One of the questions we regularly get asked is ‘what is the difference between semi dry stone and wetcast stone?
Our semi dry stone, as the name suggests, is manufactured using a low water content and a mixture of high quality fine natural aggregates, colouration pigments and additives.
It’s a faster manufacturing process than wetcast, making it ideal for casting repetitive components in large numbers. This makes semi dry stone perfectly suited for creating traditional sized units such as head cills, sting courses and coping.
Wetcast, on the other hand, takes longer to produce but is highly durable and can be cast into more elaborate shapes and designs. It is also one of the strongest of our materials and can be strengthened even further with the addition of steel reinforcements.
This enables larger pieces to be cast, resulting in fewer motor joints.
This makes our wetcast material ideal for self-supporting or load bearing requirements, as it negates the need for additional lintels or unsightly steelwork.
It does, however, take longer to produce than our semi dry products. For example, a wetcast mould can only be used once each day. There is also extra time needed to add a face finish where the pieces are acid etched and washed down to reveal the final texture and finish.
Semi dry material, conversely, have reduced lead times, due to the fact that the item being cast can be taken out of the mould almost immediately. This, therefore, allows the curing process to start straight away and the next item to be cast.
The manufacturing process for producing wetcast products is both labour and time intense. It also uses considerably more water than our semi dry process and requires a critical mix of the finished face to provide a perfect result.
As previously explained, it’s an especially labour intense process, involving our timed-served skilled work-force pouring the wet-cast mix into the mould and allowing it to cure overnight. Just as with concrete, a chemical reaction occurs causing the materials to bond and harden.
The result is a high-density material having a strength more than 45N/mm².
The stonework is then acid etched to bring out the final colour and texture.
Contrasting that with our semi dry stone process and you can see why Serene Stone semi dry is especially suited for producing high volumes of repetitive items. This is especially important when wanting to match existing natural stone or create a more natural, textured look considering our semi dry product has an open, slightly rough texture like natural or sawn stone.
Also, all our semi dry products are ‘through coloured’. This means that no separate facing or core material is used ensuring the same colour can be seen throughout the unit.