A timeless design is only as good as the materials used. A beautiful outdoor living space can easily be tarnished by cutting corners with materials, however, with the evolution of outdoor living building techniques, outdoor rated building materials have grown exponentially as well. Stone veneering can turn any outdoor living project into a sophisticated extension of your home. Gone are the days where a stone structure needed to be solely composed of real cumbersome rocks. There are three different type stones to used to veneer a structure and this blog will help give some insight.
Traditionally, the construction and stone veneer of any outdoor structure was composed of real, full profile stone, ranging from 3-5″ in thickness. Utilizing full profile stones is recognized as the heaviest and densest out of all the stone options. These stone structures require ledge footings and possibly extra support to reinforce the weight of the materials that are mortared onto the concrete or wooden frame. Due to the weight load, wall ties are also required during installation and a sturdy backing at its core. Using full profile stones usually limits its exterior application to the construction process rather than a remodeling project. A professional mason is required to hand-chip each stone and install properly and safely. When well-built and suitably maintained, full profile stone structures provide a magnificent, resilient and long lasting product.
Thin-cut natural stone is created by splitting full profile stone into a thickness down to about 1-1/2″, making it just as aesthetic as full profile stone, but with less heft and expense. This stone retains its natural texture and color because, well, it is real stone. Not being as heavy as its parental origin, there is no need for special footings, which allows it to be used in both construction and renovation projects. The thin-cut stones are mortared to a concrete or wooden frame and can be used in a variety of projects from interior veneering of fireplaces and backsplashes to exterior projects such as veneering seating walls around a warm and inviting fire pit or to add to your home’s foundation to bring out its natural beauty and character. Thin-cut stone is not as costly as full profile stone and still provides a unique beauty with a maintenance-free quality.
In order to create cultured stone, molds are created from real stones to keep the textures and shapes as natural as possible. Cement is poured and cured in these molds. Because this is a man-made product, it needs to be colored by a specialist to have a natural look. The color process actually provides more color options and uniformity than you would have with a naturally occurring stone, giving more options to choose from. The color of the cultured stone holds up well to weathering, but just the same with natural stone, after years of weathering the stones may wear down and fade a little in appearance. If the stone is damaged or chipped, it may reveal the aggregate underneath, which is noticeably different than the surface color, but it does take a bit of force to chip this stone. Cultured stone, as well as the thin-cut natural stone, is lighter in weight than full profile stone and is also installed without ledges or special footings, making it a perfect alternative to thin-cut natural stone, in all applications.
After you choose which type of stone you would like for your outdoor living space, the next step is to consider how you would like the wall to be stacked. You can go with a dry stack or a visible mortar joint style. The dry stack method is when the mortar is applied to the middle of the back of the stone and wiggled into place, creating a dry look on the surface. This is a preferred method of installation because it looks clean and refined. A mortar joint style also looks sophisticated, but the mortar joint between each rock is visually exposed. The stones are mortared into place, then the installer will go back and install more mortar between each stone and a pointing tool is used to smooth it out to finish the look.
Using stone as a material in your outdoor living space plan breathes an air of distinction. Using stone used to mean labor-intensive and expensive installation, but today’s methods and stone veneer options have changed that premise, without compromising aesthetics. Stone veneering ties outdoor living to a warm and naturalistic vibe with an earthly connection. Whether you choose a full profile, thin-cut natural or cultured stone, there is a sense of significance that goes hand-in-hand with style. MasterPLAN Landscape Design can help you visualize the full potential for your outdoor living space, as well as aid in picking out styles and colors of all materials to provide a seamless design. Serving the Poconos, the Lehigh Valley and through the Philadelphia areas, when you are ready to start chatting about your backyard transformation, we are ready to listen, guide, design, manage and build your new custom outdoor living space!
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