Decorating & Design

March 17, 2009

Adding Character With Cultured Stone

A natural stone wall or fireplace looks gorgeous, but can be costly and requires certain structural specifications. Natural stone installation is also time consuming, eating into a budget hour by hour. For homeowners who are building or renovating and want the warm, rustic look of a stone façade or fireplace but find this option to be beyond their budget, cultured stone can be the solution.

Not only is cultured stone less costly than the natural variety, it’s also lighter in weight, foregoing the need for additional footings, foundations or wall ties. Installation time is considerably less than that of natural stone and the possibility of application over existing brick or concrete materials broadens renovation options.

Cultured stone is actually Portland cement, cast in moulds carefully taken from natural stones varying from 1" to 3" thick, depending on the texture. Much care is taken in creating the moulds so that fine details of the natural stone are captured in the finished cultured stone.

A number of different cast stone products are available on the market, ranging from veneers to architectural trims varying in texture, size, shape and colour. Thousands of individual moulds are used to cast the cultured stone in order to reduce the duplication possible in any installation and no two stones are ever produced with the exact same colouring.

Sold by the square foot for flat pieces, linear foot for corner pieces and hearth and trim products by the piece, a builder can purchase a minimum of 12 square feet of wall area or a maximum of 90 square feet at one time.

Considered a non-combustible product, cultured stone can be used for fireplace facings as well as behind free-standing stoves in place of its natural counterpart.

While not many products are as good as the real thing, it may be worthwhile to consider cultured stone as a fine alternative to natural stone, if the application and location calls for it. Consult with dealers or builders about the many advantages of cultured stone.