If you've ever walked or driven by a home with beautiful stone brick and rock facades, statuary, walkways and other decor detailing, you probably wondered how anyone could afford such exquisite materials and workmanship. You can indeed pay a fortune for stone and even stone veneers, but you don't have to. That's because you can make your own stone at home with cast concrete molds! In fact, a lot of the stone you see on homes is cultured stone though you couldn't tell it from looking at it.
You can make stone stone veneer, bricks, pavers, cobbles, steppingstones and floor tile using concrete stone molds into which you pour own ready-to-mix concrete, cement or plaster. The craft molds then give the concrete the shape, size and texture of whatever stone you want to make. Special cement colors and cement sealers are applied to get the coloring and surface treatment of a specific stone It is actually the sealers that can create anything from a flat "stone" finish all the way to an ultra-glazed high gloss.
Concrete is an incredibly flexible building material that makes it all possible. It allows you to create a huge variety of different manufactured stone materials at a small fraction of what you'd pay at a stone yard. The look is almost indistinguishable from the real thing because the master molds are taken from real fieldstone, limestone, ledgestone, river rocks and many other types and kinds of stone.
Stone can be used for walls, fireplaces, siding, trim, walks, patios, tile and numerous other applications. It looks terrific and adds value to any property. Used in walls or as siding, man-made stone offers fire resistance, great insulation, sound suppression and superior durability. Used in landscaping, stone lasts practically forever and lets you create spectacular effects.
The key to it all is molds for stone Those concrete molds are made of industrial ABS plastic that lasts for hundreds of pours if you use and maintain it properly. Depending on the type of stone a mold may make a few large stones or a bunch of smaller ones. Each will be different, just like natural stone Man-made stone from molds is usually a couple of inches thick and generally weighs a lot less than thicker real stone Thinner pours are used for stone veneers. There is no need for a kiln or anything like that; concrete cures all by itself and is ready to demold within a day, depending on the concrete mix, weather and the kind and size of the mold.
There is a very large selection of molds for just about any type of stone and stone material imaginable. You can even make things like Celtic designs, wall plaques, or other decorative additions. When it comes to making man-made stone there is no limit to your imagination.
You can order kits from companies that specialize on decorative concrete and cement molds. The kits usually include the molds, mold release to get the finished stones out easier, cement color, some sort of fortifier to add durability, and sealer. Some cast concrete companies offer packages that include DVD-based training materials. This comes in handy as, like with everything else, there is learning curve and you need some practice to get everything right.
Using cast concrete molds to make your own stone is an increasingly popular hobby that's not only fun, but it can greatly add to the look and value of your home.