Do you dream about a cubic zirconia or a diamond?  Corian counter tops or granite?  Manufactured or natural stone?

The difference between them is what is real.  The surprise is that natural stone is not priced significantly more than its manufactured counterpart!

Manufactured Stone (cultured stone, man-made stone, faux stone) is concrete poured into a mold then colored to look like real stone. It was introduced decades ago as an alternative to the heavier natural four-inch thick building stone (prior to the introduction of the natural sawn thin stone veneer). The lighter manufactured stone made for easier installation causing the product to grow in popularity. This pushed the natural stone market to come up with a sawing process to produce a lighter similar product. Hence, began the age of natural stone veneer. When considering whether to use the thin cut natural stone veneer or manufactured stone one must take into account raw material cost, installation cost, finished look and longevity.

Material Cost

Many people are still under the impression that manufactured stone is a cheaper alternative to natural stone . There is some truth to this and if it is all about price and nothing more then yes, a cheap manufactured stone is probably your best option.  However, keep in mind that the old adage of you get what you pay for definitely holds true.  The end product may take on a “manufactured look” especially over time.

Installation Cost

There is no difference in the installation procedure for natural and manufactured stone as they are both a thin veneer product; therefore, there is no cost savings by choosing manufactured stone.

Finished Look

From a distance, it may be hard to determine what the difference is between natural and manufactured stone, but instinctively you know that there is a difference.  Upon closer inspection, you can clearly see that there is absolutely no comparison.  What is it that separates natural stone from manufactured stone?  Natural stone has an undeniable beauty with each stone being unique in both appearance and texture.  It takes on characteristics that only mother nature can produce.

Cultured stone is made from a variety of molds so if you look closely you will often find the same piece twice! Cultured stone is marketed as “believable”.  Believable yes, but only an imitation!

Longevity

Assuming proper installation, natural stone veneer will bring a lifetime of beauty.  Natural stone veneer will retain its colors and only get more beautiful over time whereas the colors of cultured stone are just painted on so fading after a few years is a common problem. The natural stone veneer will also make for a seamless transition should you wish to landscape your home with natural stone.

Closing Thoughts

Every home is unique and is often a reflection of the homeowner’s personal style.  When you consider that the stone on the exterior of a home is rarely, if ever, replaced in one’s lifetime, you want a product that not only reflects your personal style beautifully and with character, but is lasting too!  And you have the option to choose between what is real and what is not for far less than you might imagine.

Choose among the 40+ Table Rock natural stone selection options available to you for your next new build, remodel, or outdoor living space today.