The Curing and Low-Maintenance Cleaning of Manufactured Stone
Manufactured stone veneer is a durable and low-maintenance choice for exterior cladding and landscaping, and interior fireplaces and accent walls. Homeowners love the earthy and impressive boost it gives to their home’s curb appeal.
Manufactured stone is made from a concrete mixture that combines high-quality crushed aggregate, Portland cement, and water. The mixture is wet-cast into molds formed from authentic quarried stone, and pigment is hand-applied for color; as the material dries, it sets and hardens to form individual stones.
The Curing Process
If the moisture content of the mixture is high, the stone color takes on a deeper, darker, more saturated hue upon setting and hardening. The moisture in the finished stone may take up to six months to equalize, and the overall color of the stone face will lighten during the process. Dark colors – grays, deep browns, blacks – display the most drastic color changes as they normalize and cure.
Homeowners should be made aware of this curing process, so expectations can be managed about the final appearance. Customers are often surprised to learn that the intense color they see when the stone is installed will fade to a slightly lighter shade.
Most stone installations require multiple boxes of product which may be at varied stages of curing; it is common for the same stone and color palette to display a diverse range of shades. In this way, manufactured stone exhibits the natural and diverse tints found in authentic stone.
Applying a sealant to the finished installation is not required. Certain sealants can change the look of the stone, often giving it a darker, more saturated appearance. If a homeowner is interested in using a sealant to preserve the deeper color, be sure to advise that they use a silane siloxane-based breathable masonry sealer, and test on a small inconspicuous area first, to ensure they are satisfied with the color.
The Cleaning Process
Although stone is solid and durable, it’s best to use a light touch while cleaning. Wire brushes, acids or vinegars can loosen fine particles on the surface, and strong pressure washers can damage the integrity of the stone’s facing.
The easiest and safest cleaning method is to lightly spray with a garden hose. If dirt persists, wet the stone using a spray bottle filled with warm water and a bit of mild detergent, and scrub gently with a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to rinse off any residue from the detergent. Dust that gathers on interior stone surfaces may be removed with light suction using the brush attachment on a vacuum.
ProVia packs stones in wax-coated corrugated boxes, with slip-sheets in each row for added protection. The sheets protect the stones from chipping, and the boxes are jobsite tough and moisture resistant to endure weathering when stored outdoors.
ProVia manufactured stone is produced using genuine quarried stones to create molds, for authentic shapes and textures. The color is applied by hand, so each stone in every batch is unique. Our craftsmen employ multiple stages of coloring using rich pigments; this artisanal approach offers an authentic variance in color and shade for each individual stone.