The debate between manufactured stone veneer and real stone veneer is one that likely won't go away any time soon. It's something we encounter almost every day and work with our customers to guide them through the process. Although we always prefer the real stone to the imitation product, we understand there is a time and place when manufactured stone may be a better option for a project than using real stone veneer.
Greenwich Blue Stone Veneer
The Difference Between Manufactured & Real Stone?
It's important to understand the difference between real stone and manufactured stone veneer. Earlier this year we published an article that goes into detail but the short version is real stone is a natural resource from the Earth that is broken down into the products you see. Manufactured stone (also known as faux stone) is created out of cement, aggregates, and iron/mineral oxide pigments.
Now that you know the difference we can explore when using manufactured stone may be a better fit for your project than working with a natural stone product.
1. A Very Tight Budget
Virtually any article comparing real and manufactured stone references the cost comparison between the two. Real stone veneer has become more cost competitive (thanks to advances in technology) but if you average out the industry as a whole manufactured stone is still a cheaper product. If the immediate cost of the product is the only deciding factor you're likely to find a cheaper manufactured stone than a real stone product and that's the way to go.
Faux Stone Featured on the Base of This Mailbox Unit
2. Short-Term v. Long-Term Value
There is almost always value in building something for the long-term but in the rare cases when it doesn't, manufactured stone is a good fit. In cases where you are improving a property you're renting or building a temporary structure it may be best to go with the cheaper, less durable product. Faux stone will often fade at a quicker rate than real stone and in some cases breakdown (like cement often does) depending on the elements. In the short-term you're likely not to face any issues and it might make sense to use a manufactured stone over real stone to save in the short-term.
3. Minimal Variation
We often say what makes natural stone beautiful is that no two pieces are identical. Our stone comes from the Earth and we put it through a process to make it manageable in size and a desired shape. One of the benefits of manufactured stone is the ability to repeat the same colors from panel to panel or piece to piece. It allows for exact color matches or minimal variation in color which is occasionally requested on a project. We don't have the ability to change the color of the stone, we rely on mother nature to take care of that and we source it from locations to keep it as consistent as possible.
The stone veneer market, both real and manufactured, continues to grow in popularity. There is a case to be made for both products and it's important to explore which will be the best option for your project needs.