Case Studies

Valders Stone & Marble Inc.

All Limestone is Not Created Equal

Valders Stone & Marble Inc. (Valders) is a dimensional cut stone division of Eden Stone Co. Inc. (Eden Stone). Eden Stone acquired Valders in 1992, setting the operation on track to become one of the most advanced custom stone product fabricators in the country. Valders capitalizes on its relationship with Eden Stone, as well as the market recognition of the stone’s performance characteristics to ensure custom orders of quarried stone meets each client’s individual specifications, quality and aesthetic requirements.

The Valders team operates out of two of the eight quarries owned in Wisconsin, with the company’s main office located in Valders. From this establishment, Valders has been producing some of the highest quality Type III dolomitic limestone available for over 107 years.Valders Stone & Marble Inc

“Valders is one of the only, if not the only, U.S. producers of limestone material meeting the performance criteria of ASTM Type III material that is available in large monolithic blocks,” explains Peter Roehrig, general manager at Valders. Valders produces raw limestone product in four- or five-foot thick blocks without any structural stratification or loose seams. Valders’ stone products are then mechanically sawn to size in slab thicknesses required for an order. The slab or thicker cubic material is then dimensionally cut, squared or machined to the required final size, configuration and finish. Eden Stone is a major customer of Valders’ material that has been cut into slabs of varying thicknesses to be fabricated into veneer.

Eden Stone products usually follow a different process from quarry to customer, as the parent company harvests limestone and sandstone from the other six quarries for use in thinner dimensional stone products, including flagstone, pavers, full and thin veneer, and landscaping stone. These products can vary in thickness from under one-inch thick to a thickness or depth of over 24 inches. Eden Stone products capitalize on using the natural bedface, weathered edge or seamface as the final finish for many applications of this material.

Valders early days entailed the team producing limestone for use as lump lime, a kiln-fired limestone product that had to be soaked in water, known as slaking, for use in plaster, mortar and other masonry applications. Eventually the introduction of hydrated bagged lime eliminated the use of lump lime. Therefore, Valders expanded its operation into riprap limestone production and the first cut stone projects in the late 1950s. Valders’ expansion then opened the door for further building material contracts.

Some early highlights for Valders include supplying the stone products to build an office for the Kohler Company, as well as the supply of stone veneer for a Lakeland College project as two of the company’s first cut stone projects. The company evolved over time, and today Valders has a major part of its production engaged in providing natural stone products for high-end residential projects across North America as well.

Valders now employs a staff of roughly 55 professionals, each of whom utilizes tools that have come a long way from the company’s original stone-cutting operation. Valders employees possess a comprehensive understanding and technical expertise, allowing the company to virtually produce any product a design professional could dream up. In fact, Valders’ skilled craftsmen average over 14 years tenure with the firm, as the team takes pride in working closely with design professionals to provide the most effective way to meet the client’s budgetary constraints, as well as their performance and aesthetic objectives.

Quality and Craftsmanship

Even though Valder’s headquarters and processing facilities are located in Valders, Wis., the company boasts completed projects across North America and even a few abroad, with a wealth of pleased clients to match. Prospective clients look to Valders for stairways, balustrades, arches, cladding and fireplaces, coping, pavers, and tile, as well as custom specialties and architectural accents. More often than not, clients enlist Valders for such products when only the finest, most durable stone finished by an expert fabricator will do.

Such was the case in 2008 when Valders supplied stone for the new Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The 580,000-square foot underground extension was added to provide additional space for Congress, and a central meeting room for the swarms of visiting tourists. “The architects on the project needed a limestone product that matched the existing color of stone found in the Capitol Building that also had very high-performance characteristics in terms of abrasion resistance,” adds Roehrig.

Sandstone is the most prevalent stone used in the Capitol Building, as the project required a total of more than 400,000 stone pieces, some of which weighed as much as 500 pounds. Valders successfully came through with approximately 50 truckloads of limestone flooring and stairway material.

Limestone for Life

Likewise, clients increasingly seek the well-renowned team at both Valders and Eden Stone with green building projects, as the companies’ durable stone products fit nicely within the ideals of sustainable design and its emphasis on long-term performance. The team’s reputation has scored Valders many notable projects along the way.

Valders supplied stone to the LEED-certified 60 Oxford Street development at Harvard University’s North Yard Lab Campus in Cambridge, Mass. Valders also supplied the LEED Platinum-certified Markim Hall at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. A couple of recent project highlights from Valders’ portfolio include projects for clients such as the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Massachusetts and an outdoor paving and landscaping project for Beloit College.

Valders also supplied stone for a major restoration and renovation of the historic Salt Lake City book depository when O.C. Tanner purchased the building for use as its flagship retail location. The project required extensive restoration to the building’s historic stone cladding, as well as some major seismic upgrades that called for an innovative approach.

Together, the team ultimately devised a temporary bracing structure to limit the strain on the existing structure and led the project to take home the 2009 ENR Award for Outstanding Engineering Design and Outstanding Restoration Project. This project garnered many awards, including the Tucker Award for the project’s use of natural stone.

And Valders has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. “We know that we need to plan now for more stringent standards and compliance requirements in the future,” expands Roehrig. “We are incorporating Lean management techniques into our production process. We want to be innovative and introduce several new products to the market per year, maintain or improve our customer service and response time, and reduce our waste at every level of our operation.”

In doing so, Valders ensures its quarries will be up to the task of supplying clients for a lifetime. In turn, Valders Stone & Marble Inc. will stand for high quality, exceptional craftsmanship and unparalleled natural beauty, proving all limestone is not created equal.

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