Wednesday November 19, 2014
A very, very long time ago, during the pre-historic age, humans figured out that stone had many uses in their world. This abundant natural resource was used for many things, such as: furniture, cutting tools, and weapons. Not only did they use it to build walls for shelter and fortification, they used smaller stones (like flint and river rocks) to create spears and to break open fruits and nuts. It was everywhere; and they must have been felt like the luckiest beings in the land!
Let's Face It
Without modern day heavy-equipment, using stone or rock for homes limited the home's size. The stone's weight and decreasing local availability made it impractical for everyday folks and explosive city development to supply the demand. Ever the problem solver, man's skills evolved and they began producing brick, our oldest manufactured product. These sunbaked clay bricks were used in the construction of buildings more than 6,000 years ago. Years later, they figured out that firing the brick made it stronger, so more complex and ornate structures became possible.
In addition to its durability, Kings and Emperors knew that building castles with stone gave it (thus, them) a sense of importance and permanence. However, the cost of quarrying and transporting the stone made it out of reach for anyone but royalty.
Enter stone veneers. Masons have long since figured out that they could get the same look by using slices of the rock, referred to as a stone veneer. In 75 AD the Romans started using stone veneers on mammoth structures. As seen in the Coliseum, travertine veneers were set, without mortar, and held together by 300 tons of iron clamps.
Artisans Find a Solution
By cutting the natural stone to a consistent thickness and applying it to a lighter substructure, cement, they dramatically lowered their cost and sped production time. Although this dramatically changed the production process, it still remained out of reach for all but the very rich.
Crafted by casting and making molds of natural stone, cast veneer stone is defined as "a refined architectural concrete building unit manufactured to simulate natural cut stone, used in unit masonry applications."
Cast veneer stone was first used extensively in London in the year 1900 and gained widespread acceptance in America in 1920. Because it is manufactured, homeowners can choose stones that may not be available in their region; and colors can be ordered that complement their existing home décor.
Nature Inspired Beauty
As one of the most aesthetically pleasing forms of concrete today, cast veneer stone is used for architectural trim and ornamentation on businesses, homes, fireplaces, bars, in both interior and exterior applications. Designers are finding ways to use stone veneers in every room in the house; from backyard kitchens and outdoor showers, to backsplashes and dining room walls. Still true in design today, stone and rock are equated with stability; and decorators love using its neutral, earthy colors and textural dimension add interest to home décor.
A new trend is to use cast veneer stone to build man caves and wine cellars. Thought of as a natural "tile" home décor aficionados are finding all sorts of new uses for this versatile application.
Let us know if you have a creative idea for cast veneer stone project in your home.