Natural Stone Vs. Manufactured Stone

Natural Stone Vs. Manufactured Stone
June 24, 2020
Natural Stone Vs. Manufactured Stone
STONEarch Ivory Mix Travertine Cobbles Coping

If you’re planning to renovate your home or have a landscape project in mind, stones are a great material to use. In comparison to other landscaping materials, they are long-lasting and can add authenticity and beauty to your property.

Most architects, contractors, and homeowners prefer STONEarch natural stones for their indoor and outdoor projects. The reason for this is because our collection is the perfect balance of modern and natural, as well as new and old. We specialize in providing natural stone to landscape architects, specifically based on their custom drawings and templates. Further, we work hand-in-hand with our contractors and their clients to help them with product selection and guide them on selecting the right stone for their projects.

Nevertheless, you have manufactured stones as an alternative to natural stones. So how do you know what is better: natural stone vs. manufactured stone? Let’s dig right in, and learn more about the two different options.

What Are Natural Stones?

STONEarch Natural Stone
STONEarch Natural Stone

As the name suggests, natural stones are stones sourced from mother nature. They are quarried and cut into different sizes and shapes to make them suitable for various purposes.

STONEarch natural stone products are collected entirely from the earth. We don’t add or remove anything from the landscape material. The colours and patterns you see from each stone are all-natural. The only thing we do is to finish the stone specifically for landscape use. Outdoor finishes in natural stone include clefted, sandblasted, flamed, bush-hammered, brushed, and many others. We are able to also provide customized finishes depending on the stone, and our speciality is to offer finishes that bring out the true natural beauty in the stone.

Furthermore, we can customise its shape to your preference, from flagstone pavers to jumbo slabs. Natural stones are diverse and versatile, providing you with a solution, no matter what your taste or style.

What Are Manufactured Stones?

Meanwhile, manufactured stones, also known as manmade or cultured stones, are a combination of cement and several components. Then, the mixture is poured out in a mould. It is then coloured to achieve the look of real stones.

Manufactured stones have become increasingly popular over the years because they offer the feel and look of natural stone. With that said, manufactured stones as in the name, are manufactured by man, which results in a shorter lifespan and a much more inferior design aesthetic in comparison to natural stone.

Further, our specialty is in sourcing natural stone and we work at large volumes, allowing us to provide a range of natural stone options at different price points many of which are actually more affordable than manufactured stone as well.

Visual Features

STONEarch Spring Granite Pavers
STONEarch Spring Granite Pavers

It’s easy to tell artificial from natural stones in terms of their visual characteristics for the trained eye.

One of the best advantages of choosing natural stones over manufactured ones is that no two stones are alike. Our product colours are rich and distinct. Meanwhile, their texture will make you feel right at home immediately. The visual features of natural stones are unlike any other.

Manufactured stones, on the other hand, are usually more consistent in colour tone and have a more artificial appearance. The colours are sometimes overly vivid and manufactured stones are usually missing the slight sparkle that is so easily visible in some of our granites.

Technical Features

STONEarch New Ebony Black Granite Slab
STONEarch New Ebony Black Granite Slab

Natural stones vary in size in comparison to their artificial alternative. However, they are much heavier.

Manufactured stones are available in sizes ranging from two to eight inches thick. These stones can also go as big as 14 inches in diameter. Nevertheless, STONEarch natural stones are also available in jumbo slabs. As natural stone is a denser and more durable product, it is not required to use as thick of a material for paving areas as required with manufactured stone.

Furthermore, if you’re looking for a thinner option, real stone veneers are the best choice, which is available in one and two inch thicknesses.


STONEarch Silver Valley Grey Pool Coping
STONEarch Silver Valley Grey Pool Coping

Choosing between the two landscape materials will depend on the main goal of your project.

If you want a more unique and authentic design, natural stone is the best material to use. It’s perfect for pathways, floorings, steps, wallings, pool copings, installations, and more.

Man-made stones are not as durable and sturdy as their natural counterparts, so it’s not a reliable material for building purposes. Manufactured stones are a good option for building veneers, however they tend to fall short when it comes to stone for landscape use.

Why Should I Choose STONEarch Natural Stone Over Manufactured Stone?

STONEarch Silver Valley Grey Pavers
STONEarch Silver Valley Grey Pavers

Natural stones present numerous advantages over manufactured stone, including:

  1. Ease of cutting
  2. Natural authenticity of the colour
  3. Durability & density
  4. Appeal and overall design aesthetic

First, they are easier to cut, whereas cutting manufactured stones will expose their aggregate edge.

Another problem you have to deal with cultured stones is colour fading. Unlike STONEarch stones, man-made ones cannot withstand wind, water, sunlight, and other natural elements.

Real stones will fade only a little when exposed directly to sunlight, with the exception of our Black limestone. This is why we recommend sealing Black limestone (or Kota Black). And even if they do, this will occur over a much longer time frame. Likewise, they will age naturally, adding to their appeal.

When man-made stones are manufactured, they are applied with mineral oxide on their surface for colouring. Weather conditions can cause their colour to fade, which will change the appearance of the stone.

It doesn’t matter if the manufactured stone is from a well-known or quality brand. That will not stop it from deteriorating in time because of the natural wear brought by the elements.

However, natural stones have proven their endurance for centuries. Just look at the historical and iconic buildings, dating back to ancient times.

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