“The trend a few years ago was to paint one wall a deep vibrant color,” StoneCraft’s Warren adds, “Now we are finding people using manufactured stone for those interior accent walls.”
What consumers are asking for varies across the country and is dependent on the types of stone native to an area. For instance, in some parts of the Midwest, stone is muted and not vibrantly colored. Its shape tends to be geometric, creating a kind of squared-off limestone look. In northern parts of the Midwest, however, where cabin retreats are the norm, there is a river rock look which reflects a rounded stone simulating the type of stone found in a riverbed.
In the South and Southwest many designs use a ledge stone in several different varieties. It depends on what is indigenous to an area and what people see as natural stone. From the Carolinas south, a more rough-faced, geometric-looking ledge stone is used and typically is drystacked with no mortar.
In Pennsylvania or Ohio limestone is typical, but fieldstone with larger cut profiles and more vibrancy in color are becoming popular because native stone shares this look in those areas. Moving farther into the Northeast, more fieldstone products are used with a mortar application because of the severe freeze/thaw cycles.
Power of Imagination
“From an aesthetic standpoint manufactured stone has come a long way to a point where it’s now hard to tell the difference between a manufactured stone veneer and a real stone,” Barrett explains. “We’ve seen reports that show the rate of return on investment has been as much as 200 percent on product and labor combined.”
As with most building products, a few limitations exist for manufactured stone. For instance, it is not designed for load-bearing applications such as a paver, on a sidewalk or driveway. It also shouldn’t be submerged in water such as in a pond or pool, or below grade. Height restrictions are based on the structure and the substrate that generally are regulated by the local building code.
Some consider one of the best benefits of manufactured stone to be the ability to install it without a mason. This alone has prompted a few builders to add it to their slate of offerings, in turn making many homeowners happy.
“A lot of designers find that when they want to achieve a stone look, manufactured stone is a great way to create that aesthetic, but not completely blow out the budget, because it has a much lower installed cost than natural stone,” Warren adds.
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