What's the difference between natural and manufactured stone veneer?
Stone veneer is an increasingly popular choice for both interior and exterior home design. It adds a natural, rustic charm to any space and can increase a property’s value. However, not all stone veneer is created equal. There are two types of stone veneer: natural and manufactured. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two that can affect the appearance, durability, and cost of the material. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between natural and manufactured stone veneer to help you make an informed decision for your next home renovation project.
Natural Vs. Manufactured
You might have heard of the term stone veneer before, the stone that is commonly used on the outside of buildings. Well did you know that there’s a difference between natural and manufactured stone veneer?
Natural stone veneer is made from real, natural stone that is quarried from the earth. It is typically cut into thin slices, ranging from 1-2 inches thick, and can come in various shapes and sizes. Because it is made from real stone, it has a unique texture and color that is impossible to replicate with manufactured materials. Natural stone veneer is also durable and long-lasting, able to withstand extreme weather conditions and resist fading over time. However, it can be more expensive than manufactured stone veneer due to the cost of mining and transportation.
Manufactured stone veneer, also known as faux or artificial stone, is made from a mixture of cement, lightweight aggregates, and pigments that are designed to mimic the appearance of natural stone. The mixture is poured into molds and then textured and colored to look like real stone. Because it is man-made, manufactured stone veneer can be produced in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, making it a versatile option for homeowners. It is also typically less expensive than natural stone veneer, making it a certain cuts a more budget-friendly option for those looking to add the look of stone to their home. However, manufactured stone veneer may not be as durable as natural stone veneer, and may fade or chip over time.
The process of creating stone veneer varies depending on whether it is natural or manufactured. Here is a brief overview of each process:
Quarrying: The process of mining the natural stone from the earth.
Cutting: The stone is then cut into thin slices, typically 1-2 inches thick, using a saw or splitter.
Sorting: The slices are sorted by size, shape, and color to ensure uniformity in the final product.
Packaging: The finished slices are then packaged and shipped to distributors or directly to customers.
Mold Making: The first step in manufacturing stone veneer is to create molds that mimic the shape and texture of natural stone.
Mixing: A mixture of cement, lightweight aggregates, and pigments is then mixed together to form a slurry.
Pouring: The slurry is poured into the molds and left to dry.
Texturing: Once the slurry has dried, the stone veneer is removed from the molds and textured to mimic the appearance of natural stone.
Coloring: The stone veneer is then colored using pigments to create the desired look.
How to Choose?
Choosing between natural stone veneer and manufactured stone veneer will depend on several factors, including your budget, the desired aesthetic, and the application. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding between the two:
- Budget: Natural stone veneer is generally more expensive than manufactured stone veneer due to the cost of mining and transportation. If budget is a primary concern, manufactured stone veneer may be a more affordable option. Though there are exceptions to this rule.
- Aesthetic: Both natural and manufactured stone veneer offer a wide range of textures, colors, and styles. However, natural stone veneer has a unique, authentic look that is impossible to replicate with manufactured materials. If you are looking for a truly natural and organic appearance, natural stone veneer may be the best choice.
- Durability: Natural stone veneer is typically more durable than manufactured stone veneer and can withstand extreme weather conditions. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, natural stone veneer may be a more practical option. Again, there may be exceptions to this rule.
- Installation: The installation process for natural stone veneer and manufactured stone veneer can differ. Natural stone veneer can be heavier and could require additional support, while manufactured stone veneer is typically lighter and easier to install. Consult with a professional installer to determine the best option for your specific application.
- Maintenance: Both natural stone veneer and manufactured stone veneer require some level of maintenance to keep them looking their best. However, some natural stone veneers can require more maintenance to prevent staining and discoloration.
At Great Lakes Stone, we offer a variety of different natural and manufactured stone veneer options. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you choose what type of stone veneer is best for your next project! Our stone is always high quality and is designed to last. We also offer the ability to create custom blends in different sizes, colors, and stones. With our new veneer saw, we can now produce some stone options to order! This means you get the product faster and more economically!
In short, choosing between natural stone veneer and manufactured stone veneer depends on various factors, including budget, aesthetic, durability, installation, and maintenance. Natural stone veneer offers an authentic, organic appearance and greater durability, but is often more expensive and requires more maintenance. Manufactured stone veneer offers a more affordable option with a wider range of textures and colors, but may not be as durable as natural stone veneer. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the specific needs of the project and the desired outcome. By considering these factors and working with a professional installer, homeowners can make an informed decision on which stone veneer option is best suited for their home renovation project.
When you’re shopping for stone, we understand that our customers might not know all the technical details of certain products. We’re here to help you decipher some industry terms so that you can make the best decision for your next project!
Call us at (218) 525 – 6360 or click below to get in contact with a Great Lakes Stone sales representative today!