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Artificial Stone

Updated:2008-11-28 09:19:14

Artificial stone was a name for various kinds of synthetic stone products used from the 19th century to the early 20th century. They were used in building construction, civil engineering work, and industrial uses such as grindstones.

Manufactured stone is a revolutionary material. It is made from concrete and special colored pigments. But to ensure it stays on a wall permanently, the stone mason who installs it needs to make sure they mix the stucco just right. It also helps to use a little cement paint as an extra bonding agent.

The following is a list of manufacturers of man-made stone veneer products Bradstone
Castia Stone
Centurion Stone
Classic Stone Products
Coronado Stone Products
Eldorado Stone Corporation
L-B Stone
Luck Stone
Nailite International
Nichiha Fiber Cement
Owens Corning
Stonetile
TriLite Stone Company

Many artificial stone products are both lightweight and durable. These two qualities are achieved by manufacturing the stones in a controlled environment. Just about every artificial stone is made by mixing small, lightweight pieces of aggregate, Portland cement, and different iron oxide pigments. This mixture is poured into hundreds of different flexible molds which vibrate. This vibratory motion is the key to producing realistic textures and color variations in each individual stone. Because these stones are very similar to concrete and are manufactured under controlled conditions, they will probably outlast both you and I combined.

The fact that these products are lightweight gives them a unique advantage over natural stone products. Artificial stone products do not require foundations beneath them for support. They are attached to buildings in a manner very similar to applying stucco. If your house is wood framed, a wire lath is applied directly to the wood studs or over the exterior wall sheathing after a weather resistant barrier has been applied. This barrier can be either standard asphalt felt paper or one of the many waterproof air infiltration barriers. Once the metal lath has been securely fastened to the wall framing members, the installer simply applies a one-half to three-quarters inch thick layer of mortar onto the lath. The stones are set directly into this fresh mortar. Many manufactures recommend using specific colored mortars depending upon the color of the stone being used.

Some people in the past have expressed concerns about the color fastness of artificial stone products. For the record, many people don't realize that natural stone will both fade and discolor as a result of oxidation and exposure to weather. The artificial stone products are manufactured in such a way that the color is integral throughout each piece. Some manufacturers have developed an additional process which imparts shade variations directly from the face of the molds. This makes the stone products virtually indistinguishable from their natural stone counterparts.

Artificial stone products should also help you with your budget problem. Frequently the cost of a complete installation is 50 - 60 percent that of a similar natural stone installation. The current retail cost of many of the artificial stone products is about $4 per square foot. Labor, mortar, and other costs may add an additional $4 - 8 per square foot depending upon your locality.

 

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