Natural Stone Veneer – 10 Things You Need to Know about Thin Natural Stones
Mar 28, 2023
If you ever had Google for a single word “Veneer” and end up with teeth veneers on the dental crown, you might have realized that the concept of stone veneer in the construction industry is not farther than that.
A dental veneer is a slice of porcelain carved to fit on the exterior face of a tooth. It hides the anomaly of the original tooth behind it and also decorates the tooth by giving a real tooth-like look.
The same goes true for the stone veneers, which are substituting the appearance of natural stone blocks in the construction and let’s decorate our interior and façade in innovative ways without compromising with a structural strength that comes with RCC.
1. What Is Natural Stone Veneer?
It is a piece of natural rock sliced up to ¾ inch to 1¼ inch think and less than 15 Pound/73Kg per square foot weight. It used to stick on vertical elements of the construction like walls, columns, etc.
Stone veneers have all shades, hues, patterns, and flows, which are coming from eons of geological processes. Thus, you can witness all kinds of natural beauty in stone veneers that you may have with the natural stone blocks or slabs used in the construction as load-bearing elements.
2. History of Natural Stone Veneer
Natural stone veneers are existing since Roman Empire, but it was steel load-bearing elements in the structure. In the 20th century, with the practice of skeletal steel framing, non-load bearing stone veneers emerged and made from different types of natural stones.
However, use of natural stone veneer for the entire façade first appeared in the 1940s and steeply raised with the pace of time. Today, we are using different systems to attach stone veneers to façade and other vertical structures. For instance,
- Direct / Adhere
3. Cost of Natural Stone Veneer
In the States, the average cost of natural stone veneer ranges from $7-$19 per square foot, and installation cost is $10 per square foot. However, DIY is not advisable in medium to big projects and hiring a pro is a wise step here. As, hiring a contractor with an experienced and expert team of architects/engineers, stonemasons, and laborers leads to professional outcomes in your projects of any size and budget. Moreover, seasoned contractors have all working facilities like infrastructure, equipment, and tools to do neat work in a cost-effective way with a given deadline.
4. Materials in Natural Stone Veneer
Natural stone veneer as it name suggests are chiefly made from granite, sandstones, marbles, travertine, limestone, and slate stones. However, all quarried stones, known and unknown, are ideal for cutting stone veneers. Today, flagstone, bluestone, brownstones, and even pebbles and boulders have a place in the list of originating material for stone veneer.
5. Benefits of Natural Stone Veneer
Thin natural stone veneers are advantageous in many respect, and the following are some significant ones.
Natural & Green Product
Natural stone is a product of geological processes occurring beneath the earth surface. So, everything is natural, unique, and contains beauty of nature.
It consumes nothing like happening in manufacturing processes and leave no carbon footprint at all in the environment. So, thin natural stone veneer is ecofriendly and aesthetically pleasant natural product.
Lightweight & Cost-effective Product
Building stone blocks have typical depth of 3 to 5 inches whereas, stone veneers on an average are one inch thick. It means stone veneers are lightweight compared to whole stone blocks used in construction industry.
Slicing and finishing processes, as well as transportation cost of thin stone veneers are lower than whole stones.
Easy to Install Product
Whole stone blocks demand special treatments during installation or construction. The heavyweight of stone blocks also demands to lift equipment and labor during installation.
Natural Stone Veneer is a thin slice of whole stone, so we can easily carry it and install without special preparations.
Application areas of thin natural stone veneers are wide in interior and exterior spaces. Apart from wall cladding, it is useful to decorate columns, arcs, splashing walls, retaining walls, patio & deck walls, and around water features are some good examples of interior & exterior applications.
We can cut natural stone veneer tiles easily and quickly in any desired shape and size. Thus, it lets you create curves and other geometry in your layouts or design patterns. Stone veneers will fit into any of your creativity easily.
6. Natural Stone Veneer – Contemporary Designs, Layouts, & Patterns
Today, we see the existence of natural stones everywhere in the building construction thanks to the emergence and use of stone veneers in the decoration of exteriors and interiors. Let’s see what trends are going on in contemporary designs, layouts, and patterns.
We were used to use natural stone in the form of whole cubes of stones or stone blocks/slabs for horizontal installations. In ancient structures, load-bearing walls were made of stone cubes. To simulate the same old practices, stone veneer designers cut the stone slices into the stone cube shape and size. It mimics the past beautifully with a rustic look-n-feel.
In the ancient constructions, stones were stacked on in layered or piled ways and leave almost no gap in the joins by snugly fitting one layer on another. Now, the same practice is simulating in wall cladding with stone veneer and pieces of stone veneers are stacking with uneven edges to bring natural looks.
When stone veneer cut and shaped to create mosaic pattern and follow dry-stacked grout design, natural beauty of stone surfaces becomes significant.
In the primitive era of human civilization, rocks or stone cleft were laid on the walls and floors without any surface treatment or proper cuttings. All natural grains, veins, and traces of moss & lichen were becoming distinct and giving it an earthy look. Now, the goes with stone veneer while designing a unique and earthy appearance.
Mineral-rich Rustic Appearance
The specks of gold and silver appear on the smooth surfaces of natural stones. Worn edges give the design a rustic charm to grab attention and cool the mind & soul.
Streaked Brick Pattern
The surfaces of the blue and grey stone bricks have green and white striations. It adds more in the natural charm and beauty we used to gain from the natural material.
Now, let’s see some affluent and aesthetically superb cast of stones.
Rounded Edge Cast
Rounded worn edges of stone veneers create altogether different games in design. subtle color variations and texture give wall cladding an inviting look to rob the inherent natural beauty of time-worn stones.
Rugged Stone Cast
Very uneven natural cliff and broken edges of uniquely shaped stone veneer bring natural beauty in your spaces right from the wild. Vibrant colors cool the mind and eyes of onlookers immediately.
Pebble & Boulder Stone Pattern
River rocks like pebbles and boulders are of enough size and shape to decorate your vertical spaces using natural stone veneers. River rocks are creating the real appearance of water path that eventually seems to await a flow on it!
It is a highly famous stone design layout and pattern in stone paving. It also gives stunning results in stone veneer for wall cladding and decoration of other areas. It available as packs in the market with a fixed layout. So, it lets you DIY installation quickly simply following the drawings and arranging pieces accordingly.
We are familiar with the chiseled casting of natural stones while creating load-bearing walls from stone cubes. Here, life-like molds with rich color plates with different hues make it more appealing whose eyes are striving for natural look-n-feel in their spaces. Uneven stone pieces are stacked on each other without forming an apparent layer at all.
Rough Cut Cast
Here, cutting of stone matters more. Instruments to cut the stone angular edges left behind, and cutting methods create a legend of rough-cut pieces of stones used in the construction. Stone veneer can simulate all with slices to fix on the vertical spaces.
Crisp lines created by stone veneer develops an impressionistic appearance in your spaces. Dynamic colors are grabbing eyes along with symmetrical geometry.
7. Natural Stone Veneer – Grout Styles
Grout style affects the look-n-feel of the stone veneer. Grout is cervices between the stones and mostly filled by mortar. Here, variations found in grout size, the quantity of mortar, and colors of mortar.
- It uses a bit heavier grout seam. In the case of irregular shaped and uneven surfaces mortar covers the face of stone partially.
Dry-stack Joint Style
- It is a grout-less style where seams between stone veneers remain unfilled with a mortar and simulate old look when stones were stacked in layers without mortar at all.
Narrow Joint Style
- It is 1/4th of inch wide joints and finished with shallow racking. It also terms as concave style.
Wide Joint Style
- It is 1/2th-inch wide seam between the stone edges and can be filled with mortar in different proportion like deep, shallow, and overfilled.
Shallow Rake Joint Style
- In wider joints, some mortar has filled, but not even to front surfaces.
8. Installation of Stone Veneer
Whether you are going to install stone veneer by DIY way or hire a pro, you have to pass through the following main stages in during the stone veneer installation process.
- Measure the vertical area where you are going to implement stone veneer.
- Fix the size & shape of stone veneer you are going to use for a single piece.
- Now, fix the grout size you want to leave between the two edges of adjoining stone veneer pieces.
- Based on these data, calculate the number of stone veneer pieces you need, mortar needs, and other resources.
- The measurement of the area may help you to count charges, overhead, or overall cost of the project.
- It is a key aspect to ensure structurally sound construction and long-lasting attachment of stone veneer to walls/vertical spaces.
- Framing is essential, and exterior framing requires additional steps to assure weatherproof construction.
- You need weather-resistant barrier, metal lath, and scratch coat before fixing stone veneer pieces on the wall.
- For interior framing, you need studs to fix the stone veneer pieces on metal lath and scratch coat.
- Concrete wall alleviates all steps and lets you fix stone pieces directly on the wall surface by applying a mortar layer.
Creating Scratch Coat
You need to create scratch coat only when you apply metal lath in the installation of stone veneer.
You need to prepare cement and sand mixture in a 1:2.5 ratio.
Apply a paste of mortar on metal lath in 1/2” to 1/3” thickness.
- You need to plan out everything before the beginning of the installation. Size of stones, mortar, colors, and styles in the layout, and grout material/paste.
- Trim the stone pieces if needed using a dry or wet saw with a diamond blade.
- Clean stones and deep into the water as per need to help in sticking on the wet mortar at the backs.
Apply Mortar on the Wall
- Apply the mortar on the wall.
- Leave the surfaces uneven.
- Now, let it dry so it can allow the application of veneer stones.
Apply Stone Veneer on the Wall
- Apply stone veneers along with the mortar on the wall.
- Leave the grout according to the decided width or gap.
- Now, fix the corner and odd outline of the layout.
Fill the Grout Material
- Use pre-blended mortar for grout filling.
- Use the grout bag to apply the mortar directly in the cervices.
- Fill mortar in the grouts or gaps as per your plan for grout design.
- Use tools to achieve desired depth in the joints or grouts
- Now, brush the joints and give further treatments before full drying of the mortar.
Sealing & Coating
Wash the surface with a mix of vinegar and water.
Here, you must select stone type-specific sealants or coating solutions.
Apply to coat or sealing solutions as per the instruction of the manufacturer.
Sealing will give shining and protection against staining.
- Run a proper and regular maintenance program to keep the charm of stones intact.
9. Interior Applications of Natural Stone Veneer
Fundamentally, the concept of natural stone veneer application in modern construction is to bring natural and traditional beauty in the living spaces and interior areas are the most applicable for it. Of course, you can apply anywhere in your interiors, but the following are the most common examples of it.
We can decorate the entire living room area with stone veneers on the vertical surfaces. However, the front-facing wall is the best candidate to apply the stone veneer.
Many decorate all walls of their bedroom with stone cladding using different styles, patterns, and designs of stone veneers. Similarly, the judicious application is on the front-facing wall to create charm and tempo in your resting areas.
Backsplash walls, sidewalls, and retaining walls beneath the kitchen countertops are the best areas to apply stone veneers.
The background area in the bath where the tub is located in the best situation to grab the best out of stone cladding using stone veneer.
Other Utility Spaces
Apart from main areas in your home, miscellaneous spaces like a dining room or spaces are the right ways to create a cool and vibrant environment while you are busy in eating or drinking.
10. Exterior Applications of Natural Stone Veneer
Our affinity towards natural stone leads us to decorate the entire exterior or some parts of it for our buildings. We have different spaces in the exterior, including front-end & backyard living, garden patios, swimming pools, and retaining walls in our landscape where we have scope to apply the natural stone veneer.
Different portions of the exterior walls have stone cladding with large size stone veneer provides the opportunity to bring natural beauty on your doorsteps.
The entire façade is giving stunning effects with natural stone veneers on all vertical spaces of the façade area. Entrance, arc, sidewalls, column, boundary walls, and retaining walls are decorated with the same types and patterns of stone veneers.
When your patio contains an exterior kitchen stone veneer provides an opportunity to create a cool theme.
Stones are the best construction material for swimming pool and surrounding wet areas. Beautify your verticals with stone veneer in your pool and deck areas.
Retaining wall with stone veneer merges the natural beauty of in with plants, planters, and steps.
We have to get accustomed to natural stone veneer and explore everything you need to know as a customer or homeowner when you are going to buy a pack for your next project. World of Stones USA is the destination where you will get complete info regarding stone products and present narration on natural stone veneers may prove a deep dive into the depth of knowledge.
World of Stones, USA is selling and distributing natural stone veneers made from different stones/rocks and everything in your desired way for your custom order.