The international stone market has boomed in the last couple of decades with many nations joining the trade and spurring competition. Now a global industry, the stone trade is not without its challenges for both companies and individuals. Here are some ways to overcome the challenges of a sometimes unpredictable stone market as a consumer.
Choose a stone that is quarried nearby
Many of California’s granite and sandstone quarries established in the 1800s now no longer exist or are no longer operating as stone quarries. However, sandstone is still quarried locally in a few locations that are still operable. Choosing local sandstone will cut down on transport costs and reduce the carbon footprint of the stone. Local stone may however be in short supply. Nationally, most stone comes from Virginia and Pennsylvania, so extending your reach may increase the supply available to you. This can play a part when choosing between slate and granite, for example.
Pick a company with a large supply network
A landscaping construction company with a wide supply network ensures that supply shortages can be countered by importing your desired stone from multiple suppliers across the world. In so doing, a steady supply is achieved to keep up with demand. Although the challenge of availability is solved in this way, importing stone can sometimes add to delivery time, while the global trade keeps the price at an affordable level. A large supplier base is also a good indication of a company that is established and reliable.
Another concern of a global supply network is the question of humanitarian ethics. Many third world markets entering the trade are under-monitored. For this reason it is important to select a landscaping construction company that receives stock only from companies that are certified fair-traders. This means that no child labor is used at any point along the supply chain and that all employees of these suppliers are paid fairly in accordance with the area’s living wage requirements. A reliable landscaping company will be able to lay your ethical concerns to rest and assert themselves as responsible channels to the global marketplace.
Some less reputable companies will take advantage of the massive influx of poor quality stone available from third world markets. Be sure to choose a company you trust will adhere to the highest quality standards in order to ensure that you receive the best possible product. Poor quality stone can be easily discerned, even by an untrained eye. Watch out for crumbling corners and a flaky surface. The mark of quality stone is a dense grain and a hefty weight. Some natural cracks and fissures are acceptable. Provided the stone has been correctly treated, these will not pose any risk of further splitting the stone.
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