Natural Stone House Signs – The signs that age gracefully.
Consider Natural Stone
I am a stonemason by trade - and stoneage at heart!
After forty years of battering the stuff into shape, I still have a great love for natural stone. If you are in the process of buying a new house sign or name plate for your home I urge you to at least consider natural stone.
I hasten to interject here that I no longer make house signs myself, I simply have a passion for natural stone!
Polished Black Granite House Sign
Natural Slate and Granite.
There are many excellent reasons to choose a natural stone house sign over other types of signage.
Your home might have a slate roof, or even be built of local slate in which case a local slate sign will be perfect. If your home is red brick you may have stone window reveals or stone detailing - a matching stone nameplate will blend quite naturally. Or perhaps you want a smart modern looking sign to enhance your prestige city home, well, nothing looks smarter than polished black granite with gold lettering.
Only Stone will do!
However my greatest affection is for sandstone or limestone.
If you have a grand country home, a bungalow in a village or or an old thatched cottage down a winding lane, in my view, you need,require and indeed must choose a stone house sign. Furthermore - only natural stone will do.
Quarried in England, Yorkstone, is a very traditional sandstone. It is an old favourite of mine. I can also recommend some of the sandstones coming from the Indian sub-continent, below is an example of mint or cream sandstone.
The Graceful Character of a Stone House Sign.
Signs made from man-made materials may look very nice to start with but after a few short years of surviving the elements, the qualities of the natural product will start to show. Natural stones don't get 'old and tatty', they age gracefully and will take all the trials of time in their stride.
Natural stone house signs never look old and dirty, instead they “weather” It's a fine distinction perhaps, but nonetheless very real for all that.
If you have ever seen a hundred year old name plate made from York stone at the gates of a country estate you will understand what I am talking about. The stone may be worn and battered by wind and rain and half covered in moss. The lettering may be partially obscured and the paint long gone, but the name of the house will still be perfectly readable.
Nor will the owners of the house be considering changing the stone sign for a newer model. This is an old friend, it has greeted every visitor for a hundred years, faithfully endured the rigours of time and get this - this old and moss covered stone is quite beautiful!
About Artificial Gunge
Don't be tempted by the man-made pretend stones, or indeed any of the man made gunge that tries to pass as a natural material. Even if you are not an expert in natural materials most people can instinctively spot the real thing a mile away!
Pretend marbles and slates are usually made from plastic. Plastics house signs often lose their colour with extended exposure to sunlight, and may become brittle, stuck-on letters drop off. Pretend stone house signs are usually made of coloured concrete. Concrete just looks dirty when old and can bleed salts that discolour and mar the surface.
The supposed advantages of man-made materials.
These pretend materials usually claim two main advantages.
Firstly - Consistency: It is true that each component comes out of the mould - (most of this artificial dross comes out of a mould) - each component exactly the same shape and colour as the next, but what's the virtue in that? The great beauty of natural materials is the variation, the sometimes surprising changes in colour and pattern.
Second Cheapness: The
very reason that these pretend materials came into being was to
create cheap products, this supposed cheapness is largely an
illusion. Plastics quickly looks tired, concrete stones quickly look
old and dirty. They may be cheap but they are seldom cheerful for
Don't be fooled! Concrete and plastic, are always just concrete and plastic.
Other natural materials.
Wooden house signs can be OK I guess, (he says grudgingly ). As long they are natural timber and not some composite tat. Some timbers age very nicely. Oak in particular can look very nice when it gets old, warped and grey, but these will not stand the test of time in the way that a real stone house sign will.
The greatest virtue of using a natural stone for your house sign will become most apparent with the passage of time.
Sourcing your stone house sign.
Sourcing a real stone house sign may sometimes be a bit of a problem, masons who can work with natural stone are not common. Though buying on the web will give you more options. Try a Google search for “ stone house signs” or "slate house names" or "granite name plaques" - for internet based manufacturers.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to support local craftsmen, ( as well you should!) check Yell.com or your Yellow pages for local stonemasons. You can even try your local memorial masons, they do have all the necessary skills, and they are the best source of advice about local types of stone.
Do yourself a favour! Get a real stone house sign. It will be well worth the effort!