Chances are you’ve noticed homes in your neighbourhood or up-and-coming subdivisions sporting a new façade using various stone details. The secret to this growing trend is the introduction of new, affordable cultured stone products. Cultured stone walls help create an updated, contemporary look to homes, and can be used for the entire home or just to add a touch of textured detailing.
Although it looks expensive, it is surprisingly affordable and virtually impossible to distinguish from natural stone. Here we look at cultured stone, what it is, where you can use it and how it differs from natural stone, to help you decide if it is right for you.
What Is Cultured Stone?
Plainly put, cultured stone is faux stone. What is cultured stone made of? It is manufactured using a mix of Portland cement, aggregates, and iron oxides. The mix is placed in textured molds and baked to produce a very convincing stone look. It is an excellent option for exterior applications because not only does the cement make it very stable and durable, but the pigments from iron oxide also provide a very realistic look for a very high-end exterior upgrade.
Is Cultured Stone And Stone Veneer The Same Thing?
No. Cultured stone is completely manufactured, while stone veneer is actually made of thin slices of real stone. As a result, stone veneer is far more expensive to produce, purchase and install. Also, it is very important to keep in mind there are real stone veneer products as well as faux veneer stone. Faux veneer stone is made from high-density polymer and lacks the strength and texture of cultured stone for outdoor use.
What Are The Main Differences Between Real And Cultured Stone?
Natural stone is quarried as an organic material and therefore does not require colour or additives. The details of cultured stone are all man-made. Stone can be found from many different natural sources, from round river stones to stone that is cut from the earth. Cultured stone is manufactured for specific applications and reflects that application in the design.
Natural stone can be carved into different shapes to create architectural detailing and is highly weather-resistant. Cultured stone is pre-made and less customizable in its existing form, but is equally weather-resistant. Natural stone is also strong enough to be used as part of the exterior structure, whereas cultured stone is not. However, natural stone cannot be used to cover an entire exterior wall due to its weight, whereas lightweight cultured stone can cover an entire façade. Last but not least, natural stone is harder to produce and install, making it much more expensive than cultured stone.
What Styles Of Cultured Stone Are Available?
You can create a totally new look for your home using cultured stone. Whether you want a contemporary look with stacked designs, a more natural look with varying textures, shapes and colours found in nature, or a more elegant look of sandstone, cultured stone can be found in a style sure to create a customized look for added curb appeal.
What Are The Best Applications For Cultured Stone?
The beauty of cultured stone is it can be used as a full siding option, or as a design detail. In fact, you can add a very small amount of stone to get the same increased value for your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, it just takes replacing 300 square feet of vinyl siding along the bottom third of your home front to regain 96% of your investment. Some ideas to help improve the appearance of your home’s exterior using cultured stone include:
- Refacing your garage façade
- Accenting low garden bed walls for curb appeal
- Refacing the bottom half of your façade to add an accent and more texture
- Detailing around your entry or garage doors
- Framing to accent your windows
- Outdoor kitchens
- Landscape walls
- Pool houses
- Outdoor bars
- The complete façade of your home
- Foundations for your front porch pillars
You can also find unique uses based on your own home’s design and landscaping scheme.
How To Use Cultured Stone As A Design Element
Cultured stone offers endless possibilities for your exterior designs. It can be used in combination with different materials to create a highly customized look for your home. For example, when combined with complementary aluminum or vinyl siding you can escalate your curb appeal for a minimal investment with exceptional ROI.
Also, you can use it with brickwork and wood, choosing colours and textures that draw attention to your home’s architectural features. Even the mortar you choose for your cultured stone insulation can make a difference, as can the configuration of the stones, whether stacked, patterned, or random.
When Is Cultured Stone Not Recommended?
Cultured stone is not suitable for structural purposes. It doesn’t have the strength to support structures and therefore you would need to invest in natural stone instead. The cultured stone is designed to support its own weight for façades and is not intended as a building material. That said, you can use patio stones for many outdoor structures, and match the structural elements with a cultured stone veneer to complete the look.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Cultured Stone?
As with any product, cultured stone has both pros and cons, including:
- Long-lasting and durable
- Outstanding warranties ranging from 20 to 75 years
- Maintenance-free and fire-resistant
- Lightweight for many applications beyond what natural stone can offer
- Affordable material
- Affordable installation
- High return on investment of up to 92% when you sell your home
- Can allow for leaks if not installed properly, as with any siding product
- Must be installed using the proper process and backing materials to remain resistant to moisture, leaks, and damage to the interior walls
- More expensive than other siding options like vinyl and aluminum
Overall, the pros tend to outweigh the cons of cultured stone. If you would like more information about cultured stone, speak to the Weaver Exterior team today, or click here for a quote.