For the purposes of this post, let’s go through a few quick definitions. Natural stone is millions of years old. It is quarried from the earth and has gone through many natural changes over time. Cast stone is a type of precast concrete designed to simulate different types of naturally cut and quarried stone. So, time to learn more about Natural Stone or Cast Stone!
Let’s now review a few points about natural stone that might be considered advantageous. It is relatively strong, stable, timeless, and durable, as witnessed by monuments and works of art that are centuries old and have aged wonderfully, gracefully, yet casually. Please see at the top of this post the lodge at Crater Lake. Natural stone will appreciate in value when used properly, is very eco-friendly, will resist natural elements, requires minimal maintenance, and offers almost limitless design options.
Natural stone comes in various shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and patterns. There is a stone that is perfect for almost every application out there. It can be considered a one-of-a-kind building material, and in fact, hand-carved natural stone is a true work of art!
However, it is impossible to find exactly matching tiles, slabs, or architectural elements. In that way, stone elements have their own “stone DNA”, so to speak. There are many natural causes that affect the graining and coloration of stone over time. Such as, mineral deposits, underground springs, temperature, and seismic shifts. These occurrences are impossible to re-create and can only be done by Mother Nature herself. All of these “imperfections,” that can be thought of as character, are unique reflections of the stone’s “life.”
On the other hand, there are some perceived and real disadvantages of natural stone. It can be expensive, depending on the type of stone used. Many times the final product received doesn’t look exactly like the sample. There are generally requirements in maximum sizing and length, and the material cannot always be seamless.
In terms of cast stone, as shown in the two images above, there are some clear positives. Quite often, it is considerably lighter and can be easier and quicker to manufacture and install. In many cases it is less expensive, but by no means is that always the case.
There are a few drawbacks when considering cast stone. For example, cast stone struggles to achieve the same level of detail as carved natural stone. There is only so much you can capture with the molds that produce the product, whereas the possibilities are endless when you have a sculptor carving natural stone. The hardness and density of the stone and the artistic expression of the artisan doing the work add immeasurable value that simply cannot be achieved in the cast counterpart. It can also be quite challenging for a cast stone producer to achieve a genuine visual interpretation of veining and overall stone “movement.”
In review, the question of natural stone or cast stone is complicated. So consider all these factors before your decision is cast in stone!!!!