At his new Stratus Marble & Granite location across from the Traverse City Baseball Stadium, owner Brad Jurik has more than enough space to do what he loves: import the planet’s most beautiful slabs of natural rock to Northern Michigan and fabricate them into countertops, wall hangings, fireplace facades, floors and more. We checked in with Brad to learn more about what he does.
I felt like a kid in a candy store touring your fabrication plant—the colors and the patterns are just phenomenal! What am I seeing?
Granite, quartzite, onyx, slate, travertine, marble, limestone, labradorite, basalt …
Where does it all come from?
The material is literally from all over the world. Fifty percent of the world’s granite come from Brazil right now, but we also have material from India, Mexico, Italy, China, Canada, Madagascar …
Give us a quick primer on the best way to use some of these rocks:
Granite comes in all patterns and colors and holds up well in the kitchen. Quartzite is a natural rock (Quartz is the trademark name for man-made material that consists of quartz that has been crunched up and glued back together). It is beautiful and desirable from the standpoint that it has the visual characteristics of marble—with flowing veins. Like granite, it holds up well in kitchens.
Marble is used often for its beauty but it is minerally different than granite and acid can etch it. Limestone is actually a younger marble. It is just not fully crystallized, and it is also sensitive to acid. Using it in bathrooms is less of a concern than in the kitchen but there are ways of treating it so that it is highly resistant.
Onyx, while composed of the same minerals as marble, is generally translucent. When it is backlight it is just gorgeous.
Okay, so you get shipments of these hunky slabs to Stratus. How do they make their way to people’s homes?
Once a customer visits and selects a stone, we come to your house and make a digital template of where the slab will be used. Then we program that template into our robot friend to cut the pieces. We have a machine that has both a diamond saw and water jet. The saw cuts faster than the water jet and is good for straight cuts and mild curves. The water jet is for more complicated cuts. Some of the slabs make a pit stop for a custom-edge on a different machine.
From that point, we go from The Jetsons to The Flintstones—meaning we polish each slab by hand. There are machines that will do it, but if there are any flaws the machine just polishes them in. When we do it by hand we can do touch-ups and fixes.
Working with this stone is obviously about fine home design—but it is also about something much more ancient. Do you find you are conscious of that?
Oh yes, all the time. Our Carrera marble is from the same quarry as the marble from Michelangelo’s statue of David.
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