An In-depth Study from Indiana Limestone Company

Indiana Limestone Study: Man-Made vs. Natural Stone

Field dressing cast masonry exposes non-color or texture matched aggregate.

A new study from the Indiana Limestone Company examines the distinctions between cast stone products and quarried limestone. The firm is a premier provider of natural limestone, for many decades a preferred selection for stone facades or accents.

The highly detailed, annotated report considers why purchasers select one material or the other. According to the study, quarried limestone is a lasting choice, renowned for its durability, versatility, and exceptional natural beauty. Indiana Limestone, the study said, is also an economical long-term option, rewarding initial investments with minimal expenses for maintenance and upkeep over the course of many years.

“While cast stone is available at a lower initial cost,” the report explains, “Indiana Limestone requires less cumulative investment as the natural product is far more enduring than its man-made counterpart. This is due to the fact that Indiana Limestone, and indeed any natural stone, requires minimal maintenance. This consideration is often overlooked as the immediate cost is often perceived as the be-all and end-all, when in actuality the permanent structure will demand future investment, the level of which depends on the building product used.”

As described in the study, cast stone has been selected for its color range and control, perceived cost advantages at purchase, and possible suitability for non-structural or minimally load-bearing applications. Though it may initially resemble natural stone, this is actually a cementitious product, having more in common with concrete than quarried stone.

Quoted in the current document is a report created by Matthew C. Farmer for the Building Envelope Technology Symposium, 2007: “There are a number of common problems that can occur with cast stone. While some of these occur in cast stone produced using both wet cast and vibratory dry tamping methods, the majority of problems observed in modern construction are associated with the dry tamp method of manufacture.”

Such problems include cracking, soiling of difficult-to-clean-cast surfaces, and crazing, which is a…

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