Building a Wall Step 2: Look & Feel
(Deciding How You Want the Wall to Appear)
Regardless of the type of wall you want to build, you will find a huge selection of styles and colors in wall material. Manufactured wall block falls into two categories: standard finish and aged finish. “Standard” products are characterized by square corners and a more consistent finish. “Aged” products are manufactured to look (obviously) old. Manufacturers may call this look antiqued, weathered, tumbled, or aged.
Standard finish products may be flat, split-faced, rounded, chiseled, or feature some type of beveling — all of these approaches produce a different visual impact in the final wall. Aged finishes also have a huge variety of looks. Given the significant varience in the visual results of different manufacturing processes, it is extremely important for you to see a sample wall before selecting the product. Although looking at an individual piece may help, you really want to see at least a small section of wall before selecting the finish you want.
As an example, the picture above shows a single Versa-Lok block with both a standard and a aged finish. The next two pictures show wall built from each ofthese two finishes.
See the difference!
There are many factors in pricing the construction of a wall. Looking only at the wall material itself, two pricing rules generally apply: (1) the larger the individual wall block, the less the wall material will cost per square foot. (2) for a given shape, aged walls cost more than standard walls.
After selecting finish, the other major element of look and feel is color. Every mnufacturer offers a selection of colors and if you consider the color pallet of the industry, you will find an amazing selection. Although you will find a few solid colors among your options, most products will be blends of two colors. More recently, manufacturers are beginning to introduce tri-color blends. It is not necessary to limit yourself to one color. Although not as common as a homogenous wall, colors can be mixed.
Never select a color from a catalog or a website. Wall materials are not glossy, they have a natural finish and it is extremely unusual to find a picture that looks a lot like the real thing. See a sample or, ideally, see several. Usually, color has no impact on price unless you want a special order color.
In additional to manufactured products, wall can be built from natural stone. Natural stone is significantly more inconsistent in texture and color. It’s beauty is that inconsistency. The price range for natural stone is huge. Generally, the labor for natural stone will be higher than for a manufactured product.
One of the newest trends in wall products is manufactured products that simulate natural stone. For an example, consider Techo-Bloc’s Muro Naturale.
When you have finished your look and feel investigation, you will have selected a product or short list of products that will define the texture, finish, color and, as a result, the overall impression that your wall will make.