The stone market is heating up now that Cultured Stone ( Artificial Stone) have become the hot trend in hardscape design. This has driven a growing number of quarries to produce a thinner product for use both indoors and out to give the modern look of real stone construction for a fraction of the cost.
In the past, before this growth in the market, stone work on a home or landscape utilized mostly whole stone. Construction was a challenge with a material so heavy and costly to transport. This weight demanded much larger footings and thicker walls overall, taking up valuable space in smaller sites.
Cultured stone began in the mid-20th century as a manufactured alternative to heavy natural stone. These composite masonry units were a good deal lighter than real stone eliminating the need and expense of special footings and support. Manufactured in thinner veneer units with a flat back, even more problems were solved.
Over the years manufactured stone has come a long way as companies developed far better methods such as hand coloring each piece and casting their molds from actual stone units.
Manufactured stone remains a strong seller due to its problem solving abilities. It is also valuable in regions lacking local sources of quarried stone.
Where Not to Use Manufactured Stone
We do not recommend manufactured stone with water applications such as fountains and pools because chemicals will cause it to deteriorate, as will the constant moisture.”
Labor is different and more cost effective due to the light weight of manufactured stone. It won’t require footings and ties to support the product. That’s where you gain in your budget.”
Why lighter weight is helpful when the structure is wood frame? Our product can be installed up to thirty feet tall without additional footing and it solves problems for wood core walls. For a natural stone cladding, they have to put in additional reinforcement to support the weight of the wall, plus the added weight of the stone veneer. There may be additional footings, expansion joints etc, which depends on the local codes.”
You’re about to update and beautify the exterior of your home. Or you want to add a stone accent wall with a fireplace in your living room. Which will you choose? Cultured or natural stone veneer?
Natural stone veneer has all the properties of full bed stone, including its hardness, colour and natural appearance. The normal specification for veneer is approximately 1″ – 1 3/8″ thickness and a maximum weight of 15 lbs per square foot. With this protective and decorative covering, there is no need to worry about discoloration, environmental concerns, fading or replacement. Many masons feel that natural stone has a rich and timeless beauty that no other product can provide. With natural stone, you enjoy unique individual shapes and stone sizes, textures, and colours that only nature can create. “Thin stone veneer” has gained in popularity because it is so much easier to install, is less expensive and is largely indistinguishable from the thicker, full bed stone.
Cultured stone has come a long way in recent years and has become very versatile and durable. Because it weighs much less than natural stone, it can be installed on a wider range of surfaces. Of course, it depends on the particular project, but cultured stone projects generally cost about 2/3 of what natural stone projects cost. Some cultured stone products contain upwards of 50% recycled content so they are increasingly environmentally friendly.
Both cultured and natural stone products can be used on most interior and exterior applications.