Contractors and Builders alike know, that pre-cast stone veneer
(commonly referred to as Cultured Stone®) is one of the most sought
after construction materials on the market.
It's beauty and durability have made a solid reputation. Some
manufacturers have lead-times in excess of two months for product
delivery as a result of its popularity. This has been a source of much
frustration to Project Managers and Homeowners alike. The three major
manufacturing companies are constantly upgrading their production
capacity in an attempt to keep up with the demand. Still, they have not
been able to alleviate such long lead-times.
A few of the many reasons for this surge in popularity over natural
1.) Cost per square foot is less than natural stone.
2.) Installation can be half the cost due to building codes and labor.
3.) The ability to customize your design scheme to match anything.
Natural stone is harvested from mines or quarries. Once the quarry is
tapped, you will not be able to find exact color matches to replace or
expand on your original design.
Pre-Cast Stone Veneer can also be efflorescence (a powdery substance
that forms on the surface of rocks and brickwork) free if a Natural
Pozzolan is added. This is a HUGE advantage over natural stone, which
needs a regimen of sealers and cleaning to prevent efflorescence.
There are 2 ways to go about acquiring Pre-Cast Stone Veneer. The first
is to buy the stones from a reputable dealer. Average cost of
manufactured stone veneer is around $7sqft. You are bound by the colors
that a company carries and the style of stones in stock, and you must
conform your project to the availability of that color and style. Not
only do you lose control of your vision in coloring and style, your
project is at the mercy of the above-mentioned lead-times of 2+ months.
The second option is to create the stone veneer yourself. With minimal
space and effort, your project is back on track using only the colors
and styles that YOU want to use. No longer held down by the constraints
of what the manufacturers want to produce, the sky is the limit.
The first step in creating your own stone is deciding on a rock profile
that suites your needs. There are two options for Stone Veneer Molds.
One is the Plastic (or Polystyrene) pre-cast mold and the other is a
rubber-based mold. Plastic molds are unable to transfer 100% of the
natural stones detail, a rubber-based mold can. Further, powdered iron
oxide pigments will not stay in place on plastic and your exterior
color will come out splotchy.
Plastic also breaks down a lot faster than their rubber mold
counterparts, which has a production life of 5+ years.
The second step is to choose the color scheme that fits your design
plans. This will determine the technique you will use to color your
stones. Some stones only require "integral" color, while others
might only need "external" coloring. Start off by making small
batches of concrete and add the pigments to the mix (if needed for your
color choice). Then, take a dry brush and dab your desired exterior
pigment to the interior of the mold. Remember, rubber molds will hold
the pigment in place on the inside, as plastic molds will not. Once you
have the desired color achieved, simply scale your measurements up to
create the amount of stone veneer needed.
Creating stone veneer for yourself should cost no more than
$0.60-$0.80sqft. Using rubber molds will produce a crisper and cleaner
stone than ANY manufacturer can accomplish. Manufacturers over use
their molds, which degrades the intricacy of the natural stones
Making stone veneer is as easy as baking a cake....literally. You are
simply mixing the concrete, adding some color, and letting it dry. If
you every want to expand on your project or start a new one, you then
have the molds and the know how to do so.
For more information on making concrete stone veneer using rubber-based
molds, please visit StoneCasterStudio.com.