Stone as a building material is as old as time — but in the 21st Century time comes at a premium.
So while quarrying, dressing, transporting and building a stronghold with giant-sized stone blocks may not be an option for the modern building owner, they can still enjoy the ambience of natural stone by cladding their building’s exterior with CraftStone.
Made in Malaysia, CraftStone is a lightweight, durable concrete-based stone cladding manufactured by casting natural stones into moulds.
Craftstone New Zealand general manager Wayne Bowater says the finished product is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
“In any setting Craftstone brings the beauty of nature, a sense of permanence, and dignity to a structure. The product’s exceptional quality is the result of cutting edge technology, quality materials and 40 years of American experience,” he says.
For the builder set on the unique, different look, the price is a major advantage.
“Compared with natural stone, the lower transport costs of CraftStone and the speed and ease of installation, it generally translates into around half the price tag,” Mr Bowater says.
He explains why CraftStone performs well in New Zealand’s humid climate. “Water repellent is mixed with the composite material during manufacturing, in addition to a final spray coat on to the finished product.
“This means that in most applications the product does not need additional sealing, and the mixed-in water-repellent cannot be weathered off over time.”
Remarkable designer showpiece
For the builder who wants to turn an ordinary space into a remarkable designer showpiece, its true value lies in its convenience of use. Depending on the style chosen, CraftStone profiles are between 20mm to 75mm thick, weighing between 35kg to 45kg per square metre.
“Since they are classified as a medium weight slip according to the NZ building code, there is no requirement for extra foundations or structural strengthening of framing,” he says.
The product is available in strong cardboard cartons that, depending on the profile chosen, will contain between 0.8 and 1.15 square metres of flat stones, or 2.4 lineal metres of corner stones.
It can be used on almost any structurally sound surface, and is suitable for commercial, residential or landscaping projects.
It can also be used for interior applications. “It does very well bringing a ruggedly natural outdoor ambience inside, especially if the designer emphasises continuity with colour and texture,” Mr Bowater says.
The product is not suitable as paving, but can export the same ambience to, for example, pool areas, and with the periodic application of a masonry-type sealer should show no ill effects from regular contact with chemically-treated water.
Non-combustible and resistant to freeze and thaw conditions, the product is virtually maintenance-free, and carries a 25-year manufacturer warranty.
“The product is manufactured and coloured using the best artificial rock colouring systems known. We also use an integral stone base colour right through the mix to give added durability,” Mr Bowater says.
“This means that if a stone is chipped or cut it does not show as an ugly white scar. It looks good, and it stays looking good.”