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Natural Stone vs. Veneer Stone: What's Best For Me?

Author: Matt Harris
by Matt Harris
Posted: Mar 08, 2020
natural stone

We are regularly contacted by customers enquiring about the differences between natural stone cladding and stone veneer, as they are often unsure which one they should choose for their project.

With that in mind, we've produced a short guide to help you choose the right stone for you.

Natural stone comes in many different types, and is quarried all over the world. The appearance of natural stone is determined by how it was formed: by rivers, volcanoes, etc.

For commercial purposes, natural stone is categorised into several groups, the most popular being granite, marble, limestone and slate.

Each stone will be unique, so natural stone of the same type can differ widely.


  • Valued appearance
  • Durable
  • Colorfast


  • Heavy
  • Dense
  • Hard to cut
  • Difficult to source

Stone veneer, often referred to as faux or cultured stone, is a man-made product that was introduced as a lightweight alternative to natural stone.

It is made from concrete that is poured into a mould and coloured to give the appearance of real stone. It is often favoured as a cost effective material to give a natural looking stone finish to buildings and interiors.


  • Light
  • Easy to cut
  • Uniform sizes
  • Predictable quality
  • Easy to obtain


  • Homogeneous appearance
  • Colour may fade
  • Brittle


Both natural and stone veneer can be used in a variety of applications with both indoor and outdoor uses, however some types of stone are more suited to certain applications based on how durable they are or likely to deteriorate over time.

For example, if you are looking for something to use for a water feature then natural stone might be the best option, as the chemicals that are applied to the water could cause stone veneer to deteriorate over time. There are products available to maintain and protect stone veneer to avoid this.

Alternatively, if you are looking to add a natural stone effect to your fireplace or interior walls, stone veneer is a lightweight option to achieve a natural looking finish with quick and easy application, without the need for large footings or thick walls.


Ultimately this will come down to preference but our opinion is that stone veneer offers more flexibility at a cheaper price.

From a distance it is almost impossible to tell which is which, and with the added benefit of it being lighter and with more choice of colours and finishes available, you can find the perfect stone to suit your project.

At the end of the day, personal preference is all that matters but when it comes to maintenance, durability and flexibility, stone veneer takes the cake.

About Fernhill Stone:

Fernhill Stone was established in 1998 as distributors of stone cladding and brick cladding, importing their products from various suppliers across the globe that have a proven record in quality.

Because of this, Fernhill Stone have the largest range of stone veneer in style, colour and texture which are suitable for both external and internal locations.

Through commitment and service to their customers, Fernhill Stone has grown to become the market leader in stone facing and brick slips with offices throughout the UK and Ireland which have not only supplied stone cladding and brick veneer domestically, but internationally to Asia, Africa, the Middle East and mainland Europe.

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Author: Matt Harris

Matt Harris

Member since: Jan 20, 2020
Published articles: 4

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