Not all porphyry is created equal. Like many stones there are variations in the quality of porphyry, as well as the quality of processing that turns it into pavers. The porphyry at La Posada illustrates this point.
Installed a little over a decade ago, the porphyry installation at La Posada has required frequent maintenance and is now failing. This situation is not normal with porphyry and more like the lifespan of concrete pavers in this climate. There are two major flaws in the porphyry at La Posada: it appears to be stone from the outer edges of the quarry where the stone is less stable; and it is “canyon cut”. The term canyon cut refers to hand processing which involves chiseling away at the stone, to produce an edge. This process leaves the edges thinner (and frequently a thicker middle) which does not provide enough of an edge to achieve interlock. Canyon cut stone must be mortar set because of the instability of the interlock and the inconsistent thickness. Quality porphyry is processed by machine cutters for this reason. Sawing and snap cutting with guillotines provide consistently thick edges that allow for either sand setting or mortar setting.
Canyon Cut porphyry stacked after removal. Note the thin edges and thick centers.
Restoring the Glory
The porphyry at La Posada is being replaced by Milestone Imports Copper Mountain porphyry supplied by Avants Stone. Avants Stone was also selected to install the stone due to having over a decade of porphyry installation experience. Previous installations include the porphyry labyrinth at the historic St. Francis Basilica.
The installation by Avants Stone will last a century or more with minimal maintenance. Normally cubes would have used for the circle but due to the setting bed depth, 4 x 4’s were chosen and cut to exact size. The installation will improve the appearance of the paving and elevate the quality to the level expected by the patrons of La Posada. The work at La Posada will continue in stages, due to the necessity of low key installation during a busy season at the resort.
About the Spa
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa is located on six historically rich acres in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the 1930s, R.H. and Eulalia Nason constructed a series of Pueblo Revival-style adobe casitas around the existing Staab Mansion and carriage house. The Nason’s called their new business La Posada, Spanish for “inn” or “resting place.” In the following years, La Posada became a summer arts school with many long-term guests who were an important part of Santa Fe’s flourishing arts community
After an extensive renovation in the late 1990s that included the construction of additional lodging, La Posada de Santa Fe Spa, and the Conference Center, La Posada transformed into the full-service resort that it is today, La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa has retained its traditional Southwestern charm and intimate ambience.