Surface Shop has traveled the world to find and source the most unique and exquisite natural stone facade materials for residential and commercial buildings. Use our interactive gallery to view 15 stunning ideas for applying a stone facade to a house exterior or commercial building.
With Thin Veneer now an option in the market, and manufacturers doing an exceptional job of making products that look identical on the wall to their older full bed cousin, this new technique of using thin stone veneers to create stone facades and exterior stone walls has gained immediate traction.
Not only is it easier and faster to install, it is also significantly less expensive and, so long as you use L-shaped corners (which are the gold standard for thin veneer), then there is no sacrifice to the look, only gains in efficiency. The diagram to the right does a wonderful job showing the difference between full bed building stone and thin stone veneer – As depicted, one can see that a full bed installation requires mechanical tie-backs as well as a brick ledge to hold the weight of the stone.
By contrast, thin veneer is a fraction of the weight and eliminates the need for mechanical fastening and brick ledges. 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 stone 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.
Now, fast forward again 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 directly 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 implementing stone facades, 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. No 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.
Choosing the right stone facade materials for your house, whether a panel or loose laid natural stone veneer, can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Our extensive range of facade-specific materials makes it easy.
Below we’ve laid out a short list of some of our favorite stone veneers to help you find the perfect fit for your requirements. Shop the product pages below and the gallery above to begin. Remember: Surface Shop has over 100 different natural stone veneers, nearly all of which are suitable for exterior facades, so don’t hesitate to contact a Surface Shop Pro to find the right product, order samples, and get pricing.
Answers to your Questions
Exterior stone veneer applications are slightly more expensive than hardie plank siding or other composite sidings, for example, because it requires more labor to install, but this cost is offset by its long term durability and low maintenance profile, which means the life cycle cost for natural stone over the life of a building tend to be lower than manmade materials that require replacing every 10-15 years.
Residential and commercial facades are not just the faces of their buildings, they are the most often the most prominent structural and architectural element of the building, therefore they often receive unique surface treatments that set them apart from the main structure. Due to their size, facades typically fair best with larger format stone veneer products, where as interior entryways can handle smaller to medium format styles.
For facades, a larger format stone will enhance curb appeal from any distance, whereas smaller format products, like brick, tend to look more monolithic from a distance.
Natural stone "siding" can sometimes be used interchangeably with "stone facade," but there is a slight difference: Where "stone siding" describe stone that is used on broad walls of the structure a building, a "stone facade" by contrast can sometimes only be just an accent, as facades are often just the front facing architectural components of a building.
The best natural stone for an exterior application will combine key natural stone durability characteristics (such as high density and freeze thaw stability) with a harmonious aesthetic that pairs well with the building architecture.
Advantages of natural stone as an exterior cladding are:
These three attributes ensure that a natural stone installation stands the test of time and provides low life cycle costs over the life of the project.
Not always - Residential and commercial buildings often have different aesthetic requirements and therefore will often use different stone types and formats.
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