Natural stone will not fade or wear over time. In fact it looks better with age. It carries its own unique characteristics and no two stones are exactly alike because it is not made from a mold. It can be shaped, trimmed and chiseled to take on any specifications without losing any coloration or effect. The vibrancy and life of natural stone cannot be captured by any painted product. It can be pressure washed without consequence, whereas cultured products can be damaged over time.
Manufactured stone is concrete poured into a mold, then colored to look like real stone. It was introduced decades ago as an alternative to the heavier natural four-inch thick building stone, prior to the introduction of the sawn natural thin stone veneer. The unique feature of the concrete mix used in making manufactured stone comes from the use of lightweight aggregates. These unique lightweight aggregates are used in place of the rocks you would see in a concrete mix that is used for driveways, sidewalks, or structural applications.
Natural stone veneer is natural building stone sawed to a depth range of 0.75″-1.25″. It is sometimes referred to as thin veneer or thincut stone. Full bed natural stone ranges between 3″-6″ deep. They will look the same once installed.
Natural Veneer Corner – Natural Stone Veneer Flat – Natural Full
On average, manufactured stone is less expensive, roughly 25% less the cost of natural stone. Its lightweight properties eliminate the need for wall ties or footings, and it has a lower waste factor than natural stone. The weight savings created by these aggregates causes manufactured stone to be much lighter than a traditional natural stone or full brick. The lightweight and flat back nature of manufactured stone allows for an installation process similar to that of stucco and eliminates the need for extra foundations, ledges, wall ties or lintels.