With Thin Veneer now an option in the market, and manufacturers doing an exceptional job of making product that looked identical on the wall to their older full bed cousin, this new technique of using natural stone for facades and exterior walls gained immediate traction. Not only was it easier and faster to install, it was significantly less expensive and, so long as you used L-shaped corners (which are the gold standard for thin veneer), then there was no sacrifice to the look, only gains in efficiency. The diagram to the right does an exceptional job at showing the difference between full bed and thin veneer – Further afield one can see that a full bed installation requires mechanical fastening as well as a brick ledge to hold the weight of the stone.
Because thin veneer is light weight, mechanical fastening and brick ledges are no longer required. When you combine the savings in time and cost, and consider that there is no benefit to using thicker material with today’s building methods, then you can see why thin veneer has quickly become the go-to choice among stone enthusiasts for facade work.
Natural Stone Veneer as a product for building facades has been around since man has been building dwellings. The weight and durability of locally sourced natural stone material was perfect for building dwellings that could last many years and withstand the harsh elements. Fast forward to the industrial revolution, and we were no longer using natural stone for the purposes of building, however we were still using it for building facades. At this time, we were using something called “Full Bed” depth veneer, which is natural stone cladding at approximately 3″ – 5″ depth. This was an obvious choice, again, because it created terrific thermal properties, fire resistance, and gave an underlying building structure a thick exterior that would last many years. Fast forward to the late 20th century, and saw blade technology made a major leap forward, finally allowing us to make better use of the underlying raw material by cutting natural stone into thin veneer. Thin Natural Stone Veneer, or Natural Stone Cladding as it’s sometimes called, is natural stone with a sawn cut back that is approximately 1″ – 2″ in thickness and direct adhered to the wall using polymer modified thinset.
Where you’re renovating a new home or building a brand new commercial building, when it comes to using natural stone veneer on your facade, there are a few considerations you’ll need to make:
1. Always use a licensed professional. Unlike interior accents, exterior walls are exposed to elements, so a licensed veneer installer will ensure your walls are properly prepped to receive the cladding to ensure there are no issues down the road.
2. Practice good moisture management. This means flashing around doors and windows, and also ensuring that all gutters and drainage plains are designed to steer water away from your masonry installations. Not matter how robust your veneer, water intrusion eventually catches up with any wall and can create problems.
Contact a Surface Shop Pro for more installation details.
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