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.
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.