Cast stone is a synthetic product that has recently replaced many naturally occurring stones, such as granite and limestone. It is durable, affordable and aesthetically pleasing. However, if you do not prefer the antique look that comes with a cast stone finish, you can give it a brand new personality with a faux finish. Faux finishing can be used to create a wide variety of materials such as stucco, marble, wood or a smoother version of the stone itself.
Why Use Faux Finishes on Cast Stone
Faux finish is used to add life to a fireplace and maintain it in good condition. Cast stone is one of the few materials that can be used for outdoor fireplaces. Faux finishes act as a protective cover to keep it waterproof. Since cast stone is porous in nature, penetrating stain works best as a faux finish. The best thing about faux finishes is that they can be used to give a natural stone look, such as granite, which is very expensive.
Stain Choices and Colors
A gallon of stain covers approximately 400 square feet and should be enough to cover the fireplace. Cast stone essentially mimicks natural stone, so popular stain choices include non-glossy variations of natural shades. These include limestone stain, shades of travertine, terracotta and fossil. The shades can also be regulated by mixing color tints to the faux finish you are applying. It works best if the finish is transparent because it allows for a host of hues and shades to be mixed together. Wash finishes can be applied onto cast stone if you prefer a smooth and “washed” surface.
Venetian and Crackle Plaster for Enhancing Texture
Venetian plaster is used for a polished marble-like effect. It may be transparent and various color tints can be added. You can also choose from crackle finishes that give the cast stone an antique, cracked look. It is applied in two steps, the base coat comes first and then the more enhanced top coat comes later. Often Venetian and Crackle are used in combination to give a more “dense” feeling to the cast stone fireplace. Textures can also be mimicked by using specialized texture finishes, such as ancient stone that is light, porous or sandblasted.
Sculpture Plaster for Raised Designs
The invention of sculpture plaster has allowed for a new three-dimensional way of mimicking textures. This option is not as user friendly because it requires stencils and allows for the formation of intricate designs. The cast stone fireplace can be decorated by designed borders. Keep in mind that this process will take longer to complete because of the design and the drying time that it takes for the plaster.
After giving the cast stone fireplace a makeover, it is essential to apply a coat of acrylic polyurethane sealer. The sealer helps to protect the cast stone from dirt and grease. It also enhances the color of the stain and gives the surface a slightly “wet” look.