Cultured Stone® Tips
Cultured Stone® Tips
Making the Stone
As mentioned in another article, Cultured Stone® is nothing more than concrete. But for those who have seen this product up close and actually touched it, you know that it does not look or feel like concrete.
Some manufactured stone products cannot be distinguished from the real thing. The colors and textures of these artificial stone products are basically unbelievable.
These realistic results are achieved, in most instances, by using highly detailed rubber molds and special pigments to color the concrete mix. Some manufacturers apply additional pigments directly to the rubber molds for purposes of adding tones to the surface of the finished product. These additional pigments soak into the surface of the concrete so that they can't be easily washed off by the elements.
The key to the entire process is using small, light weight aggregates in the concrete mix. This keeps the weight of the artificial stone to a minimum. It is for this reason that no foundation is required to support these materials. They simply are glued onto the side of your structure, whether it be wood frame, masonry or a steel structure.
Long term durability should not be a concern of yours. This is due to the fact that these products are manufactured under controlled conditions. This allows the concrete mix to achieve maximum strength characteristics. Because the surface of the artificial stones is so realistic, water is not easily absorbed by many of these products.
Some people wonder about the long term effects of weathering on these products. That is a valid concern, as this material could easily have a service life on a building between 50 and 100 years. Just about every artificial stone product has solid color attributes. This means that the concrete mix is colored from the beginning. Secondary coloration achieved by applying pigments to the rubber molds should be the only area of concern. As long as the manufacturer uses high quality, non water soluble pigments, it should never be a problem.
Most manufacturers caution against the use of deicing salts near these products. The salts can hurt the artificial stone and cause surface disintegration.
Manufacturers also caution against the use of harsh chemicals, cleaning solvents or paint thinners. Some of these products can stain the stone products and cause discoloration. Simply use common sense.
The artificial stone products can be cleaned if they become dirty. You simply use a mild detergent and a stiff bristle brush. Never use a wire brush, as this may harm the surface.
"Long term durability should not be a concern of yours. This is due to the fact that these products are manufactured under controlled conditions."
It is also a good idea to avoid using these artificial stone products in swimming pools. The chlorine and other pool chemicals can discolor these rocks.