Manufactured Versus Natural Stone What’s Best for You

Natural stone is probably the oldest durable building material after caves. It is however expensive, and time-consuming to quarry, cut and chisel to shape. This was not a problem in olden days when castles had to be strong and time was on people’s hands. However, this changed when stone finishes became merely decorative.


A Short History of Natural Stone Veneers


Both the Coliseum and the Roman Forum were clad with marble veneer over crude granite blocks. We can still see the holes where the veneer attached before invaders looted it. Modern stone veneer appeared in the 1800’s in Europe, with granite, limestone, marble, travertine, and slate most popular.

The raw stone has not stood up well against industrial pollution. Some of the earliest 19th century veneers are disintegrating. Stone is not as robust as we may think. Even the mightiest mountains erode under the force of rain and wind.

By the 1930’s, stone veneers were between one and one-and-a-half-inches thick, and applied in sheets as facades. By the 1960’s they were half as thick, and required concrete backing for support. New technology arriving early this century enabled one-eighth-inch sheets to keep natural stone cladding affordable.


The Arrival of Manufactured Stone Veneer


Manufactured artificial stone veneer emerged, bringing stone effect finishes within reach of homeowners. Manufacturers use rubber molds of true stones into which they pour tinted cement mix. This creates a quasi-natural effect using a variety of different molds.

The product can appear even more convincing by lining the mould with ground natural rock. However, while we can come close to the real thing, we will probably never replicate the ancient hand-packed stone walls of Europe, weathered over a thousand years.


So What Is Best? Manufactured or Natural Stone


Polished marble splashbacks and countertops outdo artificial granite ones because of the infinite variety of colours. That said, there is a huge difference in price. Much the same goes for manufactured wall cladding on the exterior of houses, although skilled artisans make a difference by mixing the patterns and arranging them skilfully.

Speak to Valiant Exteriors to learn more about – and to see examples of natural and manufactured stone veneers we apply to houses in Calgary during siding upgrades. A stone-effect, skilfully applied could add thousands to the value of your home, and become one of the wisest investments you ever made.

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