Manufactured stone is used on entryways, as accent walls and even to create the illusion of an old stone building. Whether it’s meant to complement a home’s exterior or create a focal point inside a home, where manufactured stone is applied to a house is limited only by one’s imagination.
The manufactured stone product category remains in the early stages of growth, and its use continues to increase in both new construction and remodeling projects. Reports suggest that another $500 million could be added over the next three years to this already $1 billion category.
On the exterior of a home, manufactured stone is being used on entryways, around doors, under porches, on columns, as wainscoting and even on some smaller applications like a foundation cover around the perimeter of a home.
“What we’ve found is there isn’t any particular style of home that is using manufactured stone,” says David Barrett, president of United Stone Veneer by Plygem. “We have a stone profile that fits just about any style home that you build. Whether it’s a Craftsman or old-world look or even a traditional Cape Cod, we have a stone profile that fits those needs.”
Manufactured stone covers the gamut of home styles, from a contemporary home with products that are clean-lined and smooth, to a more rustic style stone for the farmhouse look. Manufacturers offer stone veneers in all shapes, sizes and colors. Depending on the size of the project, stone profiles could be blended together to create something truly unique.
“We have a stone that emulates a New York Brownstone so if you live in the city and have that style of home, you can pick that stone for your project,” says Ramsay Hawfield, director of product development, Eldorado Stone.
“Plus, manufactured stone products fit all sorts of home price ranges. We’ve seen it on $150,000 homes and $7 million homes.”
Manufactured stone is used in outdoor living spaces more and more each day. As homeowners create outdoor spaces with living rooms, hearths, kitchens and patios, manufactured stone is being used to accent outdoor fireplaces, or even stoning-in high-end grills to create an outdoor kitchen island.
“We’re starting to see the product used more on interior projects,” Barrett says. “The standard used to be putting stone around a fireplace. Now we’re starting to see kitchens designed with stone, staircases, indoor column work and some accent walls.”
Designers are creating nontraditional uses of manufactured stone and specifying more of it inside a home. This includes backsplashes in kitchens instead of tile, behind the stove, and around the wall that frames a refrigerator. Besides kitchens, manufactured stone can also be found in family rooms, as an accent in great rooms, in wine cellars and in bathroom applications.
“I would say that right now, the most popular places (for manufactured stone) inside the home are kitchen and family room accents,” says Kelly Warren, product manager, StoneCraft, part of the Tapco Building Products Group.
“That’s what we’ve seen really take off over the last 12 to 18 months.”
To aid designers with interior imagination, Eldorado Stone has created its Gemstone wall concept. This was conceived to show designers and architects what can be done inside with manufactured stone. The Gemstone wall concept takes a blank wall and shows three simple ideas of what can be done to make it more purposeful and a focal point.
One of these walls is focused on a dining/entertaining area that includes wine storage (see photos above). Another area is designed to create a spa environment in the bathroom, while a third Gemstone wall focuses on picture hanging. To make it simpler, designers can go to Eldorado’s website and download a PDF that provides the steps needed to create the space, such as framing needs, the different stones used in the project or recommendations on other stones that could be used.