MyStone squeezes extra value into unwanted marble

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2003, 12:00am

King Sang (Far East) is a manufacturer of cast stone products with production facilities in Shenzhen. This is the second time the company has taken part in the fair, for which it began preparations half a year ago.

The company will be exhibiting its line of products under the tradename MyStone.

Using natural marble wastage, the materials are crushed then reformed into various objects like vases, mirrors, fireplaces and ornamental bowls, says managing director Harry Chung Kwok-hing.

These are made from a mixture of hi-tech polymer with coarse and fine aggregates of white granite, dolomite, quartz, sand, marble or limestone, plus pigment and fibre-glass reinforcer.

They are then cast in molds taken from natural stone.

Compared with natural stone materials, MyStone has a higher compressive strength, a lower water-absorption rate, and is uniform in colour. It can be reinforced and the cost is usually very competitive with natural stone materials, especially regarding installation.

MyStone is most widely used as a masonry product and as an architectural feature such as trimming or ornamentation. It is popular as a facing for buildings and other structures. It also serves as veneer, is used in tiling, for borders, listellos, in fireplaces and planters. MyStone products are also useful as gifts with a home accent and include a wide range of gardening furniture and ornamentation, says Mr Chung.

'MyStone products are lighter in weight and uniform in size. It requires no additional footings, foundations or wall ties, so the installed cost is usually much lower than the installed cost of natural stone, and the lead-time of installation will be considerably less than when using natural stone,' he says.

An additional plus is that these cast stone products are low-maintenance, although periodic inspection for the caulked joints of the installation as well as a cleaning and waxing are recommended.

As with any natural stone, MyStone products are inherently porous and will absorb some substances. While production techniques try to ensure the highest quality in both material and craftsmanship, Mr Chung advises a topical sealant or epoxy on the surface and keeping it resurfaced to avoid staining.

Power washing, scrubbing with metal fibre brushes and sandblasting are not recommended for cleaning MyStone products. Wire brushes, acid-type cleaning agents, cleaning compounds with caustic or harsh fillers are also not advised says Mr Chung, as these may cause the product to discolour, or they may damage the surfaces and the joints of the stone.

Mortar re-painting should be undertaken before cleaning and caulking joints should be installed after cleaning is completed.

Over time, natural stone may crack or discolour but Mr Chung says that this will not happen with MyStone, since the base colour of iron oxide pigments is blended throughout the entire product and several colour overtones are applied afterward.

As for longevity, since the products are natural stone sand, they will last as natural stone.

The advantage of cast stone is its more uniform strength, lower moisture absorption rate and greater resistance to staining than quarried stone, says Mr Chung and colours are custom blended for better consistency.

'We have found that Westerners are very fond of the natural feeling of MyStone. Consequently, we have markets in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

'But we also have markets in Japan and Southeast Asian countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia.'

King Sang has in recent years expanded its operations to include small household items and decorations such as photo frames, vases, bookends, wind chimes, coasters, ashtrays and wall plaques.