Come next month, Ndegwa Muriithi will be adding three more machines to his workshop so that he can try to meet the rising demand for his products.
Mr Muriithi says he will be shipping in three Single Gang Stone Saw machines, the devices which he uses to cut different types of natural stones into various decor products for buildings.
Decor floor slabs, tiles for wall copings, decorated paving slabs, natural stone cobbles and inter-locking blocks are just some of the products which he makes at his Stone Cut Limited, located in Kiganjo, in Nyeri County.
With a single machine using wet-cut method, Mr Muriithi has been turning waste stones from the expansive quarries in Kiganjo into money.
According to the builder who is also a father-of-two, the idea came about five years ago when he was contracted to set up a four-storey block in Thika town.
“The owner wanted very smooth walls and we started looking for a machine that would cut the building stones to the desired texture,” he says.
This, he says, forced them to halt the construction until they got one that produced the desired finish.
From that day, the 50-year-old planned to buy one Single Gang Stone Saw from China at a cost of Sh1 million and put up a small plant that does not only recycle the quarry waste, but sees quarry workers earn more.
The steel blade of the machines is made of diamond. This means that Mr Muriithi has to cool the blade with water to reduce friction.
His products are made from granite, slate, sandstone, marble, travernite and other stones. According to him, every product has its own price and this usually depends on the type of stone.
“I have been in production for the last three months and things are really looking good for me,” he says.
His products, he says, have zero carbon rating, are easy to clean and at the same time, they are beautiful.
The building blocks require little cement, he adds since they have been smoothed.
“One only requires painting his or her wall after completion of the building but even without that, the wall looks beautiful,” he notes.
“Professional designers prefer natural stone for both residential and commercial buildings. The beauty and elegant finish of natural stone are unequalled and it is a timeless sense of style and luxury and increases the overall worth of your home in the market,” says Stone Centre Limited manager, Ms Ann Wangui.
WATER – TIGHT
Currently, Mt Kenya Region and Nairobi provide him with a reliable market. However, he says, after buying three new machines, he will start exporting to China where he has been scouting new markets. If successful, he says, it will be a big win for both Nyeri County and himself.
As for wall and floor clubbing tiles, Ms Wangui says, they have long life and require minimal maintenance. The water-tight nature of precast eliminates moisture absorption.
“A sealed, exposed aggregate finish tends to be self-cleaning and has a very long service life,” she notes.
Until now, Mr Muriithi has pumped over Sh7 million in his business which only occupies three-and-a-quarter acres of land. He has employed five people already. However, with the additional machines, he intends to hire 48 people.
At the moment, his main competitors are products from China which he says they are made of ceramics.
According to him, it costs one $40 (Sh3,520) to ship in a square metre of natural stone and this he says has made many people to avoid using them since they are expensive.
And with his products now ready and locally available, he hopes many will use them as he says they make construction cheaper and easy to maintain.