When you want the look of limestone, travertine, or other natural stones, but with the versatility and dramatic shapes able to be produced by concrete, look to precast products as a natural stone alternative. Precast products blend hard-wearing Portland cement with stone aggregate and pigments to produce beautiful architectural pieces that can be used anywhere inside or outside the home.
While it’s possible to carve large blocks of solid stone into various shapes such as columns, fireplace surrounds, and building facades, the process can be time consuming and expensive. The variability and porosity of stone mean that sometimes a block of stone can’t be used for these purposes; attempting to carve a block of stone with a fissure in the center will render the results unusable. The color variation of some types of stone also means that attempting to match two pieces can be difficult.
Using precast products eliminates these problems. The cement and stone mixture can be wet or dry cast into nearly any shape with less effort. Pigments and colors used in the mix can also be controlled, so two columns or other cast pieces will always match.
Precast products can also withstand hundreds of freeze/thaw cycles without damage, which makes them a great option for lining pools, barbecues, fountains, and other outdoor architectural uses. The same items made of natural stone may not be able to withstand some climates, which can limit their use.
Precast products often take on the appearance of stones like limestone and travertine – two products that can be difficult and expensive to work with. For homeowners wanting the Old World appearance these products can produce, but without the maintenance and expense, using precast products makes an excellent alternative.
If you’re looking for architectural and artistic details in or around your home, look to precast products as a solid stone alternative. You may find you’re able to get the look and detail you’re after, without the added maintenance or expense.