Thin stone veneer has traditionally been manufactured through a wet-cast process using latex molds. At one time innovative, this method has since revealed its limitations in both process and resulting product. A revolutionary dry‐cast manufacturing method has recently streamlined production and created a superior product that is stronger, easier to install and better looking.
The Problems With Wet-Cast Masonry
Through wet-casting, natural stones were arranged in a pattern and latex was sprayed on the stones to create a mold. When it was time to cast the veneers, these molds were hand painted with the colorant specified for the particular variety of stone. Wet concrete was then poured into the mold, vibrated and stored to set and cure. When finished, stones were pulled from the molds and the process began anew.
The resulting thin veneer stones only contained color on the outermost layer. If the stones were chipped accidentally, or purposely cut during installation, the non-colored aggregate on the interior was exposed. Specialized corner and trim pieces were needed to obtain finished, real-stone looks without sacrificing color consistency.
Dry-Cast, The Future of Masonry
The dry‐cast method uses new mold technology with a significantly longer life span than latex or rubber molds (which can also become fragile and tear over time and use).
Dry casting begins by scanning natural stone through a new process and turning those scans into patented mold technology. A low-moisture mixture of fine aggregates, cement, admixture and integrated colorant are densely compacted into the molds, then stripped from them and cured in a high‐humidity environment.
Thin veneers manufactured through dry-casting offer a PSI strength that is two to three times stronger than traditional thin veneer and have color integrated throughout the unit, which eliminates the need for special corner pieces and reduces waste caused by chipping. Additionally, dry‐cast stones resist freezing/thawing, water and fading. The same benefits for dry-cast thin veneer also extend to dry-cast full veneer.
With the successes already achieved thus far, the dry-cast manufacturing method promises to revolutionize the industry by setting higher expectations for thin veneer looks and performance. If you would like to learn more about these and other revolutionary advances in masonry, download Advances in Manufactured Masonry Thin Veneers today.