Faux Stone versus Real Stone Being Wood Stove

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New Member
Mar 8, 2012
Wilm. DE
Picking out stone to go behind corner wood stove install.
Going to install and Jotul Castine 400.
Depending on wall design (unprotected versus protected w/ 1" air gap).
If using the protected wall design the stove will be sitting pretty close to whatever product I install.

Anyone have any pros/cons over using real stone versus man-made (cement) stone?

The real stone manufacture says they think their product is best for the application mainly due to it not changing color with the heat over time.
The man-made stone manufacture says their stone will hold up fine in this application.

As far as looks the man-made stone has more options for my taste - which is more of a roundish look as opposed to a stacked flat slate look.
Seems in real stone most options are of the flat style.


Minister of Fire
Dec 29, 2008
Beautiful British Columbia
I have seen cultured (man-made) stone change color over time, but it has more to do with being outdoors and exposed to the sun and rain. I can't see the heat from a stove being a problem. Cultured stone is often cheaper than real stone, and usually a lot easier to install. The biggest problem with cultured stone is you normally have only a certain number of different stones, because they only have so many molds. That means you'll get repeats, so the installer has to be careful not to install two of the exact same stones beside each other or in the same orientation otherwise it can look quite fake.
I'd go with man-made if you like the looks. ;)


Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Consider weight as well. Will this stone be setting on a footing or will it be hung on the wall? Cultured stone is much lighter in weight, and is often thinner. You can get a cultured stone of so many styles, you are not stuck with the dry stacked look. Though, I like the dry stacked look more than the river rock look.


Nov 9, 2012
Im in the process of doing the same installation with my stove. I researched both cultured and real stone. I have local vendors that sell both so I have access to either one. My preference is for the natural thin stone veneer. It installs just like cultured stone and cost only about two dollars per square foot more. If you have access to a vendor that has both I would go take a look at them both side by side. The natural think stone veneer looks so much better than the cultured. I decided that since I only need a small amount of square footage for my install I would go with the real stone.
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Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
Jay is right, if it's in the budget, go for natural stone veneer. It's cut from real stone. Real full thickness stone is probably not gonna be an option because of the weight, it would require footings or some very special reinforcement in the framing.


Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
Unity/Bangor, Maine
When I get ready to put up some stone work behind my stove I'm really leaning towards going with the natural stone veneer . . . oftentimes the fake stone to me looks and feels just that . . . fake.


Nov 9, 2012
In my area the cultured stone starts at $6.00 per square ft and goes to $14.00 depending on the style. The natural thin stone veneer goes for around $10.00 per square ft and higher. For me the price difference isn't an issue since the stove surround is not that large of a space. The veneer is applied the same as cultured stone so there is no price difference there. Both can be applied over cement board or by putting up wire mesh and skim coating it with cement then buttering the back of the stones and setting them. In my install I will be looking at about $200.00 difference, but to me it's worth it for the look and feel of natural stone.

Ive noticed even premium brands of cultured stone in different applications here in my area have changed color in just a few years. Some have taken on a slightly pink tone which I find off to the eye. Plus many applications I have looked at have exposed edges and chips that are not the same color as the face of the stone. Natural stone does not have these problems.
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