Stone Veneer Vs. Natural Stone

What's The Difference?

We are regularly contacted by customers enquiring about the differences between natural stone 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.

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.

At A Glance...

Stone Veneer

Natural Stone

Material Cost



Installation Cost



Colour Options















Can You Tell The Difference?

All of the images below show stone walls that have been created, one of them using natural stone, the other stone veneer, but can you identify which is which?

Fernhill Stone Fernhill Stone


Natural on the left, stone veneer on the right

Fernhill Stone Fernhill Stone


Natural on the right, stone veneer on the left

Fernhill Stone Fernhill Stone


Natural on the right, stone veneer on the left

Application & Drawbacks

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 - view our range of aftercare products here.

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.

And The Winner Is...

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.

Click here to see our range of stone cladding

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