Dry stack or grout stone siding?

lizatgarOctober 23, 2012

We're doing stone siding for most part of the front side of the house. The builder is asking if we want to grout or just dry-stack the stones. Here's a picture of the stone I picked. Anyone knows if it's better to grout? If you have pictures of grouted stone I'll appreciated it. Most of houses I've seen look like dry-stacked. Thank you!

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cavalier2

We are trying to make this decision also. I really like your choice of stone. Is it by Eldorado? And what is the style name? I actually prefer the stacked look.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 7:20PM
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virgilcarter

Stacked stone masonry seems very popular at the moment, and I like the looks of it.

That said, I am not sure how durable it is in freezing climates where freeze-thaw-heave takes place. I suspect that dry stack is not very durable in such climates.

So a lot depends on where you live and your climate.

Good luck on your project!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:46PM
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chibimimi

We went with dry-stack and love it. We're in snowy northern New England and have had no issues with freeze-thaw-heave. The dry-stack uses somewhat more stone, since you don't have space for mortar, but looks denser and stronger and somehow less like a thin veneer. To me, anyway!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:32PM
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bowyer123

Here is a picture of my neighbor's house. I like both dry-stack and grout. It seems more common for the dry-stack, but I do like the look of the mortar as well. Hope this helps..

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Xclusive

We are in TN and went with dry stack, love it!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:50PM
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lizatgar

The stone sample I posted is Dutch Quality Natural Blend Weather Ledge.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:08AM
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still_waters

The builder needs to know if you are using grout or dry stack because the dry stack requires an extra ledge on the foundation to support the weight of the dry stack.

I too loved the dry stack look, but it is more expensive than the fieldstone application. We have decided to go with a thin sliced stone since it is not foundational stone but decorative. We also want to use a lot of stone.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 2:43PM
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ncrealestateguy

Still water... I don't know if what you say is true. Dry stack is still a "lick and stick" process. The dry stacked stone is still mortared onto the wire mesh, it is just done w/o mortar between the joints. I don't see why a footer ledge would be necessary. Veneer is veneer, no matter if one chooses to put grout in between the stone.
before you decide, go look at some of your GC's dry stacked homes. I have seen more than not where the masons are very sloppy at hiding the mortar with dry stack. This takes away from the facade that it is truly dry stacked. Your choice of stone may help a bit with this since its edges are very smooth fitting.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 2:59PM
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virgilcarter

I think good practice calls for a foundation support for all masonry, whether veneer or otherwise. The dead load is still the dead load.

The issue, to my mind, is the degree to which water can seep into the opening in the dry stack, and, thereafter, freeze and thaw. Secondarily is the opportunity for normal rain water, driven by wind, to run back and down the inside face of the sheathing behind the veneer.

Dry stack looks good (and is currently very popular), but if I lived in snow and ice climates I'd do my due dilligence first before forgoing mortar and tooled joints. I'd love to be proved wrong.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 3:20PM
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nanj

Eldorado Stone has a blog article about installing dry stack with an explanation of how it is properly done and precautions about finding masons who will do it correctly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eldorado Stone Blog - Installing Dry Stack

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 8:26PM
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ncrealestateguy

I do not know of any veneer stone that recommends needing a footer ledge.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Xclusive

Posted by ncrealestateguy (My Page) on Wed, Oct 24, 12 at 21:14

I do not know of any veneer stone that recommends needing a footer ledge.

^2

I thought that was one of the advantages of a veneer so you don't have alot of weight and a footer ledge is not needed. None of the builders in our area use a footer ledge for stone veneer!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:15PM
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allison0704

The pictures bowyer123 posted are of real stone. That makes a big difference, whether stacked or mortared.

I would want to see real life versions of both (stacked is much easier to find). It seems like mortared faux stone would come off looking more realistic than stacked.

Here is our stone garage, which is a mix of three natural varieties:

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:37AM
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virgilcarter

I believe "veneer" is a term with various meanings. For example, the use of normal brick which is mechanically anchored to a stud wall is termed "veneer", since it is not a load bearing construction. As such, the masonry still has a considerable dead load to be supported and generally sits on "brick ledge" which is a part of the foundation. The same holds true for true stone mansonry.

I suspect you are using "veneer" to mean artificial stone (and perhaps there's genuine stone) that are quite thin and light weight, which are simply "glued" to the wall sheathing or scratch plaster coat of a house. This application has virtually no dead load, and does not need to be supported by the foundation.

One may often tell the difference in the two applications by simply looking at the ground: The former application may go below grade, while the latter application generally stops above grade.

The two applications of "veneer" are quite different. Isn't the English language a wonderful thing?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:53AM
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allison0704

fwiw, we looked at a faux stone for our chimney - thinking we could get close in matching and not have to worry about the weight. The faux stone was not thin, and weighed as much as real stone. We were not looking for ways to save cost, and the stonemasons charge the same for installing. We ended up cladding the chimney exterior in copper.

The concrete ledge for our stone was larger/deeper than the brick ledge.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:29PM
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olivesmom

I think the dry stacked may look dated later on (this is coming from someone who has dry stacked on their home). In our next home I would like to use mortar, I think it looks more authentic and natural.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Xclusive

Posted by olivesmom (My Page) on Thu, Oct 25, 12 at 23:25

I think the dry stacked may look dated later on (this is coming from someone who has dry stacked on their home). In our next home I would like to use mortar, I think it looks more authentic and natural.

Well if that is the case since its drystack one could always add your mortar of choice at a later time for a different look. We built what we liked and not on the basis of what may look dated at a later time because trends come and go.

Just my .02 cents FWIW

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:36PM
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ncrealestateguy

You cant add mortar after the fact. The stone is too close together.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:31AM
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virgilcarter

I'm afraid ncrealestateguy is right: you can't go back and grout drystack masonry and hope that it will be weather-tight and look attractive. It's just not practical.

In the old colonial days, when many houses were constructed of stone masonry, using locally available field stone, the mortar would often crack, flake and leak after several hard winter's worth of freeze and thaw conditions. The mortar used in those days was very soft and not very durable. The standard remedy was to parge a full cement plaster coat over all of the stone masonry, transforming the appearance of the house from one of stone masonry to one of cement plaster, which could thereafter be patched when cracks might appear.

I'm not sure that dry-stack masonry could successfully be parged and successfully covered with modern cement or acrylic plaster due to the large amount of open joints and the potential for individual stone movement.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that choosing dry-stack stone masonry is pretty much a permenant decision, for better or worse, unless one wishes to undertake a substantial remodeling project.

Fortunately, I like the look of dry-stack!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Make sure you have a weeping system behind the stone....

We went with a natural field stone that is cut thin for easier install. On the outside of the house, we went with tight joints...the grout still shows, but not much.

We are glad we went with the natural field stone as it blended seamlessly with the retaining walls that were built out of actual stone that was on site, dug out of our foundation pit. The foundation wall is the thin cut stone.

We used the same natural field stone, but in a different cut and in a dry stack look on the inside behind the woodstove.

Take a look and be sure you get what you want as when I first saw this stone, I hated it...but then I realized, it wasn't the stone, but the way it was installed. I don't like the look of fat grout lines...I like nice tight joints. But they are more expensive to do as it requires the masons to cut and trim the stones so they fit like puzzle pieces...you're really relying on the artistry of the mason.

Take a look at stoneyard.com for some ideas and you can see how the stone and the grouting work together to create the overall look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stoneyard.com

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:07AM
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renovator8

"Brick Veneer" and "stone veneer" properly defined is a single wythe of real brick or stone that must be supported on a foundation or other structural element and must be tied back to the "back-up" wall with ties that allow for differential movement between the masonry and the wood building frame. This kind of cladding is often called "masonry veneer cavity wall construction" to distinguish it from a solid masonry wall. "Brick/stone veneer" has been a common construction term for about 60 years.

About 30 years ago brick manufacturers began sawing the face from their bricks to be used for interior decoration. The name they adopted was "thin brick". The same was true to a lesser degree for stone.

Probably in the last 20 years thin brick/stone has been adhered directly to the face of wood framed house sheathing and called thin-brick/stone veneer. Since the manufacturers don't like to use words like "thin" to describe a product they often call this cladding system "brick/stone veneer" which understandably can cause confusion in specifications and even casual communication. Then manufacturers started making this thin cladding material out of cast stone and synthetic materials and calling it by too many names to list.

The OP called the material in question "stone siding" so I can only guess what it is.

This directly adhered cladding system was so late in developing because it had to wait for the EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish System) industry (Dryvit, Sto, etc.) to develop (through a process of costly mistakes) a directly adhered cladding system system with a modern inexpensive drainage plane to replace the time tested brick veneer cavity wall system.

So, before choosing the style and appearance of the cladding ask to see the installation details showing how water drains to the outside instead of into your house. If you are unsure of how that is properly done post the details here.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:20AM
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still_waters

I apologize if I have led anyone astray. Shopping for stone was early in our house planning and so my memory could be fuzzy. When we shopped, we were told that the dry stack required the brick ledge whether natural or faux. Remember that different parts of the country build differently.

At first we looked at the faux stone but after some shopping we realized we wanted true stone. We like the "life" in it. We have found true stone veneer in the mountains of NC. It is natural rock that has been sliced in 1 inch pieces. I have some samples that are as thin as 1/2 inch. I have not talked to stone masons about its application, but it is easier to have a consistent bed for the stone to be set into. It also minimizes the weight load.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:20PM
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renovator8

Whatever the cladding, it is either fully adhered to the wood framed wall like siding or it is supported by the foundation and only loosely tied to the sheathing. These two cladding support systems should never be combined.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:19PM
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