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Active Interest Media
The comprehensive resource for professionals involved in restoring old buildings or designing and constructing new buildings in traditional styles.
The comprehensive resource for professionals involved in residential restoration and renovation, as well as the design and construction of new homes built in traditional styles.
Targeted information about service providers in the field of building restoration and renovation, both commercial and residential.
A portal site that brings together information about building products and materials, including data on more than 5,000 manufacturers.
Traditional Product Galleries
Traditional Product Galleries is a micro site showcasing—in big, colorful photography—thousands of items tailored to the requirements of restoration and renovation projects and new designs done in a period style, both residential and commercial.
Traditional Building Portfolio
Traditional Building Portfolio is a micro site containing a world of information about traditional building and design, both commercial and residential. It includes hundreds of articles on design and building projects, leading architectural firms, topics of note to working professionals, and major awards programs, along with forums and blogs bearing the opinions of leaders in the field.
Active Interest Media's electronic newsletters provide a continuous stream of information on key topics in the world of traditional design and building: likely products and services for both commercial and residential projects; special in-depth reports on projects and important product categories; and a bevy of blogs providing fresh perspectives from leading figures in the field.
Active Interest Media's Webinars cover a wide range of topics, from window
restoration to sustainable building materials. They feature leading experts
in the field and provide an effective, efficient way to learn about
important topics, while earning credits toward professional and vocational
The Palladio Awards Program
is designed to honor outstanding achievement in traditional design. The program recognizes individual designers, design teams, or both whose work enhances the beauty and humane qualities of the built environment through creative interpretation or adaptation of design principles developed through 2,500 years of the Western architectural tradition.
The Traditional Building
Exhibition and Conference
World-class educational opportunities and a wide array of resources and products for professionals who work in the field of building restoration, renovation, and historically inspired new construction.
Cast Stone Architectural Elements
Properly manufactured architectural cast stone can be as durable -- or even more durable -- than fabricated natural stone.
Click here for suppliers of cast stone
As with other construction materials, quality levels can vary widely in architectural cast stone. The lowest quality level is made from a soupy garden-variety concrete that is poured into molds. Elements cast from soupy concrete have lower strength than dry-tamped material, are prone to "bug holes" from trapped air and are more properly termed "precast concrete."
True cast stone is a portland-cement-based concrete product made using high-quality coarse and fine aggregates, such as limestone, marble, granite or quartz. Other ingredients such as pigments, pozzolans and chemical admixtures may also be added. Admixtures can include plasticizers, air-entraining agents and water-reducers, among others. Using a high ratio of fine aggregate creates a smooth, dense, consistent surface for cast building elements, with a low level of water absorption, which makes them durable even when exposed to frequent freeze-thaw cycles.
High-quality cast stone is usually produced with a low water-to-cement ratio. This "dry" mix is packed into molds using vibration under pressure or air-driven tampers. Elements produced in this way are often called VDT (vibrant-dry-tamped) cast stone.
Cast-stone products made by the wet-casting method are required to meet the same specifications as VDT-cast products. Air-entraining agents, for example, can increase the durability of wet-cast concrete. Having around 5% entrained air substantially increases the ability of wet-cast concrete to resist freeze-thaw cycles and meet ASTM standards. Other types of admixtures, such as water-reducers, super plasticizers and self-compacting additives can also increase the strength and durability of wet-cast concrete so that it approaches the performance level of VDT-cast elements.
CONTROLLING CAST-STONE QUALITY
Both careful specifications and care in production are essential to creating strong, durable, good-looking cast-stone elements. Cast stone manufactured to high standards will have such characteristics as:
- hard, razor-sharp edges;
- a fine-grained surface like natural stone; and
no visible air holes.
A cast-stone producer should conduct regular quality-control tests on the consistency of the raw materials (the aggregates, for example), the manufacturing process and the final product. The prudent client will take steps to make sure that the manufacturer performs adequate quality control testing and that the product meets ASTM standards. Alternately, or in addition, the client might also conduct its own random on-site testing and inspection at the plant to ensure that all specifications and quality standards are being met.
Click here for suppliers of cast stone