There are several factors to consider when choosing stone materials for new construction, remodel, restoration or repair/replacement. Budget, and Aesthetic look, are important factors to consider when choosing between natural stone or cast stone. Natural material is quarried and delivered to the site, while cast stone is a man-made material. Natural stones come with variations in color and grain pattern while cast stone can replicate natural stone it can also be versatile and have color and pattern consistency or customize. Even though natural stones are relatively strong and durable, Cast stone is stronger, less brittle, and can have PSI versatility. The cast stone strength can be modified depending on the use and method of casting.
Another major difference is the cost difference. Natural stone cost can significantly varies depending on market conditions, quarry location, contractor’s markup, and contractor relationship with the stone manufacturer that can make natural stone more expensive. While cast stone is typically more cost effective than natural stone, there are also factors that accounts for cast stone cost such as the number of molds that are required for each project. A new mold must be made each time a different shaped stone is cast. The type of mold use and the different type, thickness, and intricacy of cast stone can also add to the cost. There are also repair cost difference between cast stone and natural stones. For instance, natural stones can be difficult to repair or replace. Also, natural stone cannot be tinted to a desired shade and it is difficult to find another natural stone to match the existing natural stone. Whereas, cast stone repairs or replacement can be performed more easily and can also be easily fabricated with color or stained to the desired color shade.
Ultimately the choice between natural and cast stone often comes down to the clients or customers preference and budget.