Frequently Asked Questions

What is cast limestone and how is it made?

Is there a difference between cast limestone and cast stone, or cast concrete?

What is the difference in cost, quality, and appearance between cast limestone,
cast stone, and cast concrete.

Why use cast limestone for mantels?

How strong is it?

How much does cast limestone weigh?

How do you make quality cast limestone?

Does the the product burn?

Will the product absorb soot or stains?

Lead time? How long from order to receipt of product?

How is the product shipped?

How do you off load product at destination?

How is the product packed to avoid damage during shipment?

Is the product easily or frequently damaged during shipment? How are damage issues handled?

How is the product installed?

Who can install the mantel?

What does it cost to install the mantel, surround, and hearth?

Can the product be used outside?

Cleaning Mantels? What do I use?

 

Q: What is cast limestone and how is it made?
A:

  • Cast limestone is made from select crushed Texas limestone, and   silica, with portland cement as a binder.
  • These ingredients are combined by weight with water in a "wet pour process" and poured into moulds.
  • They are allowed to cure overnight, then demoulded.
  • The product is hand finished to expose the natural grain of the stone.
  • Any "bug holes" or air pockets are filled and sanded.
  • Finally, the stone is sealed with a penetrating siloxane sealant.

Q: Is there a difference between cast limestone and cast stone, or cast concrete?
A: Yes.

  • Cast stone is made from various types of sand and portland cement using a dry tamp process.
  • Cast concrete is made with rocks, sands, and portland cement using a wet pour process.

Q: What is the difference in cost, quality, and appearance between cast limestone, cast stone, and cast concrete.
A:

  • Cast limestone is the most expensive of the three to make and has the beauty of natural cut limestone in its finished form.
  • Cast stone is cheaper to make and has the appearance and texture of sandstone. It is used extensively on the exterior of homes and buildings where large quantities of stone are needed and price becomes an issue.
  • Cast concrete is the cheapest and least finished of the three products. It is used when price is more important than appearance and is sometimes filled and painted to improve the look.

Q: Why use cast limestone for mantels?
A: Since the mantel is the focal point of a room, and often viewed very closely,  it makes sense to choose a stone that has great natural beauty and requires no further finishing or maintenance.

Q: How strong is it?
A: If mixed and poured properly, cast limestone is very strong.  It achieves a strength of about 3,900 PSI after 28 days.

Q: How much does cast limestone weigh?
A: A typical mantel, surround, and hearth weigh about 1,600 lbs.

Q: How do you make quality cast limestone?
A: Attention to the small details.

  • Using select limestone that is consistent in size and quality.
  • Keeping bulk cement dry and free of lumps.
  • Using moulds which are properly made and maintained.
  • Using a clean  mixer; mix ingredients in proper order and for correct length of time.
  • Using the right amount of water to preserve the product strength.
  • Pouring on level tables, and screeding;  filling moulds after pouring to maintain dimensional integrity.
  • Vibrating moulds properly to reduce air holes or "bug holes".
  • Demoulding and handling  carefully to avoid damage to pieces until they cure and gain strength.
  • Finishing properly so that the natural grain is uniformly visible.
  • Filling all air holes and sand smooth.

Q: Does the the product burn?
A: It is a stone product and doesn't burn.

Q: Will the product absorb soot or stains?
A: The stone is sealed with a siloxane based sealer that is invisible and prevents absorption. If you spill a liquid on the surface it beads up just as if you had poured it on the waxed hood of your car.

Q: Lead time? How long from order to receipt of product?
A: Allow four weeks for production and shipping. Allow a week for shipping in stock items.

Q: How is the product shipped?
A: By common carrier

Q: How do you off load product at destination?
A: The product comes in a single crate that weighs about 1,850 lbs. A fork lift or some mechanical lifting device is needed to get the crate off the truck and onto the ground.   Some delivery destinations have lift gate trucks available to deliver and off load crates. Inquire about the availability and cost.

Q: How is the product packed to avoid damage during shipment?
A: The product is packed in a completely enclosed crate with foam.

Q: Is the product easily or frequently damaged during shipment? How are damage issues handled?
A: Product is infrequently damaged during shipment. Pieces discovered damaged upon receipt of shipment, noted on drivers bill of lading,  and faxed to us will be replaced free of charge. Allow two weeks to receive replacement pieces.

Q: How is the product installed?
A:

  • The hearth is typically installed first and allowed to set overnight.
  • The mantel pieces are stacked, glued to each other, and to the wall, starting with the base then legs, mantel body, and shelf, using 1/4" plastic shims in the joints to maintain spacing.
  • The mantel is basically self supporting and held to the wall with common brick ties fastened to studs and projected into the  joints; and thin set glue.
  • Surround pieces are cut to fit and glued between underside of mantel body, mantel legs, and firebox opening.
  • Finally, everything-- mantel, surround, and hearth are grouted and cleaned.

Q: Who can install the mantel?
A: Someone who is familiar with handling heavy stone, cutting stone, applying thinset materials and grout. A local marble and granite company is preferred. Possibly a local masonry, or tile contractor.

Q: What does it cost to install the mantel, surround, and hearth?
A: Labor rates vary widely throughout the country.  Two men should be able to complete the installation in about 12 hours with the proper tools and lifting equipment.

Q: Can the product be used outside?
A: Yes the product is suitable for outdoor use.

Q: Cleaning the Mantel? What can I use?
A: Spic and Span or any non detergent cleaner.

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