As the natural and textured home trends continue to rise, many building pros and homeowners alike are gravitating more toward exterior stone veneer siding. Not only is stone veneer more durable and water impermeable than wood siding, it also adds character and texture to a home. For a range of applications, exterior stone veneer provides a multitude of options that will complement virtually any home style and boost curb appeal.
Advantages of Stone Veneer Siding
While adding stone siding to the exterior of a home use to cost a small fortune due to the labor-intensive work that came with masonry and heavy natural stone transportation, there are now more options on the market than ever that are budget-friendly. Stone veneer siding is growing rapidly in popularity since its lightweight nature and easy-to-install systems are cutting installation time down immensely. Plus, there isn’t a need for specialized labor skills when installing mortarless stone veneer.
With a wide range of color, shape and pattern options, stone veneer is becoming more and more commonly found on the exterior of the home for siding, columns, accent walls, fire pits and fireplaces. The texture and color blending capabilities of stone veneer products on the market now allow them to seamlessly elevate the natural elements of a home and outdoor living space.
Exterior Stone Veneer Siding Options
1) Traditional Stone Veneer
Primarily cementitious, traditional stone veneer siding is most comparable to the installation of natural stone siding. Similar to the natural stone, traditional stone veneer relies on a chemical bond and requires WRB, an added weather layer, lath, scratch coat, mortar and sometimes grade beams or lentil to carry the weight of the heavy stone. Although, traditional stone veneer does slightly vary from natural stone siding in that it is more modular, and it doesn’t have to be worked as much to fit the right size. This style will require more skilled labor and due to its need for mortar, the installation time will take considerably longer than some other stone veneer alternatives.
2) Mortarless Easy-to-Install Stone Veneer
Offered in two overarching categories, mortarless easy-to-install stone veneer comes in both panelized systems and individualized systems.
Panelized Systems: Cementitious and Polyurethane-Based
With a panelized system, there are two types, including cementitious-based and thermo-formed or polyurethane-based. Panelized systems typically connect through the use of an attachment flange and can have a spacer or built-in rainscreen. It is common that you are required to hit structural studs during install, which can prove challenging. While stone veneer panels for exterior purposes are great for covering large amounts of square footage at a time, they are not as workable and have proven to be more difficult when it comes to hiding exposed cuts and cutting the product around obstructions or construction details. Another thing to take into consideration with panelized systems, is that once someone can see the pattern of the panels, this style may appear more fake or repetitious compared to traditional stone veneer or individualized systems.
Individualized Systems: Composite and Concrete
With individualized systems, there are two primary types: composites and concrete. These systems install with either finish nails or screws and normally don’t require hitting studs. Composite individualized systems have amazing workability and are easy to cheat if something gets out of level. Concrete individual stone can prove to be tricky, as it requires a connection bracket for screws and has limitations in workability because it’s concrete. Plus, if you have a solid, color-throughout stone veneer in individualized systems, you’ll be able to hide high visibility cuts and reuse scrap pieces that would ordinarily just be wasted material in other alternatives. While panelized systems cover more square footage, the workability of individualized systems end up evening out time spent while installing. Not to mention, most do not require specialty training like a masonry crew, which is normally required for traditional stone veneer installation.
Exterior Stone Veneer Styles
While there is a myriad of exterior stone veneer styles out there, which vary greatly with color, style and texture, the two overarching styles that you’ll want to be sure to choose from revolves around whether you’d like to have mortar joints (exposed grout) or a dry-stack look (tightly fitted).
Dry-stacking is a technique where stones are stacked on top of each other for a more seamless look and feel instead of being separated with mortar. As implied by the name, dry-stacked stones are installed without the use of mortar in-between the stones or panels. This laying technique can be more labor intensive with heavy or natural stone, but with material like Evolve Stone, it can install up to 10X faster with a finish nailer and finish nails.
2) Mortar Joints
To fit stones together, this technique relies on mortar joints between the stones. This has a big impact on a home’s aesthetics and can be done in a couple of different ways. Depending on the desired look, mortar joints can be dry-laid, feature standard grout joints or face over joints (which gives a wider joint). Generally, Type N or Type S mortars are the most common for installing stone veneer. It’s important to note that grout can be incredibly difficult to work with and extends the overall time and complexity of installation.
No matter the style chosen, exterior faux stone siding offers a wide range of options and benefits in comparison to natural stone siding. As a mortarless, color-throughout stone veneer in an individualized system, Evolve Stone offers even more advantages than other alternatives on the market—nailing it on all fronts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to install faux stone siding?
For detailed information on faux stone siding installation, visit our installation guide blog.
Can you paint exterior stone?
Painting exterior stone veneer depends on the manufacturer and their recommendation. In most cases, especially if the stone veneer you’re using is cementitious, it is ill-advised to do so. In the case of painting Evolve Stone product, we recommend that you have a professional recommend the proper primer and paint for the application.
Can you use stone veneer on exterior house columns?
Yes, just about any exterior stone veneer can be installed on house columns. Although, it would be extremely difficult to try to do so with a panelized system on smaller columns, as they do not offer the best workability. Evolve Stone can be installed on any column, but we recommend not doing so if your column is less than 18” wide. If you do not have a choice and the column must remain small, we recommend our style with the smallest stones, District View.
How to clean exterior stone on a house?
For most stone veneers, the best way to clean is with regular soap and water. Power-washing is not recommended with most systems, as it could hurt the substrate, not necessarily the stone itself. If you have natural stone or grout joints, power-washing could cause something to come loose. With Evolve Stone, you can power-wash the product itself but don’t recommend because of potential damage to the WRB and rainscreen behind the stones.