity.

4. Stone density dictates cut and processing

Simply put, the harder the stone the harder it is to cut. Processing more dense natural stone generally takes longer, and it’s not uncommon to need special tooling or diamond blades. The extra time on the line and the expensive equipment required adds to the bottom line.

5. Detail adds time and cost

Details like a specific profile or shape adds complexity to the project which, in turn, influences the amount of design and production time needed to complete the job. As with customized products in any other industry, the price of the natural stone will be higher to accommodate the non-standard options.

Taken in total, investing in natural stone for commercial or residential projects is money well spent. Keep it looking as beautiful as the day it was installed with the tips you’ll find in our Care and Maintenance of Natural Limestone Guide. Click the button below to download your free copy.

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