Importance of Maintaining Mortarless Stone Veneer
Mortarless stone veneer is a popular cladding material that adds a touch of elegance and charm to properties. To keep this veneer looking clean, well-maintained, and visually appealing, regular maintenance is essential. Here are some key reasons why maintaining mortarless stone veneer is crucial:
Preserves Aesthetic Appeal
Proper maintenance ensures that the mortarless stone veneer retains its original beauty. Regular cleaning and upkeep prevent dirt, mold, and stains from marring its appearance, preserving the overall aesthetic appeal of your property. Proper care can also help keep consistent color over time. Although the pigment used to color infuse the manufactured stone is durable, de-icing salts, harsh chemicals, cleaning solvents and paint thinners can cause discoloration and staining. Avoid them.
According to stone veneer manufacturer Evolve Stone, keeping stone veneer properly cleaned is key, but know that “everything fades” through time and color can be revitalized using masonry staining techniques.
“It would be normal for the product to undergo a ‘UV shock’ phase within the first three months to three years dependent upon UV exposure levels. Adjacent reflective surfaces and extreme environments may intensify this,” According to Evolve Stone. “After this ‘UV shock’ phase, we find the material becomes stable and continues to be UV resistant. It would be common for darker colors to turn lighter, while lighter colors turn darker.”
Enhances Durability and Longevity
With routine maintenance, the mortarless stone veneer can withstand the test of time and environmental factors. Regular inspections help identify minor issues, allowing timely repairs and preventing them from turning into significant problems.
Protects Structural Integrity
By preventing water penetration, maintenance safeguards the underlying surface from damage. Water infiltration can compromise the structural integrity of the veneer and the building, leading to costly repairs if left unaddressed.
Proper installation is “absolutely critical” with this manufactured stone veneer, according to InterNACHI, the world’s leading association for home inspectors.
“Incorrect installation of manufactured stone veneer on an exterior wall can lead to serious damage from water penetration, occurring even over a relatively short period of time. There have been reports of serious foundation rotting due to improperly installed veneers in homes less than two years old.”
Maintenance has an important role in identifying if a stone veneer product has been poorly installed.
Maintains Property Value
Well-maintained mortarless stone veneer adds curb appeal to your property. It can attract potential buyers and increase the overall value of your home or commercial space.
As far back as 2019—and every year since—the National Concrete Masonry Association has touted the findings of REMODELING magazine that show manufactured stone veneer to be significant in cost vs. value studies. For 2023, the magazine, which surveyed real estate professionals about returns on projects in more than 100 U.S. markets, reported that manufactured stone veneer had a cost/value return of 102.3%. With that kind of ROI, homeowners will want to protect their investment.
Maintenance is crucial to keeping that value.
Reduces Repair Costs
Regular maintenance helps avoid expensive repairs or replacements. Addressing minor issues promptly saves you from incurring higher costs later.
For example, a common maintenance issue for manufactured stone veneer is efflorescence, a water-soluble salt that’s seen on the surface of the stone veneer.
Although mortarless stone veneer, such as Evolve Stone is less prone to efflorescence than stone veneer that uses mortar, water can be a tricky thing and—if mortarless stone veneer isn’t installed properly, efflorescence can result.
“If you discover efflorescence on your stone, it should be removed as soon as possible. Over time efflorescence can harden, making it difficult or impossible to remove. First, allow the wall system to dry thoroughly and then scrub with a soft bristle brush and clean water. Follow that with a thorough rinse with fresh water, and remember not to use a wire brush or power washer. More difficult efflorescence problems may also require a solution of one-part white household vinegar to five parts water, followed by a thorough fresh water rinse,” according to the National Concreate Masonry Association (NCMA).
By avoiding mistakes and following best practices during installation, you are setting your customers up for great success with a low-maintenance and durable product application that maintains its integrity and visual appeal for years and years to come.
Understanding Mortarless Stone Veneer
Mortarless stone veneer is a cladding material designed to mimic the appearance of natural stone without the need for mortar. Here are some key aspects of this versatile material:
Definition and Characteristics
Mortarless stone veneer is typically made from lightweight materials like concrete or composites. Its installation is easy due to its interlocking or stacking system. This type of veneer comes in various textures, colors, and shapes, providing flexibility in design.
Benefits of Using Mortarless Stone Veneer
Mortarless stone veneer is a popular and charming look in part because of its versatility. It can be applied to various surfaces, making it suitable for walls, fireplaces and exterior facades.
This stone veneer style doesn’t feature any space or grouting between pieces for a tightly packed look, which homeowners see as a modern, yet classic, option. Mortarless stone veneer comes in many colors, but dark tends to dominate for dramatic exteriors. With color and style options, including patterns that keep stone veneer from looking artificial or shallow, homeowners can create their own distinct look. To see the versatility that allows for creative and personalized design options with Evolve Stone colors and styles, go here.
Its interlocking or stacking system simplifies the installation process, saving time and labor compared to traditional mortar-based applications.
Installation is where mortarless stone veneer really shines. Mortarless stone veneer installs the same way as traditional siding, with most requiring a WRB for exterior applications, which is also dependent on a homeowner’s area code requirements. Since not all mortarless stone veneer is treated the same, some require screwing into the surface and hitting structural studs with the use of connection flanges or brackets.
Evolve Stone is the only mortarless stone veneer that can be directly face nailed, making its installation up to 10x faster than other stone veneers.
Whether installing on an interior or exterior substrate, ensure that the surface is clean and free of dust, dirt, oil and paint. Before the stone veneer is put in, make sure the installer is following local regulations or building codes that may affect installation.
Mortarless stone veneer is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, moisture, and UV exposure. This durability ensures its long-lasting performance.
Overall, most modern manufactured stone veneer is durable. Be sure to evaluate warranties and reviews to assess if the brand that’s chosen is considered up to the durability job. Read more on Evolve Stone mortarless stone veneer’s durability.
Compared to natural stone, mortarless stone veneer is more affordable while still providing a similar aesthetic appeal. It is a cost-effective choice for homeowners and builders.
Few home renovation projects are inexpensive, but re-visit the cost/value ratio discussed earlier in this post. If a homeowner gets more than 100 percent return on investment, that’s fairly straightforward cost-effectiveness.
Mortarless stone veneer requires minimal maintenance, usually limited to occasional cleaning and inspections. This feature saves time and effort while keeping the veneer looking pristine.
Regular inspection and preventive maintenance are vital for the longevity and aesthetics of mortarless stone veneer:
Regularly inspect mortarless stone veneer to identify signs of damage, wear, or deterioration at an early stage. Prompt repairs prevent small issues from escalating into larger problems.
Importance of Preventive Maintenance
Implement preventive maintenance measures to proactively address potential issues. This extends the lifespan of the veneer, preserves its appearance, and prevents unexpected damages.
Proper cleaning is essential to maintain the pristine appearance of mortarless stone veneer.
Using a soft sponge or cloth, clean the stone veneer with mild dishwashing soap. This method is good for both interior and exterior mortarless stone veneer. Avoid harsh cleaning products, as they often contain ingredients that stone veneer should never be exposed to, such as acid, bleach and ammonia. Chemicals can damage the stone veneer and alter its appearance. Products containing acid are especially dangerous and will strip stone of its surface color.
Stone veneers usually don’t require a high-pressured cleaning, so a regular hose used in the yard will work for exterior surfaces. For interior surfaces, use a sponge to rinse. Before you begin cleaning, make sure you read the instructions from the stone veneer supplier. There may be additional steps specific to your stone.
For particularly resistant stains, some manufacturers recommend a soft bristle brush. Check with the manufacturer to be certain what’s advised.
Different stains, such as dirt and dust, mold, algae, moss, and oil or grease, may require using different cleaning techniques and products. Check to see what the manufacturer suggests.
Repairing Mortarless Stone Veneer
To fix minor cracks, small chips and scratches that might harm the appearance of the stone veneer, but affect tis structural integrity, most stone veneer recommend stone putty to fix. Start with mixed stone putty that’s matched to the color of the stone. Apply the putty with a putty knife to the cracked area, smoothing it out as much as possible. When the putty is dry, use sandpaper to carefully sand it putty to the same level as the stone around it.
Evolve Stone is colored throughout, not just on the surface. Chipped pieces can be retextured with a hammer. View the Evolve Stone “Pro Tips” video for more information and a visual demonstration.
For stone veneer in areas prone to water contact, consider how water can leave minerals and dirt behind on the surface of the stone through prolonged exposure and evaporation. If this occurs, clean the surface with soap and water using a light bristled brush. If a film remains, use a product like Thompson WaterSeal to restore vibrance. Keep in mind the drainage/drying gap should always be maintained.
For larger damage, contact the stone veneer manufacturer for advice on how to repair the specific stones.
Long-Term Maintenance Strategies
Adopt long-term maintenance strategies like sealing the veneer, preventing future damage, and seeking professional maintenance and restoration options.
Ensure safety during maintenance and repair by using protective gear and dealing with hazardous substances and chemicals with care.
Mortarless stone veneer is durable element that resembles natural stone, but it’s easier to handle and install than natural stone or stone veneers that use mortar in application. It’s available in different patterns and colors to provide creative options and character to any exterior or interior space.
Although mortarless stone veneer’s advantages over real stone include being lighter weight, easier to install and less expensive, mortarless stone veneer still requires maintenance, albeit lower in cost and effort than other materials. This guide was designed to answer some of the questions connected to the longevity and beauty of mortarless stone veneer.
Mortarless stone veneer can last for decades with proper maintenance and care, ensuring a durable and long-lasting architectural feature for your property.
Yes, mortarless stone veneer is designed for easier installation, and with proper preparation and following the manufacturer’s instructions, it can be a DIY project. However, it’s recommended to consult installation guides or seek professional advice for complex installations.
It is advisable to use mild, non-abrasive cleaners such as Dawn dish soap. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that may damage the surface.
Regular inspections should be conducted as needed, while cleaning frequency depends on the environmental conditions and level of dirt or stains.