Cast or faux stone fireplace designs provide a very realistic, cost effective and convenient alternative to natural stone. Cast stone has been used to create fireplace mantels for hundreds of years and, due to the higher cost of natural stone, is as popular today as ever. Ongoing developments in mixing formulas, as well as in casting and finishing techniques, have made it virtually impossible to discern top quality cast stone from its natural stone counterparts.
Though specific mixtures and casting techniques of-
ten differ from one manufacturer to the next, cast
stone is essentially a mixture of finely graded aggre-
gates such as limestone, marble, granite and quartz,
silica sand, and an agent to bond it all together. Ex-
tremely durable and versatile, it is available in al-
most any color, texture and finish, and can closely
replicate a vast array of natural stones ranging from
limestone, bluestone and slate . . . to granite, trav-
ertine and marble.
One age-old cast stone type enjoying a resurgence in popularity is
liola, a mixture of crushed marble, limestone and travertine. Principally developed by Italian monks in the 17th century, it is barely discernable from hand carved quarry stone.
From a design standpoint, cast stone mantels are available in nearly every traditional style . . . . . as
well as most contemporary styles. Much of the intricate detailing typically found in hand carved period styles
can be du-
plicated in cast stone . . . . . as can the elaborate overmantels frequently found in Old World designs.
Much lighter in weight and far easier to install then natural stone, the re-
alistic look and lower cost of a cast stone mantel makes it an affordable alternative to a natural stone surround. It's a great way to get a real stone look without the cost!
Regardless of the overall look and feel you're aiming
for, you'll find a vast array of available faux stone fireplace
that will give you a very realistic natural stone appearance at a
fraction of the cost. Not only will you save
on the cost of the fireplace mantel or surround, itself, but due to
the lighter weight of cast stone, labor costs will be
duced because you won't need any additional footings or structural re-
inforcement to support your new fireplace surround!
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