“Weigh your Options”

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Hi All, There seems to be a bit of confusion out there between manufactured stone product and the PU (polyurethane) siding panels. Some of you are asking for manufactured stone in large sheets and panels. In most cases, manufactured stone is produced in individual pieces, same as you’d receive a natural stone product. The exception to the rule is a “Dry Stack” profile where we mold multiple stone pieces into one product piece, quickening the install process. Adding to its popularity is the fact you don’t have to grout this product, eliminating probably the toughest step to the install process. Even with the multiple stone mold, our largest piece is still only 4”h x 20”L, just over a 1/2sq.ft. of coverage. If you’re asking yourself why we just don’t make them bigger, the simple answer is weight. Our lightest MFS product comes in a around 6.5lbs per sq.ft. and our heaviest at 10lbs. If you do the math, that would put a 3’ x 5’ stone panel at 98lbs to 150lbs per, a little tough to manage even for two installers. If you’ve seen a “Stone” panel product being installed on a site or on TV it more than likely PU product. It’s incredibly light at roughly 1 lb per sq.ft. and the panels come in array of sizes. There are a number of different brands out there with a fairly wide range of profiles like stone, brick and stucco. If wondering how durable foam can be? Trust me, its tough. When it comes to blunt trauma, it surprised me every time. I’ve stomped up and down on it with no visible signs of damage. The only way I could deform the surface was by stabbing it with the pointed end of a golf umbrella. Even then, the color stayed on the surface and the foam didn’t show through. Its impressive stuff and has been used in the automotive industry for years. The material cost of the PU is more expensive than the manufactured stone but levels the playing field once you factor in the reduced installation time and cost. Comparisons have been done showing the panels can go on the wall up to five times faster than a real stone product and some PU’s can even add a small amount of R value to your structure. In the past, I think the PU product line has struggled with the issue of believability. Most of the panels never really looked like a true stone product when installed but I think we’ve finally turned that corner now. It’s pretty hard to tell the PU foam from stone if you’re a few feet away. Some profiles with larger grout lines will always struggle I think as the manufacturers have a hard time keeping color of the stone from mixing in with the grout lines. The Dry Stack profiles don’t have this issue and continue to be our biggest sellers. There you have it, hope this clears thing up a little for you. Build it well

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.