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