Introducing Surface Shop’s Dry Stack Ledgestone Products
The team at Surface Shop has decades of experience in the natural stone industry, primarily focused on highly efficient natural stone panel system products. Panel system products changed the natural stone veneer industry over the past 20 or so years, making a wide range of natural stone styles available to the market and in an easy to install format. If you go back and trace the origin story of these panel system products, most are rooted in traditional loose stone products including both full bed or full thickness stone as well as loose cut veneer stone. While natural stone panel system products will always be an important part of the product mix here at Surface Shop, we are incredibly excited to bring a new line of Dry Stack Ledgestone products to our customers. These products represent a return to the more fundamental aspects of natural stone and in particular natural stone veneer wall veneer and cladding, with a specific focus on the beauty of both the stone as well as the way it’s installed, and appreciating those things more than just the strict efficiency of a panel system product. Just like it can be cathartic and an enjoyable experience to make a loaf of bread from flour, water, and yeast versus just grabbing a slice from a mass production bakery, we hope the Dry Stack Ledgestone line speaks to those who are seeking a more fundamentally natural look and overall experience when it comes to selecting wall cladding.
Our new line up of Dry Stack Ledgestone products focuses in on a specific section of the loose natural stone veneer market with products that are manufactured and designed to fit together in a tight dry stack look with out the need to go back and point or “mortar in” large gaps between the stone. While it might look like just random loose stone, the products in the Dry Stack Ledgestone product line are selected and then either split or rough cut into either certain heights, shapes, or both. This level of consistency allows the products to be installed as loose veneer, but in a tight dry stack format with minimal cutting or chiseling in the field to create a tight fit in the field. The backs of these stones are also either cut or split so that the pieces can lay flat against the wall substrate.
One of the main differences in a Dry Stack Ledgestone product and a natural stone panel system product is the installation process itself. The general concepts of the installation are basically the same – both types of products are installed over cementious substrates and are ideally set using a polymer modified tile thinset for maximum adhesion to the wall. The big area where these two types of products differ is in the technique of actually getting the stone up on the wall. Natural stone panel system products behave and install very similar to any other wall tile that is highly calibrated and is being installed with non existent or minimal grout lines. Dry Stack Ledgestone relies much more on the skill of the installer to not just stick the stone on the wall, but to understand how the loose pieces are going to fit together, make adjustments on the fly, and then translate that into a beautiful looking installation on the wall. There is absolute skill required in both types of installations, but I like to sum it up as wall tile and natural stone panel systems require a technically competent installer with precise attention to detail while dry stack ledgestone products require an installer with experience, patience to do a great job, and a fair amount of artistry recognizing that the end result of a dry stacked ledgestone product is not just measured on the beauty of the stone itself, but the quality of the installation as well.
One of the things that makes Dry Stack Ledgestone products so appealing is that they exist along a line of variables, the most obvious one being the size and shape of the individual stones, but two other really important ones to consider are color and texture of the stone. Neutral earth tones tend to work best with this type of product, so you’ll find really nice looking blends of browns, light greys, charcoals, and lighter tans and taupes in Surface Shop’s product offering. While color is a super important consideration for any product you’re going to put on a wall, one of the more subtle details not to be overlooked is the texture of the stone. Ranging from the relatively smooth faces of our Colton Blend and Bozeman Run veneers to the rougher splitface look of the Kalahari Blend, to the amazing looking striations in a product like Nokomis, the texture of these products is mainly dictated by how the stone naturally splits. Texture might only be you can see and appreciate from relatively close distances, but is definitely an important consideration for any dry stack ledgestone installation.
One common thing with any stone installation, no matter what kind of product you’re working with, is that outside corners can be a challenge to make look great. Dry Stack Ledgestone products are no exception. With all of Surface Shop’s experience in the natural stone industry, the best solution we’ve found is an “L” shaped corner that is one piece and cut from a larger, thicker block. The back sides of these units have been cut using specialized stone saws to create a 90 degree corner that will fit nicely over any standard outside corner on your project. Off angle corners still pose a challenge and are best handled using the native loose pieces of product and carefully chisel chipping an overlapping corner profile. There are subtle differences in the way the outside corner unit will be sized and shaped based on the color selected in the Dry Stack Ledgestone product series so be sure to reference the product spec sheet or contact a Surface Shop rep today to learn the specifics of each product.
At Surface Shop we’re committed to bringing new and exciting natural stone products to market and can’t wait to see all the great projects our clients and customers create with our new Dry Stack Ledgestone products. We look forward to building relationships with clients and installers that understand the bespoke nature of a truly loose veneer product like this and are working on projects that see the value in beautiful natural stone wall cladding.