Stone Veneer is a beautiful design choice that makes a wonderful addition to any home and commercial exterior or interior. Whether manufactured or natural stone is used, the results are always beautiful and fulfilling. There are many differences between natural and manufactured stone. Natural stone retains its color, resists weathering, is more durable, heavier, reusable, and is more labor intensive to install. Cultured or manufactured stone is made with pre-sized pieces and controlled coloration, which reduces waste for cutting and time for installation.
Homeowners often choose natural stone that is locally mined, adding another element of harmony with the surrounding environment. Because of the added weight, there are additional considerations when building with natural stone. Often times a footing must be built as foundation for natural stone veneer. This adds another expense to the process, but also adds another level of stability to the veneer's structure. On the other hand, manufactured stone facing is much lighter and quicker to install than natural stone resulting in significant savings: one half to one third the cost.
Artificial stone is made to fit together with minimal cutting so the waste factor is enhanced saving on material cost. Manufactured stone is more consistent in color so the homeowner has a more reliable expectation and knows how the final product will appear. The reliability of color, less time for installation, labor savings, and convenience of a quick installation leads many homeowners and builders to choose manufactured stone over natural stone facing.
Whether it is manufactured or natural stone, Stone Veneer can be applied to any preexisting structurally sound surface. This includes wood, brick, stone, stucco, and many others including painted and waterproofed surfaces. As mentioned before, there are levels of structural precautions to consider with natural stone that manufactured stone need not address. However, both processes done correctly are extremely safe. The sure signs of a well installed stone veneer are proper spacing and coloration of stone. Compact joints with little visible mortar are considered to be of higher value than stone veneer with too much separation between the stones. Manmade stone can be cast in a way to minimize joint space because manufacturers can forecast how the pieces will join. This gives manufactured stone another advantage over natural stone, which must be pieced together like a puzzle prior to installation. This cutting process also increases waste and adds to the final cost of natural stone.
What To Look For In addition to tight joints, contrast is key to stone veneer installation; small stones by big stones, light by dark is best. This creates an organic appearance and visually stunning effect that highly skilled masons know to be the mark of excellence. When installed by an excellent craftsman, stone veneer leaves a lasting impression of elegance unlike any other visual texture.