Building Materials - Table of Contents................ Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ..

Cast stone

Cement cast to resemble stone.

Concrete with a fine aggregate or mortar which is cast into blocks or small slabs using special molds so as to resemble natural building stone.

Cast stone is a masonry product, used as an architectural feature, trim, ornament or facing for buildings or other structures ... while  maintaining durable physical properties which exceed most natural cut building stones.

Cast stone is an excellent replacement for natural cut limestone, brownstone, sandstone, bluestone, granite, slate, coral rock, travertine and other natural building stones.

Cast stone has been a prime building material for hundreds of years.  Cast stone was first used extensively in London in the year 1900 and gained widespread acceptance in America in 1920.

Most artificial stone consists of fine cement concrete placed to set in wooden, rubber lined fiberglass or iron molds. It was cheaper and more uniform than natural stone, and widely used. In engineering projects, it had the advantage that transporting the bulk materials and casting them near the place of use was cheaper than transporting very large pieces of stone.

- Wikipedia (March 2011)
The practice of using cheaper and more common materials on building exteriors in imitation of more expensive natural materials is by no means a new one.

In the eighteenth century, sand impregnated paint was applied to wood to look like quarried stone. Stucco scored to simulate stone ashlar could fool the eye as well.

In the 19th century, cast iron was also often detailed to appear like stone. Another such imitative building material was "cast stone" or, more precisely, precast concrete building units.  The prominent Delaware and Hudson Building, Albany, New York, (1916) made extensive use of cast stone as trim combined with a random ashar facing of natural granite.

Cast stone was just one name given to various concrete mixtures that employed molded shapes, decorative aggregates, and masonry pigments to simulate natural stone. The basic mixtures included water, sand, coarse aggregate, and cementing agents. Natural cements, portland cements, oxychloride cements, and sodium silicate based cements were all used as binding agents. The differences in the resulting products reflected the different stone aggregates, binding agents, methods of manufacture and curing, and systems of surface finishing that were used to produce them. Versatile in representing both intricately carved ornament and plain blocks of wall ashlar, cast stone could be tooled with a variety of finishes.

- Richard Pieper, The Maintenance, Repair and Replacement of Historic Cast Stone (December, 2011)

Alternatives to cast stone: Terra cotta ...... GFRC ......  Plaster systems

Page by  Chuck LaChiusa in 2011
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