Natural stone building materials have always been a popular choice. They enhance the beauty of any space and create a feeling of luxury that we experience through touch as well as visually.
Any bathroom with stone floors, counters or shower walls offers an irresistible air of spalike indulgence. While marble and granite have been common choices, I’ve noticed that slate and sandstone are up-and-coming favorites for bathroom floors and showers.
In its most practical state, the bathroom is a “cold” room with hard surfaces and little color. The natural variations in patterns and colors present in decorative stone offer immediate warmth and splendor. It is practical in wet spaces, and the slightly irregular surface of stones such as slate makes them resistant to slippage.
I have recently discovered stone veneers through a company called Surface Innovation. Real slate and sandstone are now available in lightweight, flexible veneer sheets. This opens up exciting application possibilities. As well as the more customary flat-surface applications – including floors, walls, cabinetry and counters – stone veneers can be wrapped around columns, furniture and lighting, producing impressive results. If you are renovating, you will not have to move electrical switches or adjust for the normal thickness or considerable weight of a stone slab. These flexible veneers can be cut to size on site.
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The stone veneer, backed with a standard fiberglass-reinforced polyester material is approximately 2 mm thick, and can be cut with tin snips. It’s laid on any prepared surface – plywood, cement, drywall, even ceramic tiles with a compatible adhesive.
The European-designed bathroom shown here has been clad with Sandstone Veneer. The movement of the rich caramel veins highlighted by a scalloped-top edge shows off the modern design of this striking, sensuous setting.
To demonstrate the flexibility and unique character of stone veneers, SlateFlex was introduced into the design of a stunning kitchen counter, custom-built by Chervin Kitchen & Bath (www.chervin.ca). Gloss-black granite meets thick butcher-block for the countertop, the curved front is SlateFlex Green Nature, and the stainless-steel kickplate has small spot lights set in.
There are always variations in shading and pattern in natural stone. The stone veneers come unfinished so that you can choose to enhance the colors with stone enhancer products sold at your building store, or leave the stone in its natural state. Stone is porous and can be sealed to avoid contaminants from seeping into the surface. Visit www.surfaceinnovation.ca to see more imaginative applications, and then dream up your own design.
Stone veneer is a great solution for the fireplace challenge sent in by a reader in the following letter.
Dear Debbie: We have a large stucco stone fireplace we would like to update. The surface is irregular, as the stones are raised. How can we give the fireplace a new look? Love your weekly columns. – Barb
Dear Barb: Stone veneer would make a stunning fireplace surround. However, you will have to smooth out the uneven surface. Chiseling away at the raised stones and filling in the indentations with plaster is a messy, time-consuming job. Instead, why not build a new plywood surround to fit over the stucco? You now have a flat surface on which to apply paint, tiles or a slate or sandstone veneer.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.tritter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.