For the purposes of this post for our House on Hastings project, let’s go through a few quick definitions with regards to using real stone for your fireplaces versus cast concrete. Natural stone is millions of years old. It is quarried from the earth and has gone through many natural changes over time. Cast stone is a type of precast concrete designed to simulate different types of natural cut stone.
Let’s now review a few points about natural stone that might be considered advantageous. It is relatively strong, stable, timeless, and durable, as witnessed by monuments and works of art that are centuries old and have aged wonderfully.
Natural stone will appreciate in value when used properly, is very eco-friendly, will resist natural elements, requires minimal maintenance, and offers almost limitless design options as seen on the following three Indiana limestone surrounds for our House on Hastings project. All of our fireplace surrounds, (including these three here) were designed and hand-carved by our Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson. The first fireplace above was installed in the homes must have Man Cave. The fireplace below was installed in the homes main Floor Great Room, with the final fireplace in the families Master Suite.
Natural stone comes in various shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and patterns. There is a stone that is perfect for almost every application out there. It can be considered a one-of-a-kind building material, and in fact, hand-carved natural stone (as shown here) is a true work of art!
Stone is similar to fingerprints, in that no one has the same fingerprint, and that is something that makes choosing natural stone one of a kind. There are many natural causes that affect the graining and coloration of stone over time. They include mineral deposits, underground springs, temperature, and seismic shifts. These occurrences are impossible to re-create and can only be done by Mother Nature herself. All of the “imperfections,” what I like to think of as character, are unique reflections of the stone’s “life.”
There are a few drawbacks when considering cast stone for your fireplace surrounds, hearth and mantel included. For example, cast stone struggles to achieve the same level of detail as carved natural stone. There is only so much you can capture with the molds that produce the product, whereas the possibilities are endless when you have a sculptor carving natural stone. The hardness and density of the stone and the artistic expression of the artisan doing the work add immeasurable value that simply cannot be achieved in the cast counterpart. It can also be quite challenging for a cast stone producer to achieve a genuine visual interpretation of veining and overall stone “movement.”
So consider all these factors before your decision is cast in stone!
Info above courtesy of: Materials Marketing
Watch our Stone Carver, Ryan Watson in action with carving chisel in hand by checking out our YouTube videos HERE. For more on this House on Hastings project that we started last year, go HERE and HERE. You will also find an album on our company's facebook page called "House on Hastings" for more cool pictures of the homes progress. Did you know we offer sneak peeks of our work on instagram? Follow us there too at rocco_masons - Stay tuned for more!
Nicolene Watson - Director of Media