The Ultimate Guide to Cast Stone: All You Need to Know
Are you in the market for quality building materials to use on your next construction project? Cast stone is a great option for a wide variety of reasons: it offers excellent versatility, durability and has a striking resemblance to natural stone, on top of being much more affordable than some other building materials. You’ll find cast stone built into many buildings around you, from shopping centres to office blocks and even the balconies of Buckingham Palace.
If you’re interested in using precast stone in your property renovation project, below we’ve put together everything you need to know about cast stone into one simple guide, so keep reading to find out more.
What is Cast Stone and How is It Made?
Cast stone is a type of precast concrete that is created to mimic the look and feel of natural stone. As a stone, it is dense, durable and strong and can be used for a variety of uses and be shaped into various sizes and moulds. Cast stone has been around for centuries and can even be traced back to ancient civilisations. Evidence of cast stone techniques has been discovered in the ruins of ancient Rome and Greece. In the 12th century, French masons created a new way of developing cast stone which has advanced into the form we know today throughout the 19th-century Gothic Revival.
Cast stone is often preferred in building and construction because of its flexibility of installation and adaptability to create structural components. It acts similarly to natural stone in the way it looks, performs and weathers, whilst being a fraction of the cost. Cast stone is made by mixing cement, sand, water and other aggregates together and then pouring the mixture into a mould. The mould is then vibrated to remove any air bubbles, and the cast stone is allowed to cure. Once it has cured, the cast stone can be removed from the mould and finished to the desired appearance.
The History of Cast Stone
Cast stone can be used to create a variety of architectural elements, including columns, cornices and balustrades. It can also be used to create decorative items, such as fountains and statues. The history of cast stone dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used cast stone to create a variety of objects, including sarcophagi and statues. Cast stone was also used liberally by the Romans and Greeks for various projects. In the Middle Ages, it was used to create decorative elements for churches and cathedrals.
By the 19th century, cast stone became more popular as a building material. It was used to create a variety of architectural elements for both commercial and residential buildings. Cast stone was also used to create decorative items, such as fountains and statues.
Today, cast stone is still used as a building material. It is used to create a variety of architectural elements, including columns, cornices and balustrades. Cast stone is a versatile and durable material that can be used to create a variety of architectural and decorative elements. It is a popular choice for both commercial and residential applications.
What is Cast Stone Used For?
As mentioned above, cast stone is a versatile material that be used for a variety of applications, including:
What Makes Cast Stone a Great Building Material?
Cast stone is considered to be such a great building material because of the following reasons:
- Durable: Cast stone is made from a mixture of cement, sand and water, which makes it very strong and durable. It can withstand a lot of wear and tear, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas.
- Versatile: Cast stone can be moulded into any shape or size, making it a very versatile building material. It can be used to create a variety of architectural features, from columns and balustrades to fireplaces and fountains.
- Low-maintenance: Cast stone is very low-maintenance. It does not require painting or staining, and it is resistant to weathering and erosion. This makes it a cost-effective building material in the long run.
- Eco-friendly: Cast stone is made from natural materials, making it an environmentally friendly building material. It is also recyclable, so it can be reused at the end of its lifespan.
Different Types of Cast Stone
Cast stone is available in various colours and forms. Below are some of the key types that you may want to consider for your project.
Dry Cast Stone
This type of cast stone resembles natural cut limestone in strength and surface texture. In order to create this type of cast stone, natural cut limestone, sand and white cement are used and mixed together to create a material similar to damp earth or sand. The mixture is then packed into a mould and pressed using a pneumatic rammer. It requires no finishing and in the end will look like natural quarried stone. It also weathers similarly to natural cut stone.
For a denser option, wet-cast stone is manufactured using larger particles and also has a higher water content. Plasticisers are used to improve the density of this type of cast stone and help reduce the curing time. Wet-cast stone also requires additional finishing to ensure a high-quality product.
Wet-cast stone is perfect for use in fireplaces, flooring and paving and large architectural feature products such as columns. You will often find wet-cast stone in contemporary designs and other applications that don’t need a weathered finish. This is a practical type of cast stone that is easy to clean, making it a preferable material for many uses.
Fiber Reinforced Cast Stone
Glass fibre is combined with cement and aggregate mixture to create a cast stone that looks the same as other types but is two-thirds the weight. GFR cast stone has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for retrofit, new builds and timber frame projects.
Choosing the Right Cast Stone Colour For You
Cast stone is available in a multitude of colours, meaning you can pick the perfect one to suit your project. At Shropshire Brick & Stone UK, we offer a great variety including slate, R S Bluff, Cheshire, Bathstone, Terracotta, Cream, Mulberry, Portland and Sherwood. Our specialist team is always on hand to help you learn more about the type of cast stone we offer and what would look best at your property. However, here are some tips on how to get started with picking a colour for your cast stone project:
Consider the overall look and feel you want to achieve. Do you want a classic look? A modern look? A rustic look?
Think about the other colours in your space. Will the cast stone be used in a standalone piece or will it be part of a larger design?
Consider what lighting your project has. Will the cast stone be in direct sunlight or indirect light?
Take into account the size of the cast stone piece. Smaller pieces can handle more vibrant colours, while larger pieces may look better with more muted colours.
Don't be afraid to experiment! There are many different colours and finishes available, so take your time and find the perfect one for your project.
Your Local Cast Stone Suppliers - From Concrete Sills to Pier Caps
Shropshire Brick & Stone UK is here to help you with perfect cast stone options. We are cast stone specialists with an extensive range and knowledge of cast stone construction materials. We can provide you with everything from precast stones to coping stones, as well as a range of other services. What’s more, we design and manufacture our architectural and ornamental cast stone products to your exact specifications, meaning that your cast stone will be entirely unique to you and your tastes. To learn more about how we can assist you with your building or construction project, get in touch today. Our experts will be happy to advise you on a variety of needs and ensure your building project turns out perfect. Call us today on 01743 861111; a dedicated member of our team will be on the other end ready to assist you.