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  • G.S. Harris Co., Inc.

Traditional Stone vs. Modern Stone

Updated: Aug 27, 2019


When you hear the word stone for a building material, you likely think of the natural material that comes from the earth. However, not all stone is natural. So what other types of stone are available as building materials? Discover the difference between traditional, natural stone and modern, manufactured stone.

Traditional Stone


Traditional stone is any part of the earth that naturally formed from minerals. Many types of natural stone exist, such as granite, marble, and slate. For centuries, people have used stone as a building material to build structures such as the Pyramids, Stonehenge, and the Great Wall of China.


Traditionally, people quarried stone from the earth itself and used tools to manipulate the stone into the desired shape. As technology has evolved, people now use power tools, grinders, and carbide chisels to achieve the look they want from their stone.


Many people still desire natural stone for their building. A couple reasons why they prefer it include:

  • They like the look and feel of natural stone.

  • They prefer natural materials such as granite or marble.

  • They want to fashion a high-end product, as natural stone often costs more than manufactured stone.

Natural stone is useable for all types of property elements, including foundations, fireplaces, or decorative features. Nowadays, you might see natural stone in luxury homes, as natural stone is a considerable luxury.


However, modern stone provides a suitable alternative in many ways.


Modern Stone


Modern stone is any manufactured stone-like material cultivated through modern means. Also known as manufactured stone, veneer stone, or cultured stone, this stone-like material provides all the aesthetic benefits of natural stone without the high expenses.


Starting in the 1700s, engineers and builders started developing ways to achieve stone-like materials and facades without quarrying large slabs of natural stone. For example, Patent Siliceous Stone was a mixture of sand and flint that engineers heated and used in slabs, tombstones, or decorative features. Another type, the Coade stone, used clay to create a ceramic mold for various things such as statutes.


However, in the mid-20th century, people developed a way to achieve a material that looks and almost feels like stone. This material is known as manufactured stone. The material is mainly concrete and additional materials that manufacturers use to cast molds that look like real stone.


Many contractors and manufacturers prefer this method now for various reasons. These reasons can include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Because the method manufacturers use to create molds is so easy, this allows for affordable pricing and higher quantity of material for a larger market.

  • Efficiency: The mold process is often quicker than natural stone quarrying and stonemasonry, which allows for a quick turnaround and installation.

  • Design: Manufactured stone can come in a variety of design options, including different colors, textures, and styles to match a desired look and natural stone itself.

  • Weight: Manufactured stone is much lighter than natural stone. That makes it easier to carry, transport, manipulate, and install.

Nowadays, many, if not most, contractors use manufactured stone for creating and installing stone in homes, commercial buildings, or outdoor spaces. That way, people can enjoy the look of stone without using a sustainable amount of money to quarry and transport it.


Call the Stone Experts


If you’re unsure whether you should go with natural stone or modern stone, speak to the experts at Harristone. We have provided people gorgeous and natural-looking stone veneers for their buildings since 1966. We are happy to answer your questions and concerns about stone in general or our products, as well as how we can help create the stone veneer look you want. We look forward to hearing from you.

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