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Three Types Of Stone And How To Install Them

By: Derek Saracini

In the current masonry market, there are three distinct ways of getting that beautiful stone or brick look you are trying to achieve, and each have a different installation process.

The different types of processes are for full-bed building stone (natural stone veneer), thin veneer stone (natural stone veneer, manufactured stone veneer, thin-clay brick, and natural stone panels), and screw-on stone products.

Let's start with full-bed building stone, which means the product is 90mm in depth and has a much thicker stone profile than the other two options. This type of stone is traditionally used on new builds. The reason is that this type of stone product is much heavier than the other two alternatives and requires a support ledge to be installed to withstand the weight. The support ledge is typically poured with the foundation and leaves an area for the stone to sit. This installation method is the most cost-effective in terms of product and install price, but I always preface that by mentioning the extra cost the pouring of the concrete support ledge requires - which isn’t necessary for the two other stone installation methods. That being said, this is the oldest form of masonry and the lifespan of installing in this fashion can easily withstand the test of time.

Thin veneer stone is the next most common form of stone install in the industry. This product is usually less than half the depth of a full-bed building stone and runs about 10-15 lbs per square foot. With the addition of extra insulation needed on the exterior of homes, this type of stone install has become more and more popular because it requires less area on the home's footprint to install and does not need any extra footings like a support ledge to install on. The difference between this install and full bed is the need to create a drainage layer so that if water does penetrate the install, it does have somewhere to drain. How this is created is through a corrugated plastic material (which creates a 10mm airspace), which is secured to the substrate by screws through the metal lathe on the outside of the wall. This metal lathe is then fully encased with a scratch coat to which the stone is mortar applied. Thin veneer stone is seen on new builds where a support ledge isn’t used, renovations, and is very often used on interior features such as fireplaces, feature walls, backsplashes, etc. It can really be installed on any sound surface due to its lightweight composition. That being said, a huge benefit to these products is that they can be installed directly over old brick for an extremely cost-effective facelift to your home. If the bricks are in good condition and unpainted then the stone can be mortared right onto the brick and will create a whole new look to your home.

The third way to get that masonry look and the newest method is by utilizing a screw-on stone product. This has become increasingly popular due to the difficulty in finding a mason as well as the cost savings on the installation because it is so DIY-friendly. How this product is installed over a plywood frame is simply wrapping that plywood with typical building wrap to protect it from moisture then screwing the stone panels to the wood frame. It is extremely easy to use and the outcome is quite beautiful. However, you will get more of a true masonry look with either a full bed or thin veneer building stone.

Overall, all three of these installation methods are extremely useful depending on the project you're working on. Once you realize your needs, you can start moving forward with finding that perfect stone at We look forward to helping you get that gorgeous masonry look you’ve always envisioned.


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