Homeowners wanting a stone pathway, veneer, siding, or another fixture made of stone have long had a less expensive alternative available in the form of stamped concrete. Stamping concrete lets you create faux wood and stone that you can place around your property without having to worry about the things that can destroy wood like bugs and rot or the cost of real stone that's been cut to fit. Yet stamped concrete hasn't replaced real stone and each material has its admirers. When you want to add something made of stone to your property, choosing between natural stone and stamped concrete isn't always that easy.
Dealing With Supply Chain Issues
First, the continuing supply chain problems may make some forms of stone unavailable. The US produces plenty of stone for use in masonry and construction, but maybe you want a specific type of stone that is more commonly produced outside the country. If the supply chain that usually brings shipments of that stone to the US is not functioning well, it's better to choose something else.
Stamped concrete can actually be the right choice here because a concrete company or stonemason who also works with concrete can create a copy for you. You can also talk to masonry companies about natural stone that looks similar if you truly want that type of stone.
Which Is Worth the Cost to You?
Natural stone is likely to be more expensive overall. Even if you use very cheap stone that is easy to find, it will have to be cut to fit and then added piece by piece. Stamped concrete also requires labor but is not nearly as extensive because after the concrete is poured, it's merely stamped. Blocks of it are then put in place, and the reduced labor and time generally make it less expensive. But, if the cost is not an issue for you, or you think natural stone is worth the cost, then the natural stone remains in the running.
The Real Thing Versus Just Wanting the Look
Finally, why do you want a stone-like look for the property in question? Is it just because you think it looks cool? In that case, either natural stone or stamped and colored concrete would work because both give you the stone-like look you want for your garden path, home veneer siding, or other fixture. But if you want actual, natural stone because you like that material, then of course you'll want to speak with a masonry company about the types of stones they have available and how they'd cut and arrange them.
Contact a local masonry contractor to learn more.