Manufactured stone is becoming an increasingly popular choice among building pros for exterior and interior applications. “You'd be hard-pressed to find a residential development that doesn't have some sort of stone veneer on it someplace,” says Dave Barrett, president of United Stone Veneer, Middleburg, Pa.
Made of a cement mix shaped by molds and colored by chemical pigments, manufactured stone is adhered to surfaces rather than anchored. Because of its light weight, manufactured stone is ideal for remodeling, where the existing home's structure may be unable to support the load of natural stone, says Len Przybylski, owner of TriLite Stone, Howard Lake, Minn.
Manufacturers say sales in this product segment have increased almost every year since it w as introduced in the1960s. Boosting product appeal is the availability of more realistic colors and textures. Originally, the chemical pigments added to the concrete lacked patina and depth. “It was very honest and very gray, brown, beige, or charcoal,” says exterior color consultant Miriam Tate of Miriam Tate Co., Costa Mesa, Calif., which works with Owens Corning's Cultured Stone.
Now, manufactured stone includes a number of color overlays for a natural look, as well as numerous textures and shapes from thin, chiseled stacked-wall pieces to smoother river rock or cobblestones. Tate says there is room for even more styles, predicting formal, more precise stone arrangements in the future, adding that the increasing popularity of contemporary architecture will provide a “blank canvas” for sculptured, cleaner lines in stone veneers.
Adapted from the March/April 2006 issue of BUILDING PRODUCTS magazine.
For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog, www.ebuild.com.