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Build Your Own Home, Issue #004 -- Cultured Stone.
January 31, 2005

This monthís newsletter is on the pros and cons of Cultured Stone.

Hope everybodyís January turned out great! I am sure you have kept your New Years resolutions, and 2005 is of to a roaring start!

OK, letís get started.

What is Cultured Stone?

Cultured Stone is essentially manufactured stone used as a decorative finish for the exterior and interior of your home. It is made up of Portland cement, lightweight natural aggregates and iron oxide pigments. Molds of natural stone are used to form the shapes of the cultured stone giving them the exact appearance of real stone.

We used Owens Corning cultured stone on the outside and the inside of our home. You can view the outside at Build Your Own Home on the main page. All the stone on the outside is cultured stone.

We also used it on the inside of the house on the fireplaces and the kitchen bar. You can view the fireplace stone at Fireplace Insert . The first pic on the left is the fireplace with the Cultured Stone. The Hearth Stones on the fireplace are also cultured stone.

What are the advantages of Cultured Stone?

It is considerably lighter than natural stone or brick. This is a consideration when designing your foundation. The more weight you have to support the more extensive your foundation must be. This was a major consideration for us because we are in a region that is know for unstable ground.

A brick ledge is not required on your foundation to install the stone. This is partially because it is lighter and also due to the fact that the back of the stone is uniformly flat allowing for good surface contact for installation.

Cultured Stone is easier and quicker to install. It is also readily available wherever you need it and Owens Corning has a 50-year warranty on the stone.

What are the disadvantages of Cultured Stone?

Could be more expensive if you are in an area that has natural stone readily available.

If it is not installed properly it will be obvious that it is fake. This is the case if the installer leaves large gaps between the stones. Cultured stones are not as thick as real stones and they do not look natural if too many gaps are apparent.

Use care in choosing your Cultured Stone manufacturer. They are all not created equal? Take the time to have a close look at the stone you are going to purchase!

Some manufactures do not color their stones with the base color thru and thru. This is very important because when the stone is cut the interior color will show. Many product look like pure concrete in the center and look fake when cut or shaped to fit. A very good way to check this is ask the salesperson to show you a stone cut in half. If the surface and the interior are not the same color you will have an ugly edges showing when the installer cuts the stones to fit in tight spots.

A good place to go look at Cultured Stone is Cultured This is the official Owens Corning site. They have great pictures, FAQís and installation guides. By the way they do not endorse or support this newsletter or Build Your Own Home in any way.

Happy house building,

George Stevens

If you want information about Construction Loans or Home Loans go to our Home Loan & Construction Loan Page.

If you want more information about building your own home go to our Building Knowledge Center.

If you want information on hiring qualified contractor go to our Building Contractor Page.

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