Stone – What’s in a name?

October 29, 2013   |   By

In recent years Natural Stone manufacturers have faced a real problem: Marketing confusing Cast stone products (bought on by misleading definitions, ambiguous names and confusing language) with its natural stone counterparts.


Cast stone, engineered stone, art stone, simulated stone, substitute stone, faux stone, manufactured stone, reconstructed stone, reconstituted stone, composite stone, fabricated stone, patent stone, composition stone,… Call it what you will, it’s not stone.

The UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) defines ‘cast stone’ is “any material made with natural aggregates and cementitious binder that is intended to resemble and be used in a similar way to natural stone.” The fluffing of terms like ‘natural aggregate’ (stone dust) and ‘cementitious binder’ (cement) is used by the head of the industry, maybe to distance themselves from the fact that when everyone hears cement they think concrete not entirely fitting for the cottage industry product they are trying to portray. Other industries seem to have clear definitions and boundaries for classifying products; for example, the wood industry doesn’t allow chipboard or MDF manufacturers to confuse consumers by using the word ‘wood’.

Modern techniques for faux stone casting have created more believable textures and colours through the use of stone dust and dyes but there is no substitute for the beauty of the natural colour, mineral deposits, veining, texture and weathering that natural stone provides. Millions of years of water, heat, and pressure give natural stone a unique composition and aesthetic that dyes can’t duplicate.

Casting cannot yield the same level of detail that carved natural stone has. There’s only so much detail and complexity to what you can capture with a mould and the end product is only as good as the mould you make it from. Stonemasons are capable of capturing amazing detail due to the hardness and density of natural stone.

natural stone vs cast

On looking through websites of some of the most popular cast stone manufacturer, it’s easy to see how cast stone products are confused with natural stone building products. Products known as Cast Limestone, Stone Slips, Masonry blocks, and Traditional walling blocks (which are “Produced in molds originated from natural stone masters for a high quality aesthetic detail” … No we don’t know what that means either!?)

Like Real wood v’s laminate flooring, there are large enough markets for both Real stone and cast stone products, it is the marketing jargon used to confuse customers, in turn devaluing the process of Natural Stone selection and the high levels workmanship that go into natural stone products that really are made of natural stone and nothing else.

At Stamford Stone Company, we only manufacture our building products and natural limestone fireplace using natural English limestone. Our Clipsham limestone, has a rich history in English heritage, used in the Palaces of Westminster, Windsor Castle and Ely Cathedral… a testament to its beauty and durability. Our talented team of quarry operatives, sawyers and stonemasons have been producing our exceptional natural English limestone building products, Limestone fireplaces, dimensional block stone  and limestone flooring for over 16 years, building a strong reputation among architects, specifiers and contractors.

If you would like to know more about our Natural English Limestone contact Stamford Stone Company on 01780 740970 or email us on