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Things to know before stone veneer siding installation

If you want the stunning look of natural stone siding without the hefty price tag, stone veneer siding installation is right up your alley. Stone veneer siding provides a budget-friendly alternative to create the same beautiful look. Approximately $25 to $30 per square foot cheaper than natural stone, this stone alternative can be cut to size and shaped to meet your distinct design needs. Even better, it comes in lightweight and easy-to-install panels, making labor and installation much cheaper. Plunge into this stone veneer siding buying guide to discover vital facts about this material, its properties, and its costs. After reading this article, you will have a comprehensive picture of the siding's advantages and downsides to make the right buying decision.

Things to know before stone veneer siding installation

Stone veneer siding - The basics

Stone veneer is an economical, long-lasting addition that looks like natural stone in a thinner, lighter-weight material, but it’s easier to handle and install than natural stone. It’s available in individual pieces, so you can create your own varied patterns for quicker installation. Stone veneer is easy to maintain and comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors to complement an array of design schemes.

Manufactured stone veneer, sometimes called architectural stone or cast stone, is a cast replica of natural stone made from concrete. It has some advantages over real stone, including being lightweight, easier to cut, and less expensive, and it comes in a variety of colors.

Faux stone veneer comes in panels, is made from high-density polyurethane, and is usually no thicker than 3/4 inch.

How to upkeep stone veneer siding?

Stone veneer is easy to clean and maintain. This type of siding is fairly resistant to moisture, mold, mildew, and most environmental conditions. A simple rinse with your garden hose will remove any loose dirt or problem areas that may develop due to proximity to moist vegetation and lack of direct sunlight.

Check your manufacturer’s recommendations so as not to void your warranty. You can typically use a power washer at least once a year to get rid of any grime. If you have stubborn dirt, use a mild detergent with a soft bristle brush so as not to scratch your synthetic stone siding.

It is recommended that in terms of landscaping, you keep bushes, hedges, and flowers at least 6 inches away from the stone paneling to prevent it from being hit by weed whackers and other landscaping hardware.

How to decide between natural and stone veneer cladding?

Natural stone comes in many different types and is quarried worldwide. The appearance of natural stone is determined by how it was formed: by rivers, volcanoes, etc. For commercial purposes, natural stone is categorized into several groups, the most popular being granite, marble, limestone, and slate. Each stone will be unique, so natural stones of the same type can differ widely.

Stone veneer, often referred to as faux or cultured stone, is an artificial product introduced as a lightweight alternative to natural stone. It is made from concrete that is poured into a mold and colored to give the appearance of natural stone. It is often favored as a cost-effective material to provide a natural-looking stone finish to buildings and interiors.

Both natural and stone veneers can be used in a variety of applications with both indoor and outdoor uses. However, some types of stone are more suited to certain applications based on how durable they are or are likely to deteriorate over time.

For example, if you are looking for something to use for a water feature, then natural stone might be the best option, as the chemicals that are applied to the water could cause the stone veneer to deteriorate over time. There are products available to maintain and protect stone veneer to avoid this - view our range of aftercare products here.

Alternatively, if you want to add a natural stone effect to your fireplace or interior walls, stone veneer is a lightweight option to achieve a natural-looking finish with a quick and easy application without the need for large footings or thick walls.

Ultimately this will come down to preference, but our opinion is that stone veneer offers more flexibility at a lower price. From a distance, it is almost impossible to tell which is which, and with the added benefit of it being lighter and with more choices of colors and finishes available, you can find the perfect stone to suit your project.

What are the key benefits of stone veneer siding?

In addition to providing you with stunning color and pattern options of more expensive natural stone, veneer stone siding panels have other great benefits.

  • Durability. The key benefit behind artificial stone veneers is their ability to defend against sunshine, moisture, and more with no maintenance for decades to come. Builders and homeowners can benefit from the long-lasting results of manufactured stone siding since it's designed to last. When installed by professionals, you can achieve a higher level of quality. With a 50-year warranty, you can achieve peace of mind for your home or next project. Materials from Prestige Stone Products are warrantied against product defects, ensuring that the quality of your work does not falter due to unexpected circumstances. 
  • Better insulation. Stone veneer's polyurethane composition offers superior home insulation compared to other stone siding types. The R-value (used to measure thermal resistance) of stone veneer siding helps prevent your home from losing heat in the winter and keeps the cool air inside during the summer. This level of insulation can help save you money on your monthly energy bills since heating and cooling your home accounts for the largest portion of your utility bills – approximately 54 percent.
  • Appealing look. When it comes to lasting beauty, you can achieve a perfect look by choosing the right texture and style for your property. Our manufactured stone flats, for example, feature ten different texture options with 23 different designs. You can achieve the exact look for your home project to enhance its existing design or create a radical transformation. Modern technology has helped to make manufactured stone veneers a top choice in aesthetics, delivering clean cuts and detailed differences to create the look of a unique stone. While natural stone veneers are great for those who want the real deal, the modern manufactured stone siding looks good enough to pass as real stone. In the right hands, these materials can generate much property value with beautiful exteriors.
  • Lightweight. Natural stone is very heavy. It will require you to hire a professional contractor to manage and perform the complicated installation process. Because stone veneer is much more lightweight compared to real stone, the installation is quicker, easier, and much more affordable. Additionally, the weight that natural stone puts on your home's foundation can be potentially damaging. You will need to have your home professionally assessed before installing natural stone to ensure your home's structure can withstand the added weight.
  • Simpler installation. Working at heights or transporting the siding materials on your own can prove burdensome and even hazardous if the materials are too heavy. Manufactured stone arrives in large sheets that are easy to cut and install where needed. DIYers and contractors can benefit from the overall convenience of installing a stone veneer, saving thousands of hours and plenty of sore backs in the process.

Stone veneer siding installation - Professional vs. DIY

It is essential to plan the layout of veneer pieces carefully. There are limited patterns in manufactured stone veneers, and carefully planning the arrangement of components helps ensure a natural-looking result. 

Installation of stone veneers is challenging, and professional teams with lots of experience usually perform it. It takes a very skilled and intrepid DIYer to tackle such work on a whole house project, though veneering a landscape wall, accent wall, fireplace surround, or shed can be relatively easy. 

The last thing a homeowner wants is moisture problems so if you don’t feel comfortable putting up moisture barriers and sealing mortar joints, call a contractor. A poor stone veneer siding job will cost you more in the long run than having a professional install stone veneer siding.

How much does stone veneer siding cost?

Stone veneer siding costs range from $5.50 to $10.75 per square foot installed. The cost to install stone veneer siding on the average-sized 1,500-square-foot home would fall between $8,250 and $16,125, or an average of $12,188. Stone veneer is a much cheaper alternative to natural stone siding, costing up to $48 per square foot. Home siding costs always vary depending on the size and design of your house, local labor rates, and whether you are doing a full or partial stone veneer siding installation.

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