John Lambert, General Manager at Forticrete, discusses the benefits of handmade cast stone which provides a solution for adding individual character and definition to a home.
Homeowners are increasingly looking to differentiate the exterior of their homes, adding their own touch of personalisation. The challenge for housebuilders and developers is to meet this growing trend for individuality, in a cost-effective way, without compromising on quality.
Over the past decade, projects and extensions have seen many contemporary designs and innovations, including the use of large expanses of glazing, distinct right angles and steel cladding. However, there are those who still prefer to design with traditional natural products that create a heritage look.
To create distinctive design touches when undertaking new build projects, restoration work and building extensions, more and more housebuilders and developers are turning to detailing building components to enhance the kerb appeal of their homes, particularly at the front of their properties. Examples include creating feature windows with a mix of heads, cills, mullions and jambs creating attractive window surrounds or welcoming entrance ways incorporating specially crafted porticos, porch and door surrounds.
Traditionally supplied in natural stone or brick, housebuilders and developers are increasingly opting for beautifully crafted cast stone components, a perfect example of time honoured craftsmanship and technology working together in perfect harmony.
Manufactured from high grade limestone and sandstone aggregates, cements, pigments and waterproofing agents, in accordance with the current British, European and the UKCSA standards, cast stone is the ideal material to add these finishing and traditional touches.
Cast stone has long been perceived to be prone to damage causing many to opt against specifying the material. This is because in many instances it is poorly manufactured resulting in damage which becomes visible in the first couple of days from manufacture. It is during this time that it is often packed and sealed for distribution and as a result, it’s only upon delivery that any potential damage is revealed.
However, cast stone can be produced to a high quality. With that in mind, it is vital that housebuilders and developers ensure they’re sourcing cast stone from suppliers that are prematurely aging the product to improve early handling thanks to innovative curing methods.
For the housebuilder and developer looking to reflect their individual tastes in their material choices, they should also look to specify quality cast stone that is manufactured by hand using highly skilled craftsmen that carefully produce each piece in-house using a semi-dry or wet cast format. As the cast stone is manufactured by hand, craftsmen are able to produce a wide range of bespoke cast stone products with ease, providing housebuilders and developers with the individual style they require.
With speed of delivery of paramount importance for housebuilders and developers, having regular items made at popular sizes, available for delivery anywhere within the UK within a week, eliminates the inconvenience of long lead-times. Through-coloured cast stone components, just like natural stone, can be dressed on site to suit individual requirements whilst retaining the original colour and texture.
Suitable for timber frame or conventional brick and block construction, cast stone detailing components are available in a range of colours each created to match regional differences in natural stone colour. From the white limestone of York to the honey coloured walls of Bath and the reddish hues of sandstone that make Chester so distinctive, each region has its own distinct stone, synonymous with the area.
However, bespoke cast stone components can also be created to meet design requirements. Unusual sizes, intricate or irregular shapes and precise matches for special colours and textures, this flexibility gives maximum design freedom to create stand out detailing on new homes.
To provide high quality, distinctive touches to a self-build project or an extension, housebuilders and developers needn’t look further than beautifully crafted cast stone components. However, it is essential that to add the desired individual character to their properties, they turn to cast stone that is manufactured by hand with time honoured craftsmanship and manufacturing quality.