Everyone loves the beauty of natural stone. Did you know you can achieve the feel and look of natural stone more efficiently and cost-effectively with manufactured stone?
Manufactured stone, also known as faux stone, is an artificial material made to resemble the look of natural stone for architectural applications like exterior façades and unique statement walls. Faux stone is as striking and beautiful as the natural stone it emulates.
Some faux stone products offer an array of sizes, shapes, and color gradations that even a trained eye can find it hard to tell the difference between faux and natural stone without close inspection. In this article, you can find out all about this versatile product.
When Was Faux Stone First Made?
Faux stone has a surprisingly long history. One of the earliest uses of faux stone was Coade stone, a ceramic created by Eleanor Coade produced from 1769 to 1833.
In 1844, Frederick Ransome created a Patent Siliceous Stone made of sand and powdered flint in an alkaline solution.
When heated in an enclosed high-temperature steam boiler, the siliceous particles were bound together and molded into vases, tombstones, and decorative architectural work.
Then followed Victoria stone, made of three parts finely crushed Leicestershire granite to one part Portland cement, mechanically mixed and cast in molds. As the mold set, they were loosened and then placed in a silicate solution of soda for two weeks to harden.
Most manufacturers turned out a very non-porous stone that could resist corrosive sea air, residential and industrial air pollution.
A plaque set on Columbia Avenue in New Jersey reads Artificial Stone Vulcanite Paving Co, Office 1902 Green St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dates from the late 19th century.
Later kinds of faux stone consisted of fine cement concrete placed to set in iron or wooden molds. This faux stone could be made inexpensively and more uniform than natural stone and was widely used everywhere.
When used in engineering projects, it had the advantage of transporting bulk materials and casting them near the place of construction, which turned out cheaper than transporting large pieces of cut stone to the site.
Modern “cast” faux stone is an architectural concrete manufactured to simulate natural cut stone used in unit masonry applications. Faux cast stone is a masonry product used as an architectural feature, trim, ornament, or facing for buildings and other structures.
Cast stone can be made from white or grey cement. Manufactured or natural sands, crushed stone, or well-graded natural gravels and mineral coloring pigments can be used to get a desired color and appearance.
Cast stone is an excellent replacement for natural brownstone, bluestone, granite, coral rock, slate, cut limestone, sandstone, travertine, and other natural building stones.
How is Faux Stone Made?
Manufactured stone comprises lightweight natural aggregates, iron oxide pigment for coloration, and cement. A mix of cement, quartz powder, pigment, and resin is cast using vacuum oscillation to create blocks. Stone blocks are then produced by shaping, grinding, and polishing.
Faux stone can be cast in molds, using a process that artfully captures the most delicate details from the surface of the original stone. Faux stone can even replicate the rough and unique textures of natural stone.
While cement gives the architectural faux stone stability, it cannot be used structurally, unlike thick-cut natural stone. Some factories developed a unique, high-strength polyester resin and low-viscosity to improve gloss, strength, and hardness and reduce water absorption.
If you decide to choose faux stone veneer for your home, the best way to keep it clean and in good condition is to hose it down at least twice a year.
Types of Faux Stone
The types of faux stones include:
- Ransom stone: Ransom stone is produced by blending cement and silica soda to provide decorative flooring and has a compression strength of 32 MPa.
- Faux stone Marble and Granite are constructed from sand and Portland gypsum cement using on-site or precast production. The casted faux stone will be removed from the mold when it is set after three days with the precast production technique. It is then treated with magnesia solution and liquid fluorite after five days. The stone is then rinsed, paper-wrapped for 24 hours, and treated with the same formula. In the last stage, after 30 days, comes polishing and finishing.
- Victoria stone is a chunk of granite hardened by leaving the stone submerged in silica soda for two months. Victoria stone is produced by casting and mixing Portland cement and iron slag, commonly used as surface drains and flagstones.
- Imperial stone: Imperial faux stone is produced by carefully washing crushed granite and mixing it with Portland cement, casting the mixture into a form, and steam curing the casted stone for up to twenty-four hours.
- Quartz Faux Stone: Quartz faux stones are made by combining several mineral aggregates, quartz aggregates, unique polymer materials, pigments. This faux stone is highly compressive with flexural strength. It has low water absorption, anti-scratch, and resistance properties against acids and other abrasives. The cost of faux quartz stone is higher than other faux stones.
- Veneer faux stone: A liquid mixture is poured into molds where it sets into a shape that looks like stone. There are varieties of faux stone siding available to buy, set into panels rather than individual stones. Veneer faux stone products are durable and lightweight panels with an incredibly realistic stone look. The faux stone panels can be cut using standard woodworking tools.
Faux stone products can be used for:
- Mosaic stone facade
- Decorative facades
- Stone pillars and stone fences
- Stone cabinets and countertops
- Production stone sculptures
- Kitchen countertops
- Kitchen or bathroom sinks and bathtubs
- Manufacture of tombstones
The Pros of Using Faux Stone Veneer on Your Home
Mother Nature has been producing river rock and granite for millions of years. Men have been experimenting with stone veneers since the Romans built the Coliseum. Adding stone to your home’s decor has always been a challenge. It once cost a lot to truck a few tons of stone to your front door. Installing it was labor-intensive.
Faux stone veneers rapidly increased in popularity and made their way into every room in the house, in a comprehensive range of styles.
When faux stone veneers entered the market, they became famous for cladding building façades and decorating feature walls.
Faux stone veneer siding manufacturers are excellent at making these products look like natural stone. Stone siding adds resale value to your property because of how beautiful they are and their durability, and how they protect your property.
Here’s a list of pros when using faux stone veneer siding on your home.
- Faux stone siding is incredibly easy to work with and a lot lighter than natural stone.
- Faux stone siding is low maintenance and withstands all types of weathering and decay.
- No extra materials are needed for installation like cement mix, netting, or mortar.
- Faux stone veneer siding is more affordable, so it has seen increased popularity in residential buildings.
- Faux stone siding adds insulation value to your home that natural stone cannot.
- Most stone veneer siding comes ready in large panels, making for fast and easy installation.
- There is a wide variety of styles, colors, and patterns.
- One of the main advantages of using faux stone veneer is that it can be fixed to various substrates that don’t need to be structured like a wood frame or masonry. This is because they are so lightweight.
How is Faux Stone Veneer Made?
Faux stone veneer is cast, each uniquely colored panel is made by compressing a combination of polyurethane and color oxides into stone, brick, or rock molds.
Extreme pressure is applied to the mold material, resulting in a highly dense, realistic-looking faux stone veneer panel.
How much does Faux Stone Veneer Cost?
Expect to pay in the range of $5.50 to $10.75 per square foot faux stone veneer installed.
Faux Quartz Stone
Faux quartz stone consists of three main ingredients particles of the mineral quartz, pigments, and resins. The quartz particles vary from about 5 millimeters to less than half a millimeter.
The polyester resin binds the mineral pieces together. The resin is mixed uniformly through the mixture. Some faux quartz designs are the same color all the way through, while others have accents of different hues, which are meant to imitate the naturally occurring patterns in natural stone.
Faux quartz stone slabs are made by blending the ingredients, then pouring the mixture into a mold. Different manufacturers use different processes, but some combinations of vibration, compaction, heat, and a vacuum are applied to cure the slabs from a liquid to a solid.
Faux quartz stones are available in black, white, pink, red, beige, coffee, blue, grey, green, brown, or orange and can even be made into a customized color if you prefer. Manufactured faux stone is just as beautiful and striking as the natural stone it emulates.
Quarts Faux stone is:
- It keeps its high gloss for a long time
- It does not fade or change color
- High temperature resistant
- Bright colors and styles
- Easy to clean
Quartz faux stone can be used for bathroom vanity tops, worktops, laundry rooms, tabletops, benchtops, kitchen island tops, bar tops, shower stalls, bathtub surrounds, wall tile, wall cladding, and floor tile, to name a few. Many manufacturers sell quartz countertops like Corian, MSI Quartz, Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria Quartz, Hanstone, and Spectrum.
Quartz Stone Maintenance and Cleaning
- Regularly clean your countertop with a gentle detergent and a microfiber cloth. Use non-abrasive detergent that doesn’t contain any bleach.
- Even though quartz countertops are stain-resistant, they are not entirely stain-proof. Ensure to clean up liquids immediately. Quartz can resist stains for a short time, but all spilled colored liquids must be cleaned up quickly.
- Use surface or glass cleaner, like Windex, with a non-abrasive sponge to clean up dried embedded stains.
- Use a degreasing cleaner explicitly formulated for Quartz countertops to clean grease and oil. Rinse away immediately.
- Remove permanent markers or ink gently with an oil-based cleaner, like Goo Gone. Make sure you rinse the Quartz with warm water directly after the stain is cleaned.
- Nail polish and heavy stuck-on, hard-to-remove stains can be removed with a mixture of water and Ajax. Make sure you dilute the Ajax to the point of minimal abrasiveness. Clean gently and wipe away immediately.
Prevent Countertop Damage
- Generally, Quartz can resist temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, but quick temperature changes can damage it. Also known as “thermal shock.” Don’t place hot objects or pans directly on your quartz countertop.
- Quartz is generally scratch-resistant but can be damaged when hit by sharp objects. Avoid using knives directly on Quartz countertops.
- Do not use any highly acidic or alkaline cleaners, like oven cleaner, nail polish remover, turpentine, drain cleaners, bleach, and dishwashing rinsing solutions on your countertop. If these products spill, immediately clean them with a gentle detergent and rinse thoroughly.
- Avoid excessive heavy pots and pans on your countertops; dropping a heavy pot might crack or chip the stone.
Faux stone, also called cast stone, is made from cement, sand, and natural aggregate like crushed stone and specific pigments used to achieve a particular color.
Faux stone can be cast and molded into unique and various sizes and detailed forms to look like natural stone. Cultured manufactured stone is lightweight, easy to install, and can be applied to various non-structural substrates.
Faux stone producers give 20-to-80-year warranties on faux stone products. When faux stone is appropriately installed, it is maintenance-free and more fire-resistant than wood. One of the most significant advantages of faux stone is that it is inexpensive, far more than natural stone veneer.
Faux stones are available in various patterns, colors, and styles. With its affordability and wide range of interior and exterior applications, faux stone can significantly elevate your home’s appearance and provide a solid return on investment.