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Iconic limestone operator offers take on cast stone performance, life cycle

A new study from a quarry operator whose signature product clads landmarks no less than The Pentagon and Empire State Building examines distinctions between dimensioned limestone and cast stone fabricated from vibratory dry tamped or wet-cast methods.

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Bloomington, Ind.-based Indiana Limestone Co. has posted the study at www.indianalimestonecompany.com.

“Man Made vs. Natural Stone” authors bill limestone as a lasting choice, renowned for durability, versatility and natural beauty as well as “an economical long-term option, rewarding initial investment with minimal expenses for maintenance and upkeep over the course of many years.” While cast stone is available at lower initial cost, they contend, “Indiana Limestone requires less cumulative investment as the natural product is far more enduring than its man-made counterpart. Indiana Limestone, and indeed any natural stone, requires minimal maintenance. This consideration is often overlooked as the immediate cost is perceived as the be-all and end-all, when in actuality the permanent structure will demand future investment.”

“With cost an influential factor on architects’ purchasing decisions, cast stone has grown in popularity,” the study observes. “While cast stone can reduce short-term building costs, maintenance costs can accumulate, although this is often not acknowledged at the time the decision to use cast stone is made. Indiana Limestone has a track record of less deterioration and therefore lower maintenance cost over the span of a building’s existence.”

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PHOTO: Indiana Limestone Co., Bloomington
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Cast stone, in the works at left through the wet casting method, has been selected for its color range and control, perceived cost advantages at purchase, and possible suitability for non-structural or minimally load-bearing applications, “Man Made vs. Natural Stone” authors observe. The product has more in common with concrete than quarried stone, they note, due to cementitious material content.

Adds Indiana Limestone Co. Product Manager Ben Wojcikiewicz, “Not only are we cost competitive versus cast masonry solutions, but there are additional benefits to installers using our natural material. Field dressing cast masonry exposes non-color or texture matched aggregate. All natural Indiana Limestone is made of one thing. Whether it’s our sills, thin veneers or full-bed masonry material, it all has this same characteristic.”