Natural Stone vs. Manufactured Stone Veneer

Stonemason skills, in high demand, are easier because stone pieces are now thinner, making real stone a viable option in a competitive market.

Stonemason skills, in high demand, are easier because stone pieces are now thinner, making real stone a viable option in a competitive market.

It used to be that using real stone in home and landscape situations was kept to a minimum because of the weight of stone and skill required to lay it. But, with the advent of stone veneer, which is made from concrete, consumer demand for stone products rose dramatically. At first, these attempts at mimicking stone weren't ideal. But, demand remained. Quarries were driven to rethink their manufacturing processes, and new technology created the means to cut thinner pieces of natural stone. This brought the cost of natural stone down on par with manufactured stone. 
 
But is natural stone always the answer? No.
 
You’d think that as a custom stone fabricator and installer, we’d say, ‘Yes!” But, that would hardly be a helpful service to our customers, who deserve the best advice possible, not just an answer that will bring us a job. The truth is, there are plenty of times when nothing beats natural stone, which is why the custom stone countertop business is thriving. Architects will always choose natural stone when there is an option. So, when is natural stone the second choice?
 
 

After thirty feet, a wood structure won't support stone as a practical option.

After thirty feet, a wood structure won't support stone as a practical option.

1. When the structure is wood and the installation is going to be over thirty feet high.

This is a situation where additional footings and ties would be required, making natural stone an impractical option.

2. When stone isn’t available.

Sometimes, the job will be in an area where there is no natural stone, or the feasibility of obtaining natural stone is fiscally unrealistic. In this case, manufactured stone is the remaining option.

3. When there isn’t anyone available to install the stone properly.

Stone masonry requires a level of expertise which is gained over time. Poorly laid stone is not a safe or wise use of resources. 
 
There are circumstances in which natural stone is clearly the better choice, and possibly the only choice.
 
1. Installation of stone at, near, or around water.  

Tub surrounds, ponds, hot tubs, and pools where water is going to be splashing quite a lot will erode manufactured stone veneer. In this case, natural stone is clearly the only option.
When there is already existing stonework. Manufactured stone veneer is no longer made in the repetitive-style pattern which outed it as obviously fabricated, however, when natural stone is already in place, the best option is to keep the look as similar as possible.


2. In a custom-build situation, where one-size-fits-most won’t work.

Stone, the obvious choice for lasting beauty.

Stone, the obvious choice for lasting beauty.

There are situations where the quality or building situation is such that natural stone is clearly the obvious choice. 

3. Where stone and skill are readily available.

This is the kind of situation where architects and builders clearly prefer natural stone to manufactured. In some cases, the local stone has already been used, which means the local stone is clearly the best choice, or in cases where a certain type of stone is being extended.
 

This is an exciting time in the stone industry, not only for custom stone fabricators like ourselves but also for quarrymen and customers, who have access to some of the most beautiful materials in the world for commercial and residential building needs.


If you have a home, business or rental property in the Metro Phoenix area and are considering upgrading with granite countertops or other stonework features, call us here at JDM Countertops at 602-461-7559

Understanding maintenance of Your Countertops and Floors

Maintaining a stone countertop is one of the reasons people choose granite for their counters. It provides a hygienically superior, beautiful, and long-lasting surface. 

The basics

When caring for your stone countertops, the basics are the same. 

  • Spills should be blotted, not wiped. Wash the spill with water or a mild soap solution and water, and then dry with a soft cloth.
  • Use heat protecting-trivets or mats on stone surfaces. Most stone handles heat, however, heat isn’t recommended.
  • Don’t use cleaners which aren’t recommended. These can damage your counter or floor.
  • Keep your countertop and floors dry.  Here in the Phoenix and Valley area, we have hard water, which can create hard water stains on your countertops and fixtures.  Using a squeegee can help.
Don't use cleaners which aren't recommended.

Don't use cleaners which aren't recommended.

For floor care:

  • Use entry rugs to keep dirt and grit from spreading through the house
  • Dust mopping will help to remove the grit that makes it’s way beyond the threshold
  • Vacuuming or any other type of physical cleaning should be done with care. If there is any scraping or dragging, check the wheels of the attachment to make sure they aren’t worn. It is possible to scratch stone with 

Types of soap:

Cleaners should be chosen with care. Never use common cleaning products! These will etch/damage your countertops and floors.

Use one of the following: 

  • Neutral cleaner
  • Stone soap
  • Mild dishwashing liquid


Use the least amount of soap you can to do the job effectively. Remember, overuse of soap won’t make it cleaner and can leave streaks and film. The secret is to rinse with clean water. Keep the rinse water clean as you work.

Never use acids (vinegar, lemon juice). Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as scouring powders or creams, and don’t use any products containing hydrofluoric acid.

Tracked in grit will scratch stone floors: dust mop often.

Tracked in grit will scratch stone floors: dust mop often.

Sealing

Sealing products actually don’t stain-proof stone. Sealing on a counter is much the same as wax on wood furniture--it acts as a kind of repellant but doesn’t prevent stains. A good quality sealer gives the homeowner time to clean up the spill.  Sealants should be reapplied as recommended by the installer and, if used for kitchen counters or other food areas, should be non-toxic.

We carry and recommend Advanced Sealers and Cleaners, with AC Technology. This is an excellent line of products which covers the range of You can find them in our showroom, or find out more about them here.