Norstone Industry Series - Real Stone vs Faux
Quite often we find that one of the first decisions that must be made after choosing to specify a stone veneer look for a project is “should we go with natural stone or faux stone panels”? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at why natural stone is still the more popular building material.
The first and most important decision for many is “THE MONEY”! Which product will fit the budget better? Probably the largest misconception when considering budget is that since faux stone wall panels are fake stone it must be cheaper - but do a little research and you’ll see this is simply not the case. Fake stone panel manufacturers invest great sums of money to push that impression, however in reality, a comparable natural stone wall product, like Norstone’s Natural Stone Rock Panels, and a faux stone wall product would actually carry a similar price tag.
While pricing often sets the preference between natural and faux stone panels, the scale aggressively tips further toward natural stone when we take a closer look at value beyond just the purchase price and installation cost. There are some other very costly differences one should consider. While 100% natural stone comes directly from earth, is a very green building product and simple to maintain, fake stone panels are actually manufactured using large amounts of environmentally damaging materials such as aluminum, other metals, manmade plastics such as vinyl, polyurethane polymers and many other toxic laden synthetic building materials, making the production of these materials extremely costly to the environment and our natural resources.
From a durability standpoint, additional comparisons are worth noting between natural and faux stone wall panels. Sunlight and UV exposure can take a toll on the thin color pigments in faux stone, whereas the color of natural stone will last for many lifetimes. In the same regard, temperature change and exposure to the elements (sun, wind, rain, snow) can lead to erosion and sometimes warping of plastic based faux stones, whereas natural stone is already millions of years old and can stand up to extreme weather conditions, including pools, without fail. A 10 or 15 year warranty a faux stone panel manufacturer provides might seem like a long time today, but isn’t even the blink of an eye compared to the lifetime of natural stone.
The most common reasons natural stone still outsells faux stone year after year is that it’s simply still a superior product. Above and beyond the environmental aspects to consider when using a manufactured product like faux stone panels, both natural and faux stone products will tap the budget at about the same price. So even with the advancements in recent years in manmade products, natural stone products continue to remain this industry’s “King of the Mountain”.