Best cultured stone product?

mjtx2November 10, 2011

I am totally confused. My builder generally uses Owens Corning cultured stone. El Dorado's advertising says it's the most realistic faux stone out there. I like the stone on fauxpanels but unsure of the feel (I'm waiting on samples of this product).

Do they all feel similar? Look as realistic? And do they take corners well? I'm very unsure what to do here. Thanks in advance for any/all information and suggestions!

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Fauxpanels (a trademark of Barrons Designs) are moulded high-density polyurethane veneer panels.

Cultured Stone (a trademark of Owens Corning/Boral Industries) is a "manufactured masonry" (cast stone) veneer product made of Portland cement, lightweight aggregates and iron oxide pigments.

They can both look pretty real if properly detailed but the plastic panels don't feel like stone.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 9:02AM
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Both Owens Corning and El Dorado are good products and generally the same "manufactured masonry" idea. You won't go wrong with either and it may come down to aesthetic choice. I found the El Dorado to look slightly more convincing in some design profiles (like Ledgestone varieties) and maybe less so in Owens Corning. Depending on the style you choose, one manufacturer might have the edge.

I don't like the polyurethane panels at all, though I have not seen the brand Faux panels. The poly panels I have seen look indeed very faux, from afar and definitely from close up.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 10:11AM
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We used a stone veneer called Casa di is a smaller company out of Massilon, Ohio, so not sure if it's available where you are. I was having a hardtime choosing a stone veneer, but when I saw these, I really liked the way they looked. To me, they looked the most real. I think they all make corner pieces, so the corners look fine. If you don't like either of the ones you've looked, keep'll find something!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Actual stone has decreased in price enough to be more widely available and used.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Be careful and look at the product in person! When we were picking stone for our last house I went with a brand that was in stock and looked ok on the display. After getting the box home and laying some out on the floor I realized the color was not anything like what I thought it was and the stone looked so cheap and fake I couldn't stand it. We took it back and ordered the stone Acme Brick carries.

With the house we are currently building I am going with a local company. They can custom color the stone and offer a wide range of choices for about half of the cost of the bigger brands. Ex: At Lowes the price was about $6.50 per foot. The local manufacturer is $3.50. The installation guys I have spoken with said that depending on the company and application the stone can lose its color and to watch out for the corners being a different color from them being on different runs.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:04PM
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We AGONIZED over this decision. First, we thought we were going to go with the Owens, then when we couldn't decide on a color or profile, we realized it was because they just didn't look realistic. Then we were going to use Environmental Stoneworks, but the supplier told us that we wouldn't be happy with the results if we used the limestone we had our hearts set on.

We ended up going with El Dorado in the York limestone. Let me tell you, I didn't sleep for 3 nights until it arrived because I let my husband pick the color and the York is a fairly dark-ish grey/tan blend. It arrived during a deluge and got soaked, making it look BLACK!!!

It dried beautifully, though, and as soon as it went up on the wall, I fell in love and am very happy with the results. The grey/tan blend looks more realistic than anything else we saw. As my husband reasoned, that's the color stone is supposed to be.

I hate it when he's right, but I do love the stone.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:46AM
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I googled the York from ElDorado and it is beautiful. So ... is there concensus that ElDorado looks and feels more realistic? :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 8:38AM
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Two other tips --

Use a blend of TWO colors and if possible, TWO SHAPES as well for a more realistic look. If you'll look at the Owens Corning and El Dorado brochures carefully, at the big glossy pictures versus the specific product samples, you'll see that most of their best-looking and most-realistic-looking shots use a blend of colors and/or textures. Real stone simply isn't that uniform in color or shape.

Second, don't pinch pennies on your installation or you may be sorry. Some installers skip the expensive corner pieces, using plain ends instead. This saves a lot of money but completely ruins the 'realistic' aspect of the installation. Others do lots of plain straight cuts to make things fit rather than searching for the right stones. Again, this completely ruins the realism of the installation and can expose the lightweight aggregate in very visible ways.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 12:11PM
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"Use a blend of TWO colors and if possible, TWO SHAPES as well for a more realistic look."

Or get actual stone.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:42PM
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Even though the El Dorado looks nice for faux stone, it still has an unnatural look that we did not like. We kept looking and found Cooper Stone, a natural thin-stone that worked well for us and we like a lot more. See the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooper Stone website

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:20PM
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do you have any pictures to show the color?? thanks so much :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 12:13AM
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Spoke again with the builder -- I was confused (not the first time, nor the last hah). They use Coronado stone, not Owens Corning. I looked at the link and I think it's beautiful and pretty realistic looking.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:16AM
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I used Coronado stone too, in two different colors. The colors were fairly similar but the results turned out great.

Here's a couple photos for you.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 12:42AM
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Annicade --

I swear I typed a response, but it didn't show up here .... **!!!????**** computer!!!!

I had my camera at the site today to take pics for you and voila! Batteries were dead!! (Are you detecting a pattern?)

I'll try again tomorrow.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:15PM
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Here's my Owens Corning stone: Bucks County Southern Ledgestone. Initially, I thought it wasn't 'colorful' enough, but now I think it's great, since if we picked a more colorful stone, it might clash with the Nichiha siding color. This was a cloudy day, so it's not as 'bright' looking.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 3:23AM
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Junior K, I like it very much!! Lolab, I am right there with you. Can't wait to see!!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:32PM
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Junior k, we are going for the same look of the craftsman columns with stone base. What are the dimensions of your columns? And could you post more pictures of the porch? Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 7:32AM
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Excellent landscaping and roof line. Do you happen to have more pictures of your exterior?


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 4:02PM
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Nice thread... I'm about to use cultured stone next to my walk-out basement on the concrete wall. I was just quoted a price of $18/sq. ft. That includes Owens Corning ledgestone of my choice, all materials and labor.... total cost. Does this sound like a fair price?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I don't remember, but just as an update, I ended up using real stone. I think there wasn't much of a price difference in the product, but a little in installation labor which makes sense. My husband said if you're concerned about it looking real, why don't we just get real. So I did and we love it!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 4:44AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I have no idea what it cost, but we ended up using real stone that is cut thin so it installs the same as the fake stuff...but you can't match the color variation of natural stone with the fake stuff. Also, we were using a lot of the real stone we had on our property in our landscape and wanted it to blend. It does blend really well.

Natural thin stone on front gable

The rounded walls are full sized natural stone from our property, and the foundation is the natural thin stone.

We used the same stone on the inside behind the woodstove.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone from

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 7:06AM
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Investigating it a bit more, $18/sq. ft. seems to be very reasonable as I've seen websites quoting around that price 5-10 years ago. The mason will acid wash the concrete wall first which I didn't know needed to be done.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 11:07PM
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