Stone & Mosaic Tabletops
Nothing combines durability and great looks like a stone table. From a simple slab of granite to an Italian inlaid travertine table, to a ornate tile mosaic, there is a look for every decor. Stone tables can be frightfully heavy, so we make sure you have a base that can support the weight without ‘whiplash’. In the elements, a stone table will benefit from an annual treatment with a stone sealer/enhancer, a simple step that restores its luster. There are many types of stone tables.
What are the various types of stone tables?
Stone tables for the patio typically fall into three types:
- Solid-slab granite, travertine, or marble
- Mosaic – different types of stone and/or ceramic tile, terra cotta, or glass set into a mortar bed
- Volcanic stone slabs, which are glazed and fired like stoneware pottery.
Solid-slab tabletops can be made in many sizes and shapes. It provides a uniform look, which can be mellow so it disappears into the patio, or it can be as stunning as a richly-veined marble slab can be. Mosaic tops provide a stunning look, and can be tailored to suit the color scheme of the venue. Volcanic stone is quarried in great slabs, cut to the appropriate size, and pre-fired to ensure there are no weak spots that might crack. An artist next painstalingly handpaints underglazes and top glaze onto the tabletop until the desired effect is achieved, then the top is fired again. The result is a one-of-a-kind handmade stoneware top!
Mosaic top and slab tops can be solid-core or composite-core. Solid core is exactly that: solid stone. Some manufacturers offer an alternative core which can be made of a synthetic material, such as honeycombed aluminum. This is done to make the stone top lighter and easier to move and deal with. In our experience, solid stone is the better way to go. Combining unlike materials (eg: wood + metal) in outdoor usage with extreme temperature fluctuations can result in failures. This is due to differing rates of expansion/contraction due to changes in temperature. Put simply, wood and metal expand and contract at different rates, unless a flexible bond is between them, cracking in the least flexible (stone) component can result. Stick to solid core tops, or insist on a strong warranty – there are some systems of composite cores that actually do work.
Most slab and mosaic tops should be sealed once a year with a good-quality stone sealer/enhancer, available at better tile shops. Italian hand-inlaid travertine tops with terracotta inlays look best with a small amount of wax applied 1-3 times per year, depending on the amount of sun they get. Some tables do better with wax instead of sealer, so ask us when you are selecting.