Eldorado v. natural stone veneer

expatintoroJune 6, 2007

We're trying to decide between using cultured Eldorado Stone - www.eldoradostone.com - or a new product that is a natural stone veneer. Has anyone used the natural veneer described at www.nsvi.com?

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New product??? LOL! Natural stone is hardly a new product! Some of it has been around for billions of years. Thin veneers of natural stone are also not new.

What really matters are the properties of the stone, and the quality of the installation. Soft, easily-weathered stone will deteriorate quickly; durable stone will last a very long time indeed.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 2:23PM
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Happy to make you laugh, Solarpowered! However, our architect has led us to believe this is a new version of stone VENEER as stated on the manufacturer's website:

"Natural Stone Veneers International offers a new dimension in stone veneers. Their unique process uses patented machinery to cut real quarried stone to a thickness of 1-inch to 1-1/4-inch. The result is a lightweight, all natural stone veneer that provides the beauty and durability of real stone without the weight of traditional stone veneers. The product is easy to handle and installs quickly."

Some of the Eldorado cultured stone was remarkably natural - my question really wonders if this natural stone veneer is worth the extra price (about 1/2 way to the cost of using actual stone)?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 5:20PM
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I don't know anything about NSVI but we did use the El Dorado and LOVE it. The majority of new houses in my area (all price ranges) use either El Dorado or Owens Corning.

Our house (still under construction)

This was our inspiration house which also used El Dorado Veneto Stone

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 5:51PM
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WOW, lindybarts! Your house and its inspiration both look astouding - I'll have to take another look at the Veneto. Thanks for sharing -

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Thanks! Hubby and I went back and forth on which stone to choose but ultimately felt El Dorado looked the nicest. We flip flopped between the Veneto and this color called Andante. Both are nice!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:00PM
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Fake stone or natural stone, that is the question. Most houses today have fake wood beams, fake fireplaces, fake chimneys, etc. I think manufactured stone has become so common that is a look of its own and is totally appropriate for many if not most houses being built today. It does NOT look like real stone, but neither does a sheetrocked wall look like plaster. So what? Which should you use? It depends totally on what kind of house you have built.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:29PM
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I find it odd that [in as much as you can tell from a website photo] the 'natural' veneer doesn't look as natural as the better fakes...

Owens corning 'cultured stone'

Can't show you the El Dorado: their images aren't compatible.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 2:56AM
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Exactly! That was my impression too - the Eldorado website pictures look more natural than the NSVI website ones. Our builder is going to do a mockup wall with samples of each one - hopefully we'll be able to project the results onto a whole house wall.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:36AM
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Can anyone tell me how you purchase Eldorado Stone if you want to DIY, and about how much it goes for. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:46PM
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The Eldorado website:
has a search feature under "Contact-Find Distributor."

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:09PM
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Would you mind sharing how much the El Dorado is? We are also in Oregon so I am thinking the cost would be similar for us. Your house is gorgeous and I always love seeing your pictures. :) We are just in the planning stages and trying to 'pre budget' so we can design to our budget vs design and then try to figure out how to pay for it! The plan we like features quite a bit of stone on the front and we are wondering if we should use a little less combined with board & batten and horizontal siding or if the El Dorado is 'reasonable' just make our choice purely on what we like best. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:41PM
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We are doing all three of our fireplaces in a natural stone veneer (although not any of the ones from the above website). Two are done already and the natural colors and variations are just lovely. The toughest part is that real stone doesn't necessarily come in matching shapes, colors and proportions so it takes more time to install. It is heavier than Eldorado stone, too, so it is harder to put up more than a few vertical feet at a time without it wanting to slide off the substrate.

The nice thing is that the stone will always look the same for years and years to come.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:23PM
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Luckymom, THANKS! We have a fixed price contract and the masonry line item was $34,000. But don't forget I'm in Portland near downtown which probably adds some to the cost. I just love the look of board and batten with stone. You'll have to let us know when you decide on a design.

P.S. I have to laugh every time I see your screen name. At first I thought you had 23 kids! ROFL!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:31PM
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Ok, so I wouldn't be laughing and I'd have NO time for Garden Web! think of it as lucky mom 'to 3'. ;) But you probably already figured that one out! Thanks for the response, I seem to remember that your home has quite a bit of stonework. We actually really like the 'Dogwood Ridge' by Don Gardner and will go with that or a custom design along similar lines. Love to see more pictures of your house anytime you have them!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:05AM
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Lindybarts, your home looks great! Thanks for posting your photo. Very inspiring. Your stone looks so realistic and the overall effect is very Old World. Lovely!

Luckymom23, we're buying our ElDorado stone ourselves so I can give you some general idea of pricing (at least in your neighbor state to the north!). We're paying about $5.70 per sq ft for the stone itself. It costs less if you buy the 100 sq ft boxes instead of the 10 sq ft boxes. Pricing for the various specialty pieces (corners, ledges, light boxes, etc.) is different. For example, we're paying about $8 a linear foot for the corner pieces.

If you'll be doing the stone yourself, you can ask your ElDorado dealer for a copy of their free DVD on how to install ElDorado stone. They also have good instructions on their web site.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 2:23AM
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We chose natural stone. The contractor had included Owens Corning product for our home. Once we saw the Corinthian Granite compared to the Owens Corning the decision was easy. The corner pieces were expensive, but worth every penny.
Lindybarts, Your home is beautiful!!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 5:43AM
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We used Owens Corning Cultured Stone on our home and our company used to sell El Dorado. The El Dorado is a beautiful product and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. As lorraineal stated above, with real stone there is a bit more labor involved which increases the cost. The cultured stones are also manufactured to be easy to fit together so I like the look too. I would look at pictures of the real stone veneer you like and compare the look to a similar El Dorado product and decide if the cost difference is worth it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 6:47AM
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Thanks for the info, that does really help. Since you are buying the stone yourselves I assume that you are doing the stonework yourselves? If so let us know how it goes and share pictures, heck, share pictures no matter what! Are you working with a builder or GC'ing yourself?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 1:13PM
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Has anyone else had problems with defects in veneer from Eldorado Stone? I had 2 out of 10 boxes arrive which contained pits and discoloration. The pits appear to be from air bubbles in the molds. These look terrible, and the company has been unable to provide defect free replacements. This is delaying my project, and may cause me to have to rip down all the existing work and redo with other material if they can't provide defect free material.
It has been very frustrating dealing with them and disappointing from a company that has a sales line about being the most believable architectural stone. I wish I had chosen other veneer material. Thy don't appear to stand behind their defect guarantee, even for brand new material.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 5:52PM
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No problems with ours. I would let them know you are planning to rip it out and use something else. If they still don't step up...then return it. Can you do that?

Hope you get it resolved. Show us the photos when you have a minute.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 6:18PM
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We used Eldorado stone on our outdoor fireplace in our California home and for our wall around our front garden. We liked it so much that we will use it again for retaining walls and fireplaces in our new home.

Here is a photo of the fireplace. It was the Rustic Ledge profile in the color Durango:

almost finished:


We also used Eldorado Stone for our front retaining wall and light posts. We opted for one that was easier to install, the Stacked Stone profile in the Santa Fe color.

My husband did all of the installation and it wasn't hard.

here are pics of the retaining wall, both in progress and completed:

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:27AM
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oh, someone asked about cost. I can't remember the exact cost, but I know we spent a total of about $700 for the stone for the front retaining wall and posts and then about the same again for the fireplace. It was somewhere around $5 to $7 a sq. ft., plus the cost of the caps. that's all we spent since DH did the installation.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:28AM
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kygirl99, that's a beautiful wall. We're planning on doing something similar -- thanks for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 7:22AM
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logista, thanks! we hope to recreate it in our kentucky home. the fireplace and the front retaining wall were some of the reasons why our california home sold in just seven weeks in the summer of 2006, despite the recent downturn in the market that had just hit. we received almost full asking price because everyone loved the upgrades that my DH had done. and men were in LOVE with that huge patio (it ran the length of our house, about 50 feet, and was 20 feet wide and the ceiling was tongue-and-groove wood with those ceiling fans and the TV and the outdoor fireplace. it was the perfect California party spot. we had put in the lines for gas and water and sewer for an outdoor kitchen but hadn't built it yet. that was going to be the next project but then we decided to move to kentucky instead.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 5:09PM
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Lindybarts, if you're out there, do you have any other pictures of the Andante color of Fieldledge?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 10:55AM
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Ron Natalie

We went round and round on it, and the truth is, we could pretty much tell the "cultured" stone from the real one even at a distance. We were all set to go with a stacked fieldstone when we found a sawed quartz product that had the coloration we were looking for. It's a little thicker than some stone veneers.

I'd include a picture but the blasted site that hosts my domain is being cranky.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 12:34PM
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I LOVE the way cultured stone looks from a distance, but up close I am not too thrilled with it. I needed stones for my columns and looked at many different brands of man-made stone. I finally settled on natural stone, even though it was MUCH harder for me to work with. Nothing beats the look of the real thing.

Dragonfly, I love your stone work!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 7:15AM
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Ron Natalie

OK, hosting issues resolved. We knew this is the right one. It pretty much matches the saprolite that is native to the lot.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Ron Natalie

OK, hosting issues resolved. We knew this is the right one. It pretty much matches the saprolite that is native to the lot.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 11:04AM
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SO....um....what exactly do you do for a living stoneworld? Wouldnt be a little biased would ya?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:16AM
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hmmm... i went to select a natural stone for our home today and when i got there i didn't see anything i liked. until i went to the other side of the building. all of a sudden there were beautiful samples of stone. i loved every one of them. the thing is, it wasn't real stone. it was that "fake" stuff. i'll take it.
natural stone will decompose and flake and chip too. just a matter of time. eldorado will save us thousands, and allow us to upgrade the roofing material. i don't need real stone. i need the best looking product with a 50 year guarantee. i don't plan on living another 50, but if i do i won't be caring much about the beautiful fake stone outside and around my fireplace.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:56AM
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We are planning to use Eldorado on our house. It will cost us considerably more because of the abundance of natural stone in the Texas Hill Country. We prepared for that. What we didn't prepare for was the price hike of 8% Eldorado did as of the new year. According to our distributor, this is an "across the board" price increase. Even the distributor was left scratching his head. In a time when building is at a historic low, Eldorado raises their prices. Can anyone else confirm the price increase?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:24AM
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txquickdraw, yes. El Dorado did just have a price increase. I confirmed with two suppliers on Friday (we are getting ready to order ours too). The price was about .40 cents higher than what I was originally quoted a few months ago.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 12:07AM
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the appliance manufacturers have just increased prices as well. doesn't really make sense, but for us the eldorado is still much less expensive than real stone. labor is less to install the cultured stone as well. sorry can't confirm the increase as i just started looking on friday. interesting about the price increases as it just doesn't make sense. lumber was down when we purchased in october.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 10:33PM
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Currently I live in a solid stone and brick Texas Hill country house. The exterior is 4 different types of limestone mixed together. It looks incredible, we get nothing but compliments and no, nothing in the world would ever look better then total natural stone. However, weight was a huge issue when we were designing the house and we had to beef up the foundation considerably to support the weight of the stone. Interior wise though I have nothing but Eldorado Stone. I love this product, I love the lower weight of this product and I think this company manufactures some of the most believable "man-made" stone out there. I am currently building my 5th new home in Canada and we will not only use Eldorado Stone on the inside but also on the outside this time. I have over 5000 sq feet of stone in the new project and I wouldn't trust it to anyone else but Eldorado. One a side note though, manufactured stone should be installed by a good mason, preferably a master mason, who has worked with the product and is trained to know how to properly mix the stones throughout the laying, who follows the recommended installation instructions, and who can make the stone come alive. It is a master mason who will transform a "man-made" product into a thing of beauty. If you live in an area where real stone is a sensible price then I would chose real stone. But, for those of you who have overly high costs for natural stone, Eldorado stone is a super alternative. It also has the benefit of being a "green" option and I am receiving a bunch of LEED points for choosing a product that does less damage to the environment, is manufactured close to where I will be using it,does not benefit from forced labor practices and is not mined in inappropriate ways. It also requires far less structural concrete and rebar then real stone would require.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:40PM
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SuperBuilderMom thank you so much for being a loyal and valuable customer of Eldorado Stone. We love to hear about past and future projects and appreciate any feedback - good or bad. If you have any available photos of your past projects or any current projects, please post them! We love to see and share finished projects or "before/after" transformations. We hope to continue working with you on any future projects to come!

Here is a link that might be useful: Eldorado Stone Facebook Page

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 7:10PM
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