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Artificial Stone Today

Updated:2012-12-04 17:39:43
By the late 1980s, perceptions were changing once again: ‘ artificial stone has come a long way since then and some feel that the best look so like the real thing that they could threaten the future of the stone industry. Cast stone may, when properly designed, manufactured and installed, be as durable as many natural stones.’[10] For this reason, by 1989, The Journal of Preservation Technology was describing cast stone material as being ‘fully accepted’.
Cast stone was increasingly used for structural applications and larger panels with complex reinforcements. And the post-modernist architects use classical cast stone detailing to relate to an existing context such as brickwork with string courses, pediments, gables and cornices. The material is widely used by house builders to add value to their schemes.
In the 1990s much research relating to artificial stone was undertaken by the University of Dundee, the potential importance of this being recognized by Building Design in 1990: ‘The Dundee programme may well lead to concrete as architectural cast stone being reinstated as a high quality 21st century building material.’[12] The Dundee programme culminated in a joint research programme by the University of Dundee and the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA), making a number of interesting conclusions relating to artificial stone when compared to natural stone, in effect stating that both materials are generally comparable: ‘All Cast Stone products, and particularly when waterproofed, were found to be highly resistant to carbonation. Efflorescence did not occur in any of the test samples and weathering in Cast Stone was similar to that in control natural stone. The data also suggests that dry-cast, Cast Stone is no less vulnerable to frost attack than natural stone.’
‘Unfortunately for contemporary advocates of artificial stone, whilst poor artificial stone is rightly vilified, good artificial stone so quickly takes on the appearance of natural stone that it is often mistaken for, and assumed to be, natural stone and so is not given the acclaim it deserves.’
‘Through technological advances and rigorous testing regimes, the quality of cast stone from a United Kingdom Cast Stone Association member is undoubtedly higher and more consistent than has been created at any time in the history of artificial stone. One can only wonder how historians will review the works of present day manufacturers in the centuries to come, for it would appear that it is only with hindsight that we are prepared to properly judge this material.
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