What is Cast Stone?
Cast stone is also known as reconstructed stone and reconstituted stone. It is a manufactured stone using natural stone materials including cement and specialised sand, mixed with colouring and hardening agents. The finished product has a look and feel similar to natural stone, and is just as durable and long-lasting, without striations or internal cracks which can cause natural stone to weather more quickly over time.
Apart from costing considerably less, cast stone offers other benefits over natural stone. Because it is manufactured, it can be made to almost any design and size. These designs are cast in moulds which can often be re-used, therefore reducing the time and cost to make many of the same products.
Whereas natural stone has colour variations, cast stone products can be made to a specified colour which is uniform throughout. This makes cast stone ideal for building features such as window sills and wall capping which require matching stonework to create the perfect exterior presentation of a building or landscape.
One similarity with natural stone is that cast stone ages in the same way. The weather, climate and surrounding environment affects cast stone as it does natural stone. Within a short time after installation, cast stone will blend into its surroundings and becomes largely indistinguishable from natural stone.
Very little maintenance is required for cast stone and certainly no more than for natural stone. It can be left to age naturally which is perfect for older properties, or it can be occasionally cleaned to remove rainwater stains and lichen as some people choose to do with natural stone. See our installation and aftercare page for more details.
At Orchard Stone, we use British Standards materials in the manufacture of all our stone. This includes the cement, which is either white or grey, depending on the colour required, natural sand, hardening agents, water-proofer and specialised colouring made for stone manufacturing.
We vary the composition of materials depending on the products being manufactured. Structural components are added if the stone requires reinforced load-bearing support, such as quoins and walling features. We also fit lifting eyes on larger products to enable easier handling at the installation site.
Creating moulds for stonework is a highly specialised art, and we are proud to have been designing and fabricating our moulds by hand for over 20 years. To create our moulds, we use a combination of marine plywood, fibreglass and aluminium, depending on the detail required for the finished product.
Our moulds are packed with our semi-dry mix by hand and either turned out immediately for detailed finishing, or left in the mould to set.
To ensure the finished product is ready for installation, each stone is cured both indoors and outdoors and water-treated to accelerate the curing process. The curing process often requires two weeks or longer, depending on the size of the product.