Cast Stone vs Natural Stone – Norstone Industry Series
There are many different types of stone that have been used for centuries on a vast array of architectural and design applications. Two very common popular categories that decorative stone fall into are natural stone and manmade cast stone. Natural stone is applied for the most part in its original form and color after being cut, shaped or polished and can be used for commercial and residential construction including flooring, cladding, counter tops, curbing and water features. The beauty of natural stone is it’s meant to be applied with minimal change from how it looks as it’s pulled from the earth and has incredible longevity. Manmade cast natural stone is defined as a refined architectural building unit, generally produced from concrete, manufactured to simulate natural cut stone used in unit masonry applications. It is manufactured with aggregate and cementitious materials, intended to resemble in appearance, and which may be used in a similar way to, natural stone.
It’s an interesting fact that both materials are widely used for the same types of applications, such as fireplaces, but each tend to carve out a different niche in the industry. While cast stone tends to fit well quite often within the lower end more budget conscious market place, natural stone such as our Norstone stacked stone Rock Panels target and lead the higher end boutique market where high quality unique natural cladding products are always in high demand. Although both products offer a stone finish, when choosing a natural stone cladding vs a cast stone product you get a superior appearance, which is also a great deal more durable than cast stone. Stone finishes are ageless and will always transcend time and popular fads. Natural stone has its own distinct texture, veining, patterning and color, ensuring a unique look for each project whereas cast stone tends to be made from a limited number of molds in any given factory with limited originality and therefore can’t really compete when a direct comparison of the two types of stone is made.
Another nice feature of natural stone is that while being incredibly durable many natural stones are virtually maintenance-free from day to day, requiring only periodic sealing depending on the application and if necessary and desired, periodic cleaning as well. Cast stone manufacturers spend lots on marketing and make claims that their materials have the same maintenance features but the durability falls short usually with color fading and eventual breakdown of the materials used.
Natural stone has been and will continue to be used as a building product forever. Manmade products will also continue to be developed to meet specific needs, especially when budgets are driving the final decision. Quality natural stone products like Norstone will continue to attract the interests of discerning designers, architects, contractors, and clients that wants to source materials that are still priced competitively but really preserve the unique beauty that only a natural product can provide.