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Can we talk about stone veneer?

Posted by red_lover (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 10:57

The advantages and disadvantages of cultured stone and natural stone. The architect doing our house likes cultured. Half the price and looks good he says. He is in the South. We are in the Midwest.

A local architect that only does commercial (that my dh works with a lot) prefers natural stone. He says the cultured doesn't work well with our freeze, thaw cycles.

I have looked at a lot of cultured stone sites and houses. I can't tell the difference visually.

Soooo can we have a discussion about stone?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Thank you for posting this. I have the same question. I have yet to see any of the stone in real life, but have looked at numerous websites, and I cannot tell the difference either.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

We're going with real stone veneer (K2 Thinstone). My thought process is my concern that I won't love it in 10 years knowing it is fake? Fake products get better and better as the years progress, think round river rock cultured stone. That stuff was installed everywhere here in the late 90's, early 2000's.... now it just looks fake, in fact it screams fake. Real stone is always going to be real stone. You may not like it as much in 10 years, but it is not going to look fake because it isn't.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

I wish I had a picture to post of my neighbors recently completed stone cottage (in our new neighborhood). It's beautiful. I saw her at Church Sunday and asked her about her stone. Imagine my surprise when she said Coronado. Now I haven't seen it up close but it looks real.

And her installation is so well done. I wonder if there is an installation advantage with the manufactured stone?.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

We built our Italian style farmhouse using Coronado stone inside and out. No one can tell the difference even on close examination. Real stone was just too heavy. Installation is key. Find someone very experienced. I don't know about mid west temperature variances but it has held up well in southern California heat and sun.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

I live in one of two or three counties that produce Indiana limestone (the stuff used on the Empire State building, the Pentagon, buildings all over Chicago, etc.) so I do have a bias for the real thing.

That said, I'm wondering if your architect has an accurate idea about the cost of stone in your area? Depending upon the type of stone you want the cost maybe lower than the architect thinks.

Some of the nicer manufactured stone veneers can equal the cost of natural stone. I would recommend a bit of research in your specific area.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Coronado Cultured stone from our build pictured below. Honestly depending on the stone you pick, I think it looks real enough to be a high class product. Ironically I considered a natural stone veneer cut in a random style and upon showing it to my contractor he said ugh..it looks fake. Go figure.

Any stone if it has cracks or voids can be problematic with freeze thaw cycles, natural or otherwise. That's called erosion. Cultured stone to my knowledge is somewhat similar to a concrete mix. I don't know how your climate effects it but if you have concrete sidewalks, well you get the idea..your miles may vary. I know some cultured stone manufacturers like Eldorado sell their own sealant mix. I'm unsure if its meant to be a water barrier, or a UV protectant. You might look into it if you have concerns and are leaning towards culltured stone.

coronado1 photo image-15.jpg

coronado2 photo image-12.jpg


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Our architect has a definite preference for real stone too. We have cultured on our current fireplace, and at first I loved it, but now I think it looks pretty fake.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Michele1973 can you please post a pic of your fireplace. We are considering doing this with our fireplace.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

We are in the same boat. Shopping around here (New England) the best price for real stone VENEER is about $13 per sq ft. El Dorado is about $10 (I think, havn't gotten a formal quote on that one yet). The install for El Dorado was going to be $17 per sq ft, and the stone veneer is $19 (he provides mortar and everything except the actual stone).

I was a bit sticker shocked on the install price because I thought it was closer to $10 sq. ft installed.

ANYHOW, my mason prefers the cultured. He says it holds up better in this climate and that real veneer will eventually streak from the iron in the stone bleeding out with the rain (since its veneer) etc.. he says it looks the same, you can't tell. You can tell close up based on the samples I have...not sure if you can tell on the house. We are still undecided. Its probably $3K more for the veneer. I need to save money somewhere.,.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Nepool,
Keep in mind that the sample boards are not grouted. Grout color and style make a lot of difference.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Nothing beats real stone, imo.

Ours is real stone, not a stone veneer. The exterior and one FP are mix of three types of stone the stonemason came up with after I showed him a photo. Front veranda and walkways are flagstone. Retaining walls are also topped with flagstone and one has stone columns.

This post was edited by allison0704 on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 19:36


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Not all fake stone is created equal. Some looks faker than others. None I've found looks that good. I think the color is applied, so it can fade/chip off over time. Then you're left with concrete chunks adhered to the side of your house.

My other pet peeve with veneer stone is when it doesn't go down below grade. Nothing looks faker than seeing your foundation peeking out below the line of the veneer.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

We went with real stone veneer and we are glad we did as much of the rest of the stone used around our house was from out of our foundation pit and it matches perfectly. Had we used fake stone, that would not have been the case.

The stone on the foundation is veneer, the retaining walls are the real stones from out of our foundation.

Veneer

Real


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

AnnieD,
Your stone veneer is beautiful! Would you please share the manufacturer and color? It is just what we are looking for!
Thanks,
Anita


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

My parents used to live in a small house in a retirement community, new when they moved there. The lower 2' or so of the house and carport were fake stone veneer. Over the course of 10 years, my father collected about half a cubic foot of small pieces that split off the veneer. I don't know why he was collecting it, or how much more there might have been that he didn't collect.

The "stone" didn't look fake, except that at the corners I could see it was only 2-3" thick. And on some of the larger buildings in the community I could occasionally see pieces which were obvious duplicates. However, the coloration was entirely believable.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

"I think it looks real enough to be a high class product"

I think yours is an interesting example because it looks very nice but it is also immediately clear (to my eyes) that it is a man made veneer and not a stone veneer.

Sometimes people misunderstand the terminology, similar to wood floors:

Real stone can mean self-supporting massive rocks or thin cuts that are applied as a veneer to a structural base.
Just like real wood can mean thick solid boards or thin real wood veneer on a plywood base.

And then there are man made stone effect concrete veneers which are the analog to laminate floors with a wood effect print.

"The "stone" didn't look fake, except that at the corners I could see it was only 2-3" thick."

--> because it was real stone!!

"Real stone was just too heavy."

--> not if it is a real stone veneer


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

"Real stone was just too heavy."

"not if it is a real stone veneer"

Silly me for listening to and paying not one, but two structural engineers.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Silly you, if you used fake stone veneer made out of textured concrete (like most) to save weight. Because that is just as heavy/dense as real stone (10-15 lbs/sf - use google for various examples)

If you used fake stone veneer made out of styrofoam or plastic, then silly me because I didn't think that people would use this one a home. Do people actually use that on a home ?!

This post was edited by jrldh on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 15:37


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Oh - I just read you used Coronado stone. That's up to 15 lbs/sf.

vs. 10-15 lbs/sf for real stone veneer: Example: http://www.saladoquarry.com/natural-thin-stone-veneer

So, yes, your two structural engineers gave you wrong info (or they didn't know about natural stone _thin veneers_).


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

My spec sheet : 7-10 lbs/sq.ft and I'm very happy with the result.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Allora--I appreciate you posting your experience especially since I had just posted about my future neighbors beautiful house done with Coronado stone. I would love to see a picture of your house.

Jrldh--come on...lighten up :-) it's Friday! Let's have a glass of wine and talk about stone. You did educate me on the difference between stone and stone veneer. I didn't realize there was a difference! Do you know if there is a difference in ease of installation?

Thank you for all of the brave posters willing to post pics of your projects. They are all beautiful. Keep em coming. Would you be willing to say what your stone is?

Nightshade--what will your mortar look like?

Love the Indiana Limestone. Hadn't even thought of that.

NWHobart--I looked at this site at the K2 thin stone which I wasn't familiar with. Am I reading this right? It doesn't require any kind of brick ledge or special prep? I really like the appearance of this stone. Will you post a pic of what you are using? Thanks for the tip

Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread. Please keep the great info coming.

Here is a link that might be useful: K2thinstone


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

My mason was a bit of a snob about thin stone until he used our product. He was forced to use the thin stone because of weight requirements on our tower. Here's a pic. It is very hard to tell what is full stone opposed to the thin product.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Exterior with full stone combination.

This post was edited by musicgal on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 19:43


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

I edited my post above to include stone info: Ours is real stone, not a stone veneer. The exterior and lower level den FP are mix of three types of stone. The stonemason came up with after I showed him a photo. Front veranda and walkways are flagstone. Retaining walls are also topped with flagstone and one wall has stone columns.

Our house was originally drawn to have stone all the way around the lower level (sides and back of house), but this was changed to cut costs (saved 30K). One thing we changed that I still to this day hate was to do a non-masonry FP from the lower level up (also saved 30K). We had to then change the chimney exterior due to weight issues with real stone. I ordered some samples of stone veneer as well as faux stone. Even if I had liked them, there was no saving on the weight. Our chimney exterior is clad in copper with a copper hood, which goes with all the other copper used on the house interior and exterior. Next house will have more stone inside and out.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

red lover,
I have no idea how to post a photo but this URL has 2 photos of our house from the Coronado catalog. One of the barn section of the house (stone inside and out) and a close up of the stone. I hope you can access it.

Good luck on your project.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coronado stone


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

mto: "The "stone" didn't look fake, except that at the corners I could see it was only 2-3" thick."

jrldh: --> because it was real stone!!

Although the obviously-veneered corners were the initial thing that made me suspect man-made stone, I do understand that there are shallow cuts of real stone that are used as veneer.

However, at my parents' development it is not real stone. I stand outside some of those larger buildings (on which the fake-stone facing is 20-some feet high) waiting for transportation, and pass the time by identifying the matching-shaped pieces in the fake veneer. "Now, where can I see another of those stones shaped like Nebraska?" (And please remember Nebraska's missing SW corner when you think of this example.)

These are "random" rough shapes separated by at least an inch of mortar, and were apparently installed by untrained workers with very little interest in fitting the stones together. Not at all like how the stone in niteshadepromises' photo was pieced. No smaller pieces were inserted between large pieces whose sides didn't adjoin closely.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

AnitaLadyRose, we went with stoneyard.com and at the time it was called "New England Fieldstone". I think they may have changed the name. It is the real stone sawn thin to make a veneer. They have stone cutters with blades placed at 90 degree angles so they can cut real stone to create corner pieces, so our stone looks more realistic as it actually wraps the corner, just like a real stone.

I'm sorry, but the coronado does not look real to me...at least not in the random mosaic pattern. Perhaps if it were cut into rectangles then it would be more expected to contain the regularity that it does. But it just leaves a different impression.

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


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

AnnieDeighnaugh,

Thank you! so much! I believe that I found it. It is now called Boston Blend Mosaic. It is gorgeous! This will go on my "must have" list. The web site has plenty of photographs showing the veneer in many different applications. We will likely use it outside in selected areas and inside for our wood burning fireplace.

I so appreciate all of the posts on this thread. It has certainly helped me and I imagine others as well.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

When choosing stone, it's really important to pay attention to the thickness of the grout...a close joint vs a wide one can completely change the look of the stone. You want to have your mason match the look you are going for as closely as possible.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Mattypies, here are the pics of my fireplace with cultured stone. Sorry this took so long.

 photo 6E608E3A-59D5-42B9-B837-EFF67FA37E38_zpsntzfwgjs.jpg

 photo 47D83A70-36D6-4FF0-8161-79E565C6B20B_zpssktvmqp8.jpg


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Well we got rid of the stone on our project. But before we did, I went through the same thought process.

Me to architect: "If we do stone - I do not want fake stone. And I want it over grouted. And I want moss growing up it immediately. Before we move in." (not really, but I was trying to convey the "emotion" I was going for with the home. I'm not sure it worked. ;))
Architect to me: "Depending on the mason, you cannot tell the difference. I promise."

Also. We are in earthquake land. (Don't think you have to worry about that so much?) So real stone here would prove to be interesting from a structural standpoint unless you did the thin cut type.

All the above may be true, but... I still think I can tell the difference on a house (maybe not a chimney?) and it would bug me. I look at Alison's photo above and just "know" that is the real deal. It feels permanent and grounding. I love it.

But (can you tell I went back and forth on this a little bit?)... I don't think most of your friends/family will be noticing this kind of thing. How much stone area do you have?


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

RHD makes a good point -- if you have only a small area, maybe that's where you can afford to splurge? We only have rock on our chimneys and exposed foundation, so the two considerations that made thin stone the winner were (1) we wanted to install at grade and (2) we saw a thin stone with occasional dendrite ferns in it that the kids and I just love. Cost was not significantly more than cultured stone. What would have saved us $ would have been just using stucco or siding.

Good luck on your decision.


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Michele1973 thanks so much for posting your fireplace. It looks great! Would you care to elaborate on what stone was used, how long you have had it and why you think it looks fake now.

Thanks!


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Oh boy....I have no idea of the stone name, sorry. :(. It's been up for eight years. Ya know, it's wearing really well, so I have no major issues with it....I think it's just that I've been looking at so much real stone lately that I can tell the difference now between real and cultured. But, it has definitely served its purpose for us and we always get lots of compliments on it. :)


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RE: Can we talk about stone veneer?

Pictures you see have the mortar applied in certain sections. We pulled the trigger on a darker mortar color than we had envisioned in our heads. At the end of the day I think it works for our exterior. I don't have any pictures yet of that same stone mortared in a light grey for interior. We chose a "medium" grey mortar for the exterior and it ended up darker than we expected. On the bottom picture i posted the right most part of the picture didn't have mortar applied yet. Thats a pretty good example of the extreme variation that can happen...I personally think it looks good both ways on our project but it can make or break a look...so consider it carefully.


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