What is the difference between Natural Thin Veneer and Manufactured Stone?

When deciding whether to use Natural Thin Veneer (NTV) or Manufactured stone, consider material cost, installation cost, finished look and longevity.

Natural Thin Veneer was introduced as an alternative to the heavier natural four-inch thick full bed-depth building stone. The lighter manufactured stone was easier to install than full-bed depth stone veneer, and thus the natural stone market was compelled to produce a lighter similar product through the sawing of natural stone. Manufactured stone is comprised of concrete molded into patterns and then colored like real stone, and suppliers assert that their product is superior in color consistency, availability, and ease of installation. This is true of higher-end manufactured stone, which more closely resembles natural stone, but it is similar in price to real stone. Installation procedures and costs are roughly the same for both products. However, because it is actual stone, both color and longevity of NTV are unequaled by manufactured stone.

Concrete Sand is a coarse sand with larger particles. This type of sand is typically used in concrete but can also be used as pipe sand or as a base layer and leveling medium for above ground pools, and patios or walkways made of concrete paving stones.

Plaster Sand is a finer grade sand with smaller particles. It’s often mixed with water and cement to make mortar for laying bricks/blocks. It can be used in cement, particularly for projects like swimming pools and concrete paving stones where the finer grain gives a more finished appearance. Its finer texture also makes it an acceptable replacement for beach sand in applications like sand volleyball courts.

Fill Sand is a non-processed sand. Product size ranges from occasional 2" rock down to 15% silt and clay. This product is excellent for fill under slabs, fill behind retaining walls and trench fill applications that do not require any particular particle size gradation.

Infill Sand is used in artificial grass as a stable base to hold the blades upright and to retain a springy feeling. Typically colored green, it is spread between one-eighth and one-quarter inch deep within the grass blades, and allows the artificial turf to remain functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Ashlar (Block): Ashlar-shaped stones are roughly square and rectangular in shape. Ashlar-shaped stone can be installed as a dry-stack, with standard mortar joints or overgrouted mortar joints.

Ledge: Ledge stones are generally wider than they are high. Ledge stones can be installed as a dry-stack, standard mortar joint or an overgrouted mortar joint.

Fieldstone: Fieldstone is a random mix of differently shaped stones and sizes. Fieldstone is usually installed with a standard mortar joint but can be installed with an overgrouted mortar joint too.

Rubble: Rubble is an irregular stone often with some randomly shaped intermixed “jumpers”. Rubble can be installed with a standard mortar joint but can also be installed with an overgrouted mortar joint too.

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