Using Onyx in Masonry Design

Homeowners in Dana Point, CA are widely embracing the look of onyx for their fireplaces, kitchen islands, bathrooms, tables, walls, and floors, because of its power to add a special touch. The stone is unique, beautiful, and rare, ideal for turning a home into a true masterpiece.

Using Onyx in Masonry Design in Dana Point, CA

The composition of the stone referred to as onyx in construction differs from that of the gemstone and is in fact similar to travertine. Like travertine, onyx is available in a range of colors including white, gold and brown, with some variations containing veins of red and black. The layered look and natural vein of onyx, however, is unique. Being one of the most fragile natural stones used in construction, onyx requires special knowledge for a successful installation. Because of this property and its high value, onyx is rarely used outdoors, however it can be used for key features that maintain some protection from the elements. Ultimately, onyx represents the height of luxury living both indoors and out, and contributes to a sensual contemporary aesthetic.

Using onyx with lighting

The onyx tile is translucent, meaning that when placed under a light, shapes and shadows are easily visible through it. Many homeowners use creative lighting to draw attention to this property and enjoy its elegance. This property makes onyx ideal for turning covered outdoor bars and wall veneers for enclosed patios into architectural artwork using key placement of backlighting. This gives the stone a lifelike glow and can be used for stunning decorative effect. For contractors, choosing the right setting material for installation is crucial. If not installed with the right setting material, the setting will be visible through the stone. This will spoil the stone's natural beauty and may affect its color.


Knowledgeable contractors will know that the best setting material for onyx is white, latex modified thin-set mortar. Using thin-set mortar in a color other than white creates discoloration and affects the stone's translucency.

Installation and maintenance

Onyx is one of the most fragile natural stones, making it difficult and time consuming to work with. Because of this, manufacturers often add fiberglass, mesh or resin to the back of the tile to produce a stronger product. Even so, an onyx tile needs to be installed on a solid surface if used for patio covering. Uneven or unstable substrate can cause cracking, so using a cement backer board for installation ensures a strong and leveled surface. Like travertine, to be effective as a patio floor covering, sealing is crucial. Onyx is porous, so without proper care, can become pitted and stained.

Layout variations

Every piece of onyx is different. The stone may vary from piece to piece, and even contain gradations from one corner of the same piece to the other. For this reason, contractors should ensure they set a balanced layout plan before they begin. Doing a dry layout before installation (taking pieces of onyx and creating the perfect design) helps contractors to create a harmonized look and prevent color grouping.