Just as the trend for choosing darker greys and blues for exterior home colors continues, so does the preference for blending materials, combining profiles, and mixing textures—particularly with stone and stone veneer—for siding.
Types of Stone Siding
The importance of making the best siding selection, in both color and texture, is foremost for many homeowners because siding creates the all-important look and feel of a home’s exterior.
It is what can enhance or eliminate curb appeal. Although that is important, it is also beneficial for homeowners to understand the advantages and drawbacks of choosing any specific siding material, even popular options such as stone and stone veneer.
The ancient Egyptians recognized the benefits of masonry, including its resistance to fire and its ability to withstand wear for centuries. During the Roman Empire’s glory days, the Romans sought to beautify structures, such as the Coliseum, with stone, specifically marble, veneer. When modern stone veneer began to take shape in the late 19th Century, from multiple types of stone, including marble and slate, it found its place attached to building interiors and in small applications on storefronts.
Once modern stone veneer moved to residential homes as natural stone siding in the 20th Century, it fastened its charm onto suburban neighborhoods and eventually to commercial buildings across the country. Although art historians may perceive stone veneer as a bourgeois affectation, it is here to stay—along with the expanding wood veneer industry. Let us take a deeper look at some specifics:
Mortared vs Mortarless Masonry Veneer
Masonry veneer is a type of building material used on the external walls of both residential and commercial structures. Made from thin stone, brick, or other various materials, masonry veneer is a well-liked choice for stone siding.
Most types of masonry veneer can be broken into two main categories: mortared and mortarless. Traditionally, masonry veneer is applied to the surface using a mixture of cement and mortar. The popularity of mortarless veneer has grown in recent years due to the ease of installation compared to traditional mortar systems. Because there’s no need for mortar, mortarless veneer installation is less labor-and time-intensive, which makes it a go-to solution for DIYers and professionals alike.
Mortarless easy-to-install stone veneer comes in a variety of options ranging from panelized systems to individual stone systems, featuring thermoplastics, specialty composites, and concrete while utilizing screws or nails as their attachment method (mechanical attachment). These systems can be installed by both DIYers and professionals because there isn’t a need for unique trade skills or specialty tools.
While all mortarless stone veneer types are designed for ease-of-installation, Evolve Stone has quite literally nailed it when it comes to masonry veneer. Instead of using anchors, Evolve Stone’s patented system allows for the use of a common finish nailer with stainless-steel finishing nails that disappear when each stone is nailed to the surface.
The color-throughout stone veneer means cuts are nearly invisible. It’s a fraction of the weight of its competition. For those who gaze upon ancient stone facades fondly, the look and feel of Evolve Stone may surprise you. It looks—and feels—like the real deal.
Installing Stone Siding
DIY vs Professional installation
According to Bob Vila, stone veneer, unlike real stone, is easier to install for DIYers and non-contractors. Homeowners who don’t want to risk the issues associated with inadequate installation, such as moisture problems, still save money with a professional installer because stone veneer takes less time to set up.
For an installation overview, The Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association offers a detailed installation guide.
Regardless of its other benefits, installing Evolve mortarless stone adds to the cost savings of any stone veneer project. A common misconception is that mortarless easy-to-install stone veneer is more expensive, but there is a difference between material price and on-the-wall cost during the installation process.
Because mortarless stone veneer doesn’t require mortar or metal lath, specialized labor isn’t needed. This saves time during the installation process, which can also reduce total project costs. For an industry facing labor shortages, any project that safely requires less professional installation time saves money.
Cost of Stone Siding
“Installing new siding can give your home an immediate makeover and offer a relatively high return on your investment compared with other remodeling jobs,” Consumer Reports finds. “In Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report for 2020, replacing vinyl siding returns 74.7 percent of your investment, based on average job costs and resale values nationwide. Installing fiber cement siding, a wood-look product that’s less costly than the real thing, returns 77.6 percent. Only two remodeling jobs offer better returns: installing a manufactured stone veneer (95.6 percent) and a replacing a garage door (94.5 percent).”
Tips for reducing the cost of stone siding, include choosing a less expensive material, such as stone veneer over solid stone and lowering labor costs by choosing a material that homeowners feel comfortable installing themselves, or one that will take less time and effort for a professional to install.
Maintenance and Durability
Manufactured stone veneer can last from 20 to 75 years with proper maintenance. Manufactured stone veneer manufacturers have warranties that can last up to 50 years.
Even if it cracks or chips (it’s rare, but it can happen through normal wear and tear) cracks can be repaired. Avoid using harsh materials or chemicals to clean stone veneer. A soft cloth or brush and some mild dishwashing soap should do the trick.
When choosing the types of manufactured stone veneer, consider color, type of stone it resembles, and its stacking look. Manufactured stone can be made to look like all stone products, including smooth round river stones, rough-cut or smooth quarried stone, and a mosaic or stacked layout. The stone can vary by smooth or flat faces, split faces, or jagged and jutting, according to The Spruce
“Colors vary from looking like natural-looking ledgestone or chiseled “castle” stone in the gray family to fabricated fieldstone in the brown and beige color family. Dry-stack stone looks like building blocks laid right on top of each other, block to block, without mortar between them. Dry stacking also means squeezing the stone units closer together than if you were mortaring them. Dry stack has a cool, contemporary look. Mortared stone veneer has mortar between each stone. Mortared stone veneer projects a traditional, Old-World look.”
Choosing a Contractor
Stone homes are beautiful, but stone veneer can be just as beautiful when installed well. According to HomeAdvisor, stone veneer siding installers know how to integrate the new siding into your home, whether it’s wainscoting or a full siding application.
Local companies can recommend a localized stone style that is popular in your area so your stone veneer matches your geographic location’s style. Local companies also have local contacts so they can find the right stone veneer siding with lower material and transportation costs.
Even if you’re only having a small stone veneer project completed, consider the advice on hiring a contractor from This Old House. If you’ve chosen Evolve Stone as the stone veneer you’d like, contact us to help you find a Preferred Pro in your area.
- What are the advantages of stone and stone veneer siding?
- Stone siding enhances curb appeal and offers durability and resistance to fire and wear.
- What are the main types of masonry veneer?
- Mortared and mortarless veneer, with the latter being easier to install and requiring less time and labor.
- Can I install stone veneer myself?
- Yes, stone veneer is DIY-friendly, but hiring a professional ensures proper installation and avoids potential issues.
- How long does manufactured stone veneer last?
- With proper maintenance, it can last from 20 to 75 years, and many manufacturers offer warranties up to 50 years.
- How should I clean stone veneer?
- Use a soft cloth or brush with mild dishwashing soap, avoiding harsh materials or chemicals.
- How can I reduce the cost of stone siding?
- Opt for less expensive materials like stone veneer over solid stone and lower labor costs by choosing an easier installation method.
- Should I hire a contractor for stone veneer installation?
- Hiring a contractor ensures proper integration with your home and access to localized styles and cost-saving opportunities.
- Is stone veneer suitable for small projects or larger remodels?
- Stone veneer works well for both small and large-scale projects, providing protection and personality to your home’s exterior.
Whether it’s home improvement, such as a small remodel, or a structure-altering rebuild, understanding the ins and outs of installing stone, or a look-alike facsimile, can be a good starting place for planning for and completing a successful project.
For more guidance on choosing exterior protection and personality for your home, specifically mortarless stone veneer, visit with the people who nailed it—Evolve Stone.