Understanding the Differences Between Natural and Manufactured Stone

Natural stone wall

When it comes to home improvement and design, there are two major types of stone materials: natural and manufactured. Natural stone is harvested from quarries and other natural sources, while manufactured stone is made in a factory by combining various raw materials with a binder. While the two types of stone can have similar appearances, it’s important to understand the key differences so they can be considered when making a decision about which type to use.


Look and Versatility


Natural stone has been used for centuries as a building material, and it can be found in many types of structures around the world. There is a wide range of colors, shapes, and textures available in natural stone, making it an ideal choice for many design applications. Additionally, natural stone has a unique look that cannot be replicated with manufactured stone. 


Manufactured stone can offer greater versatility when it comes to colors and shapes since it can be molded into any desired design. Due to its uniformity in shape and size, manufactured stone is also usually easier to work with during installation. However, since manufactured stone does not have the same texture or strength as natural stone, it may not be suitable for certain applications such as countertops or floors where durability is key. Manufactured stone can look artificial, so it may not be ideal for applications where a more natural aesthetic is desired.




If you’re looking for a resilient building material that will withstand the often harsh Colorado weather, natural stone is the way to go. It offers structural advantages over manufactured stone, and as a result, will maintain its beautiful look for a lifetime or more. Manufactured stone, on the other hand, is more likely to crack, fade, and discolor. Although it may cheaper to install, if you take durability into consideration, manufactured stone will not hold up and perform the same as natural stone. 




Another key difference between natural and manufactured stones lies in their sustainability profile; natural stones are generally more sustainable than their manufactured counterparts since they are sourced from existing quarries rather than being produced in factories. This means that natural stones have a less environmental impact than manufactured stones since no new resources need to be extracted from the environment in order to create them. However, it is important to note that some manufacturers are now producing more eco-friendly options that use renewable resources during production such as recycled glass or paper pulp instead of mined minerals or non-renewable resources like oil-based binders. These earth-friendly options may be better for the planet, but they won't give you the same look or durability that you’ll find with natural stone.




Natural stone offers unique aesthetics and structural advantages but is sometimes more expensive due to rarity, transportation costs (depending on where it is sourced), and higher installation costs. On the other hand, although manufactured stone may be more cost-effective upfront, when you take into consideration its durability and overall performance, it’s not always the better choice. Deciding between these two materials will depend on your individual needs and preferences as well as budget constraints when selecting either material for any project or application.


Visit The Rock Garden for a Wide Variety of Natural Stone Landscaping Supplies


Natural and manufactured stones both have their own individual benefits and drawbacks that should be taken into consideration when deciding which type of material to use for a particular project. Natural stones offer timeless beauty and greater durability while manufactured stone has the potential to be a more economic option when it comes to the initial investment. Ultimately, the choice between these two types of stone should come down to what best suits the needs of the project at hand as well as design parameters and budget considerations. 


If you’re looking for natural stone products to enhance your home, yard, or commercial landscaping, visit The Rock Garden of Fort Collins. We source our stones from our own quarry just a few miles outside of town. This gives us the advantage of being able to offer our customers high-quality stone products – and usually for a lower price, since we don’t have to transport the stone across a great distance.


From flagstone and natural stone veneer to stone retaining walls and custom stone features, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more at our store and adjoining rock garden. Stop by today! We’re located in North Fort Collins and are open Monday through Friday.


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