The topic simply known as “Wet Vs Dry” is one of the most questioned, confused, misunderstood, and unfortunately, taken-advantage-of (for the negative) topic in our industry. Frankly, we are in the midst of a true crisis facing the cast stone industry. For a number of reasons, bad product, or worse, the wrong product finds it’s way onto jobs. When the true nature of the product shows itself, in the best circumstance you have an owner facing premature costly restoration-type repairs. In the worst instance, public safety (life) is threatened.

Cast stone is a man made alternative to natural stone, most commonly limestone. In fact, a seasoned expert would have difficulty in telling the difference between an older, well made piece of cast stone and similarly aged cast stone. Using primarily fine aggregates, cement, and pigments, the well mixed earth-moist dry mix is rammed into a mold. After a quick curing period, the stone is ready for the job site (for more information on how cast stone is made, click here).

Architectural Precast is made from what people more commonly think of when they think of wet concrete, or measurable slump wet mix. Wet concrete is placed into a mold, allowed sufficient hardening time for handling, removed from it’s mold, patched and acid washed (for more information on how Architectural Precast is made, click here). The resultant architectural finish will be very similar to that of Cast Stone.

That resultant finish is often referred to as “sugar cube” texture.

So if the outcome can culminate in a similar texture and color, when would one be more appropriate than the other?
In what instances is it absolutely inappropriate to use or the other?
Why, then, would there be a desire by anyone to inappropriately substitute a product?
Wouldn’t contract specifications protect against this sort of thing?
What happens when something with the precast goes wrong (before construction completion and long after the warranty period has expired)?
The job’s engineer will be reviewing the information so we’re covered, right?
What about the highly respected precast associations- don’t they protect against this?

In many situations, these questions have definitive answers. But in many cases, the answers are not as clear and only an experienced ethical producer can advise as to the truth. The mere existence of such a gray area, however, also creates a position of vulnerability to less ethical entities.