WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL STONE AND CULTURED STONE
One of the biggest decisions a homeowner has to make comes down to what material will best suit their desired design preference. Natural stone veneer and cultured stone veneer (also known as manufactured stone and faux stone) are the two most popular products for featured walls and building façades.
What are the differences between the two stones?
A stone veneer is a thin layer of stone used as decorative facing material that is not meant to be load bearing.
Natural Stone is quarried from the earth, formed thousands of years ago. Its texture, imperfections, and tonal variations are what make it unique, no two stones are the same, like one's fingerprints. Natural stone has been used for centuries to create stunning historical architecture from castles, to the pyramids and so much more.
Cultured Stone is man made, consisting of concrete and aggregate materials pressed into molds. They are spray painted and in some occasions hand painted, in order to achieve a more authentic look. Cultured stone originated in 1962, a mere 60 years ago as a new type of building material. In the short amount of time cultured stone has spread Nationwide.
What are the differences in their appearance/longevity ?
Natural Stone has a wide range in colors, going from grays to tans, whites to pinks. Their colors come from the numerous minerals that were pressed against one another hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every single stone is unique in its look and texture, giving it its natural authenticity. The color does not fade and the stones are not prone to damage. Natural stone is guaranteed to last a lifetime with minimum to no maintenance, making it more affordable in the long run.
Cultured Stone is abundant in its color range, due to the fact that it is man made, several stones are identical in color. Although cultured stone is able to match precise colors it is not resistant and durable. Exposure to the weather causes the paint to fade and over time the stones deteriorate and pieces start to chip off. In order to preserve its look and texture, cultured stone requires regular maintenance and in some cases re-installation, making it less cost efficient down the line.
What is the difference in cost?
Natural Stone is the most affordable choice in the long run. Because natural stones require minimum to no maintenance it becomes that much more economic. Almost every single structure made out of natural stone can go decades without needing any kind of touch up or fixing. So, when thinking of the bigger picture, natural stone is financially more suitable.
Cultured Stone may seem like the cheapest choice but that will depend on the quality of the cultured stone used. The better the quality the higher the cost. Cultured stone needs regular maintenance, making it more costly as time goes on. The average maintenance can range anywhere from every 5 to 10 years depending on the quality of the stone and the exposure to certain weather conditions. If choosing cultured stone take into account the regular maintenance cost and how it is less cost efficient down the line.
So, when thinking of which stone will be the better fit for the project at hand, think about the authenticity in the look of the project, the value and longevity of the stone, and the maintenance required to keep the stones appealing to the eye.
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