The difference between natural stone cladding and manufactured cladding

The main difference between natural stone cladding and manufactured cladding is that the latter is man-made. Where natural stone cladding uses material quarried for the earth, manufactured stone is made of a mix (typically cement-based) that is cast in moulds designed to resemble the real thing.

While innovative manufacturing techniques have improved the aesthetics of man-made stone cladding, it’s impossible to achieve the same level of imperfections, texture and patina of real stone.

Apart from a superior appearance, natural stone may prove to outperform many manufactured cladding options and often has a greater lifespan. Natural stone cladding is highly durable in both indoor and outdoor applications, lasting many years exposed to the elements without surface damage. It’s fade resistant and can play a role in fire protection as well as insulation. Unlike some manufactured stone products, natural stone cladding can also be used in more challenging applications such as poolside where it is exposed to moisture and chemicals.

There are, however, reasons some opt for manufactured stone over natural cladding. Firstly, it can be a much lighter material than natural stone and may not require the type of substrate real stone needs. Secondly, you may be able to install it yourself rather than engage the help of a landscaper, tiler or bricklayer and thirdly, it can be cheaper.

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Why choose natural stone cladding

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There are plenty of benefits of using natural stone cladding in your home. Here we take a look at the reasons why many architects, designers and homeowners opt for natural stone over manufactured cladding.


Natural stone cladding can be used to add age and depth to a classic room or complement a contemporary space depending on the type of stone you select. With no two pieces of stone the same, you’ll have a unique surface where the imperfections and patina enrich the aesthetics of your exterior or interior spaces.

Robust nature

Being incredibly durable, natural stone cladding can withstand harsh weather conditions and is more resistant to chipping or breaking than many other walling materials. Its robust nature means your feature wall will stand the test of time.


With a variety of different stone types to choose from, natural stone cladding is incredibly versatile. It can be used internally to create a feature wall in your living room, finish off a fireplace or add visual impact in a bathroom. Outside, it can be used to break up the façade, enclose a pool or complete a boundary wall.

Low maintenance

You won’t need to repaint or replace rotting pieces of a natural stone wall. Stone cladding is a low maintenance solution, requiring a clean occasionally and resealing every few years depending on your application.

Is natural stone cladding a good solution for your project?

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With such a diverse range of natural stones to choose from, finishing an exterior or interior wall with stone cladding can add to the aesthetics of your home, indoors and out.

When deciding whether natural stone cladding is the right solution for you, there are a few things to consider beyond aesthetics. Firstly, consider whether you have the appropriate substrate to accommodate the weight of the material. You may need to build a new structurally sound wall and you may require an engineer’s structural certification.

You’ll also need to ascertain whether the stone you’ve chosen is right for the environment and the type of sealing you need to preserve the beauty of the stone. Your supplier and contractor will be able to advise you on this.

There are a lot of reasons to consider natural stone to create a timeless feature wall or finish off a structure. Not only does natural stone look impressive, it can also improve the value of your home and its performance.