5 Questions Answered: Cast Stone
Why choose cast stone outdoor decor?
Cast stone produces a strong, authentic, aesthetically pleasing product. It is the most commonly used material for residential fountains, planters, statues, and benches for its realistic look, weight, and cost-effectiveness. Cast stone is also extremely durable and versatile.
Is cast stone the same as concrete?
No cast stone and concrete are similar, but far from the same.
“The American Concrete Institute's glossary, Cement and Concrete Terminology (ACI 116R-85) defines cast stone as concrete or mortar cast into blocks or small slabs in special molds so as to resemble natural building stone.” - concreteconstution.net
True cast stone will not have any air voids or bug holes and the composition will be a fine grade texture. Cast stone has been used as masonry material for centuries and continues to offer an endless range of options for art, outdoor decor, and masonry details. When mixed correctly cast stone can be stronger than precast concrete and when compared to some natural stone it is more weather resistant.
Which company has the best cast stone outdoor decor?
There are some fabulous options available when selecting a cast stone piece for your project. It is good to know what you are purchasing and if the investment of a fountain or large garden items will stand the test of time.
Cast stone is the ideal material for its durability and Campania International has perfected the art of this ancient craft. Using their own proprietary blend of cast stone that is poured into their hand-made trademarked molds, all made in the USA using locally sourced materials.
- All cast stone pieces are fabricated using the wet casting technique with a proprietary high-density cast stone mix, yielding a PSI strength of approximately 7,500.
- The mix is composed primarily of water, sand, stone aggregate, and cement. (It’s a special recipe made in-house.)
- Each one of their designs is poured into the trademarked molds and then cured until ready for inspection.
- The inspection entails checking for any tiny imperfections, making sure all the edges are perfect and the drainage holes are clean. Once cleared, the pieces move on to the staining process.
- All of their patinas are hand-applied by skilled artisans in a multi-step process that produces unique and exquisite surface finishes. This entire multi-step process is done with the intention to replicate naturally aged materials.
- Like stains for wood, each cast stone piece accepts its patinas in varying degrees of intensity, creating surface variations with a distinctive character. Even when applied with the same process, this artisanal technique gives each piece a unique beauty and permits natural aging to occur seamlessly in an outdoor environment.
An example of the amazing craftsmanship of Campania International
What are the drawbacks to cast stone?
Even Superman had his Kryptonite, and so does cast stone. The one element that impacts the longevity and durability of cast stone is ice. Allowing water to freeze and thaw in a fountain, water bowl or birdbath will inevitably compromise the integrity of the piece. Campania International has some great tips for winterizing your fountains. We definitely recommend following their advice and having a fountain cover on hand for winter.
What is the natural aging process of cast stone?
Cast stone pieces will age naturally over time as they are exposed to the elements, like rainy, cold, windy weather. Part of the natural aging cycle is a chemical reaction between salts, found in natural materials, and water. This reaction is called efflorescence. The degree of efflorescence will vary depending on weather conditions. The calcium carbonate (salt), contained in the raw materials used to make cast stone, is drawn to the surface and will appear as a chalky white residue on the surface of the piece. This residue will disappear in more of the same weather conditions completing the efflorescence cycle. The efflorescence process occurs only once. These natural processes can be minimized by scrubbing and cleaning the affected areas with a soft brush.
These are just our top five questions about cast stone. If you need more information give us a call! We are always here to help and troubleshoot all your outdoor decor questions.