Most architects, builders, contractors and homeowners prefer natural stone for their projects. However, manufactured stone is also available in the market and often used in place of natural stone.

What are the important considerations when it comes to choosing a cladding material for your construction? Natural stone cladding remains the first preference for architects and designers for both exteriors and interiors – natural stone has a higher perceived value than a manufactured product and can improve the value of a home. Even from an environmental perspective, natural stone is more in tune with nature than the manufactured alternative.

Natural stone products from DecoR Stone are sourced from nature and turned into the required module sizes for convenience and regularity.

Manufactured stone (also known as manmade stone or cultured stone) is a mixture of cement and other components that is poured into a mould and coloured to look like real stone; there is also faux veneer stone available, which is a high-density polymer product. Manufactured stone gained popularity as it was perceived as a more economical option to natural stone with almost a similar appearance; however, improved processes allow natural stone to be cut thinner, making it price-competitive and increasing its affordability.

Both natural stone and manufactured stone come in panels, enabling easy installation. Both types of stone are available in a variety of shapes and colours; however, when purchasing, most people will defer to the real stone as it can make a real impact, looking like it’s always been a part of the landscape or building.

Natural stone offers several advantages over manufactured stone. For one, natural stone can be cut easily whereas cutting cultured stone exposes the aggregate edge.

Colour fading can also be an issue with manufactured stone as it cannot withstand exposure to natural elements such as water, sunlight and wind. Generally, natural stone does not fade with sunlight; even if it does, it happens over time where it ages in a natural, appealing style. With manufactured stone, however, mineral oxide colouring is applied to the surface of the stone veneer during the manufacturing process; weathering can cause the colour to fade, changing the stone’s appearance. Regardless of the quality or brand of any product, concrete and paint will deteriorate over time due to the natural wear of elements. Natural stone has proved its endurance over time, which can be seen on buildings of historical value.

When it comes to choosing a cladding material, avoid the temptation of cheaper products. Though advanced manufacturing processes can produce better colouring in high-end veneer on manufactured stone, it eliminates any cost savings.

Again, from an environmental point of view, manufactured stone can be composed of harmful manmade chemicals. It can also develop efflorescence, leaving scaly white deposits on the surface.

Natural stone will add real long term value to your home through its authenticity and durability.